Riverhead refinery sold to Pa. firm
United Refining Co. of Warren, Pa., has agreed to buy a huge Riverhead petroleum storage facility from Houston-based Phillips 66. The 280-acre, five million barrel facility employs 20, Phillips said. It's located on Long Island Sound. The purchase, by a United subsidiary called United Riverhead Terminal Inc., is expected to close at the end of this month, subject to regulatory approval. The price wasn't disclosed. Despite its size, the terminal has long been underutilized and has never been a major source of supply for Long Islanders of gasoline or heating oil, said chief executive Kevin Rooney of the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island. The facility's offshore platform can handle large tankers with drafts of up to 64 feet. -- Tom Incantalupo
Housing aid groups get grants
Six Long Island nonprofits that provide housing aid have received a combined $150,000 in grants from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. The foundation focuses on providing support for jobs, hunger and housing, said Bob Isaksen, president of the Long Island offices of Bank of America. He added that those are the three major issues that affect not just the local region, but the nation. The $150,000 awarded on Long Island is part of a $22 million grant initiative to supporting housing nationwide by Bank of America. The grants include $50,000 to the Community Development Corp. of Long Island, $40,000 to the Long Island Housing Partnership and $30,000 to Habitat for Humanity in Suffolk County. -- Lisa Du
Feds warn of bogus air bags
Thousands of motorists may be driving cars and trucks installed with dangerous counterfeit air bags and they should have them replaced at their own expense, the Obama administration warned Wednesday. Most at risk are motorists who have had their air bags replaced the past three years by a repairers other than a new-car dealership, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official David Strickland said. Only 0.1 percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet -- about 250,000 cars on the road -- are makes and models for which counterfeit air bags are known to be available, NHTSA said. Auto industry officials said they were told tens of thousands of car owners may be driving vehicles with counterfeit air bags. In government tests last month of 11 counterfeit bags, 10 didn't inflate or failed to inflate properly. In one test, a counterfeit bag shot flames and shards of metal shrapnel at a crash dummy instead of inflating. Car owners can go to safercar.gov to learn if their vehicle model is among those for which counterfeit air bags are known to have been made.
Home heating costs set to rise
Americans will pay more to heat their homes this winter as they feel something they didn't feel much of last year: cold. Fuel prices will be relatively stable, but customers will have to use more energy to keep warm than they did a year ago, according to the Winter Fuels Outlook from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration. Last winter was the warmest on record. This year temperatures are expected to be close to normal. Bills will rise 20 percent for heating oil customers, 15 percent for natural gas customers, 13 percent for propane customers and 5 percent for electricity customers, the EIA said.
Fla. CEO stands by layoff threat
One of Florida's most successful timeshare developers says he's standing by an email he sent to his employees saying he may have to lay some of them off if President Barack Obama is re-elected. The Orlando Sentinel reports that David Siegel, who founded Westgate Resorts in Orlando and employs 3,200 people there, confirmed Tuesday that he sent a letter to his staff this week. Siegel, who is also the company's chief executive, says the letter wasn't intended to tell his employees who to vote for. He says his nationwide workforce has dropped from 12,000 to 7,000 since Obama took office. -- AP