Latest Pennsylvania business


VW, with limited DC lobbying footprint, braces for Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Volkswagen's top U.S. executive is expected to face tough questions on Capitol Hill as the emissions-rigging scandal enveloping the world's largest automaker appears to be deepening.

Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn is scheduled to testify today before a U.S. House subcommittee investigating last month's admission the company had installed on-board computer software designed to cheat on government emissions tests in nearly a half million of its "clean diesel" cars starting with model year 2009.

An advance copy of Horn's prepared remarks reveals VW's plan to withdraw applications seeking U.S. emissions certifications for its 2016 model Jettas, Golfs, Passats and Beetles with diesel engines. That raised questions about whether a so-called "defeat device" similar to that in earlier models is also in the new cars.

The panel's chairman, Pennsylvania Republican Tim Murphy, says lawmakers want answers following Volkswagen's admission that it installed "defeat-devices" in some diesel vehicles that emitted far more exhaust pollution than was legal.


Shell to spend $69M to relocate water facilities

MONACA, Pa. (AP) — Shell Chemicals will pay nearly all of the costs to relocate a western Pennsylvania's water source currently on the site of the company's proposed ethane cracker plant.

The company announced an agreement Tuesday with the Center Township Water Authority, which will get a new water intake site and a new treatment plant.

Officials say Shell is funding all but $3 million of the $72 million project in Beaver County. The authority will pick up the rest of the tab.

Shell could end up using the water facilities if it moves forward with a multibillion-dollar petrochemical facility at the former Horsehead Corp. site in Potter Township.

Shell is spending $80 million to remediate the area surrounding the site in preparation for the potential plant.


Major business and economic reports due out today

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Labor Department will report today on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. Also, Freddie Mac will release the weekly mortgage rates.

The Federal Reserve will release minutes from its September interest-rate meeting as well.


Fiat Chrysler avoids strike with new tentative contract

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler has avoided an expensive strike at its U.S. plants after reaching a tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers union.

UAW announced the agreement just after 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, which was the deadline the union had set to reach a new deal or possibly go on strike.

Details of the agreement weren't immediately released. Local union leaders will vote on the tentative agreement this Friday at a meeting in Detroit.

This is the second agreement FCA and the union have reached. Last week, UAW members overwhelmingly rejected a previous tentative agreement, saying it didn't go far enough in restoring benefits workers lost in previous contracts.

The UAW represents around 40,000 FCA factory workers at 23 U.S. plants.


A guide to watching sports if you don't have cable

NEW YORK (AP) — It's football season, and baseball playoffs are starting. Don't have cable? You can still watch.

With a digital antenna, you get games for free on broadcast networks like Fox, NBC and Univision. Antennas start at $20. For cable channels, you can always go to a bar.

Online subscriptions are primarily for games that don't involve local teams. Otherwise, games are shown after they are over. Subscriptions aren't cheap, but most cost less than a traditional cable package.

Plenty of sites also show sports for free without legal rights to do so. And many people ask friends or relatives who have a cable subscription for a password to log in to, say, ESPN's app.

To stay above board, here are options for watching in the U.S. Access outside the U.S. varies.


Cash-strapped group says it'll sell historic ship for scrap

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A historic cruise ship moored in Philadelphia could be destined for the scrap heap if a group trying to save it doesn't get an infusion of cash.

The SS United States Conservancy sent a virtual SOS to supporters Wednesday, saying ongoing expenses have become unsustainable.

The nonprofit says it needs more than $60,000 per month to keep the rehabilitation project afloat. It's retained a broker to explore selling the ship to a metals recycler.

The SS United States was once the world's fastest ocean liner. It launched in 1952 after a secret Cold War project to build the world's fastest ship.

It still holds the trans-Atlantic speed record.

The conservancy has planned to repurpose the SS United States as a museum and mixed-use destination.