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Top News Links: Wednesday, July 29

Alabama among states getting EPA mulligan

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to relax some limits it set on smokestack emissions that cross state lines and taint downwind areas with air pollution from power plants. At the same time, the court upheld the EPA’s right to impose the clean-air standards, rejecting an argument by states and industry groups that the rule was overly burdensome. New limits for either sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide would be set in 11 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. – AP/NOCB

Plenty of competition for new Aston Martin plant

Aston Martin is reviewing more than 10 sites in Europe, the U.S. and other global locations for a new factory to build its first crossover. A company spokesman for the UK automaker told Automotive News Europe that the “evaluation of multiple global locations continues,” adding that more than 10 locations are in the running. Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer has previously said Alabama is an “obvious choice” because the automaker's industrial partner, Daimler, builds Mercedes-Benz SUVs in Vance. – Auto News

AEA officials howl over effort to fix problems

A group of former Alabama Education Association officials threatened the group’s parent organization with legal action earlier this month over a trusteeship of the troubled organization. The July 2 letter accuses the NEA -- brought in five months ago to address AEA’s deteriorating financial condition -- of violating its own by-laws and overstepping its role. – Montgomery Advertiser

Birmingham career fair planned Aug. 5

The Birmingham Business Alliance will host a daylong career fair and professional development boot camp, College-2-Career Intensive (C2Ci), on Aug. 5 at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel Ballroom, featuring over a dozen participating companies. – News release

Here’s what we know about tax withholding plan

Lawmakers will meet Aug. 3 to again take up discussion of the state General Fund budget, which faces a shortfall of $200 million or more in 2016. Gov. Robert Bentley has proposed a number of changes to tax policy to generate revenue to fill the gap. Here’s what we know about one of those proposals: a plan to make all of the state’s workers participate in income tax withholding. – Anniston Star

SEDC picks Mobile for 2018 conference

The Southern Economic Development Council recently announced it will host the 2018 Annual Conference in Mobile for the first time ever. Founded in 1946, the SEDC is the oldest and largest regional economic development organization in North America with more than 1000 economic development professionals operating in 17 states. – News release

Alcohol industry hopes for kinder treatment

Most anyone involved with the craft brewing industry in North Alabama can describe the state's history with alcoholic beverages "complicated," at best. "Alabama's favorite whipping child, an easy target," said Cotton Williams, owner of Mad County Winery. Williams has been outspoken about the difficulty of navigating the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Commission. "We're the fourth-highest tax for wine; we're the fourth-highest tax for liquor," he said. – WBRC

KIDS COUNT: Health, education better, poverty worse

Alabama improved in all health measures and in three out of four education measures in an annual nationwide examination that looks at the well-being of children. Nearly 300,000 children live in poverty in Alabama, a 5 percent increase since 2008, according to the 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book, released this month by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. – Montgomery Advertiser

Hargrove Engineers wins top rankings

Engineering News Record has ranked Mobile's Hargrove Engineers + Constructors among the top five firms nationally in the pulp and paper sector and the top 10 in pharmaceuticals and chemicals. Wes Teague, Hargrove's corporate pulp and paper leader, said the top five ranking recognizes teammates' efforts to "provide the technical, design and project support needed for our clients." – AL.com

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