Industry group calls toll unfair
A national trucking industry group is fighting Rhode Island over new tolls, arguing that large commercial tractors are being unfairly targeted.
The lawsuit was filed in Providence federal court Tuesday by Virginia-based American Trucking Associations and claims Rhode Island Department of Transportation tolls violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The co-plaintiffs, Cumberland Farms, New England Motor Freight and M&M Transport Services, are asking for an injunction to stop the tolls and repayment of legal fees.
The state’s first two electronic truck tolls started June 11 as part of a $5 billion infrastructure plan to repair bridges and roads across the state and will eventually expand to 14 sites.
A spokeswoman for the state’s transportation department, Lisbeth Pettengill, said that the lawsuit was anticipated and that the program will “benefit the users of Rhode Island’s bridges.”
Lawmakers authorized the system to help pay for crumbling roads and bridges. The entire system is expected to bring in $450 million over 10 years. Current law allows for tolling only trucks, not cars.
American to switch straws
American Airlines says it will stop using plastic straws and drink stirs and replace them with biodegradable alternatives.
American said Tuesday that starting this month in its airport lounges it will serve drinks with straw and wood stir sticks and begin moving to what it called eco-friendly flatware.
American, the world’s biggest airline, said that in November on board planes it will replace plastic stir sticks with ones made from bamboo. The airline said the moves will eliminate more than 71,000 pounds of plastic a year.
Alaska Airlines, the fifth-largest U.S. carrier, said in May that it would phase out plastic straws and citrus picks starting this summer and replace them with “sustainable, marine-friendly alternatives.” Larger U.S. airlines — Delta, United and Southwest — still use plastic straws, according to representatives of those carriers.
Starbucks and other food companies have recently announced they will phase out plastic straws and polystyrene foam cups from stores by 2020.
Roundup case to proceed
Hundreds of lawsuits alleging Roundup weed killer caused cancer cleared a big hurdle Tuesday when a U.S. judge ruled that cancer victims and their families could present expert testimony linking the herbicide to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said evidence that the active ingredient in Roundup — glyphosate — can cause the disease seemed “rather weak.” Still, the opinions of three experts linking glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were not “junk science” that should be excluded from a trial, the judge ruled.
The lawsuits say agrochemical giant Monsanto, which makes Roundup, long knew about the cancer risk but failed to warn people.
The ruling allows the claims to move forward, though the judge warned it could be a “daunting challenge” to convince him to allow a jury to hear testimony that glyphosate was responsible for individual cancer diagnoses.
More in U.S. seek job change
The proportion of American workers that quit their jobs in May reached the highest level in 17 years, a sign that more people are confident they can find a new job, likely at higher pay.
Businesses also advertised fewer jobs in May than the previous month, but the tally of open positions outnumbered the ranks of the unemployed for only the second time in the past two decades, the Labor Department said Tuesday.
The percentage of workers quitting their jobs reached 2.4 percent in May, the highest level since April 2001. More quits are a sign of a strong job market because workers typically leave jobs for a new one that pays more.
Compiled from staff and wire reports.
Business news briefs, July 11: American Airlines to use alternatives to plastic straws