Investigators for Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said in a report that the Bureau of Land Management's coal leasing program has allowed some companies to pay low rates for leases and benefit from low royalties at taxpayer cost, The New York Times reports.
In contrast to Democratic arguments that a GAO report highlights problems with the federal coal leasing program, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said the $1 billion in leasing revenue detailed in the report proves the economic necessity of the program, The Hill reports.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Congressional investigators have found problems with federal coal sales that might have cost taxpayers $200 million or more in lost revenue, a senator said Tuesday.
Citing a new report by investigators at the non-partisan U.S. Government Accountability Office, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., called for the sales to be suspended until the problems are rectified.
More than 40 percent of U.S. coal production — or about 450 million tons a year — comes from public lands leased by the government to mining companies under the century-old Mineral Leasing Act. Those leases bring in more than $1 billion in annual revenue.
RENO, Nev. (AP) — An assistant U.S. secretary of labor has criticized a Nevada gold mine for failing to protect its workers after federal inspectors issued more than 60 citations and orders involving health and safety violations subject to more than $200,000 in potential penalties.
A review issued Wednesday noted that Veris Gold USA Inc., owner and operator of the Jerritt Canyon mine in Elko County, didn't have to report an electrical explosion and fire that injured two employees there on Dec. 19 because inspectors for the Mining Safety and Health Administration were already on site documenting infractions.
The violations included blocked emergency escape routes, faulty pressure relief valves and improperly stored hazardous chemicals at the operation that has 120 workers about 50 miles north of Elko, the mining administration said.
NEW YORK (AP) — Martin Marietta Materials is buying Texas Industries in an all-stock deal worth $2.06 billion, creating a leading supplier of aggregates and heavy building materials with a strong presence in large, fast-growing markets like California and Texas.
Martin Marietta said Tuesday shareholders of Texas Industries will get 0.7 shares of Martin Marietta for each share held. Based on Monday's closing price, that amounts to $71.95 per share, a premium of less than 1 percent from Texas Industries' closing price of $71.54.
Martin Marietta will also assume $700 million in Texas Industries debt.
RUSTENBURG, South Africa (AP) — Tens of thousands of platinum miners in South Africa went on strike Thursday, demanding higher wages in a protest that is disrupting one of the country's major industries.
Protesters from the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union sang and danced outside one mine shaft in Rustenburg, the center of major platinum operations. Some wore hard hats, and one donned a zebra mask.
South Africa is the world's leading producer of the metal, which is used in medical, electronic and other industries.
Major global mining companies have cut their investment budgets for the second year in a row, and China's relentless demand looks set to continue, which could herald price increases in precious metals, Bloomberg reports.
The problems in Ukraine are unlikely to trigger faster action by the Obama administration on natural gas exports, a White House spokesman appeared to indicate Friday, as he noted that supplies in Europe are at higher-than-normal levels because of the mild winter there, according to Reuters.
Public Service Enterprise Group plans to spend $12 billion over five years on capital projects to improve reliability, hoping to increase the earnings of its utility business, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Weather-related rail bottlenecks in Chicago are causing higher prices and lower supplies of ethanol on the East coast, while Midwest plants are cutting production because of a shortage of rail cars, an industry representative told a U.S. Surface Transportation Board panel, Platts reports.
Investors will challenge corporations during the upcoming proxy season to make more environmental commitments, according to nonprofit Ceres, which has compiled a list of resolutions up for votes, E&E reports.
Saying President Obama's proposed "climate resilience fund" will help communities prepare better for severe weather might win it bipartisan support, according to Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, National Journal reports.