An explosion at a chemical plant in eastern China killed at least five people and injured several others. The blast occurred in Wucheng County in Shandong province on Thursday. The cause is being investigated.
Companies that depend on railroads to transport their goods or commodities say big rail companies are unfairly raising prices, and they are calling on Congress to lay down stricter federal regulations. The debate over pricing as grown in recent years as railroad companies finally started to see big profits. One company, Seminole Electric Cooperative of Tampa, Fla., said in a federal complaint that CSX Corp. had doubled its rate for shipping coal, which would result in a $100 million increase in Florida customers' electric bills.
Dow Chemical has sold its thermoplastic polyurethane business to Lubrizol for undisclosed terms. The deal includes all commercial, production and research and development assets of Dow's TPU business, and Lubrizol will also take on about 40 full-time workers.
Because rig count is an indicator of how supply and demand are being balanced, investors are waiting to hear how many rigs were dropped in the last two months of 2008. In September, experts expected a decline of 400 to 500 rigs this year, but now analysts project 700 or more to be dropped before recovery begins late next year.
If consumers were angry about $4-a-gallon gasoline, imagine how they will feel if it reaches $8 under President-elect Barack Obama's watch, writes Ben Lieberman, senior policy analyst in the Heritage Foundation's Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies. The incoming administration and new Congress have indicated that they may reverse pro-domestic oil drilling measures. Energy Secretary-nominee Steven Chu has said that the U.S. needs to discourage driving by boosting gasoline prices to European levels.
Amid concern about the safety of recycled crumb rubber in artificial-turf playing fields used by children, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection is launching a broad study of the turf's safety. The study will check air quality and storm water runoff near the fields for potential contaminants. Supporters say artificial-turf fields offer cushioning to protect children from injuries, and do not require the upkeep -- including pesticides -- needed for traditional grass fields.