Headline Roundup: Duke Energy, Alcoa, transgender discrimination suit and more
Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural gas have chosen the developer for a new approximately $5 billion natural gas pipeline into eastern North Carolina. Virginia power company Dominion will build and operate the 550 mile pipeline. It will move natural gas from a transmission facility in Harrison County, West Virginia through Virginia, entering North Carolina in Northampton County and ending at a Piedmont plant in Robeson County. Electric companies, including Dominion and Duke, will use the gas to fire power plants. Since the shale gas boom began in 2007 (using the controversial drilling process known as fracking), natural gas prices have plummeted and power companies have increasingly relied on natural gas. Duke Energy has opened five new natural gas plants since 2011 in North Carolina. The company plans to open another in South Carolina in 2017. North Carolina only has one major natural gas pipeline, running through western North Carolina. With regulatory approval the new pipeline is planned to open in 2018.
Aluminum maker Alcoa is delaying its plans to temporarily lower the water level in High Rock Lake. The company is pushing back the start of the project by two weeks, from September 15th to October 1st, Alcoa says that will give people more time to enjoy the lake at normal levels. The North Carolina Department of Transportation has asked Alcoa to lower the lake by 14 feet so it can inspect a bridge. The company says the lower levels will also allow others to clean up lake debris and repair piers. Alcoa says draining the lake by 14 feet will take four to six weeks. It plans to keep the level low for about five days.
The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund is planning to sue the state of South Carolina after the Department of Motor Vehicles would not issue a driver’s license to a 16 year old boy unless he took off his makeup. The DMV told Chase Culpepper he couldn’t wear makeup in the license photo because of a ban on photos that purposefully alter your appearance. The transgender rights organization says the rule is unconstitutional because it’s too vague and lets DMV employees arbitrarily decide how someone should look.
Chiquita is again urging its stockholders to vote for a proposed merger with Irish produce company Fyffes. CEO Ed Lonergan sent a letter to investors today to, in his words, set the record straight about a competing offer from two Brazilian companies. Lonergan says Cutrale and the Safra group have made multiple inaccurate statements and are attempting to discredit its board and management team. He reiterates Chiquta management’s strong endorsement of the Fyffes deal, which would make the combined company the world’s largest banana distributor.
The City of Charlotte is looking for a new company to collect recyclables. The Solid Waste Services department announced today that it ended its contract with Inland Service Corporation effective August 31st. Residents had complained about problems with Inland in recent months. Recycling collection will continue on its normal schedule, with the City providing service until a new company is in place in 2015.
Another American missionary in Libera has tested positive for Ebola. The Charlotte-based SIM organization says a doctor working at its hospital in Monrovia has been moved to isolation. SIM says the doctor is doing well and in good spirits. The group plans to release more details tomorrow afternoon.
Dollar General is boosting its bid to buy Family Dollar, upping its all-cash offer from $78.50 to $80 a share. Dollar General also says it’s willing to close double the number of stores it would close to avoid antitrust concerns. Family Dollar rejected Dollar General’s initial offer in favor of a $74.50 a share cash and stock deal from Dollar Tree. Dollar General has agreed to pay a $500 million reverse breakup fee if the deal runs into any regulatory roadblocks.
A Mexican man was sentenced to 21 years in prison today for his role in a drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy. Court records show Carlos Edgar Sandoval-Uriel was the leader of an international drug organization that shipped marijuana across the US/Mexico border. Ten other people have been convicted in conjunction with the drug ring.