GE cleanup of Hudson River target of lawsuit

Associated Press


GE’s cleanup of Hudson River target of lawsuit

New York state officials sued the US Environmental Protection Agency to force additional cleanup of pollution in the Hudson River from General Electric Co. The federal lawsuit seeks to overturn the EPA’s decision in April not to compel GE to restart dredging for polychlorinated biphenyls from the upper river. Agency officials had said more time and testing are needed to fully assess the $1.7 billion Superfund cleanup. Boston-based GE discharged tons of PCBs from factories north of Albany decades ago and completed removal of 2.75 million cubic yards of contaminated river sediment in 2015. GE spokesman Mark Behan said the company met all its obligations and that 99 percent of locations sampled in the upper river met the project’s cleanup standard. EPA officials have said GE can still be compelled to do more work if the agency receives additional information. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Oncorus raises $79.5m in funding round

Cambridge biotech Oncorus Inc. said Wednesday that it raised $79.5 million from new and existing investors to develop a new cancer treatment. Oncorus said this second round of funding for the startup was led by New-York based investment firms Cowen Healthcare Investments and Perceptive Advisors, along with investors from the previous round of financing including Cambridge-based MPM Capital. The company plans to use the funds to bring a drug that targets solid tumors found in different types of cancers — including breast, skin, and liver cancers — to clinical trial in early 2020. “Oncolytic virus therapies have the potential to transform outcomes for cancer patients,” said Ted Ashburn, the company’s chief executive. — ALLISON HAGAN


Boeing, Raytheon ‘kill vehicle’ is ditched

The Pentagon canceled a Boeing Co. contract for a “kill vehicle” envisioned to shoot down missiles from North Korea or Iran, the latest setback to a next-generation system that has struggled to prove its effectiveness. The termination of the Redesigned Kill Vehicle comes as the maker of the warhead on the weapon, Raytheon Co., struggled with problems that increased costs, the Missile Defense Agency said in a statement Wednesday. Boeing had received a $1 billion contract in May 2017 for the project. “Ending the program was the responsible thing to do,” said defense department official Michael Griffin. “After exercising due diligence, we decided the path we’re going down wouldn’t be fruitful, so we’re not going down that path anymore.” The Defense Department plans start a new competition for a a next-generation interceptor. The interceptor had been billed as a major improvement for a $180 billion network of ground- and sea-based missile interceptors, sensors, and communications links intended to defend the United States from a limited North Korean or Iranian attack by dispatching a missile to crash into and destroy it. While the Defense Department has claimed progress in missile defense tests against a dummy target, arms control experts have repeatedly said the Pentagon conducted only tightly controlled tests in which the target warhead can easily be picked out from decoys. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Threat disrupts US officials’ farm tour

In a sign of rising tensions with the farm community, the Trump administration withdrew staff from a tour of Midwestern corn and soybean fields after a government employee received a threat. Lance Honig, the crops chief for the National Agricultural Statistics Service, was scheduled to address groups during the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, but the Department of Agriculture opted to pull all its staff as a precaution. The tour typically includes farmers, reporters, and agribusiness interests scouting crop progress. The USDA’s data arm has been the subject of ire in recent months after crop estimates that surprised traders and growers who had expected the agency to significantly reduce its outlook after rain delayed planting. Corn prices plunged last week on planting data that was higher than analyst expectations. The incident comes about two weeks after farmers leveled criticism at Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at a fair in Minnesota over President Trump’s yearlong trade war with China, which has eroded demand and pressured already low prices. Last month, the Trump administration announced another $16 billion in aid to farmers after a $12 billion tranche in 2018. Earlier this month, Trump hinted his administration may provide more money for farmers if the trade war were to persist. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Upset at change to landmark Pepsi sign in NYC

A landmark Pepsi sign along New York City’s East River will also promote JetBlue for the next six weeks, and critics are finding it hard to swallow. An illuminated blue logo advertising the airline was added to the 60-foot Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City, Queens, this week. The new signage celebrates a partnership in which JetBlue will serve PepsiCo drinks on flights. The city Landmarks Preservation Commission issued a permit for the JetBlue logo through Oct. 1. But City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, a Democrat who represents the area, says some constituents are complaining. Van Bramer says that even a temporary JetBlue sign ‘‘shouldn’t be there.’’ Nancy Rooney, a PepsiCo vice president of marketing, says the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign is ‘‘the perfect symbol’’ to celebrate Pepsi’s JetBlue partnership. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Walmart suit another blow to Tesla’s solar business

Walmart Inc.’s lawsuit against Tesla Inc. over fires at more than a half-dozen stores threatens to undermine the automaker’s latest bid to reboot its foundering solar unit. In the complaint Tuesday, the retailer said fires had broken out atop at least seven of stores where it had leased or licensed roof space to Tesla’s energy unit, formerly known as SolarCity, to install and operate solar systems. Walmart inspectors found Tesla “failed to abide by prudent industry practices in installing, operating and maintaining its solar systems,” according to the breach-of-contract complaint filed in New York state court. Many of the panels had defects that could be seen by the naked eye or were easily identifiable with proper equipment, Walmart said. The lawsuit comes days after Tesla chief executive Elon Musk announced a “relaunch” of the unit that once led the rooftop solar industry. On Sunday, Musk announced Tesla is offering to rent solar panels to customers without long-term contracts. The move hearkens back to the no-money-down leases the unit popularized back when it was a standalone company. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Labor Dept. scales back US jobs gains for March

The US job market isn’t quite as strong as originally believed, with revised figures showing that the economy had 501,000 fewer total jobs this March than initially reported. The Labor Department said Wednesday that nearly two-thirds of the downward revision came from the retail and leisure and hospitality sectors, the industries most associated with consumer spending. The new figures complicate the Trump administration’s message of a strong economy, as they suggest that job growth was slowing as the economy expansion approached its 10th anniversary. Some of this slowdown would be natural given the length of the expansion. This was the sharpest downward revision in jobs totals since 2009, when the economy was just starting to emerge from the Great Recession. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Long-time faulty drywall claims close to settling

A proposed $248 million settlement has been filed in a decade-old federal court case over defective Chinese drywall blamed for damaging home appliances and sickening residents. The proposed settlement with Taishan Gypsum Co. comes nearly eight years after a major settlement in another case involving a different Chinese company, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co., and in the wake of other settlements with various homebuilders, equipment suppliers and installers who used the material. The litigation arose from defective drywall in thousands of homes that allegedly gave off sulfur fumes that corroded metal in appliances, air conditioning equipment, wiring and plumbing fixtures. In some cases the fumes were blamed for illnesses. A committee of attorneys for the property owners in the Taishan case said in a news release that most of the residences involved were in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia. Attorneys have asked US District Judge Eldon Fallon in New Orleans for preliminary court approval of the settlement, pending further reviews. The settlement would end years of litigation that at one point in 2014 resulted in Taishan facing a contempt judgment from Fallon for failing to appear in court. — ASSOCIATED PRESS