West Virginia Congressman Proposes $100 Million Fund to Retrain Coal Miners

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享By Charles Boothe in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph:CHARLESTON — New legislation to help displaced coal miners, introduced by Third District Congressional Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.), would earmark $100 million over the next five years for retraining.Jenkins made the announcement of the Assisting America’s Dislocated Miners Act Thursday at the United Mine Workers of America’s Career Center in Beckley.The bill would authorize $20 million a year for five years to fund the Dislocated Miners Assistance Program, which would be established by the act under the U.S. Labor Department.“Our coal communities have been devastated by a mix of environmental regulations and market conditions,” he said. “Many of the dislocated miners in our coal towns have worked in the mines their whole lives and have limited training for jobs in other fields. These miners need help in learning new trades, preparing to join the workforce, and finding employment in new fields.”“Each year for the next five years $20 million of this money would go to programs like the one at the career center,” he said, a center that has seen success since 1998 with retraining programs, “whether it’s welding, construction, electrical or computer work.”Jenkins said the center in Beckley has put through about 2,000 people and the funding would beef that up significantly because the center has had to turn away people.“We are talking about thousands of people (who would qualify for the retraining programs),” he said.Jenkins said the fight is continuing to regain as many coal jobs as possible, but something must be done in the meantime.“While we fight to restore our coal jobs, we must also provide for the miners who are out of work and for their families,” he said. “My bill … will help us provide retraining opportunities for even more unemployed miners and get them back to work in good-paying and stable jobs.” Obtaining training and learning new trades can help “revitalize our coal communities,” he said. “My legislation will give West Virginia’s families hope and the promise of a paycheck, not an unemployment check.”Full article: Bill would provide $100M to retrain laid-off coal miners West Virginia Congressman Proposes $100 Million Fund to Retrain Coal Minerslast_img read more

World Bank sees big potential for solar-plus-storage mini-grids in Africa, Asia

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy Storage News:Plummeting solar-plus-storage costs could help electrify millions worldwide by facilitating a ten-fold explosion of mini-grid systems, a new report from the World Bank has said. The 19,000 mostly hydro- and diesel-based mini-grids that power 47 million people today could boom to 210,000 systems powering 490 million by 2030, according to the institution.Its report said most new mini-grids will feature a mix of PV with batteries, adding that the 10-15GW of solar / 50-110GWh of mostly lithium-ion batteries expected by 2030 would bring CO2 savings of 1.5 billion tonnes.According to the World Bank, hitting the 210,000 mini-grid target by 2030 would require bringing solar hybrid costs down to around US$0.20/kWh, compared to today’s US$0.55/kWh baseline. Achieving such a milestone would see the costs of PV modules drop from US$690/kWp (today) to US$140/kWp (2030) while li-ion batteries would decline from US$598/kWh to US$62/kWh in the same period.“Mini-grids are now one of the core solutions for closing the energy access gap…we are working with countries to actively mobilise public and private investment,” said Riccardo Puliti, a senior director of Energy and Extractives at the World Bank.According to the study, South Asia (9,300) and East Asia & Pacific (6,900) have installed most of the 19,000 mini-grids to date, with Afghanistan (4,980) and Myanmar (3,988) topping the global charts. However, it is Africa that currently leads on the planning front, with projects in Senegal, Nigeria and others helping the continent account for 4,000 of all 7,500 systems under development worldwide.According to the World Bank, reaching the global 210,000-by-2030 mini-grid target will require investment of US$220 billion, up from the US$28 billion injected so far.More: World Bank: Cost declines in solar-plus-storage could see 490 million relying on microgrids by 2030 World Bank sees big potential for solar-plus-storage mini-grids in Africa, Asialast_img read more

Carmichael project prompts Australian engineering firm to cut ties with Adani

first_imgCarmichael project prompts Australian engineering firm to cut ties with Adani FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:The global engineering and consultancy firm Aurecon has severed a longstanding business relationship with the Adani Group, amid ongoing efforts by anti-coal activists to target firms working for the Indian conglomerate’s Australian mining arm.Adani Australia released a statement on Wednesday saying it was “surprised” by the decision but that the “concerted campaign” against the Carmichael project by environmental groups had not succeeded, and that construction of the central Queensland thermal coalmine was under way.But the decision is likely to buoy activists groups’ efforts to convince other major contractors to walk away. Their current focus is on another engineering consultant, GHD, which is working on the design of the mine.Julien Vincent, the executive director of Market Forces, an investor action group, said the stance taken by Aurecon “certainly doesn’t surprise us. Adani’s Carmichael coalmine project, along with the company’s corporate record make it brand kryptonite for any company that they are associated with,” Vincent said. “Aurecon joins a long list of companies to have walked away from the Carmichael project, or ruled out providing financial support to Adani’s dirty coalmine.”Aurecon had not been directly involved in the Carmichael mine – it had been the engineering, procurement and construction contractor at the Abbot Point coal terminal since 2005. Adani bought the terminal in 2011.There are relatively few engineering firms with the capacity to design and build Carmichael. Another global firm, AECOM, had been designing a railway between Carmichael and Abbot Point, but walked away amid a financial dispute. A deal with integrated services firm Downer EDI collapsed in 2017 after the company was pressured by activists.More: Global engineering firm Aurecon cuts ties with Adani amid pressure from activistslast_img read more

Spain’s Iberdrola to invest $4.5 billion in next four years in French renewable energy projects

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Spanish utility Iberdrola said on Wednesday it will invest up to 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion) over the next four years in France to develop renewable energy.Iberdrola said it is already investing 2.4 billion euros in the Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm in France and plans to invest in new onshore wind, solar photovoltaic and participate in future offshore wind capacity auctions.“France is a strategic country for Iberdrola,” said Ignacio Galán, chairman and CEO of Iberdrola.“The company is very interested in participating in the new offshore wind capacity auctions to be held in the future by France,” he added.[Nina Chestney]More: Iberdrola to invest up to 4 billion euros in French renewable energy Spain’s Iberdrola to invest $4.5 billion in next four years in French renewable energy projectslast_img read more

Bank of Montreal to exit U.S. shale industry

first_imgBank of Montreal to exit U.S. shale industry FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Bank of Montreal is winding down its U.S. oil and gas investment banking business and will focus on assets in Canada going forward, becoming the latest financial institution to cut ties with America’s beleaguered shale industry.BMO said it has made “the financial decision for an orderly wind-down of our non-Canadian investment and corporate banking energy business.” Going forward, the company said by email, its capital markets energy business will be focused on Canada.The company is eliminating about 50 positions in its investment banking group as part of the exit that was announced to staff on Monday, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. A handful of corporate bankers will manage BMO’s U.S. oil and gas loan book, the person said.BMO is the latest bank to halt investment banking tied to U.S. oil and gas explorers, which even before the pandemic were facing pressure after years of generating meager returns. The move didn’t appear to be related to ESG concerns plaguing fossil fuel companies. America’s shale industry has been swept up in a wave of consolidation in recent months as the pandemic slashes oil demand, drags down prices and forces low-premium mergers. That follows years of lackadaisical M&A activity in the oil patch.On Tuesday, BMO reported gross impaired loans in its U.S. oil and gas portfolio of C$457 million at the end of its fiscal fourth quarter, compared with only C$93 million for the industry in Canada and other countries.BMO’s U.S. oil and gas loan book was about $5.4 billion (C$7 billion) as of July 31, making up half of its overall oil and gas loans, according to a previous company presentation.[Kiel Porter, Rachel Adams-Heard and Kevin Orland]More: BMO to exit oil and gas investment banking in the U.S.last_img read more

My [Failed] Thru-Hike

first_imgPsychopaths lead interesting lives. I learned this one night in a Pearisburg, Va., hostel when I listened to a former biker-turned-hiker empty his vault of violent, hypersexual stories for two hours.Apparently, 1980s Berlin was the place to be if you wanted to raise hell and get away with it, but that didn’t stop George from trying to do the same in the deep South after he came back to the states. Naturally, stories about getting caught ushered in a discussion about the Catch-22 of freedom in modern America. If you do whatever you want to do, you’re free; but eventually it will catch up to you and there is nothing less free than a jail cell, so you find yourself making compromises and living a life of self-censorship and is that really freedom at all? Neither of us knew for sure. I had never thought about it that much, and he had figured out that living in the woods for extended periods of time pretty much solved the problem entirely. By the time we reached this conclusion, my head was heavy with fatigue and the realization that I had a lot more trouble to get into before I could spin yarns like the old man sitting across the kitchen table; I excused myself and went outside to pitch my tent in the front yard of the hostel. I slept deep into the next morning.After an early banquet, I rented the first motel room of the trip and spent the day eating and ruminating with my former hiking partner Matt. We had met in a Dairy Queen the previous day, after hiking apart for fifty miles. He wasted no time in announcing his plan to leave the trail and hitchhike home. It took me a while to figure out that he was serious, and I sought consolation in the bottom of a Blizzard Cup. I didn’t want to talk about his decision too much, preferring to accept the things I couldn’t change. I did, however, manage to coax him into staying an extra day in town before “yellow-blazing” back home. After a while, I decided that it was funny that either of us had even got this far.We’d only gone on a handful of backpacking trips before this one. The longest outing I’d ever done was two nights through the West Virginia/Maryland border. At the time, I considered the trek to have been one of the most miserable experiences I had ever encountered, including my 18 years of family-planned, red-blooded, look-son-there’s-a-majestic-blue-tailed-sapsucker-right-on-our-front-porch-hey-how’s-that-full-body-poison-ivy-rash-treating-you vacations. As terrible as it had been, I never enjoyed a hot shower or greasy meal more than I did afterward. Back then, three days was an eternity and 36 miles was as distant and out of reach as anything had ever been.Matt had called me a few months after the ordeal, talking madness about an attempted thru-hike of the A.T. the following summer. My hands were tied; I couldn’t budge his resolve and under no circumstances would I allow one of my best friends to show me up by going alone, so I was in. A few shopping sprees and one overnight trip later, Matt and I found ourselves on a bus destined for Atlanta. At this point, I was still betting on returning home no more than two weeks later, and looking forward to a slightly shorter bus ride home.The overnight Greyhound took 12 hours to get to Georgia, but not many people slept well. The reason for this was the operatic vomiting performed by a disheveled passenger, strategically located in the exact center of the bus. Looking back, I’m now sure he chose this precise spot for its acoustic value. He expelled for a solid three hours, only to leave both the bus and his plastic-bag receptacle (perched daintily on the seat) in North Carolina. Needless to say, morale was not at its highest as two tired, slightly nauseated hikers rode in a taxi to the top of Springer Mountain, the official southern terminus of the A.T.  After a round of picture taking, we headed out, ready to see where the trail would lead us.When we decided to set up camp eight miles later, Matt and I discussed the daily mileage necessary to complete the entire trail in the time we had. We would have to average a little over 20 miles a day, a task that seemed insurmountable. Still, we decided to give it a shot the next morning, and picked our destination, an established campground 18 miles north, lying at the end of about a mile of spur trail. By the end of the formal first day, I was tired enough to get hopelessly lost looking for the campground and Matt was dehydrated enough to convince himself that there was a good chance that I existed only as a figment of his imagination. I found him, wide-eyed, when I backtracked up the blue blazed path. Eventually, we both calmed down and set up camp nearby, vowing to know our limits in the future. And, for the most part, we would. Over the next 600 miles, we would meet a smorgasbord of people, ranging from the common, irresponsible hippie to the timeless, deranged vagabond.The first true challenge of our hike was the food conundrum; we had to carry the food. At first glance, this seems simple enough, but after a few days, it became clear that there was a distinct difference between the amount of food necessary and the amount food desired. It only took two weeks on the trail to drop 20 pounds from my normal, healthy weight.Hunger aside, it was surprisingly easy to get used to the conditions of life outdoors. It had only been the second week of the trip when I started to feed peanuts to the mice that plague every shelter on the trail, and began to completely ignore the way they tickled when they ran up and down my sleeping bag at night. Bears went from spiritual to irritating in a matter of days, and I know now that their ingenious kleptomania is matched only by their cowardice. I cannot count the number of times a bear would blunder into sight, large and intimidating, only to unabashedly flee after identifying me as a potential threat.At first, I was truly worried about them. I had heard stories about the bears of the Smokies and the way they had learned to steal food from hikers. By some miracle, the brain behind their beady little eyes had figured out that if they were to charge at any food-carrying human, the person would invariably fail to call the bluff and run. Of course, the hiker would drop their backpack in order to retreat faster, and there were several accounts of bears running around the park carrying freshly stolen backpacks in their mouths, happier than a dog with a new milkbone. Conversely, I found the furry, black creatures to be completely harmless and easily frightened until I entered Shenandoah National Park, where they have learned to be bold. I should have known they would be problematic from the start; on my second day walking through the park, I witnessed a man feeding a bear a ham sandwich from his car window. I could hardly believe the man’s lack of good sense, and to this day deeply resent not being offered a single bite.Even though my worst experience with animals was mild (I was forcibly exiled from my shelter by a gigantic rat that was tame, though very noisy), I would have been kept awake many nights had I not generally been too tired to care about anything but sleep and food. After Matt went home in Pearisburg, I really started to push myself, and soon was doing bigger mileage days. Advil became as much of a diet staple as ramen and trail mix. I cut all the tags off of my clothes and sent every single unnecessary item home. At the end of any given area, the pages in my guidebook that I had passed by were torn out and tossed in the trash. There was no room for dead weight.I hiked this way through Virginia, and kept on walking through the halfway point in Pennsylvania before I ran out of time and money and stopped. The last day on the trail, I completed the customary half-gallon challenge with a few other hikers, and then walked gingerly to a shelter two miles away from a road crossing where my mom was waiting to pick me up. I sat there and talked for a while, wrote a goodbye to everyone I’d met on the trail in the shelter log and gave away everything I didn’t need. I took their trash and gave them food, my Snickers bars, and my trail mix.When I finally left the shelter, I was sprinting. I passed a hiker who had been at the feast the night before and when he asked me why I was running, I answered as honestly as I could. I told him, quickly, that I knew if I walked, I wouldn’t want to go back home anymore. And I was right to run. I came into a clearing and touched the most northern blaze I have ever touched and ran to my car before I really realized that I was closer to Maine than Georgia. I felt sick on the way back when my car covered mileage in an hour that had taken me three days to walk.So I went back home and gained my weight back in two weeks, woke up at 6 every morning and did all the household chores I could. It was odd, being back in society; it took me a long time to get used to crowds again. I left more than one 7-Eleven when a few too many patrons milled about and I started to get inexplicably nervous. I went through a few horribly awkward interviews and kept my cell phone off. Eventually, I adapted back into the life I’d left behind just two months ago. I got a job, lost my trail-legs, shaved my beard and took showers every day. I got acclimated to groups of people and going to bed at 12 instead of 9, and tapwater gradually started to taste less and less like chemicals. I even lost most of the supreme patience I had cultivated while on the trail. My friends would tell me about their problems and I started asking them why they cared so much. I would say, “You have a house and food and water and air conditioning. Do you really think this matters?”It still bothers me that I didn’t finish the entire thing. I know that I’ll probably, hopefully, go back one day and start again. I’d like to do it while I’m young and don’t have much to hold me back from disappearing from the world for a few months, but I won’t mind doing it when I’m retired and need to get out of the house for a little bit. I don’t think I’ll enjoy the attempt any less the second time around.I’d be lying if I said I didn’t truly and honestly miss it, and not just the good times or utter lack of responsibility. I miss it because it was really nice, living hard and honest. It was nice appreciating amenities, getting excited when I had a chance to sit at all, never mind if it was on a rock or a bench that was so damn comfortable I never wanted to get up again. I miss refusing to stagnate, and most of all, I miss looking out and seeing rows of hazy blue waves.last_img read more

Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager: Nostalgia in a Can

first_imgLet’s set the scene. It’s 1992, or 1982, or whenever. It’s a long time ago. You’re young, that’s the point. Like, 17. You’re in a car that someone borrowed from their mom headed down a dirt road to a swimming hole on a river where you’re hoping to see Jennifer Barksdale in a bikini. The car is packed beyond manufacturer recommended capacity, nobody’s wearing seatbelts, and there’s a cooler of beer sitting in the floorboards. You’re disregarding safety standards left and right. In that cooler of beer is a six pack of Zima (for Jennifer Barksdale) and a twelve of Budweiser, or Coors Light, or MGD in the can. Remember that feeling? That summertime mix of irresponsibility and anticipation underscored by can after can of easy-drinking beer?Sierra Nevada wants to put you back in that station wagon headed down that dirt road thinking about Jennifer Barksdale in a bikini with their latest release: a limited run of Summerfest lager in the can.I salute Sierra Nevada for giving us a lager, a style of beer that is typically the territory of macrobreweries. The craft beer industry rose in the ‘90s in part because Americans were tired of drinking lagers. We wanted beers with a bit of a bite. The typical American Pale Ales that have become the staple of craft brewers across the country are the antithesis of the easy-drinking (sometimes tasteless) lager.Here’s how Sierra Nevada describes its Summerfest: “crisp, golden, dry.” They’re practically tapping the Rockies with that verbiage.So, why not just buy a Budweiser for half the price? Because Sierra Nevada isn’t just recreating the canned beer that was there when you lost your virginity in high school (sadly, not to Jennifer Barksdale, but to her slightly more homely friend Margaret Grossman. Hey Maggie!). This beer is more complex than the Silver Bullets of your youth. It has a slight malty sweetness and the faintest hint of spicy hops, giving Summerfest a balanced integrity you just don’t find from Bud or Miller. It is a lager, yes, it is easy drinking, yes, but it is not tasteless.Does that mean hop-heads will fall all over themselves for this beer? Probably not. There’s still a strong anti-lager streak amongst craft beer snobs. I get it. It wasn’t too long ago when you couldn’t get anything but a lager in the South. But now that the variety of beer has reached record level at your local Stab ‘n’ Grab, I say it’s okay to reach for this mild beer again, and relive the glory days of high school. Stock a cooler with Summerfest and head to that swimming hole. Better add a few Zima too, just in case Jennifer Barksdale is there and also feeling nostalgic.Look for Summerfest at your favorite beer store starting Memorial Day.Follow Graham Averill’s adventures in drinking and Dad-hood at daddy-drinks.comlast_img read more

Atlantic Coast Pipeline: The Keystone of the East

first_imgThe Atlantic Coast Pipeline is the Keystone of the East.The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a proposed 600-mile natural gas pipeline with a route stretching from Lewis County, West Virginia to Northampton County, North Carolina. It’s a collaborative venture between five of the largest utilities in the Mid-Atlantic—Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, Virginia Natural Gas and Public Service Company of North Carolina. Since Dominion Energy is the partner with the leading ownership percentage, Dominion is responsible for constructing and operating the pipeline.Supporters of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline say it will boost the economy and meet a growing demand for natural gas energy. Opponents say it will violate the Clean Water Act and private property rights, threaten drinking water supplies, and put natural resources at risk. The pipeline also is a massive investment in a fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when renewables are on the rise. The opposition is vocal and ready to file appeals if the project is approved.The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will release an environmental impact report in July, which could determine whether the pipeline can proceed. Environmental groups are already poised to take legal action.Flip-flopInitially, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) planned to conduct a thorough environmental review of theAtlantic Coast Pipeline through the Commonwealth. An April 6 press release from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced that the state agency would facilitate a site-specific regulatory review for the pipeline which would include detailed plans for each of the hundreds of water crossings in compliance with the Clean Water Act.Then in May, DEQ reversed course and announced that they would not be performing a review of the pipeline’s impact. DEQ will instead rely on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to examine stream crossings.The review will be more narrowly limited than what was originally promised, and the Army Corps of Engineers “generally authorizes pipeline projects under a previously issued blanket nationwide permit without analysis of individual stream crossings or the cumulative effects of multiple stream crossings.”“The DEQ allowed the public to operate under the assumption that it was going to step up and do its job properly,” says Rick Webb, program director of the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition. Webb doesn’t believe the Atlantic Coast Pipeline can be designed and constructed in compliance with regulations outlined by the Clean Water Act. “I think what’s happening is a manifestation of Dominion’s resistance to providing detailed plans. An agency cannot make an informed decision unless it reviews detailed plans.”“We’ve looked at every single water body crossing, we have specified which method we’re going to use to cross it,” responded Dominion spokesperson Aaron Ruby. “But site-specific plans are not typically part of the environmental review process for a project like this.”On June 6, the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition filed suit against the DEQ in state circuit court. DPMC is asking the court to rule that the DEQ issued a certification for construction of the ACP in state waters without legal authority to do so and without ensuring the protection of water quality.Out of CommissionUltimately the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) determines whether the project will move on to the construction phase.“FERC is an agency that has a history of approving projects that get presented to it,” said Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Greg Buppert. “The best case scenario is FERC listens to the issues we’ve raised and decides not to approve this pipeline, but no one working on this project is naive enough to think that will happen.”FERC is composed of five members: two Republicans, two Democrats, and a chair who represents the President’s political party, though spokesperson Tamara Young says the commission operates and makes decisions entirely outside of politics.“I know sometimes folks claim that we rubber-stamp projects. But I would challenge anyone to find an order that demonstrates that,” Young said. “While the commission may approve a number of projects, which is the whole reason behind the Natural Gas Act, no project goes out the way it comes in.”Regardless of its reputation, the commission hasn’t been doing much of anything lately—FERC must achieve a quorum in order to vote on an issue, and Young said FERC hasn’t been able to make any decisions since former chairman Norman Bay left in February. In May of this year, President Donald Trump appointed Neil Chatterjee, a senior energy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Rob Powelson, a Pennsylvania regulator, to take positions on the commission that will expire in 2021 and 2020, respectively.According to Young, the confirmation of FERC members can take upwards of six months. But if all goes according to plan, FERC will release its Environmental Impact Statement in July, which gives other federal agencies until October 19 to make their decisions and thus putting Dominion on track to begin construction this fall.“We do read and pay attention to what the public states,” Young said. “We want to hear what the public has to say about our proposals, and it does make an impact. Sometimes a better proposed route is created because of the public comments.”Speak for the Trees?FERC’s Environmental Impact Statement will outline the impact that the proposed project would have on forest lands as well as on non-federal lands. The U.S. Forest Service can play an important role in determining whether the pipeline can pass through its lands.  As proposed, the pipeline would cross the George Washington National Forest in Bath, Highland and Augusta counties in Virginia and the Monongahela National Forest in Pocahontas County, West Virginia.According to Forest Service Staff Officer JoBeth Brown, should the commission allow the project to proceed, the Forest Service will use the EIS to determine whether to authorize construction and operation of the pipeline on its lands.On the BattlefieldJohn Hutchinson of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District hopes that a federally mandated consultation process will ultimately be the end of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to consider the effect of a construction project on historic properties; the process involves identifying historic properties, assessing the adverse effects and creating solutions to those adverse effects. TheAtlantic Coast Pipeline’s proposed route cuts through the McDowell Battlefield in Highland County Virginia, along with several other historic resources within the district. Hutchinson believes the Section 106 process will bring to light enough areas of concern to prevent the pipeline from being built. As far as he’s concerned, Dominion may be following “the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law.”According to Julie Langan of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR), an agency that plays a role in the Section 106 consultation, the identification stage is well underway. The route has been adjusted more than once to avoid historic properties, but she’s less convinced that any properties on the list will be grounds for Dominion to pull the plug on the project.“My expectation is that there’s still going to be some properties that are going to be affected that there’s not any way to mitigate,” she said.Dominion has hired independent contractors to conduct a study of impact on historic resources, and the VDHR will offer mitigation guidance.Growing demand?Dominion spokesperson Aaron Ruby cited a “growing need for natural gas” in the region as the primary driving force behind the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and said the existing infrastructure simply cannot accommodate the demand.“There’s no way for existing pipelines that currently serve Virginia and North Carolina to meet that huge, growing need,” Ruby said.SELC’s Greg Buppert doesn’t agree. “Dominion is doubling down on natural gas at a time that doesn’t make sense,” Buppert said, noting that renewable energy is becoming increasingly affordable. “The answer is not a $6 billion investment in a pipeline that will lock our region into gas.”Instead, Buppert would like to see Dominion use existing infrastructure to meet what he predicts will be a short-term need for gas while “at the same time not discouraging investment in renewables.”“What we know is that existing infrastructure and pipelines are not operating at capacity,” he said. “According to analysis that we’ve done, we think there’s capacity in the region to meet the demand at least through the year 2030. In other words, we don’t need this pipeline right now.”According to Buppert, the SELC has conducted extensive analyses comparing Dominion’s electricity demand models with projections by an independent consultant—PJM Interconnection—and what they’ve uncovered is a significant discrepancy. PJM projects the likely electricity demand to be about 2.2 natural gas power plants less than Dominion’s projections. That amount comprises the entire additional demand Dominion is claiming for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline“If that’s not a real demand, I think there’s good evidence Dominion is inflating its numbers,” Buppert said. “If that’s not a real demand, we don’t need this pipeline in Virginia.”The SELC has also taken a look at the North Carolina numbers projected by Duke Energy, and Buppert said they’ve come up with more of the same.“The combination of overestimates by Duke and Dominion raises serious questions about the public necessity for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”As for the SELC’s next move? That depends heavily on what transpires in the coming months, but Buppert has little confidence in FERC and its process.“We’re raising important issues, and I think these issues will be resolved in an inadequate way by the commission that will be vulnerable to a legal challenge,” he said. “Of course we’ll be monitoring the docket to see what goes on and responding when it’s necessary or appropriate to address issues. We’re definitely not going to take our eye off the ball.”Resort TortDominion’s proposed route for the pipeline will cross less than 100 feet from the entrance to Wintergreen Resort, a four-season mountain resort and the single largest employer in Nelson County. Friends of Wintergreen was established about 18 months ago in response to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposal.“We’re all quite alarmed on a number of levels,” says Friends of Wintergreen chairman Jon Ansell. “It would completely violate what Wintergreen is all about.”That alarm is rooted in three primary damaging aspects that the organization believes the pipeline will have on the Wintergreen area: economic, safety and environmental.The development of a 150-room hotel and conference center at Wintergreen and another hotel in nearby Nellysford have been “delayed indefinitely because it’s just not viable given the impact of the pipeline.” Ansell said the two projects combined would have brought $75 million in new investment to Nelson County, plus 250 permanent jobs. In contrast, the pipeline is projected to create 39 permanent jobs in Virginia, none of which would be in Nelson County.“We’ve already commissioned a study and seen that property values in the area have gone down by 10 percent since the pipeline was announced,” said Ansell, adding that that amounts to about $10 million in property taxes. “Now translate that to tax revenues in Nelson County and it’s anywhere from $250,000 to a million in lost tax revenue every year because of this pipeline.”In terms of safety, Ansell said the proximity of the pipeline to the resort’s entrance is a “huge concern.” With upwards of 2,000 people on the property at any given time and only one way back down the mountain, he said, a 42-inch pipeline with a blast radius of one-fifth of a mile would be nothing short of disastrous in case of an explosion.On the environmental side, Ansell said the biggest concerns are landslide risk and erosion. Much of the land the pipeline would cross is composed of karsts, formations with extensive underground drainage systems, caves and cavern systems. This type of geological landscape is inherently unstable, according to Friends of Wintergreen, thus making it prone to landslides and sinkholes, even without the addition of an underground pipeline. Even without the karsts, they say pipeline construction on mountain slopes as steep as those in the Blue Ridge is precarious at best.The organization also cites potential damage to nearby surface water and underground aquifers, forestland, wildlife habitat and recreational areas as environmental concerns.“All of these point to the fact that this is really not a good place to put it,” Ansell said, noting that most of the organization’s proposed routes, which consist mostly of colocation, would add between three and seven miles to the pipeline. “We just think these choices are much better, especially when a for-profit company is going to make profits at the expense of the livelihood of others in Nelson County.”If you ask Dominion, though, the proposed 600-mile route has already addressed all the pertinent environmental issues.“Before choosing that route we evaluated more than 6,000 miles of potential routes and a lot of those were excluded very early on because of unacceptable levels of environmental impacts, unacceptable impacts to historic and cultural resources, unsuitable terrain for construction and a variety of other constraints,” Ruby said.Even after narrowing it down to a 550-mile route, Ruby said Dominion made adjustments totaling 250 miles over the course of two years to avoid environmentally sensitive areas, incorporate agency feedback, and address individual landowner concerns.“By any measure it has been a thorough and exhaustive process,” Ruby said. “We’ve left no stone unturned and we’ve addressed all the important environmental and safety measures that have been raised.”Ways to Stop the PipelineAttack FERCFERC has a priority conflict. It regulates the same industry that reimburses its operating costs through annual charges and fees, and because it’s mandated to ensure the lights stay on, it’s a partner to the industry it regulates. FERC has authorized the arrest of uncooperative landowners, the taking of property to facilitate exports, and the permitting of pipelines through permanently protected conservation areas and near schools and across state and national park lands. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is leading a collaboration to take legal action against FERC. “Fracked gas pipelines are soon to be obsolete,” says the Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s Maya van Rossum. “Investing in their construction and allowing all the devastation that they require is a bad decision.”Read on to find out what you can do to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]Defend NEPAEvery agency in the executive branch of the federal government must follow the provisions of NEPA. It requires environmental reviews, disclosure of environmental impacts to the public, and public involvement in all decisions, especially involving federal lands. The act recognizes “the critical importance of restoring and maintaining environmental quality to the overall welfare and development of man.” It makes for informed decision-making, transparency, and accountability. Still, campaigns against NEPA are relentless and increasing. Although recision has failed, opponents have introduced 60 bills attacking NEPA in the past four years and are still trying to narrow its scope. They want time limits, removal of greenhouse gas considerations, fewer alternative options, and less environmental review and public input.Make it personalDivest from fossil fuels. Make sure your investments aren’t exploiting the planet and its people. Join organizations across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic in opposing the 50 pipelines planned for the region, including Wild Virginia, Sierra Club, Frack Free NC, Appalachian Voices, APPPL, NC Warn, Friends of Nelson County, and Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition. They are scheduling rallies, protests, and pipeline hikes across the region. Support legal action Organizations like Southern Environmental Law Center and Delaware Riverkeeper Network are spearheading legal challenges to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The courts may be the last and best chance to stop the pipeline.—Ruth Heillast_img read more

Hit The Trails In Raystown Lake PA

first_imgThe Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake include 36 miles of stacked-loop, multi-use singletrack trails. These IMBA purpose-built trails are fast, flowy and widely considered some of the most fun mountain bike trails in North America. With sweeping, banked turns and lots of speed, Osprey, Deer Trails, and Hydro Loop ignite the stoke in both novice and advanced riders.You can also hone your skills at the two-acre Raystown Mountain Bike Skills Park before heading out on the main trail system.The trails are designated as “multi-use” for mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing. Bring your camera and enjoy stunning views of Raystown Lake, the largest lake in the state.The Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake are getting rave reviews from people who really know mountain biking. Both Men’s Journal and Singletracks.com have called this Pennsylvania trail system one of the very best in North America.To best experience Pennsylvania’s biking culture visit Raystown Lake during Dirt Rag Dirt Fest. The event happens each year on the weekend prior to Memorial Day weekend at the Allegrippis Trails and features skills clinics, organized rides, kids activities, demonstrations, entertainment, vendors, and more.#Allegrippis #ridecentralpalast_img read more

The Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC present the 5th annual Get in Gear Festival

first_imgAsheville, NC (February 18, 2019) – The Outdoor Gear Builders are kicking off the start of Spring with the 5th Annual Get In Gear Fest. The Annual Get in Gear Fest is the go-to Spring event for gathering the outdoor community that is the heart of Asheville and the surrounding region. Held at the Salvage Station in Asheville, NC on March 23rd, the festival will feature regional outdoor brands showcasing their newest gear for the upcoming season! The Get in Gear Fest is a family-friendly, free event that has something for everyone, from distance hiker to outdoor glamper, and every adventurer in between. It will also boast a climbing wall courtesy of Camp Cedar Cliff, field games, a silent auction featuring prize packages from local favorites like Watershed Drybags, Diamond Brand Gear, Tsuga, Rightline Gear and much more. Plus, the first 100 attendees to sign up as “Friends of the OGB” will claim a goodie bag filled with coupon codes from member companies. The Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC, a collaboration of Western North Carolina outdoor brands, will hold their fifth annual Get in Gear Fest on March 23rd from noon to 5pm at Salvage Station in Asheville, NC. The festival will feature regional outdoor brands showcasing their newest gear for the upcoming season. The Get in Gear Fest is a family-friendly, free event that has something for everyone. It will have a climbing wall, field games, a silent auction featuring prize packages from local gear makers, and opportunities to demo, explore, and buy outdoor gear. The first 100 attendees to sign up as “Friends of the OGB” will claim a goodie bag filled with coupon codes from member companies. The festival runs from 12 noon to 5 pm at the Salvage Station on Riverside Drive, with opportunities to demo, explore, and buy outdoor gear. Come meet the makers of your favorite gear and start making plans for a summer full of adventures! At this year’s festival, Brevard-based SylvanSport will be debuting a new line of outdoor gear, and Hendersonville-based Liquidlogic will have its new Ventura Kayak on display. You can check out Astral’s new line of hemp footwear and Recover Brands new performance fleece made entirely in North Carolina with 100% recycled materials. And, you can stop by the Bellyak booth to check out the world’s first lay-on-top kayak, designed and made right here in Asheville NC! With so many great gear makers to meet and gear to demo you will want to take a break at the ENO Hammock Relaxation Station and enjoy a local brew from the Salvage Station taps. “The outdoor gear manufactures based here in Western North Carolina continue to make industry leading gear for outdoor adventurers,” said Kyle Mundt, vice-chairman of OGB. “The Get in Gear Fest is always a great place to celebrate with the local community and showcase the amazing gear being designed and created right in our backyard.” The full list of participating brands includes Astral, Blue Ridge Chair Works, boatgirl, ENO, SylvanSport, The Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC are Western North Carolina-based companies collaborating to share talents, encourage new ideas and inspire each other. Our member brands are dedicated to creating exceptional outdoor gear with a focus on responsible manufacturing, cutting edge innovation and economic growth in our region. Our motto is: “Extraordinary Gear Made Here.” Learn more at outdoorgearbuilders.com or join the conversation on facebook.com/OutdoorGearBuildersOfWnc/ Rightline Gear, Watershed Drybags, Fifth Element Camping, Bellyak, Rockgeist, Diamond Brand Gear, Tsuga, Recover Brands, Mount Inspiration, Lucky Sheep, Native Watercraft, Liquidlogic, LightHeart Gear, and Alpine Towers. ABOUT THE OGB last_img read more