Wesley Brown/ Talk Business & Politics

Wesley Brown is the Business Editor for Talk Business & Politics. He can be reached by email at wesbrocomm@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @BrownOnBusiness.

jobs unemployment employment
www.purdue.edu

More than 50,000 workers across the U.S. will join the unemployment line ahead of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons, but the good news is that employers are cutting fewer positions than a year ago, according to the latest layoff report released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Power Lines
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The U.S. Department of Energy released its final environmental impact statement for the proposed Plains and Eastern Clean Line transmission project, a controversial $2 billion electric transmission line that proposes to deliver up to 3,500 megawatts of wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to communities in Arkansas, Tennessee and other states.

Attorney Richard Mays said on Monday he would consider all his options concerning an $845,000 offer on the table from the Little Rock Tech Park Authority, but wouldn’t say for certain if he would fight to keep the taxpayer-financed group from taking his law office through eminent domain proceedings.

“I plan to consider their offer and take all of the issues under consideration and respond,” Mays told Talk Business & Politics. “I have been in this building a long time, it may be difficult to make a decision … but I’ll do the best I can.”

The U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) paid out $16.6 million to more than 4,200 Arkansas retirees in failed retirement plans in 2014 as the program’s insolvency has now been delayed for three years.

white bluff entergy power plant coal energy
Arkansas Business

Less than a full business day after the final rules for President Obama’s Clean Power Plan were published on Friday in the Federal Register, legal challenges from industry groups to halt the new greenhouse gas rules are already piling up at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The newly hired chief of Walmart’s energy division told members of the Arkansas Advance Energy Association on Tuesday that the retail giant’s ultimate goal in becoming 100% sustainable and supplied by renewable energy is still to reduce costs and bring lower prices to the retail giant’s millions of customers

“My responsibility as we execute these (goals) that we are doing is that at the same time we are reducing costs to Walmart and passing it on to the customers,” said Mark Vanderhelm, vice president of Walmart energy.

Windstream Corp. announced Monday it has entered into a definitive agreement with TierPoint of St. Louis to sell the Little Rock telecom’s data center business in an all cash deal worth $575 million.

The Little Rock Tech Park Authority temporarily tabled two controversial items dealing with the first phase of the $30 million downtown development after the board learned that talks on a year-long property dispute and a consortium-backed financial package for the project could land the publicly-financed agency in court.

The contentious issues played out on Wednesday in a sparsely attended meeting at the Little Rock Venture Center, where audience members and media struggled to hear board members speak against the constant din of the center’s humming air conditioning system.

Natural Gas Drilling Mt. Vernon in Faulkner County
Arkansas Times

Monthly and quarterly severance tax collections in Arkansas at the end of September have declined to levels not seen in several years as wellhead prices for natural gas have brought drilling activity in the Natural State to a virtual standstill.

The state’s drill-bit collapse has left tax revenue for natural gas production at only $3.79 million at the end of September, down 50% from $7.56 million a year ago, monthly tax data compiled by the Revenue Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration shows.

Power Lines
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Thanks to a multimillion dollar award from the U.S. Department of Energy, the University of Arkansas will lead a new national center that will focus on upgrading and protecting the nation’s energy grid from cyber-attacks.

University officials said the new educational venture is made possible by a $12.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, augmented by $3.3 million in matching funds from research partners.

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