Economy Briefs: Consumer borrowing rises to record $2.75 trillion

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Americans swiped their credit cards more often in October and borrowed more to attend school and buy cars. The increases drove U.S. consumer debt to an all-time high.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that consumers increased their borrowing by $14.2 billion in October from September. Total borrowing rose to a record $2.75 trillion.

Borrowing in the category that covers autos and student loans increased by $10.8 billion. Borrowing on credit cards rose by $3.4 billion, only the second monthly increase in the past five months.

The strong rise in borrowing came in a month when American cut back on consumer spending, reflecting in part disruptions from Superstorm Sandy.

GEORGIA

Industry wants new rules for nuclear disaster plan

ATLANTA — If disaster strikes a U.S. nuclear power plant, the utility industry wants the ability to fly in heavy-duty emergency equipment to help.

That capability is part of an emergency plan being developed to meet new federal rules developed after a tsunami devastated the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan last year, leading to meltdowns and radioactive releases.

The tsunami exceeded what the nuclear plant was built to withstand. U.S. nuclear officials said the crisis showed how a utility can become overwhelmed by so large a disaster, especially when it wipes out roads and infrastructure needed for the emergency response.

Under the plan, nuclear plants are assembling extra emergency equipment to keep on site. They also could get equipment flown or trucked in from stockpiles in Memphis, Tenn., and Phoenix.

NEW YORK

Review of gas-drilling rules remains incomplete

ALBANY — New York regulators will begin taking public comments on revised gas-drilling rules this week, but an extensive environmental review outlining the basis for those rules remains incomplete.

Health and environmental groups have criticized the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation for issuing the revised regulations before completing a health review or releasing a final version of a massive environmental impact study initiated in 2008. The state has had a moratorium on shale gas development since the study began.

Gas industry representatives say the revised regulations are stricter than those proposed in September 2011 and ignore numerous industry requests for changes to provisions they consider arbitrary and inflexible.

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