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News in Brief- June 27, 2018

News in Brief- June 27, 2018

Louisiana utility regulators agree to wind farm project

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Utility regulators have agreed to allow a northwest Louisiana electric company to buy part of the nation's largest wind-power project, the $4.5 billion Wind Catcher Energy Connection project in Oklahoma.

The Louisiana Public Service Commission voted 4-1 to let Shreveport-based Southwestern Electric Power Co., known as SWEPCO, to increase customers' monthly bills to pay for a portion of the wind farm's power.

The Advocate reports that SWEPCO's share will be 1,400 megawatts, enough to power about 350,000 homes.

The Wind Catcher project is expected to start generating electricity in 2020. Once on line, the wind farm will provide an estimated 30 percent of the electricity needs for SWEPCO's customers who live mostly in northwestern and central Louisiana.

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Delay to choose company to replace Louisiana voting machines

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana will take longer than expected to pick the company to replace the state's decade-old voting machines.

In May, the Secretary of State's Office said a winner bidder was expected to be chosen this month. But the agency said Thursday that timeline has been pushed back.

No new date has been set for a selection.

Three companies have put in bids for the work: Dominion Voting Systems, Election Systems and Software and Hart InterCivic.

Secretary of State's Office spokeswoman Meg Casper Sunstrom didn't give a reason for the delay. She says such contract bids are "often highly competitive, and it is not unusual for them to stop and start during the process so that questions can be answered."

The agency wants to phase in the new equipment by 2020.

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National rig count falls by 7 to 1,052; Louisiana loses 4

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. decreased by seven this week to 1,052.

At this time a year ago there were 941 active rigs.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Friday that 862 rigs drilled for oil this week and 188 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Alaska gained two rigs and Wyoming added one.

Louisiana lost four rigs and Oklahoma decreased by two. Colorado, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas each lost one.

Arkansas, California, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah and West Virginia were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May of 2016 at 404.

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No vote to ask Louisiana governor to recall troops at border

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Legislation asking Gov. John Bel Edwards to recall Louisiana National Guard troops at the border until families who entered illegally are reunited with their children has fizzled.

New Orleans Democratic Sen. J.P. Morrell didn't bring the measure up for Senate consideration before the special session adjourned Sunday night, amid a lack of support for it.

Louisiana has a three-person National Guard team and one helicopter at the Texas border. Edwards decided the team will remain until mid-July as planned. He says the crew had no role in separating families, a policy the Trump administration enacted and then reversed.

Morrell and other Democrats who supported it said the legislation wasn't an attack on Edwards, but showed that Louisiana doesn't approve of the Trump administration's approach to illegal immigration.