U.S. chemical activity was flat in February, ending the nine-month positive trend of the Chemical Activity Barometer, according to the American Chemistry Council. The barometer, however, increased 2.1% from last year's reading. The flat February reading could be a result of unusually rough winter weather, ACC said.
U.S. gross domestic product declined by 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to initial estimates from the Department of Commerce. The slowdown is reflected in the American Chemistry Council's Chemical Activity Barometer, which recorded weak growth in the fourth quarter, said ACC chief economist Kevin Swift. The CAB gained 0.3% in October, slipped 0.8% in November and rose 1% in December.
Longmont, Colo., is facing a lawsuit from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association over the passage of a hydraulic fracturing ban within city limits. The ban is illegal because it prevents mineral owners from developing properties and blocks activities that are allowed by the state, the group argued. "We hope that the lawsuit can be quickly resolved," COGA President Tisha Schuller said, so drillers and city residents can work "to address those concerns in a way that does not illegally preclude the safe and responsible development of oil and gas reserves."
The combination of New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine's defeat by GOP challenger Chris Christie, the overturning of a marriage law by Maine voters and strong lobbying on the part of the Catholic Church may end up derailing marriage-equality legislation, even though the bill probably has major support among lawmakers, according to this blog post. "What we have on our hands today in Trenton is a bunch of scared herd animals. And it's not a pretty thing to watch," Tom Moran writes.