Editorial: End ‘Sloppy Oversight’ of Federally Owned Coal

first_imgEditorial: End ‘Sloppy Oversight’ of Federally Owned Coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the Seattle Times:Sloppy oversight of lucrative coal mining on federal lands has been the norm for decades.Credit the Obama administration with initiating a review of the financial details and their consequences for taxpayers, the environmental impacts of coal mining and coal burning, and the industry’s legacy for coal workers and their communities.Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell raised the issue a year ago with a call for modernizing the federal coal program. President Obama renewed the theme in his 2016 State of the Union address.The Department of Interior’s review includes the Bureau of Land Management hosting six public meetings to gather comments. They started May 17 in Casper, Wyo., and will arrive June 21 in Seattle. That session at the Sheraton Seattle Downtown will start with speaker registration at 8 a.m., and the meeting and comment period will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Certainly this will be a good place to explore and register the public’s concerns about coal’s impacts on the environment and climate change. It should also bring attention to the failure of the federal government’s leasing programs to protect the financial interests of taxpayers and the U.S. treasury.Another expensive failing exposed by the downturn in the coal industry is the apparent scam that lets coal companies off the hook for environmental reclamation.During this Interior Department review period, which will extend into the next presidential administration, the federal government is suspending coal leasing. Enough active leases exist to cover a projected 20 years of demand.A nod of gratitude is owed to Secretary Jewell for moving the federal bureaucracy to consider the equity issues for taxpayers and the environment.Here’s your chance to shape federal oversight of the coal industrylast_img read more

A Federal ‘Cash for Cronies’ Plan Crafted by Coal Companies

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Washington Post:Energy Secretary Rick Perry had been in office less than four weeks when he took a meeting from a coal magnate who had an urgent request.Robert E. Murray, founder of Murray Energy and a major Trump supporter, presented a four-page “action plan” to rescue the coal industry. The plan said that commissioners at three independent regulatory agencies “must be replaced,” Environmental Protection Agency staff slashed, and safety and pollution rules “overturn[ed],” according to photos and documents seen by The Washington Post.Murray’s plan lamented that under former president Barack Obama, environmental regulators had written rules with “38 times the words in our Holy Bible.”The March 29 meeting was part of an aggressive lobbying campaign to make sure that President Trump would deliver on his campaign promise to prop up the coal industry and tear down its regulatory foes. And a central aim of Murray’s lobbying was to get the new administration to change the rules of the electricity grid to help a floundering utility, FirstEnergy, that was one of the chief buyers of coal from Murray Energy’s mines.Eight months later, Perry is pushing a plan that would deliver new subsidies to a handful of coal and nuclear companies and keep open decrepit half-century old plants just as Murray had hoped — all in the name of improving the reliability and security of the electrical grid.It’s not unprecedented for industry executives or environmental groups to lobby new administrations. In 2001, then-Vice President Richard B. Cheney and his aides held at least 40 meetings, mostly with fossil-fuel-producing industries, in drawing up an energy plan.But the Perry plan has roused overwhelming bipartisan opposition because it would help a small number of firms at the expense of millions of consumers.“You can wrap this Christmas present in whatever paper you want, but it’s still cash for cronies,” Nora Brownell, a consultant and former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member appointed by President George W. Bush.Perry has also put unusual pressure on FERC, an independent federal agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity. Perry has pressed it to sign off on the changes by Dec. 11. That’s an unusually fast turnaround time, especially since two commissioners were confirmed only on Nov. 2. The commission on Thursday asked for a 30-day extension.More: An American energy plan straight from coal country A Federal ‘Cash for Cronies’ Plan Crafted by Coal Companieslast_img read more

Data show no big turnaround for coal production, employment

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):President Donald Trump is touting his efforts to aid the U.S. coal sector as he supports his party’s midterm election candidates, but the latest data shows that coal volume and coal jobs have remained fairly flat over the past two years as strong export markets have been offset by an ongoing structural decline in domestic demand.Among U.S. coal producers reporting third-quarter data, output rose 7.3% to 194.0 million tons, the first quarter-over-quarter increase in coal production in a year. Average coal mining employment at the same mines, as reported to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration by mine operators, fell by just under 1% quarter over quarter.U.S. average coal mining jobs had been declining for years but took a steep dive in 2015 and the early months of 2016 to match rapidly declining coal production and demand from U.S. utilities. After reaching a low of 50,571 workers in the third quarter of 2016, average employment bounced slightly up in the second half of 2016 and into the first half of 2017 as international demand began to improve, but it has stayed relatively flat ever since.Third-quarter coal production at the reporting mines was the highest since the third quarter of 2017. Prior to the most recent quarter, coal production had declined three quarters in a row.Whether production continues to increase in the Powder River Basin could largely depend on how high electricity demand goes this winter. While natural gas prices have risen to levels more favorable for coal demand, Cloud Peak Energy Inc. and Arch Coal Inc. executives commented on recent earnings calls that domestic utility buying activity has remained tepid.More ($): Coal production, jobs data belie Trump claims of ‘vibrant’ sector Data show no big turnaround for coal production, employmentlast_img read more

Japan considering plan to close 100 older, inefficient coal plants by 2030

first_imgJapan considering plan to close 100 older, inefficient coal plants by 2030 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Japan is looking to suspend or close as many as 100 older, inefficient coal-fired power plants by about 2030, the Yomiuri daily newspaper reported on Thursday.Closures on that scale would mark a major shift in the government’s strong support for coal in the world’s third-biggest economy. Japan is the only Group of Seven nation to be rolling out plans for new coal power stations, a major contributor to carbon and other emissions that stoke global warming.Without citing sources, the Yomiuri said industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama is set to announce soon that nearly 90% – about 100 – of 114 power plants built before the mid-1990s and deemed inefficient by the government will be closed or mothballed.Contacted by Reuters, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) confirmed the government views 114 of Japan’s 140 coal-fired plants as inefficient. The official said Japan has set out plans to phase out inefficient coal power plants by 2030. “But we have not made any decisions to retire or suspend 100 plants,” the official said.Coal accounts for 32% of Japan’s energy supply mix and the country needs to take “firm measures” to get that level to a target of 26% by 2030, another METI official said on Wednesday, speaking at a meeting of a panel to discuss resource and energy policy.The world’s third-biggest economy ramped up coal use to record levels after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 led to the shutdown of most atomic reactors, which once supplied about a third of Japan’s electricity.[Chang-Ran Kim, Ritsuko Shimizu, Yuka Obayashi and Aaron Sheldrick]More: Japan to shut or mothball 100 ageing coal-fired power plants -Yomiurilast_img read more

China’s national oil company brings first offshore wind project into operation

first_imgChina’s national oil company brings first offshore wind project into operation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:China’s offshore oil and gas major CNOOC Ltd announced on Tuesday that its first offshore wind power project has connected to the grid and begun to generate powerThe wind power project, located in the sea area nearby China’s eastern province of Jiangsu, and with a total installed capacity of 300 megawatts, is scheduled to fully come into on-grid production by end of 2020, CNOOC said in a press releaseThe project, planned to be equipped with 67 wind turbines, is expected to have annual on-grid power generation reaching approximately 860 million kilowatt-hours, CNOOC saidChina’s state energy giants including PetroChina, Sinopec and CNOOC Ltd have all laid out plans to develop renewable projects, in an effort to stay relevant in a low-carbon future.[Muyu Xu and Chen Aizhu]More: China’s CNOOC launches first offshore wind power plantlast_img read more

Daily Dirt: ICF Championships, Nyad Under Attack, Tokyo 2020

first_imgYour daily outdoor news bulletin for September 9, the day Congress changed the name of their fledgling country from “United Colonies” to “United States” in 1776 after much debate and comparison by our Founding Fathers, who chanted “UCA!” and “USA!” long into the night before making their final decision:US Cleans Up at WorldsSpeaking of the good old UCA, the team cleaned up at the ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships that went down last week at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina. The U.S. men’s team swept the men’s C1 – the C stands for canoe, the 1 stands for awesomeness – taking gold, silver and bronze. Jordan Poffenberger took the top spot with Blue Ridge boaters Tad Dennis of Charlotte, North Carolina and Dane Jackson of Rock Island, Tennessee taking silver and bronze respectively. Jackson followed up his bronze in C1 with a gold in K1 – K stands for Kayak, 1 still stands for awesomeness – beating out the best Europe has to offer, and a silver in the Squirt Finals. Poffenberger and Jackson also went 1-2 respectively in the Open Canoe finals.On the women’s side, 17-year-old Stecoah, N.C. native Rowan Stuart won gold in the junior women’s kayak. Although she did not make it into the finals, we spoke with Army Vet, and squirt-boater Tracy Click at the games. Check out the story here.Click here for the full listing of results.Nyad Cuba Swim Not Winning Over SkepticsIf you haven’t heard by now, long distance swimming champ Diana Nyad completed the first open water swim from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. This is a significant achievement for all the obvious reason – distance, open water, 53-hours in the briny, SHARKS, fifth attempt, etc. – but maybe most incredible is the fact that Nyad is 64 years old. This being the digital age and all, here swim was tracked via GPS, live blog, and such, which of course now has the blogosphere all atwitter. It seems that Nyad’s contemporaries in the marathon swimmers community are questioning the feat due to inconsistencies in the GPS data and whether she left the water to get into, or held onto the side, of one of her support boats. She did this once before due to bad weather, only revealing it after the fact, and this being the digital age and all, anyone with half a brain, a keyboard, and access to the Marathon Swimmers Forum (YES, it does exist), can call you out. Nyad has agreed to meet with her detractors, so we’ll see what comes of the Super Skeptical Swimmers Summit 2013.Here is a blog on Slate.com with all the appropriate links, so you can get both sides of this story.Tokyo Will Host 2020 Olympic GamesSpeaking of achievements nobody really believes or cares about (HAHA, just kidding wrestling!) Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, beating out Madrid and Istanbul for the honor. The announcement came as a bit of a surprise to the international community for several reasons. 1 – that whole nuclear meltdown/earthquake thing, 2 – Japan has been mired in a protracted economic slump for the past 15 years, so investing $6 billion in Games may not be the best idea, and 3 – well, they have hosted the games a couple other times (Tokyo in ’64 and the Winter Nagano Games in ’98), while vying against two cities with zero (though to be fair, Spain’s economic situation is much worse than Japan’s and Turkey has some political issues to deal with, mainly being the first Muslim country to host the games, and also their border with Syria). Now, you can make the case that the games could be a shot in the arm to Japan, both for the economy and the morale of the aging populace, and this may be true as the buildup is long, and the games are still over seven years away. So yeah, Tokyo 2020 could work out.Got a hot news tip? Shoot an email to submit@blueridgeoutdoors.comlast_img read more

BRO Athletes: Brandon Thrower Takes a Dose of His Own Medicine

first_imgLast year I ran the inaugural Quest for the Crest 10k outside of Burnsville, North Carolina in the Black Mountains, the highest ridgeline east of the Mississippi River.  My fellow race director, buddy Sean ‘Run Bum’ Blanton, had created a 10k race that ran from the bottom of the mountain, over the top and then back down again, a climb of 3,100 feet followed by an equal descent, and billed it as the “Hardest 10k in the World.”  Of course I had to participate in something this awesome, especially considering the majestic beauty of the Black Mountains. I had a solid race, finishing in 5th place overall, but I longed for more miles after finishing, which can only be attributed to the fact that I’m a crazy ultra runner.Well, Sean thought the same thing apparently, and a few weeks after the race he contacted me in helping him create a 50k route though the Blacks that would be just as ridiculously hard, but not full of multiple loops and a bunch of out and backs.  After many drafts, we settled on the the current point-to-point course, a natural line throughout the range including over 11,500 feet of climbing in 32 miles.  We had essentially just created the hardest 50k in the United States based solely off of the numbers.  That didn’t include the fact that almost all of the route was on some ungodly technical trail.  The route would include three 3,000 plus foot climbs and descents from the South Toe River valley to the crest of the Black Mountains, along with a three mile section on the ever undulating 6,000 foot ridgeline itself.I couldn’t wait to run it and signed up fully knowing what I was getting myself into.  Having run all of the course in sections multiple times before, I knew that a finish time in the eight to nine hour range was possible for me, with my main goal of finishing just under eight hours if I had the legs.  I began the race and was on pace for the first 14 miles to complete the course in the low eight hour time.  I ran conservatively on the first climb and descent as well as the next climb up to the ridge.  The only problem I was having was stomaching my food.  An issue that on a run like this is eventually going to catch up to you.After a short pit stop on the second 3,000 foot climb, I began to feel a bit better, but I still couldn’t stand the taste of the food I had brought along for fuel, which was odd considering I had been using the same source for almost a year with no ill effects.  I ended up hitting my high point in the race along the 6,000 foot crest of the Black Mountains.  I believe that I was actually more fueled from the amazing views along the ridge. Everything else just became secondary.broath2I began to pass people who were having a difficult time managing the technical footing of the trail and put a solid gap on some of my competitors.  But, I soon realized that I was running low on water and would not be hitting another sure source for five miles. I tried to fill up at a small spring, but the flow was such a trickle that I could barely get anything in my bottle.  I decided to just cruise the descent and hope for the best.Now I was in double trouble.  I was having trouble consuming fuel, and now I was quickly becoming dehydrated in the humid air.  At the bottom of the descent at Colbert Ridge aid station, I contemplated throwing in the towel.  I was still on an eight hour pace, but I knew then that it was a pipe dream. Now it was all about survival and finishing.  I tried to get as much water in me as I could and had my buddy Jody, my crew for the day, load me up with a bag full of potatoes, which was the only thing I could stomach at that point.  Shortly, I began to walk down the road to the next trail and the last climb of the day, a climb that would be the longest and highest yet along the Buncombe Horse Trail.The wheels really started to come off on the last climb.  Along the climb I would only past by about six people, even though they were all hiking.  My legs began to feel extremely heavy and I couldn’t keep my heart rate from busting through my chest without moving at a slow hike.  Once I hit the last half mile of the climb, a rocky scramble up what seemed a dry creek bed to the high point of the race at Big Tom Gap, I began to feel dizzy, nauseous, and my quads wanted to cramp with each big step up from boulder to boulder.I sat down on the rocks twice during this half mile to just try and organize myself.  All the while being past by more and more runners. By the time I reached the aid station at the bottom of the half mile final push, I promptly laid down in the grass and proceeded to give in, pass out, and take a nap.  Of course, the medics at the aid station wouldn’t let me just give in and told me I needed to get myself more salt and fluids.  I laid in the grass, chomping on potato chips, and sipping water out my bottle.  I had completely fallen apart.Eventually, I picked myself up and started walking the final six miles down to the finish.  Feeling slightly rejuvenated from the coconut water kindly given to me from one of aid volunteers own stash, I hiked and chatted with another fellow western North Carolina runner until we hit the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.  Since the last four miles would be downhill, I tried to run again, so I could get done with this crazy stupid adventure of a race as soon as possible.  My legs began to come back to me little by little and I soon caught a few of my fellow runners who had passed me earlier as I laid comatose in the grass.  I kept on running all the way to finish line and crossed in 9:30, elated to be done with the hardest race of my life.  Considering I partially dreamed up this course, I truly got a taste of my own medicineI’ll be back next year!last_img read more

North Cackalacky: Deschutes begins distributing In NC this month

first_imgThe state of North Carolina is about to get a little bit better. We already have one of the most robust craft beer scenes in the country, not to mention Pisgah’s singletrack and the Outer Banks surf breaks, and now Deschutes is getting into the mix. Last year, the Bend-based brewery passed on building their East Coast facility in Asheville, opting to build it in Roanoke instead (kudos to our brothers to the north). The Roanoke brewery should be up and running in the early 2020’s. At that time, Deschutes beer will be readily available across the eastern seaboard. And it’ll be awesome. Luckily, North Carolinians won’t have to wait that long; Deschutes will start distributing their core beers on draft in North Cackalacky this month, and bottles will hit the shelves later in the summer.Deschutes is already one of the 10 largest craft breweries in the country. While you can’t really do wrong with anything Deschutes makes, there are a few beers you should definitely seek out. The brewery is best known for its flagship, Black Butte Porter. If you’re gonna get excited about just one beer that you’ll be able to drink on the reg now, this is it. Black Butte is so good, it will ruin other porters for you. Seriously, after drinking Black Butte, I started to wonder why anyone else even bothers to dabble with the style anymore. As for seasonals, get your hands on Hop Slice Summer Ale, an easy-drinking 5% beer with all kinds of citrusy hop notes along with a bit of caramel for balance. And when winter comes, make plans to drink Jubelale, their spiced winter ale that will add another layer of awesome to any powder day.Everything will get a little better from here on out. The sun will be a little bit brighter, the powder a little softer. Thanks Deschutes.last_img read more

Women’s Wednesday: Rapha Women’s 100

first_img“What are you doing this weekend? Want to come ride 62.1 miles on the Cap Trail with me and a bunch of other rad ladies?” I’ve been told (by a cis white male) the reason there aren’t that many women in the outdoors / outdoor industry is because it’s too rowdy. And that is the biggest piece of bullshit I’ve ever heard in my life. So here’s to continuing to fight the good fight, and show people HEY we exist! We’re here! With brightly colored jerseys and a literal badge of honor across the back.  Why do you think women’s group outings are important?  Nothing gets Troy more amped up in conversation than talking about women in the outdoors. So I asked her a few questions to AMP her up at this year’s Women’s 100. Big Shoutout to Erin Shahan, Emma Troy, Mati McCann, Allie Helmbrecht, Raychelle Bayley, Katie Jo Prince, Carolina Brewer, Lori White, Kelly Buis, Mike McGinley, Sandrine Thominet, Karen Hull, Sandra Dee Norman, Jill Williams, and all the other women to got outside to play on bikes for the Rapha Women’s 100. What do you have to say to the men out there? I like to wear pink and other “fem” colors as a badge of honor. ‘Ride like a girl’ is a way to take back, re-possess, and give a new meaning to the phrase “like a girl.” There such a negative connotation to doing anything “like a girl.” I’m so sick of people thinking we can do less or achieve less just because of how we look or the colors we wear. For the longest time, I myself rejected my feminine side and who I was, a woman, because I was afraid that the men that I rode bikes with would think I was weak or couldn’t do the same trails as them or keep up with them. I was constantly putting myself down, or making jokes at my own expense, at the expense of women, so that I could fit in and be one of the guys. It was toxic-masculinity. I lost myself in “bro culture”. I wasn’t being fair or true to myself or my own people, women!  What does ‘ride like a girl’ mean to you?  I want people to see me zip past them on the trail or on the road and see “Ride like a girl” and think oh dang, that’s a chick!  After a lot of self-reflection, meeting other women, reading articles and riding with other women, I realized that I didn’t have to ride like a boy or act like a boy to fit into this tight knit industry that is the bike and outdoor adventure community. There is a place for us. We just have to make it. We have to shout about it and ride bikes about it. And demand it. What would you say to the women getting into biking?  If I could say one thing to men it’d be: don’t tell me what to do. Don’t tell what I can and can’t do. I’ve had multiple men, on separate occasions, ask if I knew the mountain bike trail I was about to drop in on was a black diamond. It was insulting that they assumed I couldn’t ride a black diamond because I was a women, but even more insulting that they didn’t think I was capable of knowing my own limits or maybe they didn’t even think I could read a map of mountain bike trials. And to that I just say: do better guys. Just trust me, support me, and most of all listen to me. Listen to me when I say a joke is sexist and makes me uncomfortable, listen to me when I say I known I can do this advanced trail because I know myself and my riding abilities. Listen to me when I say there the way women are treated in the bike/outdoor adventure community is problematic. And don’t try to justify or stumble over your words to apologize. Just listen. Okay, I guess I had more than one thing to say to the men of the bike world. I think women group outings are important because I didn’t know half of these women existed. I’ve met some incredible people at the Women’s 100k that I would have never met otherwise. It’s so easy to feel isolated and alone in the bike industry because of the lack of women, but they’re out there. They just have been forced to do their sport discreetly and alone. I do not go on regular local group rides because I know I will be the only woman. I have experienced sexism and sexist comments out riding in groups of men and so I am not motivated and simply do not want to go back. It is so intimidating to go on group rides when you might be the only woman because of negative experiences like this. Even if the majority of the men are actual good humans who you are friends with and trust, someone will always have something to say or make sexist jokes even if they don’t realize that it is sexist. And you can only have so much patience and energy to correct them. I didn’t experience a single sexist joke or comment today at this ride. I never felt like the odd one out. I felt safe, and I had fun. And that’s why it’s important to have these outings. To meet like-minded individuals, and to be able to ride your damn bike in a safe space.  I give a lot of credit to Richmond’s outdoor community for helping me gain more confidence in the outdoors. The women I have been able to ride and talk with over the 5 years that I’ve lived here have opened my eyes to the importance of incorporating women’s outings into your regular lifestyle/training schedule. I’ve never left an outing feeling anything less than empowered. This bike outing was a bit more exciting because it connected our own little cycling world in Richmond to women around the globe. The Rapha Women’s 100 is a globally sponsored event aimed at getting women out and riding together since 2013. Stay strong. It’s going to be tough. Find people that will take you out and show you the ropes. And when you can’t at first, don’t be afraid to go out alone. You won’t have all the right gear at first. You won’t have the perfect bike at first. But you don’t need it when you’re just starting out. Just go out and get after it. Photos and Video by Shannon McGowan These were the surprisingly un-sarcastic words of my dear friend Emma Troy, a bike mechanic at Cary Town Bikes who finds any excuse to get on a bike just about every day. As much as I would’ve loved to try and get out with them, I don’t think my mountain bike or my “10 miles is plenty enough” legs would enjoy it very much. So instead, I brought my camera to capture these badass cyclists in action as they show some love to the women of the biking community. last_img read more

Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina seeks summer interns

first_imgGiant sequoias are the largest trees in the world and can live for over 3,000 years. Of the 28 dead trees, 25 appear to have lived in particularly wet areas, “which is very weird,” said Christy Brigham, chief of resource management and science at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  Are you a college student interested in environmental stewardship and conservation? The Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina is currently accepting applications for a Land Protection Assistant Intern. The position is a paid, 10-week, full-time summer internship through Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s Diversity of Conservation Internship Program. Internships run from May – August 2020. The Diversity in Conservation Internship Program seeks to engage two and four-year college students and recent graduates from underrepresented communities, particularly of Asian, Black, Hispanic, Multi-Racial, and Native American background, in conservation careers.  Read the press release here: https://aceee.org/press/2020/01/new-doe-rule-undercuts-top-us-policy The DOE made changes to its Process Rule, adding new steps to an already lengthy standard-setting process, says ACEEE. It will significantly increase the energy savings threshold needed to trigger the process and allow manufacturers to largely design the testing that decides if the products meet standards.  The Trump administration has approved a rule that will make it more difficult to set energy efficiency standards for common appliances and equipment like refrigerators, dishwashers and home furnaces as well as commercial air conditioners and industrial motors, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) said in a press release. These standards reduce pollution and save the average US household $500 every year. California’s giant sequoias are dying because of climate changecenter_img Learn more and apply for the position here: https://ctnc.hiringthing.com/job/167893/land-protection-assistant  According to a joint study by the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey, 28 sequoias at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have died since 2014 due to drought, fire, and beetle infestation, all of which have been linked to global warming.  The Department of Energy approves rule that will make it more difficult to set new energy efficiency standards Read the full story here: https://www.eenews.net/greenwire/2020/01/22/stories/1062150049  Calling all college students: Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina seeks summer internslast_img read more