On the Blogs: A ‘Wink and a Nod’ in Regulatory Allowance That Saw Coal as Too Big to Fail FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Patrick McGinley for TheConversation.com:A self-bonding corporation’s promise to reclaim is little more than an IOU backed by company assets.Companies reorganizing under federal bankruptcy laws will continue to mine and market coal, hoping to shed mountains of debt and eventually emerge from bankruptcy. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to obtain conventional surety bonds after they reorganize, or whether bankruptcy courts will direct the companies to use their remaining assets to partially fulfill their self-bonding obligations.One thing is clear, however. Against the backdrop of a century of coal company bankruptcies and attendant environmental damage, regulators ignored a looming coal market collapse with a wink and a nod. Properly administered, SMCRA’s reclamation bonding requirements should have required secure financial guarantees collectible upon bankruptcy.Unfortunately, coal regulators viewed America’s leading coal companies like Wall Street’s mismanaged banks – too big to fail. As a result, American taxpayers may have to pick up an enormous reclamation tab for coal producers.Full item: Will taxpayers foot the cleanup bill for bankrupt coal companies?
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Washington Examiner:Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Friday defended U.S. installers of rooftop solar panels and made an effort to beat back a pending decision that could make imported solar panels more expensive.Bipartisan letters from 16 senators and 53 congressman were sent to International Trade Commission Chairman Rhonda Schmidtlein, and urged the agency to reject a petition by Chinese and German-owned companies that manufactured solar panels and cells in the U.S., but have since gone bankrupt.The two foreign-owned companies that produced in the U.S. were seeking protection from imports that they say is hurting U.S.-based manufacturing. But the lawmakers wrote in their letters that imposing duties on these imports would only increase costs for domestic companies that install rooftop solar panels.“Solar companies in our states believe the requested trade protection would double the price of solar panels,” the Senate letter read. “Increasing costs will stop solar growth dead in its tracks, threatening tens of thousands of American workers in the solar industry and jeopardizing billions of dollars in investment in communities across the country.”Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., spearheaded the letter writing campaign on the Senate side. Reps. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., Mike Thompson, D-Calif., Pat Meehan, R-Pa., and Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., did the same in the House of Representatives.The letters were sent ahead of the trade commission’s Aug. 15 hearing on the petition by Chinese-owned Suniva and German-owned Solar World. The ITC’s role in the case is to decide if imports are hurting U.S.-based manufacturing, even if through the import of fairly traded goods.The Solar Energy Industry Association, the main trade group for the U.S. solar industry, explained that the “agency is considering whether these two companies out of more than 8,000 across the U.S. solar industry deserve tariff relief that would impact the entire market.” The group is opposing the companies’ request at the agency.Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the solar industry group, said the lawmakers effort shows that “trade tariffs are not a red or blue state issue.”The solar energy industry has created 1 out of 50 new jobs within the U.S. in the last year, according to SEIA.More: Republicans, Democrats join forces to protect rooftop solar installers Bipartisan Move in Congress to Thwart Trade Petition Aimed at Driving Up Solar-Panel Prices
BNEF: Unsubsidized wind now competitive with gas in Minnesota FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Minneapolis Star-Tribune:The cost of deploying wind and solar energy continued to decline significantly in Minnesota last year, and wind — even without federal tax subsidies — may be the state’s cheapest source of new electricity.Those conclusions were included in a report released Monday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which annually surveys the U.S. power generation sector for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, an industry-led group.The cost of new wind and solar power facilities in Minnesota fell by 16 percent and 23 percent respectively in 2018 over the previous year, the report found.The “levelized cost” of new, unsubsidized wind energy came in at $38 per megawatt hour (MWh), which takes into account the cost to build a power plant and its total power output, according to the Bloomberg analysis. Bloomberg didn’t have a state-by-state breakout of the levelized cost of natural gas. But wind in Minnesota is particularly cheap.“Minnesota has access to some of the best wind resources in the U.S.,” the Bloomberg report said. “As a result … new wind build in the state is likely already at parity with new combined-cycle natural gas plants even without incentives.”More: Cost of adding new wind, solar energy continues to fall in Minnesota, report says
Navajo proclamation points nation toward clean energy development FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Farmington Daily Times:Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer signed a proclamation late today that calls on the tribe to pursue renewable energy projects.The proclamation – named the Navajo Háyoołkááł Proclamation – calls for a diverse energy portfolio and job creation from projects that focus on clean energy development.It also calls for restoring land and water impacted by uranium and coal mining, developing off-grid solar-generated electricity for homes, and building utility scale renewable energy projects that supply tribal and state lands.Among the utility scale projects mentioned during the signing ceremony is a proposed solar farm situated on Paragon Ranch, a 22,000-acre parcel located south of Farmington, or on land within Tsé Daa K’aan Chapter.The proposal is part of $2 million the tribe is seeking for renewable energy projects in the capital outlay bill that awaits Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s signature.Nez said the proclamation sends a message that the tribe is continuing to embrace change and wants to be the leader in renewable energy in Indian Country. The proclamation also supports amending the tribe’s energy policy from 2013 and creating an energy office to oversee energy projects and development.More: Proclamation supports renewable energy transition for Navajo Nation
The best outdoor writing, I believe, is about people. Nature writing can be pretty, and environmental books can be convincing, but I ultimately crave the raw emotion of fellow human beings struggling to find and protect their place in the world.People are both the problem and the solution. Good outdoor writing reconnects people to nature—not through lectures, but through living, flesh-and-blood examples of courage and commitment. We feel the landscape through them.Here are a few of my favorite classic outdoor voices and books that should be on every environmentalist’s must-read list. Instead of preachy diatribes or flowery descriptions, they inspire me with gritty, gutsy characters—some legendary, some overlooked—who stand their ground and speak for the wild.The Last American Man by Elizabeth GilbertA 21st century pioneer living nearly self-sufficiently on a wild reserve in Appalachia, Eustace Conway embodies the ideals of American masculinity—ruggedness, courage, and independence. However, those hard-fought ideals have a price. Gilbert shows us the tired, lonely man behind the bravado. A tough, buckskin-clad maverick hunts for the one thing missing from his mountain refuge: love.Into the Wild by Jon KrakauerChris McCandless is either a stupid kid or self-reliant hero. He gives away all of his savings and wanders the wild, seeking adventure and an authentic relationship with the land—until he finds himself starving to death alone in the Alaskan wilderness. Barely able to lift a pen, he scribbles this final message, which continues to haunt and shape my own life: “Happiness only real when shared.”Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPheeMcPhee masterfully captures the nuances of one of the most influential modern environmentalists, David Brower. But don’t expect classic confrontations with battle lines clearly drawn; both McPhee and Brower are far more kaleidoscopic.Zoro’s Field by Thomas Rain CroweLiving alone and off-grid in an Appalachian cabin for four years (twice as long as Thoreau) and growing nearly all of his own food, Crowe’s memoir is a modern-day Walden, filled with wisdom gleaned only through a consciously simple, self-reliant life in the wild.Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse RayRay’s hardscrabble upbringing in a south Georgia junkyard is an unlikely start for an environmental luminary, but the rusted scrap heaps of her childhood are chock full of raw, resourceful characters—including an authoritarian father who locks his family in a closet and a snuff-dipping coon hunter who introduces her to the wild woods.The Lost Grizzlies by Rick BassGrizzly bears had not been seen for 15 years in southern Colorado until a small group sets out to find them. Bass seeks more than bears, though; he is tracking wildness and the longings of the human heart, which only are revealed in the presence of something larger.Desert Solitaire by Edward AbbeyIt’s definitely the most sermonizing selection of the bunch, but Abbey’s coarse, thunderous voice crying out for the wilderness still echoes across the desert he called home. Amid his nerve-tingling adventures as a park ranger, the monkey-wrenching anarchist unleashes forceful, full-blooded pleas for the last scraps of wildlands.
Farm To Feet makes 100-percent U.S. sourced and built socks at its plant in Mount Airy, North Carolina. And to celebrate this heritage, the company is introducing the Blue Ridge Run Series for Spring 2015. The line will include light-weight running socks in multiple heights, with and without cushioning, and a graduation compression sock.Farm to Feet has paired Rocky Mountain merino wool (sourced from the American Sheep Industries) with a new “Friction-Free” technology to create a collection of socks with wool’s natural feel, odor-resistance and wicking properties, but featuring improved abrasion control and heat management.Farm to Feet’s “Friction-Free technology” features a U.S.-sourced PTFE nylon, with the PTFE permanently incorporated into the nylon yarn during its postproduction. PTFE has a low friction coefficient, which reduces abrasion and the chance for blisters. Additionally, PTFE is hydrophobic which enhances the movement of perspiration away from feet and results in socks that dry quickly.The Asheville is an ultra light running sock with half density cushioning under the foot. The Roanoke is a similar sock, but with a flat-knitted frictionless bottom. The socks are designed with airflow channels over the instep and venting panels on the sides and rear for improved breathability. Both socks are offered in low and quarter-crew heights and available in men’s and women’s styles. MSRP- Low $16.00/ 1/4 Crew $17.00.Rounding out the collection is the Blue Ridge with graduated compression. Its has a targeted compression of 17.5 mmHg starting at the ankle and decreases up through the calf, to assist with blood flow and reduce muscle vibration for enhanced performance or recovery. The 16″ tall Blue Ridge with Friction-Free technology has half density cushioning underfoot for additional comfort. MSRP- $30.00.The socks in the Farm to Feet Blue Ridge Run Series feature all US sourced materials, a 100% seamless toe closure, reciprocated heal and toe pockets for a great fit, and double welt tops.In support of the launch Farm to Feet has teamed up with the Roanoke Outside and the Blue Ridge Marathon. The Roanoke has been named the official sock of the marathon and at the upcoming Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Farm to Feet and Roanoke Outside will be awarding one attendee a trip for two to run “America’s Toughest Road Marathon”.Farm to Feet is committed to the goal of creating “the world’s best wool socks” by exclusively using an all-American recipe: U.S. merino, U.S. manufacturing, and U.S. workers. With a supply chain completely within the U.S., Farm to Feet is able to ensure the highest quality materials and end products, while having as little impact on the environment as possible. Once the wool is grown and sheared in the Rocky Mountains, the remaining processes take place within 300 miles of its sustainability-focused knitting facility in Mt. Airy, N.C.All Farm to Feet socks feature seamless toe closures, a comfort compression fit from the top through the arch, and superior cushioning for ultimate performance and comfort. Learn more at www.farmtofeet.com.
3:58 Audio PlayerThe WestiesIf I Had A GunUse Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.00:000:00 / 5:15 You Have Grown Simon Linsteadt Carnival Of Hopes Jane Kramer To Get By Malcolm Holcombe Greatest Hits Gladiola 3:12 3:16 Loser David Gans 5:15 If I Had A Gun The Westies 4:04 4:08 4:10 Cold Burger, Cold Fries Henry Wagons 3:34 5:27 Hideous Monster Jon Patrick Walker Receiver The Waco Brothers Memories Larry Keel 4:01 6:54 The Asp And The Albatross Freakwater Solitude Alpenglow 2:30 Meridian Paul Burch Copy and paste this code to your site to embed. 3:02 She’s Going To Mexico I’m Going To Jail 8 Ball Aitken There are few people on the planet who know the Grateful Dead like David Gans knows the Grateful Dead.Gans, who has ushered fans from around the world through the soundscape of the Grateful Dead via the nationally syndicated Grateful Dead Hour on public radio and his SiriusXM call in show for nearly three decades, recently published This Is All A Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead, his fourth book focused on the band.Gans also released It’s A Hand-Me-Down, a collection of Grateful Dead tunes easily recognized by dedicated Deadheads and even casual fans, late last year. Trail Mix is excited to feature “Loser” on this month’s mix.Also included this month is a brand new track from jazz sax master Stan Getz. Perhaps describing the tune, “O Grande Amor,” as “brand new” is a bit of a stretch, as the recording was laid down in 1976. it is only now being released, four decades later, in the deluxe CD Moments In Time.Some fantastic musicians with Asheville ties pop up on this month’s mix. Check out brand new tunes from Larry Keel, Malcolm Holcombe, and Jane Kramer.Be sure to check out the new music from Carrie Rodriguez, 8 Ball Aitken, Old Man Canyon, Jon Patrick Walker, Gladiola, Alpenglow, The Westies, Freakwater, Simon Linsteadt, Colours, The Waco Brothers, and Henry Wagons.Stay tuned to the Trail Mix blog this month for chats with Eric Brace, Dori Freeman, Paul Burch, and a ticket giveaway for Jane Kramer’s CD release party at The Grey Eagle in Asheville.And, of course, get out and buy some of this incredible music. Support these artists who so willingly support Trail Mix. Grab a disc. Buy some concert tickets. Spread the word and tell a friend. These great musicians appreciate it. Been Awhile Eric Brace & Peter Cooper O Grande Amor Stan Getz 3:52 6:50 Ain’t Nobody Dori Freeman Back to the Start Old Man Canyon Monster Colours 3:18 3:43 4:28 Z Carrie Rodriguez + The Sacred Hearts Embed 3:11 2:48
Photo courtesy Ashley Robinson Tickets are on sale now: $30 later bird, $35 in advance, $45 at door. Tickets include wine tasting from each winery. VIP tickets are $75 and include the tasting plus a wine tote bag with a festival shirt, a collectable patch, or pin and a hat. Tickets for children and non-drinking adults are also available. VIP or not, all attendees will get to enjoy the beautiful scenery of On Sunny Slope Farms. The oysters for the festival come from Bruce and Daniel Vogt of Big Island Aquaculture from Hayes, Virginia. Big Island Aquaculture is a small, family run business serving our customers with great tasting oysters, while helping sustain the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay and promoting its rich culture. Their briny oysters are often referred to as the best in the bay–and during the festival–the best in the Shenandoah Valley. Do not miss this culinary expert showcase- Specialty Oyster Dishes paired with these Exquisite Virginia Wines.While you are in the Shenandoah Valley, why not stay the night? Hotel Madison & Shenandoah Valley Conference Center, the newest hotel in Harrisonburg, blends a sophisticated style with relaxing comfort. Featuring well-appointed rooms and suites with mountain and downtown views, as well as fine dining, fitness facilities, Hotel Madison is an elegant and inspiring choice. This upscale hotel provides superior accommodations, event spaces, and staff services.Wineries/VineyardsNorth Mountain Vineyard & Winery, CrossKeys Vineyards, Bluestone Vineyard, Brix and Columns Vineyards, White Oak Lavender Farm & The Purple WOLF Tasting Room, Cave Ridge Vineyard and Winery, Castle Glen Estates Winery, Third Hill at DeMello Vineyards, Narmada Winery, and Hunt’s Vineyard.Culinary PairingsDayton Tavern, Paella Perfecta, Hops Kitchen, Mashita, Taj of India, Smiley’s Ice Cream, and Kraken CakesProceeds from this event go to the Artisans Center of Virginia, the parent organization of Virginia’s Artisan Trail Network and the Virginia Oyster Trail.Sponsored by: Hotel Madison & Shenandoah Valley Conference Center, Blue Ridge Insurance Services, Inc., Visit Harrisonburg Virginia, 93-7 NOW, Ruffles & Rust Florals, Another Chance Vintage Rentals, Visit Rockingham County, VA, Virginia is for Lovers Get your Oyster fix while supporting the Artisans Center of Virginia at On Sunny Slope Farm. Their 2nd annual Wine and Oyster Festival, on August 5, 2018, at 11:00 AM, will have fun for the whole family. Enjoy tastings from Virginia wineries, coastal oysters, and an array of craft foods as you explore local artisan booths and are entertained with live music and fun activities. Spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon on the farm with your family and friends. It’s an All Virginia Day! Photo courtesy Ashley Robinson
We’d love to know how your business or organization is adapting and innovating in these trying times! Feel free to send us any information, news or updates that you think our readers should know about to [email protected] or feel free to leave a comment below. Updates will be posted at blueridgeoutdoors.com/covid-19-updates/ and shared periodically through our social media channels. These are unprecedented times and we understand that they are having a huge impact on all of our businesses. Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine would not be possible without your support, and so we thank you for sticking with us through this trying time. #outsidewethrive Blue Ridge Outdoors Partners – as you can imagine, this is not how we expected to launch into our 25th anniversary year, but no one could have expected this.
By Dialogo February 11, 2009 In 1997, a forward-thinking combatant commander conceptualized a plan to invite partner-nation senior military officers — primarily colonels — to serve on his staff as advisors, providing cultural expertise and coordination on military matters between their countries and U.S. Southern Command. One year later, Gen. Charles Wilhelm, then commander of the Southern Command, made this vision a reality. Argentina and Uruguay were the first countries to send a senior officer to work in the command, thus creating the Partner Nation Liaison Officer program, or PNLO. The following year, Colombia and Ecuador also sent officers. Chile began participating in the program in 2000, and Canada sent a liaison officer in 2007. More than a decade later, the program still thrives. “The truth is that we have a small community within Southern Command and we share our experiences,” said Chilean navy Capt. David Hardy, who along with his counterparts from Uruguay, Peru, Colombia and Canada, form today’s PNLO program. Their experience is invaluable as the command strengthens relationships with partner nations. “The biggest benefit they bring is the experience of working in our region,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jose Sanchez, deputy director of country insight for the command. “They were raised there, they know their militaries, they know how they think … and they can give us feedback immediately.” Peruvian army Col. César Alva is working on collaborative solutions to end terrorist activities. “My main job is trying to collaborate in resolving narcoterrorism by means of cooperation between Southern Command and the Peruvian armed forces,” he said. “I’m interested in maintaining a good cooperation program for 2009, and if possible, a five-year midterm plan where our objectives are clear … which are to end terrorism and narcotrafficking.” The liaison officer is a coveted position appointed by each country’s minister of defense. The tour of duty ranges from one to two years, depending on the country’s agreement with the command. Each officer usually receives a housing and transportation allowance from their military. The officers usually have a good grasp of the English language and, in many cases, speak more than two languages. While the Southern Command benefits from the knowledge and experience of the liaison officers, the program also gives officers and their families an opportunity to experience U.S. culture. “My experience until now has been excellent. It’s the first time my family and I have been in the United States,” Uruguayan army Col. Luis Lavista said. “There are some very interesting and enjoyable things for people coming from South America to the United States, above all order, transportation, respect for the laws, and there’s a lot of security.” The Miami-based command has been working to integrate liaison officers into more of its activities, including conferences and regional exercises such as PANAMAX. Liaison officers have also been visiting component commands, including U.S. Army South in San Antonio; U.S. Navy South in Jacksonville, Fla.; and U.S. Marine Corp Forces South in Miami, to learn more about U.S. military operations. “By taking them to the component commands, they see their roles and missions. And we try to teach them how we interact with each other and how our components interact with the headquarters,” Col. Sanchez said. “Once they get that view, they are able to better understand the projects that would help us — and them. We have to remember that interoperability is a big thing between our armed forces and our partner nations.” With the command expected to move into a new facility in late 2010, current commander Adm. Jim Stavridis has invited more countries to participate in the mutually beneficial program. The officers who have served in the program support increased participation. “We don’t have to be [only] four [countries]. We should have liaison officers here from all countries,” Col. Lavista said. If all countries were represented, he said, they would have the ability to work better collectively.