September 24, 2011 in Business



Documents shed light on Boeing site choice

WASHINGTON – Documents released Friday by a union in a high-profile labor dispute with Boeing Co. suggested the aerospace giant opened a new plant in Charleston, S.C., partly to escape its labor problems in Washington state, despite considering South Carolina the highest-risk option.

The Machinists union said the documents bolster the National Labor Relations Board’s lawsuit accusing the company of retaliating against unions in Washington state by opening a second production line for its 787 aircraft in Charleston.

The internal documents – presented to Boeing’s board of directors in 2009 – show Boeing officials believed opening the South Carolina plant was the highest-risk option they studied with the highest likelihood of failure. Another option was to open the second line in Everett, where the company was already building the plane.

But the documents also say the South Carolina plan, dubbed “Project Gemini,” would help in “rebalancing an unbalanced and uncompetitive labor relationship.”

Associated Press

Ruptured pipeline due to reopen today

BILLINGS – A failed ExxonMobil pipeline that spilled an estimated 42,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River was expected to restart operations today after federal officials approved repairs meant to prevent another accident.

A quarter-mile segment of the 12-inch pipeline was replaced by drilling a new passage an estimated 60 to 70 feet beneath the riverbed.

The 20-year-old line broke near Laurel on July 1 after flooding scoured the river bottom and exposed the pipe, which had been buried just 5 feet deep in some areas. Released oil fouled dozens of miles of riverbank, contaminated crops and pastureland and was blamed for killing birds, reptiles and other wildlife.

Associated Press

Helium production resumes at plant

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – A shutdown of a natural gas plant that caused a significant shortage in the nation’s supply of helium has ended, and production of the lighter-than-air gas used for medical imaging, rocket launches and party balloons has resumed, an Exxon Mobil spokesman said Friday.

The Shute Creek Gas Plant in western Wyoming separates helium from natural gas pumped out of nearby wells and is the world’s largest helium facility, producing more than 20 percent of the U.S. helium supply. Recent maintenance at the Exxon Mobil Corp. plant took longer than expected.

Associated Press

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