President Obama's Sept. 2 decision to withdraw draft ozone standards appears to be simply a symbolic olive branch to the electric utility industry. The industry is facing a slew of tougher Environmental Protection Agency air regulations that are having an immediate impact, at least in Texas.Dallas-based utility Luminant announced on Sept. 12 it was closing down two units at a powerplant in northeast Texas and laying off 500 workers, because, it says, it cannot meet EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule by next year's deadline. The utility, however, still plans to spend $280 million by the end of 2012 and $1.5
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.