Month: December 2020

Ailing Kentucky Coal Companies Complain of ‘Too Many’ Mine-Safety Inspectors

Ailing Kentucky Coal Companies Complain of ‘Too Many’ Mine-Safety Inspectors

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Christopher Coats for SNL:The legislation would give companies operating in Kentucky the option to pursue their own training programs rather than relying on state requirements established by the state’s general assembly nine years ago.According to local news reports, the legislation would allow companies to pursue possibly cheaper and more efficient programs in-house, giving a financial boost to an industry that has seen significant decline in recent years.In early February, Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet reported that both production and employment had continued to fall to rates “worse than expected,” according to the Kentucky Coal Association.Kentucky coal production dropped 21% in 2015 to 61.4 million tons, according to a preliminary report from the state Energy and Environment Cabinet. Underground coal production in Kentucky fell 18% and surface production dropped 27%. That decline put Kentucky on the way to producing its lowest level in 62 years.Meanwhile, employment at Kentucky coal mines dropped 28% to 8,401 at year end.While coal industry leaders placed the blame for much of the downturn on actions taken by the Obama administration over the last several years, they have also targeted what they feel is the over-regulation of mine safety.That sentiment was echoed by newly elected Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who reportedly said there are too many mine safety inspectors at coal mines as he discussed the appointment of former coal executive Charles Snavely as his Energy and Environment Cabinet secretary. Snavely was formerly president of eastern U.S. operations for Arch Coal Inc.According to local news reports, Snavely told the audience that it would be his responsibility to ensure that the state’s government was not a “hindrance to the industry.” In addition to Snavely, Bevin also appointed John Small as head of Kentucky’s Division of Mine Safety. Small formerly worked for Alliance Resource Partners LP subsidiary, Excel Mining LLC.Both Bevin’s comment and Smith’s legislation were explained as being opportunities to help the commonwealth’s mining industry when it needs it most by reducing costs and restrictive oversight.“We’re in a crisis mode, and over-regulation, in my opinion, is the cause of that,” Sen. Smith told local media.Full article ($): Kentucky targets current mine safety strategy in defense of ailing industry Ailing Kentucky Coal Companies Complain of ‘Too Many’ Mine-Safety Inspectors
last_img read more

U.S. solar prices continue falling despite tariffs

U.S. solar prices continue falling despite tariffs

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):A contraction in China’s solar market is blunting the Trump administration’s efforts to use tariffs to raise domestic equipment prices in hopes of spurring more U.S. manufacturing.Four months after President Donald Trump imposed duties on most imported solar cells and panels, Beijing in May moved to limit the pace of growth in the world’s biggest solar market in order to reduce subsidy costs and encourage industry consolidation. The lost demand has sent equipment prices tumbling.“In terms of equipment costs, we definitely are seeing spot prices … declining,” Edward Fenster, executive chairman of San Francisco-based rooftop solar developer Sunrun Inc., said on an Aug. 9 earnings call. “Panel prices on a spot basis are probably approximately back where they were a year ago prior to the run-up in price ahead of the Section 201 tariff,” he added, referring to the section of the Trade Act of 1974 that the administration is using to target foreign-made cells and panels.Dana Russel, CFO and executive vice president of Vivint Solar Inc. in Utah, said on an earnings call Aug. 7 that he has also seen module prices declining after a “slight increase” several months ago due to the U.S. tariffs.“The net result is that capital costs for solar projects in the U.S. have actually declined in recent months,” TerraForm Power Inc. CEO John Marcus Stinebaugh said on an Aug. 14 earnings call. TerraForm Power, based in New York City and majority-owned by Brookfield Asset Management Inc., had nearly 3,600 MW of renewable energy assets under management as of June 30.Edurne Zoco, head of solar research at IHS Markit, in June predicted that price reductions resulting from China’s new solar policies could undercut the economic rationale for manufacturing in America. While a number of foreign companies have announced plans to open plants in the U.S., Goldman Sachs analysts said “cyclical pricing pressures” and uncertainty about the timing of the tariff regime increase the risk of such an undertaking.More ($): Despite tariffs, solar panels getting cheaper in US U.S. solar prices continue falling despite tariffslast_img read more

South Dakota sees wind boom on the horizon

South Dakota sees wind boom on the horizon

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy News Network:The prairies and rolling hills of South Dakota will soon become dotted with wind turbines after the approval of eight major wind energy projects that could bring 700 more turbines and an investment of $2.6 billion in the state by the end of 2020.Two other projects now in the regulatory approval process would bring 188 more turbines and another $640 million in investments to the state, bringing the total of new turbines to 888 and the investment by energy companies to $3.26 billion.The rapid expansion of wind energy will reach across the state, with the majority of new turbines targeted for the northeast corner, but with other projects planned for Hand and Hyde counties in the center of the state and a 45-turbine project now under construction near Newell in Butte County in the far northwest.Just two years ago, despite being home to the third-most-active winds in the nation, South Dakota ranked No. 19 for wind energy production among the 50 states, with 15 wind farms and a total of 584 turbines able to generate 1,014 megawatts of electricity.New national ranking data is not yet available, but the approved and docketed projects would raise the total of wind farms to 25 and nearly triple the number of wind towers in the state. The electricity production capacity would rise to more than 3,600 megawatts. Though it is variable, one megawatt of electricity can power about 1,000 homes; South Dakota ranks high in the nation for the number of homes, about 300,000, that are powered by wind energy.Landowners, local governments and schools will all see significant financial benefits from the projects. One wind farm approved in Clark County, the Crocker Wind Farm, will pay leaseholders $46 million over the next 20 years, according to documents filed by developer Geronimo Energy. That project, which includes up to 120 turbines and an expected investment of $600 million, will also create 10 to 20 full-time jobs, support a “community fund” of $1.6 million, and generate $36 million in tax revenues for the state, county, township and local schools in its first two decades of operation.More: $3.3 billion wind investment will add 2,500 MW of clean energy in South Dakota South Dakota sees wind boom on the horizonlast_img read more

Enel teams up with Norwegian Investment Fund to develop renewable energy projects in India

Enel teams up with Norwegian Investment Fund to develop renewable energy projects in India

first_imgEnel teams up with Norwegian Investment Fund to develop renewable energy projects in India FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:With British fossil fuel giant BP having committed to invest in Indian renewables, another signal the nation’s solar market is ready to attract big foreign investment has arrived with a statement of intent from Italian utility Enel.Italy’s biggest power company already owns and operates 172 MW of wind generation capacity in Gujarat and Maharashtra and landed its first solar project in the country with a 300 MW slice of the latest round of the national tender program conducted by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). With Spanish developer Solarpack having set a new record low price for Indian solar of Rs2.36/kWh in that procurement exercise, Enel was among five overseas-financed developers to lodge successful bids in a 2 GW tender which set a maximum solar tariff of Rs2.38.The utility, in which the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance holds a controlling stake, yesterday announced it has signed a long-term agreement with the state-owned Norwegian Investment Fund (Norfund) to develop more renewables capacity in India.Under the terms of the agreement, the Enel Green Power India subsidiary of the power company will develop clean energy projects in which Norfund will have the option of investing in return for an equity share. A press release issued by Enel yesterday to announce the arrangement did not set any capacity targets or specify a timeline for the commitment, however.“This agreement gives us the opportunity to expand and strengthen our presence in India, after recently scoring our first win in a solar tender in the country,” said Antonio Cammisecra, CEO of the utility’s Enel Green Power division. “By joining forces with an important partner such as Norfund, which shares our commitment towards sustainability and decarbonization, we will leverage on our technical expertise to harness the significant renewable growth potential of India, while contributing to the achievement of the country’s sustainable energy targets.”Historically-low interest rates set by central banks in Europe and the U.S. have been further depressed by the need to drum up investment to aid the recovery from Covid-19 in many nations. With solar developers from France and Germany among the successful bidders in the recent SECI tender – and two of the three Indian bids backed by U.S. private and U.K. public money – it appears the business case for Indian solar may have reached a level sufficient to unlock big volumes of foreign direct investment as the nation chases an increasingly distant-looking 100 GW of solar generation capacity by 2022.[Max Hall]More: Enel joins the Indian solar gold rushlast_img read more

High Five: July 2012

High Five: July 2012

first_img1. Nature Makes You Smarter, Washington, D.C.  This is your brain on nature: better short-term memory, better moods and brain chemical balance, and more creativity, according to recent studies. In one study, hikers were 50 percent more creative after spending four days on the trail. “Nature is a place where our mind can rest, relax and let down those threat responses,” said Ruth Ann Atchley, who conducted the study. “Therefore, we have resources left over to be creative, to be imaginative, to problem solve.”2. Parkway Tragedy Puts Brakes on Mowing, ASHEVILLE, N.C In May, a National Park Service employee was tragically killed when his riding mower fell off a steep embankment at the Haw Creek Overlook of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville. The accident that resulted in Dana Bruce’s untimely death led the Park Service to temporarily halt lawn mowing at all 397 national parks. While the grass grows, a rigorous safety assessment of maintenance practices will be done at every park from Acadia to Yellowstone.3. Endurance Breeding, Knoxville, Tenn.A Tennessee man is asking the state to help him cover child support. Desmond Hatchett is apparently having trouble covering the cost of his 30 children, whom he’s fathered with 11 different women. Even though Hatchett has a minimum wage job and can’t keep up with payments, the state says they cannot legally stop him from having more children.4. Shaping up in West Virginia, Charleston, W.Va. Props to the Charleston Gazette, one of the grittiest daily newspapers in the region. In the face of West Virginia’s continually dubious health distinctions (including a recent Gallup Healthways poll that says the state ranks first nationally in heart attacks and diabetes), the paper is determined to inspire people with success stories. The Gazette’s new section, “The Shape We’re In,” was created to tell the stories of West Virginians who have turned their health around in an effort to motivate others to do the same. A notable recent piece, includes the story of 16-year-old Benji Willis of Ripley, who dropped 102 pounds in six months by running 6 to 10 miles a day.5. The Goose is Loose, Snellville, Ga. Suburban Atlanta residents are pissed about Geese poop, but Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) employees aren’t offering much in the way of a solution. Wayne Briscoe complained to the DNR that his kids can’t play on their grandmother’s lawn in Snellville because it’s covered in excrement. He was told that he’s basically SOL. He was advised to buy a dog or scare the birds off with firecrackers or a water hose. Georgia actually introduced the Canada goose to reservoirs and ponds back in the 1970s, and the population has since exploded to 45,000 statewide, as many of the migratory birds have gotten comfortable and chosen to stick around.Beyond the Blue RidgeKill It With a SkilletTonto National Forest, Arizona On a camping trip in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest, a rabid mountain lion attacked Brandon Arnold’s 90-pound pit bull. So he did what any good dog owner would: beat the lion over the head with a cast-iron skillet until it went limp. Arnold’s friend put a bullet in the lion to make sure it was dead, and wildlife officials later confirmed it was rabid.Hot Air Balloon Half-MarathonCanberra, Australia An Australian man ran 13.1 miles on a treadmill while floating in a hot air balloon. Running to raise money for the Heart Foundation, Rob Ginnivan said the feat took twice as long as his usual half marathon time, because the treadmill tilted in the basket with each step, making the entire distance an uphill battle.No Snow Lawsuit Vernon, New JerseyMountain Creek Resort is trying to collect on a $1.7 million insurance policy protecting itself against too many warm days. After a tough winter, owners of the New Jersey-based resort claim they’re entitled to the cash, but Everest Indemnity Insurance Co. disagrees. The dispute is over how many days during a 16-day window in December crested 33 degrees.last_img read more

Beer Blog: Sweetwater Road Trip Ale

Beer Blog: Sweetwater Road Trip Ale

first_imgSweetwater Road Trip AleI don’t care if it’s officially Spring—I’m not going paddling yet. I’ve got big plans for sessioning the French Broad outside of Asheville on a regular basis this Spring and Summer, but I’m gonna need the mercury to rise to at least 85 before I set the paddleboard in the water. I saw a friend on Facebook take a dip in the pool yesterday. She was fully clothed. It was 50 degrees. It’s kind of a thing—a ceremony to kiss winter goodbye and welcome the warmer weather. I like it.Here’s another Spring tradition I like—the release of light, easy drinking beers. All over the country, breweries are shedding their porters and stouts and malty ambers and showing off their lighter pales, pilsners and lagers. Sweetwater Brewing, out of Atlanta, has just released their latest Catch and Release Seasonal, the Road Trip Ale.Don’t let the name fool you—this is a German pilsner through and through. Road Trip has a strong lager profile, with a malty backbone and a clean, crisp mouthfeel. But Sweetwater brews it at a higher temperature like an ale, and adds a healthy dose of hops like an ale, so there’s a dry, slightly hoppy bitterness to the finish, and more floral, lemony notes than you’d expect from a pilsner. Let it warm a little in the glass, and it gets even more complex.There’s a trend of imperial lagers going around in the craft beer world, and this almost fits the bill. It’s a bit too subtle to fit into the imperial category, and the ABV hangs relatively low at 5.2 percent. You don’t really want an imperial lager anyway right now. You want what’s in the Road Trip bottle—a craft brewery’s take on the drinkable pilsner, perfect for those first forays into Spring.And if that’s not enough, Sweetwater is also releasing their uber popular 420 in a can. Is there anything better than a paddle down the river followed by a sixer of 420 cans? No, there isn’t.beerblog3-21last_img read more

Weekend Pick: Friends of Muir Valley Benefit, Rogers, Kentucky, Nov. 8

Weekend Pick: Friends of Muir Valley Benefit, Rogers, Kentucky, Nov. 8

first_imgmuir_valley1Photo Courtesy of Friends of the Muir ValleyWhether you already know and love the Muir Valley of Rogers, Kentucky or have yet to experience it, this Saturday will be the perfect opportunity to show this natural wonder some love. On November 8, come on out to the Friends of the Muir Valley Benefit at the Land of the Arches Campground to spend time in one of Eastern America’s best sites for climbing, hiking, and simply soaking in a beautiful landscape.Named after John Muir, climber extraordinaire of the 19th century, founder of the famous Sierra Club, and outdoor preservation hero, the Muir Valley occupies over 400 acres of Kentucky land and features sandstone cliffs renowned across the country for their size, beauty, and top-notch climbing quality. It’s an incredibly accessible window to the world of outdoor sports: climbers and hikers of all levels can enjoy the scene, and admission is completely free. But because the area does not have an entrance fee or any other regular revenue source, the Muir Valley needs a little help from the people that care about it.This benefit event will support the Friends of the Muir Valley, a group that works to raise money for the yearly operating and maintenance expenses that the Valley requires. The society is also working towards obtaining ownership of the Muir Valley, and truly making the Valley the property of its people. At the Friends of the Muir Valley Benefit, with only a $5 donation, you can help the Valley thrive.You’ll also have the opportunity to meet two determined climbers well on their way to making outdoor sports history. Mark and Janelle Smiley, a married couple intent on completing the “Fifty Classic Climbs of North America” will be available at the benefit to explain their experiences, talk about what the Muir Valley means to them, and enjoy the fun right along with you. The Smileys have already climbed forty-four of the fifty top routes across the country, and are on track to be the first to meet the full challenge.Join these accomplished climbers, as well as everyday outdoor enthusiasts, to appreciate the Muir Valley and give back to an irreplaceable natural gem.last_img read more

This Jacket is My Marriage Counselor

This Jacket is My Marriage Counselor

first_imgI have a lot of winter jackets. Jackets for powder days, light jackets for warmer spring skiing, puffy jackets for bitter cold night skiing, waterproof shells for those days when it’s 36 and raining but I still want to ski anyway. The closets in my house overflow with waterproof/breathable/soft shell/hard shell/Gore-Tex/PrimaLoft…it’s become a point of contention for my wife, who’s concerned that I’m using more than my share of closet space. This is how you know you’re living a privileged, first world life: you argue over the sheer amount of expensive jackets you own and have to build a new closet in the basement specifically for ski gear. I’m not proud of it. But in my defense, the Southern Appalachians has some pretty schizophrenic weather in the winter. Look at the weekly forecast and you’re likely to see conditions ranging from 22 degrees and snowing to 33 and freezing rain to 55 and a light drizzle. You could head out in the morning and the conditions could vary so widely, that during  a single adventure you could need a puffy, a breathable shell and a waterproof shell. That’s three jackets for one day in the mountains. A man about the woods needs a lot of jackets to handle that sort of range in conditions. Marital fights over closet space are inevitable. Columbia has stepped in as a sort of marriage counselor with their new OutDry Hooded Jacket, a hybrid insulated/waterproof jacket that has successfully eliminated the need for any other jacket this winter. The Hooded is stuffed with warm 650-fill down and wrapped in Columbia’s OutDry tech, which is a two-layer waterproof system that has proven to be more breathable than its competition over the last few years I’ve been able to use it. It also has more stretch than its counterparts. So, put all that together in this jacket and you’ve got a legitimately waterproof puffy. I’ve worn this thing in a downpour, I’ve worn it on light powder days, I’ve even worn it in the worst imaginable conditions: during a night ski session when it was 24 degrees and Breckenwolf had every single snowgun blasting. That’s like skiing through a hurricane of snow, over and over. The end result was the same no matter what conditions mother nature and man threw at the Hooded: I stayed dry and toasty warm. Do you get what I’m saying here? I no longer need that waterproof hardshell. Or that mid-layer puffy on cold days. Or the soft shell, for that matter, because this thing breaths like a champ too. With the OutDry Hooded, I have a jacket that works all winter, regardless of the conditions. It’s become the jacket I reach for day in, day out, whether I’m walking the kids to school or looking to earn some turns by skiing up and down Breckenwolf. In a single season, the OutDry Hooded has rendered my other jackets obsolete. Not that I’m going to get rid of all those other jackets in my house. We just did that closet addition. Plus, I don’t want my wife to think she won the War of the Winter Jackets. I can’t give her the upper hand. My only complaint? I could’ve used an internal zipper pocket for my phone, but I feel like an entitled asshole just bringing that up. Forget I said anything.last_img read more

Fridays on the Fly: How the EPA is Threatening Clean Water Fisheries

Fridays on the Fly: How the EPA is Threatening Clean Water Fisheries

first_imgEarly on his tenure, Trump-appointed EPA head Scott Pruitt began advancing an anti-environmental agenda that would, among other things, withhold critical safeguards from the nation’s headwater streams and wetlands.Since then, he has targeted clean water by trying to dismantle an Obama-era statute known as the Clean Water Rule or the Waters of the United States Rule. This rule, which Pruitt’s EPA is seeking to rescind, ensures the protection of 60 percent of U.S. stream miles and 20 million acres of its wetlands.Not only would a move to rescind it have detrimental effects on the vitality of America’s commercial and recreational fisheries, but it could put the drinking water of as many as 1 in 3 Americans directly at risk.“Almost certainly, some water bodies will face increased pollution under a narrower federal Clean Water Rule,” Daniel Esty, professor of environmental law and policy at Yale Law School, told the Scientific American back in February when Donald Trump placed the law under review. “It would leave some critical water resources less protected.”Critics like Esty have argued that the Trump Administration’s reasoning for attempting to withdraw the Clean Water Rule is based on a fundamentally flawed economic analysis that hinges on outdated recession-era statistics and an assumption that protected headwaters and wetlands provide no economic benefit to the American economy. The latter conclusion is particularly hard to stomach when you consider that the outdoor recreation economy contributes some $887 billion in annual consumer spending.If you value the clean water in your favorite rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands, there is still time to make your voice heard. The EPA is required to accept public comment until August 28, 2017. You can comment using this handy form from the folks at Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. Don’t forget to leave a personalized message about the ways in which pollution would damage the fishing holes you love.last_img read more

Bridge Day 2017 Was One For The Books

Bridge Day 2017 Was One For The Books

first_imgLadies and Gentleman, our 20th and final festival of the Live Outside and Play 2017 tour has come to an end. It’s been a long, incredible, and exhausting journey but we wouldn’t have it any other way. In true LOAP fashion, we went out with a bang with one of the largest extreme sports festivals in the World. That, of course, is Bridge Day. For one day every year, the New River Gorge Bridge plays host to six hours of safe, legal, BASE jumping.We’re no strangers to the New River Gorge. The bridge, located in Fayetteville, West Virgina, is surrounded by world-class rock climbing and whitewater. In fact, this was our 3rd time visiting “The New” this fall.The act of BASE jumping is not an illegal activity. In the United States, however, it is almost impossible to find a place where you can legally BASE jump. For those unfamiliar, BASE jumping is jumping with a parachute from a fixed object. It is illegal in virtually all U.S. cities and National Parks. For that reason, every year on the 3rd Saturday of October hundreds of BASE jumpers flock from around the world to the New River Gorge Bridge. Their goal is to huck themselves off the 876′  modern marvel towards the water below.Bridge Day is the only day of the year where the bridge is actually closed to traffic and spectators can legally walk out onto the world’s second largest single arch bridge. This feat doesn’t come easy. The act of closing the bridge, coordinating the hundreds of vendors and 80 thousand attendees requires careful planning. The bridge is a vital artery for traffic in the region so the closure is minimized to a 10-hour window.For that reason, we had to wake up earlier than we have in quite a while to get in line for load-in. The early load-in not only helped everyone get where they needed to be in time for the 9:00 AM start, but it allowed us to catch one of the most beautiful sunrises of the year.Most of the day was spent at the booth talking to folks about the magazine and all of the great gear we brought. With the help of some of our fearless Blue Ridge Outdoors friends, we were able to break away in the afternoon and drive down below the bridge to the landing zone. It’s far more peaceful below the bridge. Traffic was prohibited so aside from the folks who hiked or biked into the gorge the place was empty. A far cry from the hustle and bustle of the massive crowd above. From below it’s much easier to see how far the jumpers fall before pulling their parachutes.Of course, Bridge Day isn’t only about BASE Jumping. If you have the desire and are lucky enough to have your name drawn in the lottery you may also repel down below the bridge. We could see tiny humans dangling from the bridge’s catwalk. It was quite the sight to behold and something that we would really like to try.Our festivals might be done for the year, but we’re not quite finished. We’re headed south to see some friends and help give back! Thursday, October, 26th we’re teaming up with The Hub and Pisgah Tavern in Brevard, North Carolina to help clean up Pisgah National Forest. Then, on Saturday, October 28th we hit Greenville, South Carolina for a little trail maintenance with Greenville County Parks & Rec. If you’re in the area, as always, we’d love to see you!!If you like the gear we’re reppin’, or what we’re wearing, check out some of the sponsors that make this tour possible: La Sportiva, Crazy Creek, National Geographic, RovR Products, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, LifeStraw, and Lowe Alpine.last_img read more