SC business notebook, May 17

May 16, 2014 

Duke plans natural gas-fired plant in Anderson County

Duke Energy officials announced Friday that they plan to build a natural gas-fired plant at the Lee Steam Station in Anderson County. The project represents a long-term investment that Duke Energy Carolinas is making in the site, south of Pelzer. At least 500 jobs will be created during the height of construction, with about 25 full-time employees to operate the place once it is online, a statement released by the company stated. Duke Energy is in the process of planning the project. Construction should begin in the summer of 2015, and it should open in 2017.

Meat labels on judges’ table

Key appellate judges will chew over a reheated dispute about meat labels and free speech. On Monday, 12 judges on what’s called the nation’s second-highest court will gather in an unusual session to consider claims that country-of-origin label requirements violate U.S. meat producers’ First Amendment rights. Led by the American Meat Institute, ranchers, packers and others are challenging U.S. Department of Agriculture rules that govern country of origin labels. In particular, they dislike a sweeping requirement to identify where the source animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

Red Lobster chain being sold

Darden Restaurants says it will sell its Red Lobster chain to investment firm Golden Gate Capital in a $2.1 billion cash deal. The company, which also owns Olive Garden, had announced late last year that it planned to either spin off or sell Red Lobster to improve its financial performance. Both Olive Garden and Red Lobster have been losing customers, and the company has tried menu changes and marketing campaigns in hopes of winning back business. But Darden sees more potential in fixing Olive Garden, which the company says fits with its other, smaller restaurant chains that cater to customers willing to spend more. Darden CEO Clarence Otis said Red Lobster has been unable to capture higher-income customers. The Midlands has two Red Lobsters in Cayce and Northeast Richland.

Jackson hologram at issue

Lawyers for Michael Jackson’s estate and the producers of Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards say blocking a planned Michael Jackson hologram performance would cause them irreparable harm. The statement is included in an opposition to an injunction request by companies that own patents to a product that was used to digitally resurrect rapper Tupac Shakur for a 2012 performance. The filing by attorney Michael Feder states the Jackson performance has been planned for months and has been known to businessman David Alki, who owns the companies that are suing Jackson’s estate and the show’s producers.

Anderson Independent Mail, McClatchy Washington Bureau and The Associated Press contributed.

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