Top Headlines: Alabama Power’s ‘tax on the sun,’ New statewide political consulting firm

PSC to hear more on Alabama Power’s ‘tax on the sun’
The Alabama Public Service Commission will hear a challenge Thursday to what critics call “a tax on the sun” from Alabama Power. Solar power is generally cheaper than buying power from a utility company, but homeowners here in Alabama with solar panels pay Alabama Power “back-up” fees. That fee is to stay connected to the power grid, in case they need it. Critics say that fee is too high and makes it inefficient to even buy solar panels. – AL Political Reporter

Marine Resources: $100M economic loss as oyster crisis strikes Gulf Coast
Local seafood businesses and restaurants are scrambling as an oyster supply crisis strikes the Gulf Coast. Alabama Marine Resources officials predict around $100 million in lost revenue for our area amidst environmental impacts damaging Gulf oyster reefs. Seafood restaurant managers tell NBC 15 they’ve been dealing with a diminishing oyster supply for months and they’re concerned the situation could get even worse. – NBC-15

Statewide political consulting firm launches in North Alabama
A statewide political consulting firm is being launched in North Alabama. Smith Strategies & Solutions, LLC is officially announcing it is beginning operations offering public relations and governmental affairs services to the business community and non-profit organizations. The main operation of the firm will be performing campaign consulting services to candidates seeking public office. The firm’s President, Dylan Smith, is vice Chair of the Jackson County GOP and heads its Victory Committee. – AL Political Reporter

UAH wants students to learn hacking for Department of Defense
Hacking for America? One Alabama university’s students can do that next spring when the first “Hacking for Defense (H4D)” cybersecurity class begins in the state. The University of Alabama in Huntsville announced the class sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense this week. The course teaches students to work with defense and intelligence agencies to solve unique problems provided by the Defense Department. One problem has already been proposed for UAH by the Missile Defense Agency at Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal. –

Dutch consulate exploring Alabama business avenues
Officials from the Kingdom of the Netherlands were in Birmingham Tuesday for a “get together” with local figures as a prelude to future business opportunities in Alabama. Ard van der Vorst has been on the job in Atlanta since March as consul general, with the mission of strengthening economic ties between the Southeast and the Netherlands. His area of focus includes Alabama, Tennessee, the Carolinas and Georgia.  –

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New sawmill in Selma begins operations
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Monday to celebrate the official start of operations at Sunbelt Forest Ventures in Selma. The sawmill produces pallet timber on a 50-acre site in the South Dallas Industrial Park in Selma. Company officials say the project represents a more than $30 million dollar investment in the area and dozens of new jobs.– AL News Network

Judge rules in favor of Phenix City annexations
The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Phenix City in a lawsuit over properties in the area. Russell County challenged a large number of annexations dating back to 1991, said Jim McKoon, attorney for the city. Alabama’s Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s previous decision. This battle was over more than 50 pieces of property near the Walmart on Highway 80. City and county leaders said the real issue at hand is tax revenue from these properties. – WTVM

Trump administration misses deadline on new auto tariffs
The clock has run out on President Donald Trump’s “Section 232” tariffs on imports of foreign-made cars and auto parts, after he failed to announce a decision by a self-imposed deadline, trade law experts say. The U.S. administration may have to find other means if Trump wants to tax European or Japanese car imports, a key part of the U.S. president’s pledge to make America’s trade relationships more fair, the experts say. – Reuters

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