- - Tuesday, May 3, 2011

OIL

BP subsidiary to pay $25M for Alaska spills

ANCHORAGE | BP PLC’s subsidiary in Alaska has agreed to pay a $25 million civil penalty as part of a settlement for spilling more than 200,000 gallons of crude oil from company pipelines on the North Slope in 2006.

BP Exploration Alaska Inc. also will be required to install a systemwide pipeline integrity management program.

The settlement was announced Tuesday in Washington.

Assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno said the penalty should serve as a wake-up call to all pipeline operators that they will be held accountable for the safety of their operations and environmental laws.

U.S. Attorney for Alaska Karen Loeffler said BP Alaska admitted that it cut corners and failed to do what was required to adequately maintain its pipelines.

FDA

Feds act against bogus STD cures

Federal health officials are cracking down on bogus pills and supplements that their makers claim will cure or prevent sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, herpes and genital warts.

The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it has sent warning letters to a dozen companies selling nonprescription products with names like Medavir, Herpaflor and C-Cure. The agency said none of the products has been proved to treat any disease.

“These products are dangerous because they are targeted to patients with serious conditions, where treatment options proven to be safe and effective are available,” Deborah Autor, the FDA’s director of drug compliance, said in a statement.

FDA scientists warned that patients could waste time taking the substances and delay seeking medical care. Most of the products are sold over the Internet, though some may be available at drugstores.

“Health scams that endanger the public health will not be tolerated,” said Richard Cleland, assistant director for advertising at the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC and FDA both oversee advertising of health care products and announced Tuesday’s action together.

A website for Medavir, made by Medavir Medical Advances, claims that the product “has been proven effective in several official university research studies - including an official FDA trial.”

OHIO

Goodyear plans blimp replacements

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. will team up with another name rich in blimp history to replace its three U.S. airships with bigger, faster ones.

The Akron-based company said Tuesday that it would work with German manufacturer ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik to build three blimps beginning in 2013.

The airships will be built by Zeppelin and Goodyear teams at Goodyear’s airship hangar near Akron. The first new blimp will go into operation in 2014.

The blimps are based in Akron, Pompano Beach, Fla., and Carson, Calif. Goodyear also has leased blimp operations in Europe and China.

Each new airship will cost about $21 million, including technical support, the company said. The replacements will be longer (246 feet versus 192 feet), will fly faster (73 mph versus 54 mph) and have more gondola seats (13 versus seven, including pilot).

Goodyear has been making airships since 1919 and Zeppelin since 1900.

“No matter where they are stationed or where they travel, blimps will always be connected to our city, thanks to Goodyear,” he said.

DAIRY

Raw-milk buyers form group to support farmer

BALTIMORE | Raw-milk buyers in Washington and Maryland say they will challenge federal action being taken against a Pennsylvania farmer.

The Justice Department announced last week that it was seeking a court order against the owner of a Kinzers, Pa., farm, claiming the firm distributed unpasteurized milk across state lines for human consumption. The complaint was filed against Daniel L. Allgyer, owner of the Rainbow Acres Farm.

The federal Food and Drug Administration warns that raw milk can contain a wide variety of harmful bacteria including Listeria, E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Yersinia and Brucella.

“Drinking raw milk is dangerous and shouldn’t be consumed under any circumstances,” said Dara A. Corrigan, FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “FDA has warned the defendant on multiple occasions that introducing raw milk into interstate commerce is in violation of federal law.”

A group of Maryland and Washington consumers named the Grassfed on the Hill Buying Club said Tuesday that it has more than 1,000 members and plans to fight FDA jurisdiction over what it claims is a private transaction.

“We have every right to obtain the foods of our choice from the producer of our choice based on our values,” said Karine Bouis-Towe, the group’s founder. “There is trust that is created and built between the farmer and consumer in this relationship. The FDA and other federal government agencies should not interfere in private, direct relationships between farmers and consumers.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports