Business briefs

From staff and Associated Press reports.

New interim CEO named at Franklin hospital
Phillip W. Lowe will serve as interim until a permanent CEO has been located, according to the Hospital Service District 1 Board of Commissioners.
Lowe most recently served as chief executive officer of San Juan Health Service District in Monticello, Utah. He has also provided interim executive leadership for hospitals in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Idaho.
For nearly 20 years, Lowe has been in health care administration in a wide variety of capacities. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Brigham Young University and his master of science degree in health care administration from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
A national search for a permanent CEO for the hospital is under way. The hospital’s management group, Quorum Health Resources, is working closely with the board, medical staff and employees to find a CEO that meets the needs of the hospital and community.
“Our goal is to provide a seamless transition of leadership during the CEO search process, giving the board time to find the right candidate for the permanent position,” said QHR Vice President Don Smithburg.

Interest expressed in Baldwin port site
A tenant at a Baldwin location is still possible, West St. Mary Port commissioners learned recently.
Executive Director David Allain said a prospective tenant at the industrial park site on the Charenton Navigation and Drainage Canal has narrowed down its choices of locations to the park and one other undisclosed site.
The tenant has not been revealed as yet, but Allain said negotiations began several months ago. The port has been supplying information to the prospect.
Also, Allain reported that channel markers near the Jaws area can be replaced by buoys, instead of pilings, at a cost of only $240 each, not including setting them out. About 15 are needed.
By comparison, replacing pilings would cost $3,600 each.
Allain said he believes barge traffic is responsible for most of the pilings being knocked down, which would be negated if buoys were used.
The commission authorized Allain to proceed seeking U.S. Coast Guard approval. It may be that the Coast Guard will require removal of the existing pilings.

U.S. rig count down 6 to 1,803
HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by six this week to 1,803.
The Houston firm said in its weekly report Friday that 1,473 rigs were exploring for oil and 326 for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,746 active rigs.
Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Louisiana gained five rigs, California increased by three and North Dakota and Pennsylvania each rose by two. New Mexico and Utah were up one.
Texas declined by 10, Oklahoma by three and Ohio and West Virginia by two. Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming were unchanged.
The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.

Prosecutors ask $197M fine for CITGO in 2006 spill
LAKE CHARLES (AP) — The Justice Department wants a federal judge to fine Citgo Petroleum Corp. at least $197 million in a Clean Water Act enforcement lawsuit filed in a 2006 oil spill at the company’s Lake Charles refinery.
The Justice Department argued in court filings this month that the legal maximum penalty hovers around $232 million and an appropriate penalty for Houston-based Citgo should be no less than $197 million.
The case went to trial in 2011, but the penalty amount is back in play after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year ordered U.S. District Judge Richard Haik to reconsider a $6 million penalty, giving more attention to the company’s past environmental violations and its decision to delay upgrades that might have prevented the oil spill.
No new court date has been set.

EPA: La. must tighten Nucor air pollution permit
CONVENT (AP) — The federal Environmental Protection Agency is ordering the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to tighten the air pollution permit granted to Nucor Corp.’s St. James Parish plant.
The EPA concludes the pig iron and direct reduced iron manufacturing plants violate parts of the federal Clean Air Act.
The objections were published in the Federal Register.
The EPA has ordered Louisiana to require additional controls to block release of toxic pollutants from the plant’s coke ovens, including arsenic, benzene, lead compounds and cobalt compounds. Coal is heated into coke, which is then used in ovens to convert iron ore into iron.
The federal agency says coke oven emissions can cause cancer, if not controlled.
EPA also objected to the direct reduced iron permit, because it failed to include any emission limits for fine particulate matter that is 2.5 microns or smaller. Inhaling those extremely fine particles has been linked to lung disease.

LEEVAC to apply to receive foreign goods duty-free
LAKE CHARLES — LEEVAC Shipyards, LLC has received the go-ahead by the Port of Lake Charles to apply to receive foreign goods duty-free.
The port’s Board of Commissioners on Monday approved items related to foreign trade zones, which included allowing the executive director to sign the application letter for the creation of a subzone for the company.
According to its website, LEEVAC designs, fabricates and repairs vessels in the maritime industry.
Dan Gaiennie, vice president of business development and engineering at LEEVAC, said the new measure will make LEEVAC more competitive when bidding for projects.
He said most duties are about 2 percent of the value of the goods.

Company hoping to carry NASA astronauts at Michoud
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Companies hoping to shuttle NASA astronauts to the International Space Station are showing their work at the Michoud Assembly Facility in eastern New Orleans.
Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., has begun building the Dream Chaser mini-shuttle at Michoud for Sierra Nevada Corp. of Sparks, Nev.
Officials from both companies are at Michoud on Tuesday to update reporters.
Sierra Nevada is among three aerospace companies picked in 2012 to build small rocketships to take astronauts to the space station.
The Boeing Co. of Houston and Space Exploration Technologies, called SpaceX, of Hawthorne, Calif., are building capsules like those of the Apollo era.
Sierra Nevada’s design is based on an old NASA test ship design. It looks like the retired shuttle but its stubby wings are steeply angled upward. It could be flown without a pilot.
The company plans its first orbital flight demonstration in 2016 and its first crewed orbital mission in 2017.
The capsules and mini-shuttle are all designed to hold seven people.
Private companies already are shipping cargo to the space station. NASA is paying Russia about $63 million per launch to fly its astronauts.
Lockheed Martin, which built more than 100 external tanks for the shuttle at Michoud, announced about a year ago that it would be building 88-foot-long tanks there for liquefied natural gas storage and transportation.
The end of the shuttle program cost Michoud thousands of jobs.
Work at the plant was investigated after the space shuttle Columbia broke apart in 2003. The investigation did not find fault with the workers in New Orleans. It blamed the culture inside NASA, including engineers who had come to accept the idea that insulating foam flying off the shuttle was not a danger.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

Franklin Banner-Tribune
P.O. Box 566, Franklin, LA 70538
Phone: 337-828-3706
Fax: 337-828-2874

Morgan City Daily Review
P.O. Box 948, Morgan City, LA 70381
Phone: 985-384-8370
Fax: 985-384-4255

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