Brian Mensching / Flickr

The mayor of Dubuque, Iowa, says a new fund will help with seed money for sustainable waterfront development in cities and towns along the Mississippi River.

Roy Buol spoke Wednesday as co-chair of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative: mayors of 65 riverfront cities and towns in 10 states. Twenty-five of them are meeting in New Orleans.

American Water, of Voorhees, New Jersey, gave $15,000 to start the fund.

NASA/Michoud / Wikimedia

A massive structure described by NASA as the world's largest spacecraft welding tool has been completed at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, which was chosen in 2011 to build components of a major new rocket system.

The 170-foot-tall structure is called the Vertical Assembly Center. It will play a key role in construction of "Space Launch System" rockets.

BP was to blame — that was U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s ruling a week ago in the case over the Macondo well disaster. The judge found Transocean, which was operating the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010, and cement contractor Haliburton at fault too. But Barbier said BP was guilty of “gross negligence”. And that could mean that payouts by BP balloon to $50 billion or more ultimately.

Dr. Jim Richardson, professor of public administration and economics at LSU explains some of the business implications.

Eve Troeh / WWNO

This week, hundreds of Louisiana shrimpers say they’re leaving their boats parked, and their shrimp nets dry.

The Louisiana Shrimp Association announced a voluntary five-day work stoppage. The goal? To get shrimp processors to pay a higher price.

Louisiana brown shrimp season started with high prices in May. They stayed up for a while, but recently dropped, by up to a dollar a pound. Rocky Morales works out of Delacroix, La. He says blaming the big price drop on imports doesn’t account for the drastic change.

Eve Troeh / WWNO

The federal government has sold more than 400,000 acres in the western Gulf of Mexico off the Texas coast for oil and gas exploration and development.

U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management official Michael Celata says yesterday's sales, if approved, will bring in about $110 million.

Celata says deep-water tracts drew the highest bids.

Conoco Phillips paid about $61 million for a single tract in the ultra-deep-water Alaminos Canyon area.

More than 120 people traveled to suburban Houston Tuesday to attend the final public hearing on new EPA rules that govern the amount of cancer-causing chemicals refineries are allowed to emit.

A busload came from Louisiana where more than 200,000 residents live within two miles of a refinery, according to Katie Moore, research analyst for the activist group Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

Benteler Steel/Tube will hold a job fair Saturday, Aug. 9, for its steel tube manufacturing facility under construction at the Port of Caddo-Bossier. The $975 million complex will ultimately employ about 675 people. Human resources manager Rhonda Simmons says this event is geared toward blue collar, hourly jobs, but there are some salaried positions that the company aims to fill.

Laine Kaplan-Levenson / WWNO

South Louisiana’s Terrebonne Parish has low unemployment — there are lots of jobs in offshore services. So many that there could be a shortage of locals with the skills needed. The Working Coast summer camp in Houma teaches kids about the big industries in their area, and aims to get them excited about those career paths.

About 30 kids hang their fishing poles over a small bridge outside the Water Life Museum in Houma, Louisiana. They’re enjoying their last day at the Working Coast Camp.

U.S. Coast Guard

Bollinger Shipyards has been awarded a $255 million contract to build six more Fast Response Cutters for the U.S. Coast Guard.

The New Orleans Advocate reports the funding brings the total number of the boats under contract with Lockport-based Bollinger to 30.

The contract's total value so far is more than $1.3 billion.

Democratic U-S Senator Mary Landrieu says the latest funding is part almost $9 billion in discretionary funding allocated to the Coast Guard in the Department of Homeland Security's budget for fiscal year 2014.

Ari Moore / Flickr

Natural gas is abundant and relatively cheap along the Gulf Coast, since it's drilled nearby. It's also the key ingredient in producing methanol.

Methanol is a chemical that is used to make plywood, foam, paints, adhesives and other common household products. South Louisiana Methanol is slated to be the biggest plant to make it. The final hurdle to business was finding a local natural gas provider.