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Coast Guard will investigate oil sheen

Fri., Nov. 30, 2012

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard says it has approved plans to investigate another oil sheen spotted near the site of BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The sheen was spotted earlier this month, days after the company plugged an abandoned piece of equipment that was believed to be the source of an earlier sheen.

Coast Guard Ensign Glenn Sanchez said Thursday the oil from the sheen has been tested and is from the Macondo well where the disaster occurred.

San Diego OKs deal for desalinated water

SAN DIEGO – San Diego’s regional water agency has approved a contract to buy the entire output of what would be the Western Hemisphere’s largest seawater desalination plant.

The San Diego County Water Authority voted on the 30-year contract Thursday. Poseidon Resources LLC needed the deal to finance construction of the $984 million project.

The plant in Carlsbad is designed to produce 50 million gallons of highly purified drinking water a day, enough to supply about 8 percent of the region in 2020.

The water would be more than twice as expensive as San Diego’s imported supplies but backers said it would be well worth the premium to protect against drought.

Verizon retirees sue over pension proposal

NEW YORK – Verizon retirees have sued the phone company because it’s planning to transfer the responsibility of paying their pensions to an insurance company, where they will have weaker legal protection.

Verizon Communications Inc. said last month that it would transfer $7.5 billion of its pension obligations, covering 41,000 management retirees, to Prudential Insurance. The deal effectively turns the company’s defined-benefit pensions into annuities.

Members of the Association of BellTel Retirees sued in federal court in Dallas on Tuesday. They’re seeking a court order to halt the deal, which is set to close in December.

They note that annuities aren’t covered by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. A shortfall in the assets backing the annuities would be replaced by a “patchwork network of state guaranty associations, many of which are underfunded,” the group said.

“Retirees and their spouses, especially in states with the lowest protection levels, will be seriously harmed and left with as little as two years pension replacement in case of insurer default,” said William Jones, president of the retirees association.


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