Ammonia leak in Mukilteo brings EPA fine

The Environmental Protection Agency has fined a seafood company $35,000 for not reporting the release of ammonia at its Mukilteo warehouse. The EPA said that about 210 pounds of ammonia were released on May 29 by Pacific Seafood, which uses it as a refrigerant. The leak was reported to the Mukilteo Fire Department by people at a neighboring business who detected a strong odor. In addition to not reporting it, Pacific Seafood did not submit a completed hazardous chemical inventory form, the EPA reported. Regulators said the leak was caused by an incorrect pressure setting that triggered a relief valve. The valve has been replaced. Nobody was injured, but ammonia is a colorless gas that can cause severe burns to the eyes, throat and lungs.

Wal-Mart shuffles top executives

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Tuesday that Bill Simon is taking over as president and CEO of its U.S. operations, replacing Eduardo Castro-Wright, who is shifting to lead the retailer’s and global sourcing divisions. Simon, 50, has served as chief operating officer of Wal-Mart U.S. and previously led global business development at Chili’s Grill owner Brinker International. He takes the lead as U.S. Wal-Mart stores are struggling with declines in customer traffic. Wealthier patrons who turned to the world’s largest retailer during the Great Recession are trading back up.

Electric carmaker has successful IPO

Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. climbed in their trading debut after the electric carmaker’s expanded initial public offering raised more money than expected. Tesla’s performance was a feat in a sour market that has forced many companies looking to raise funds through IPOs to accept lower prices to get deals done. The offering appealed to investors, raising $226.1 million after selling 13.3 million shares for $17 apiece. It had earlier expected to price 11.1 million shares at $14 to $16 per share. Tesla’s IPO came on a day when U.S. stocks fell more than 2 percent — following Asian and European markets lower — on worries that the economy is slowing. Tesla’s shares initially traded as high as $19, but quickly pared that gain and fell as low as $17.55 before rebounding. The company’s shares rose $1.37, or 8.1 percent, to $18.37 in afternoon trading.

China outflanks Google routing ploy

Google Inc. said Tuesday it will stop automatically routing users in China to its Hong Kong site after Beijing threatened the company with the loss of its Internet license in their latest skirmish over censorship. Google shut down its China-based search engine March 22 to avoid cooperating with the communist government’s Internet censorship and has rerouted users to Hong Kong. Google said regulators told the company its Internet license, which allows it to operate a music download service in China, would not be renewed after it expires today if the tactic continues.

From Herald news services