Southwestern Pennsylvania could get nearly 5,900 jobs and nearly $1.1 billion in manufacturing investment made should Congress pass legislation that emphasizes renewable energy, a report projects. Statewide, a decade of adding 18,500 megawatts of renewable energy annually would mean nearly 43,000 manufacturing jobs created, according to "Pennsylvania's Road to Energy Independence," released Tuesday by the United Steelworkers, the Sierra Club and environmental advocacy group PennEnvironment. The report, based on a 2006 study by the Renewable Energy Policy Project, calls on Congress to pass an energy bill mandating that 15 percent of electricity be generated from wind, solar, biomass and geothermal. Jobs would come from manufacturers making components each energy source requires.
Merger goes public
Precision Therapeutics Inc., a South Side-based cancer diagnostic tool developer, plans to merge with publicly held Oracle Healthcare Acquisition Corp., of Greenwich, Conn., pending shareholder approval from both companies. Precision previously announced an initial public stock offering. Sean McDonald, Precision Therapeutics' CEO, will retain that post with the new company, to be known as Precision Therapeutics Corp., in Pittsburgh. When it filed stock offering papers in August, Precision intended to raise $80 million. After the merger, it is expected to have access to $120 million for research and development and other corporate purposes.
DOE grants hearings
The Department of Energy said it will grant new hearings related to its designation of a huge chunk of the Northeast and mid- Atlantic states as energy-congested and requiring new power transmission lines. Its National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor encompasses 52 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, a decision that drew the ire of Gov. Ed Rendell and the state Public Utility Commission, which requested a Energy Department rehearing, and filed a federal lawsuit to stop the process. New transmission lines have been a hot topic in this region due to Allegheny Energy Inc.'s proposed $1.3 billion Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line.
Utility shutoff bill fails
Members of the state House Consumer Affairs Committee defeated a bill Tuesday that would have weakened parts of a three-year-old law that helps electric, gas and water utilities get tough with customers who don't pay their bills. After several amendments, the committee voted against the legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph Preston Jr., D-East Liberty, the committee chairman. Under the bill, utilities would have been able to charge a terminated customer a one- month deposit to have service restored, payable over 90 days, instead of the two-month payment up front. …