Examiner recommends approval of controversial transmission line

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A State Corporation Commission officer has recommended approval of a 500-kilowatt transmission line that would run from the Virginia-West Virginia border in Frederick County to Loudoun County.

The examiner said construction of the two lines is necessary to provider power to Northern Virginia beginning in 2011. Virginia’s segment is part of a 240-mile transmission line beginning in southwestern Pennsylvania, heading through West Virginia and ending in Virginia.

Historic and environmental groups have fought construction of the line, saying it would harm significant cultural and environmental areas.

The examiner recommended that the commission approve the line contingent on approval from the other states involved. (The Washington Post

Virginia Beach officials are excited about a General Assembly study to look at extending light rail from Norfolk to Virginia Beach. The measure was one of the few bills passed during the General Assembly’s special transportation session this summer. (The Virginian-Pilot)

The Virginia Tobacco Commission is considering spending $12 million to establish energy centers in Southwest Virginia that would study environment-friendly technologies such as “clean coal.” The centers would be created in Abingdon and Wise counties. (Bristol Herald Courier

Virginia farmers are hoping low-corn prices are here to stay. The price of a bushel of corn has dropped $2 in the past two weeks. (Daily News Record

High gas prices are hurting tourism at Jamestown. About 18,000 people have visited Historic Jamestowne so far in July, while 35,000 visited the site last year in July. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Earnings: not all bad news

-Coal miner Alpha Natural Resources has reported record second quarter earnings because of the increased demand for metallurgical coal by steel producers.

Revenues increased to $732.2 million from $435.3 million a year ago. Net income increased to $74.3 million, compared with $4.7 million last year. (Associated Press

The Abingdon-based coal producer has recently said its board of directors has approved its sale to iron and coal miner Cleveland-Cliffs. Harbinger Capital Partners, a hedge funding owning about 18 percent of Cleveland-Cliffs’ stock, said it opposed the deal in a regulatory filing.

-Medical and surgical supplies distributor Owens & Minor of Richmond reported a 29 percent increase in net income during the second quarter.

Net income raised to $23.6 million, compared with $18.3 million last year. Sales increased 6.9 percent to $1.79 billion.

The company attributed its increased sales to new technology and its business consulting segment.

For the Record: business news and announcements from around the state

Landmark Communications Inc., a Norfolk communications company, sold News Channel 5, its Nashville, Tenn,  television station, to Bonten Media Group Inc. of New York for a reported $209 million. The sale comes as Landmark has been selling off assets in the company, including a deal early in July which transferred its major cable property, The Weather Channel, to a group led by NBC Universal for $3.5 billion. (The Virginian-Pilot)

The Daily Press, a daily newspaper owned by the Tribune Co. and based in Newport News, reduced staff by 13 positions through a combination of attrition and layoffs. Most of the positions affected the newsroom operation. Several vacant positions were also eliminated. (Daily Press)

A federal court ruled that Narricot Industries, a manufacturer of vinyl webbing products, does not have to negotiate with a carpenters union at its Southampton County facility, despite the court’s finding that the company had engaged in unfair labor practices. Over half of the employees asked the company to remove Local 2316 of the International Carpenters and Joiners Union in September 2007. The union claimed coercion by Narricot, a charge upheld by an administrative law judge. However, the federal court found the push from employees to remove the union was separate from company’s own efforts, which the court affirmed as unfair labor practices.  (The Virginian-Pilot)

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