Safeway announces crate-free pork goal

PLEASANTON, Calif. – The nation’s second-largest grocery chain said it will adopt purchasing policies that favor more humane treatment of pigs.

Safeway Inc. announced Monday that it’s planning to stop buying from suppliers that use pig gestation crates.

Most pork currently comes from sows confined during their four-month pregnancies in narrow crates. Animal welfare activists have pushed for using open pens.

Other corporations such as McDonald’s and Burger King also plan to buy pork from pigs not kept in crates.

Safeway spokesman Brian Dowling said the chain already buys some pork from producers who are phasing out gestation crates. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based company has not set a deadline for going completely crate-free.

BPI closing plants over ‘pink slime’ uproar

DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. – A South Dakota beef company said it plans to close processing plants in three states because of the controversy surrounding a product that critics have dubbed “pink slime.”

Beef Products Inc. spokesman Rich Jochum said Monday that 650 jobs will be lost when it closes its plants in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kan.; and Waterloo, Iowa. The closures will be effective May 25.

A plant in South Sioux City, Neb., will remain open.

The company blames what it calls unfounded attacks over a product that it calls “lean, finely textured beef.” In the process, bits of beef are heated and treated with a small amount of ammonia.

Wind giant passes on Virginia project

RICHMOND, Va. – Global wind giant Gamesa said Monday it will build a wind turbine prototype in the Spanish Canary Islands instead of Virginia, citing the sluggish pace of U.S. development of offshore winds.

The Spanish company won Virginia regulatory approval in March to construct the 479-foot, 5-megawatt wind turbine prototype off the Eastern Shore. It was viewed as a significant step by the wind technology company to help develop the nascent U.S. wind industry, especially in waters off Virginia.

While still committed to developing a U.S. market, a Gamesa spokeswoman said the slow pace of regulatory actions, uncertainty over the future of tax credits for offshore development and the lack of a federal energy policy all conspired against investment in the prototype.

Feds tighten rules on pipeline records

SAN FRANCISCO – The federal government said energy companies must keep up-to-date records to prove they are running the nation’s aging pipelines at safe pressures, a move that comes in response to a deadly natural gas blast that consumed a suburban San Francisco neighborhood.

If pipeline operators can’t ensure their oil and gas lines are running at safe pressures, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said, they could face penalties starting next year.

The advisory bulletin the administration issued Monday cites the September 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people and damaged or destroyed more than 100 homes.

The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the accident on multiple failures by one of the nation’s largest natural gas companies, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., including shoddy records based on incomplete and inaccurate pipeline information.


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