Must-Read Money Stories for Wednesday, Jan. 25

by January 25, 2017
President Donald Trump signed executive orders Tuesday clearing the path for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipeline projects to move forward. (Image "Dakota Access Pipeline against Donal Trump" by Fibonacci Blue via Flickr, CC license by 2.0.)

President Trump signed executive orders Tuesday clearing the path for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipeline projects to move forward. (Image “Dakota Access Pipeline against Donald Trump” by Fibonacci Blue via Flickr, CC license by 2.0.)

Oil pipelines may be back in business

President Trump, who vowed on the campaign trail to boost the nation’s domestic energy production, signed executive orders Tuesday that clear the way for two controversial oil pipeline projects to move forward, according to Reuters. The orders effectively reverse previous moves by President Obama, whose administration rejected the $6.1 billion Keystone XL pipeline in 2015 and denied permits needed to finish the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline last month. The pipeline projects will now advance under shorter environmental and regulatory review timelines—dealing a blow to opponents’ hopes of challenging the projects in court as proponents applaud the move as a much-needed boon for U.S. employment and the overall economy.

Feds look into Yahoo data breach

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has reportedly launched an official investigation into whether Yahoo Inc. violated civil securities law by not disclosing two massive data breaches soon enough to investors, unnamed sources told the Wall Street Journal this week. The data breaches occurred in 2013 and 2014, compromising more than 1.5 billion Yahoo accounts at the time. But it took more than two years for the tech giant to disclose them publicly. The Yahoo incidents may serve as a major test of new cybersecurity rules the SEC adopted in 2011, which require companies to disclose cyber risks and issues to investors, but without clear direction as to how long such disclosures should take.

Court blocks Aetna, Humana merger

Health insurance giants Aetna and Humana were dealt a major setback this week when a federal court rejected their plan for a $37 billion merger, according to USA Today. The court sided with Department of Justice prosecutors and several states in ruling that the merger, which would have created the nation’s largest seller of Medicare plans, covering more than 4.1 million seniors, was likely to “substantially lessen competition” in the Medicare market as well as public exchanges where other health insurance plans are sold. The ruling also determined that Aetna’s 2015 decision to shut down Affordable Care Act plans in 11 states wasn’t so much about profit losses but rather a “follow-through on the threat that it made earlier” to the DOJ should it challenge the Humana deal.

Trump wants to ease car regulations

After weeks of publicly criticizing some of the biggest giants in the auto industry on Twitter, President Donald Trump said the federal government’s environmental regulations had gotten “out of control” during a meeting Tuesday with executives of Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler. Trump then vowed to ease those regulatory hurdles in an effort to boost the domestic manufacturing job sector—a move that drew skepticism among analysts, who note that production is still cheaper in countries such as Mexico. They also point out that demand for cars will likely taper in the long run, according to the Washington Post.