Business

Louisiana and Metro Baton Rouge business news.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Tomorrow is a big day in horse racing - the Belmont Stakes, the last race in the Triple Crown. California Chrome has a chance to complete the Triple Crown for the first time in 36 years, having already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, of course. That's the excitement in the foreground. In the background, a quiet war is raging. Charles Lane, of member station WSHU, reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF KENTUCKY DERBY)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: (Yelling) But California Chrome shines bright in the Kentucky Derby.

Drone Wars: Who Owns The Air?

May 30, 2014

There are lots of entrepreneurs who would love to fly drones — tiny unmanned aircraft — all over the country. They dream of drones delivering packages and taking photos, but there's a battle in the courts right now standing in their way. The battle is about whether it's legal for drones to take to the sky.

The question at the core of the battle: Who owns the air?

Talk of economic mobility and the wealth gap is hardly new. From the Occupy movement to President Obama's re-election campaign, income inequality has been in the spotlight for years.

Even so, the "inclusive capitalism" conference in London on Tuesday broke new ground. Not because of the conversation, but because of the people having it.

The 250 people from around the world invited to attend this one-day conference do not represent "the 99 percent," or even the 1 percent. It's more like a tiny fraction of the 1 percent.

BP is asking the US Supreme Court for relief from a damage claim process enacted after the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil company has lost several court battles to modify the deal.

 

The Brookings Institution's latest analysis of metro economic data, "The Extent and Impact of U.S. Infrastructure jobs," focuses on infrastructure employment for the first time.

The Baton Rouge area is ranked 15th nationally for the share of overall employment made up by infrastructure jobs. 


Mass shootings in the U.S. in recent years have put access to firearms in the cross-hairs of gun control groups. Last year, some gun control advocates urged Facebook to ban posts advertising guns.

Facebook recently announced that it wouldn't do that, but that it would tighten its rules. Some gun control groups say Facebook missed the mark, but for gun owners, it's a good deal.

Cody Bourgeois recently got a new Smith and Wesson M&P .40 semi-automatic. He says it was his wife's idea.

There was a near-miss in the skies above Tallahassee recently. According to a Federal Aviation Administration official, an American Airlines regional jet nearly collided with a "small, remotely piloted aircraft" — a drone — cruising 2,300-feet above sea level.

Exactly who was flying the unmanned aircraft remains unknown, but drones are becoming increasingly common in U.S. skies. This week in North Dakota, the FAA began allowing tests of drones for agricultural purposes.

The easiest time to get hired at one of the seven oil refineries in the Los Angeles area is during what's called a turnaround. These breaks, when the refineries are shut down for routine maintenance, are incredibly labor-intensive. And refineries want to get them done as quickly as possible.

So companies need enough people to get the job done. But those workers must have specific skills.

In this line of work, as with other U.S. industries, there's a skills gap.

The movie Farmland opened in theaters Thursday. It's the latest in a string of documentaries about agriculture, like Food Inc. and King Corn.

But while the latter two films made damning accusations about the environmental and human costs of modern agribusiness, this documentary was funded by agribusiness. It tells a very different story.

The weather is warming and vacation season approaching.

And, just as predictably, the price of gasoline is rising. It does that every spring as refineries switch to more expensive summer blends.

But this year, the seasonal price bump is getting an extra bounce. Gasoline is costing consumers about 5 percent more than last year at this time, even though oil supplies are abundant. Why?

Experts say U.S. retail prices are nudging higher in large part because Gulf Coast refineries are sending more gasoline to other countries.

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