US judge scraps Oakland, California, ban on coal shipments

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Tuesday struck down the city of Oakland’s ban on coal shipments at a proposed cargo terminal, siding with a developer who wants to use the site to transport Utah coal to Asia.

In a scathing ruling, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said the information the city relied on to conclude the coal operations would pose a substantial health or safety danger to the public was “riddled with inaccuracies, major evidentiary gaps, erroneous assumptions, and faulty analyses, to the point that no reliable conclusion about health or safety dangers could be drawn from it.”

The city attorney’s office did not immediately have comment.

City leaders approved construction of a rail and marine terminal in 2013 as part of a larger makeover of an Army base that was shuttered in 1999.

The $250 million project in west Oakland — a historically African-American neighborhood that is among the poorest and most polluted in the region — was expected to bring thousands of construction and shipping jobs.

Oakland officials said coal had never been mentioned as a possibility. Lawyers for the developers said city officials always knew there would be a mix of goods, including coal.

Concerned about air pollution caused by coal dust, the city moved in 2016 to ban shipments of coal and petroleum coke, a solid derived from oil refining. The decision came after Utah lawmakers approved a $53 million investment to help ship the state’s coal through Oakland to Asia.

One of the developers of the project, Phil Tagami, sued for breach of contract. Tagami has deep ties to the city and California Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Oakland mayor.

Brown, whose environmental efforts have made him a global leader in the fight against climate change, has not spoken out publicly against the project.

Chhabria agreed with …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

Salt Lake Tribune lays off 38 percent of newsroom staff

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Tribune cut more than one-third of its newsroom staff on Monday.

Venerable names like columnists Paul Rolly and Michelle Quist, along with veteran reporters Ellen Fagg Weist, Chris Smart, Mike Gorrell and Bob Mims were among 34 of 90 staff members who were let go or took retirement, according to the newspaper.

The layoffs included 14 reporters, seven editors, five support staffers, three photographers, two web producers, two columnists and one graphic artist.

“After almost 35 years at the Salt Lake Tribune, I got an email this morning telling me my services were no longer needed and my position was being eliminated. … It’s not a shock — we knew things were bad — but I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around it,” Gorell posted on his Facebook page Monday. “I walked into the Green Sheet Newspaper/Murray Eagle right about 44 years ago now and have known since then I was meant to be a newspaperman. It’s been a great career that I’m sad to leave.”

The layoffs come six days after Tribune owner and publisher Paul Huntsman told newsroom staff about “impending changes and financial difficulties” facing the paper.

At the time, he told employees that in the two years since he acquired the paper, advertising revenues had fallen 40 percent as daily and weekend print circulation has declined, adding that he had personally covered losses for eight months after investing over $1 million to upgrade the paper’s online and digital production capabilities.

In addition to the newsroom layoffs, the paper plans to eliminate its Utah news sections on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, having already eliminated its Monday version of the local news section, its website states.

“Laying off talented and dedicated colleagues has been flat-out excruciating and represents a tremendous loss not only for this …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

Trump says US will help penalized Chinese company

WASHINGTON — In a surprising overture to China, President Donald Trump said Sunday he would help a Chinese telecommunications company get “back into business,” saying too many jobs in China are at stake after the U.S. government cut off access to its American suppliers.

At issue is the Commerce Department’s move last month to block the ZTE Corp., a major supplier of telecoms networks and smartphones based in southern China, from importing American components for seven years. The U.S. accused ZTE of misleading American regulators after it settled charges of violating sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

The case dates to before Trump took office in January 2007 but the Commerce Department’s decision came amid worsening trade tensions between the U.S. and China centered on technology-related intellectual property.

Trump’s unexpected announcement came as the two countries prepared to continue trade talks in Washington this week.

“A reversal of the ZTE decision could temporarily tamp down trade tensions by allowing the Chinese to make concessions to the U.S. without losing face,” said Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell University. “Trump may have recognized that backing off on ZTE clears the path for him to claim at least a partial victory in the US-China trade dispute based on the concessions the Chinese seem prepared to offer.”

ZTE, which has more than 70,000 employees and has supplied networks or equipment to some of the world’s biggest telecoms companies, said in early May that it had halted its main operations as a result of the department’s “denial order.”

Trump, who has taken a hard line on trade and technology issues with Beijing, tweeted that he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping “are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

Here’s why a Utahn retired — all to work again

MIDVALE — Pat Burton turned 60 last August and retired. Turned in his last time card. Told them they could take this job and give it to somebody else.

He left because he could. He’d been careful throughout his career as an engineer. Faithfully contributed to his 401K. Saved more than he spent. Planned ahead. Left nothing to chance.

And now?

Now he’s starting over.

He got out of the saddle so he could get back in the saddle.

Meet the new retirement: still working, but on your terms.

This is not how your father did it. In Burton’s case, quite literally.

He watched his dad, also an engineer, retire from his career when he was also 60.

He moved into a condo, where he didn’t have to do yard work in the summer or plow snow in the winter. Free at last.

“But he just seemed like he was bored to death,” says Burton. “I would see him doing things like labeling everything in the house. He’d go around the condo development and paint the light fixtures just for something to do.”

His father died of a heart attack at 64.

“His health wasn’t good so that was a part of it, but I think part of the reason is he was bored.”

Well before he turned in his notice last summer at the University of Utah — where he was an information technology manager — Burton had already begun plotting his next move.

His future centered on one central theme: He would be his own boss.

Upper management would be him.

He sat in his cubicle and indulged every employee’s daydream: “What if the only person I have to please is me!”

He hired a franchise consultant to investigate businesses he might be able to get into.

“The cool thing about franchise consultants is you don’t pay them anything,” he says. “If you sign on …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News