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Archives for: December 31, 2020

Virginia Governor Questions Continuance of Tax Subsidies for Failing Coal Companies

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first_imgVirginia Governor Questions Continuance of Tax Subsidies for Failing Coal Companies FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Alicia Petska for the Roanoke Times:The state’s coal employment tax credit — which cost the state an estimated $28.4 million last year— is due to sunset at the end of December. Southwest Virginia lawmakers are again pushing to reset that clock and extend the program by three to five years.But Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who vetoed extension bills last year, is renewing his concerns about the program.McAuliffe, pointing in part to the findings of a 2012 study, has called for revamping how the state funnels money into the coalfield region’s economic development.“I’ve been pretty vocal on the coal tax credit. It hasn’t worked,” he told reporters after an event Friday. “We’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on it, and we’ve still lost a lot of jobs. I’ve got to protect taxpayer dollars. I’ve got to invest our tax dollars so we can grow our economy.”But the coal companies who have come to rely on the industry tax break — one of the larger ones the state offers — are pleading with lawmakers not to kill the program.“This is absolutely key to our survival, and we’re in a survival mode,” Donnie Ratliff of Alpha Natural Resources, which declared bankruptcy last summer, told a House subcommittee during a hearing Friday.Virginia offers two major tax credits targeted at the coal industry. One benefits coal mine operators while another is used by power companies that purchase coal — though portions of the second can be shifted to mine operators.The tax credits were created to slow the decline of Virginia’s coal industry, but a 2012 Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission study questioned whether they were succeeding.Coal production has continued to plummet, it found, and mining jobs have disappeared at faster-than-projected rates. In 1988, Virginia had over 11,100 coal jobs, according to the state’s finance office. Today, only about 2,800 remain.That was despite the state plowing over $610 million into coal tax credits during that period.Glen Besa, state director for the Sierra Club, contended it would be short-sighted of Virginia to continue banking so heavily on coal and subsidizing companies like Alpha Natural Resources, which he criticized for filing for bankruptcy and then seeking permission to pay millions of dollars in executive bonuses.The state’s coal production is only going to continue to decline, Besa said.“When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is stop digging,” he said. “There’s no question that coal has run this country for over 100 years, and the people that mine that coal should be respected. But we should be finding ways to help those people and that region make the transition away from coal.”Full article: McAuliffe, lawmakers argue over coal tax creditslast_img read more

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Michigan Legislators Move to Slow Growth of Renewables, End State Energy-Efficiency Program

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Andy Balaskovitz for Midwest Energy News:Driven by Republican support, Michigan lawmakers advanced a pair of comprehensive energy bills Wednesday that seek to put more restrictions on the state’s electric choice program and limit clean energy standards.SB 438, which passed the Senate Energy and Technology Committee 7-3 along party lines, would hold a 10 percent renewable energy standard “floor” going forward and phase out Michigan’s successful energy efficiency program by 2021. The bill establishes a 35 percent clean energy goal by 2025, which would include energy efficiency and an expanded definition of renewable energy to include incineration.Proposed amendments backed by Democrats to increase the state’s renewables portfolio standard to 15 percent and 20 percent failed, as did a proposal to extend the efficiency standard to 2025.“I think we missed a golden opportunity here to build on very successful 2008 energy legislation and bring more parties on board to build support,” said Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood.The bill does not, however, eliminate the state’s solar net metering program in favor of a “buy-all, sell-all” model where generators would buy their electricity from a utility and reimburse at roughly wholesale rates. That proposal originally drew fierce criticism from clean energy advocates. Though some changes were made for net metering provisions, existing participants would be grandfathered in under the existing system.SB 437 would maintain Michigan’s 10 percent cap on customers who can participate in electric choice, but place greater restrictions on alternative energy suppliers to provide capacity and on customers who participate.Full article: Michigan lawmakers advance bills to abandon clean energy standards Michigan Legislators Move to Slow Growth of Renewables, End State Energy-Efficiency Programlast_img read more

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Five companies mined 53% of U.S. coal production in 2018—S&P

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Five coal companies produced more than half of the coal mined in the U.S. in 2018, while struggling Powder River Basin coal producer Cloud Peak Energy Inc. was bumped from the third-largest coal producer in the country to the fourth-largest.The five largest coal companies in the U.S. produced about 403.5 million tons of coal, or 53.4%, of the 755.9 million tons produced in 2018, an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis found. The top five coal producer rankings remained largely the same from 2017 to 2018, except that Murray Energy Corp., which primarily mines coal in the Northern Appalachia and Illinois basins, overtook Cloud Peak in terms of coal production volume.Murray Energy, like many of the largest coal producers, reported relatively flat production from the mines it owned in 2018 compared to the same mines’ output in 2017. Murray Energy declined to comment about its production levels or future production plans.Coal production at Cloud Peak mines declined by 14.0% from 2017 to 2018. The company has struggled with operational issues at its Antelope mine and recently warned that it was considering Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.Peabody Energy Corp., the largest coal producer in the U.S., mined about one-fifth of the coal produced in 2018. The company’s U.S. production of 155.5 million tons was down about 2.1% compared to the prior year and may go even lower in 2019 under Peabody’s plan to reduce volumes from North Antelope Rochelle, its flagship Powder River Basin mine, by about 10 million tons.More ($): Top 5 miners produced over half of U.S. coal in 2018; Cloud Peak’s ranking slips Five companies mined 53% of U.S. coal production in 2018—S&Plast_img read more

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Japan’s largest thermal power generator boosts investment in offshore wind industry

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Japan’s power generator JERA Co said on Wednesday it will buy a 49% stake in the Formosa 2 offshore wind project in Taiwan from Macquarie Capital for an undisclosed sum, in a bid to expand its renewable energy portfolio.JERA, a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings and Chubu Electric Power Co, already holds a 32.5% stake in Taiwan’s first commercial offshore wind project Formosa 1, which has 128 megawatts (MW) capacity.The latest investment on the 376 MW project, due to start operation at the end of 2021, will boost JERA’s renewable energy capacity through its equity holdings to 1.2 gigawatts (GW), a step closer to its 2025 renewable target of 5 GW.JERA declined to disclose the size of investment, but its general manager, Ken Matsuda, said the total cost of the Formosa 2 project is expected to be a “few hundred billion yen”.The company is also considering investing in the bigger Formosa 3 project, Matsuda said. “Formosa 3 is still in the early discussion stage and has not been decided, but we are in talks with parties involved with an aim to take a 30-40% stake in the 2 GW project,” Matsuda told a news conference. If agreed and approved by authorities, the Formosa 3 project is expected to start operation over 2026-2030, he added.JERA, Japan’s biggest thermal power generator, is also eyeing investment in offshore wind projects in Japan, Matsuda said. Japanese utilities are stepping up investment in renewable energy projects as they face growing pressure by investors and environment activists to divest coal-fired power plants as well as increasing demand for greener energy from their key customers.More: Japan’s JERA to buy 49% stake in Taiwan’s offshore wind project Japan’s largest thermal power generator boosts investment in offshore wind industrylast_img read more

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The Barstool Romeos

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first_imgTHE SKINNYPour yourself a stiff one – cheap bourbon, if you please – and prop your elbows on the bar while you take a listen to The Barstool Romeos.  The Barstool Romeos – Mike McGill and Andy Pirkle on guitar, Eric Keeble on percussion, and Josh Sidman on bass – is a Knoxville, Tennessee, outfit that offers up its brand of countrified rock and roll straight with no chaser.  These Knoxville honky tonk heroes are out and about sharing the sounds of their debut record, Twisted Steel & Sex Appeal.FOR FANS OFMerle Haggard, Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Jompson Brothers, James McMurtryTHEY SAID IT“The Barstool Romeos are what great country music and rock ‘n’ roll is all about. Their music is fun, thoughtful and real. Mike McGill and Andy Pirkle sound like they were born in a honky tonk and bathed in beer every night. (They still kind of smell that way.) They harmonize like angels who fell out of heaven into a bucket of barbecue. These are guys who used the work of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Del Reeves and, maybe, the early Allman Brothers as their musical Bible and win converts every time they play. Twisted Steel & Sex Appeal is one of the best albums of 2013 and one of the best debuts I’ve heard.”  – Wayne Bledsoe, Knoxville Sentinel Entertainment Writer & Host of WDVX’s “All Over The Road” ON STAGEThe Barstool Romeos just wrapped up a weekend opening for outlaw country songstress Elizabeth Cook in Maryville, Tennessee.  Honky tonk fans can catch the band on April 19th at The Hummingbird Taproom & Stage in Macon, Georgia, on April 20th in Cowan, Tennessee, at Brown’s Pool Room, and at Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria in Knoxville on Apri 27th.IN THEIR OWN WORDS“We all come from an eclectic mix of musical backgrounds.  I come from a country, bluegrass, gospel background.  Andy was raised on country but ended up in a punk band.  We love the blues and rock and roll and we have been influenced by everyone from Merle Haggard and The Louvin Brother’s harmonies to ZZ Top, AC/DC, and John Lee Hooker.  In this band, it is all about the song.  We love real music, just anything that has substance.”– Songwriter/guitarist Mike McGill on The Barstool Romeos’ influencesON THE WEBFor more on The Barstool Romeos, point the whiskey bottle in your browser to http://www.reverbnation.com/barstoolromeos for information on shows, music, and video clips.  You can also check out “Cheap Bourbon Whiskey” on this month’s edition of Trail Mix.last_img read more

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Blue Ridge Outdoors Top Towns Nominee: Prestonsburg, Kentucky

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first_imgDeep in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, the small town of Prestonsburg is home to a diverse array of outdoor opportunities. For starters, there is the Dewey Lake Recreation Area, where locals and visitors enjoy scenic views of Appalachia’s western end in a serene, wildlife-rich setting.Also on the shores of Dewey Lake is the Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. This unique state park offers boater access, fully furnished campsites, and luxury lodge accommodations. The Prestonsburg area is also home to the Levisa Fork River, know to hold abundant populations of trophy smallmouth, and the 18-mile Dawkins Line Rail Trail.Cudas_IB_0814_2DID YOU KNOW: This part of Eastern Kentucky is one of the rare places east of the Rocky Mountains where elk populations flourish.Vote now at blueridgeoutdoors.com!last_img read more

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New Jackson County, N.C., Hiking Map Available

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first_imgExplore the Western N.C. towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, Sylva, Balsam, Cullowhee, Glenville and Sapphire like never before with Jackson County’s new hiking map. Visitors can pick up the map at the Dillsboro Visitor Center or the Jackson County Visitor Center. In addition, the map will be located in area retail shops, restaurants or accommodations, the Smoky Mountain Host Visitor Center, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel, as well as any state visitor center or chamber. The map will also be available on the Jackson County website for download early this winter.The map, released this fall, includes directions to 19 waterfalls, nine hiking trails, three multiple-use trails for riding or biking, five semi-private and public golf courses, three whitewater rafting and watersports outfitters, three horseback riding locations and eight recreational rental service locations.There are several popular scenic destinations emphasized in the new map. Richland Balsam, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, is the highest point with an elevation of 6,410 feet. Waterrock Knob, an almost 2.5-mile round-trip hike, showcases breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains with an exciting steep trek to the 6,292 foot peak, and Whiteside Mountain features the highest vertical drop of 750 feet in the Eastern U.S. Popular waterfalls on the map include Cashiers Sliding Rock, Silver Run Falls and Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall in the eastern United States.Jackson County is located approximately 2 to 3 hours from major cities such as Atlanta, Greenville and Charlotte. Plan your mountain getaway and get more information about Jackson County at mountainloversnc.com.Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, Sylva, Balsam, Cullowhee, Glenville and Sapphire are the distinct locales that make up Western North Carolina’s Jackson County, a place of lofty peaks, rushing water and spectacular scenery. Each of these Blue Ridge Mountain towns provides rich natural beauty that invites visitors to experience the idyllic North Carolina Mountains. Explore miles of hiking trails surrounded by unspoiled forests or discover the area’s shopping, dining, culture, and hometown atmosphere. Experience the thrill of river rafting and tubing or the more laid back adventures of fly fishing, boating, golf, or a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.“As one of the premier outdoor destinations in the south, we pride ourselves on creating the most active and visitor-friendly environment,” said Robert Jumper, chairman of the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority. “The new hiking map showcases some of the best outdoor tourism attractions and scenic views that Jackson County has to offer. Visitors can now more easily plan their trip activities for the entire county. And best of all, they are invited to ‘Play On’ in our amazing county.”JacksonCounty-Fishing-Tuckaseegeelast_img read more

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Editor’s Letter: Get Dirty

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first_imgLooking for an outdoorsy New Year’s Resolution? Dare ya to do the Dirty Dozen! Already, hundreds have signed up to complete the challenge of hiking 10+ miles in 12 Southern wilderness areas (for a total of 120+ miles). At the end of the year, winners in several categories will be selected for prize packages and highlighted in the magazine. If you haven’t registered for the challenge, it’s not too late. Registration remains open and there’s still plenty of time to complete the challenge. Visit southeastwilderness50.org/dirty-dozenPrint“I did battle with the Linville Gorge Wilderness, and at the end of the day, battered and bruised, it was very clear which one of us had won round one.”—Timo Holquist, Linville Gorge Wilderness, NC“Fantastic day for a trail run with my 12-year-old son. It was his first big trail run, and he ran several hours across super-technical singletrack with challenging nav and big vert (over 3,500 feet)!”—Jay and Chilton Curwen, Middle Prong Wilderness, NC“Wilderness has a way of lifting my spirits and providing me with what I need when I need it, whether it is reassurance, inspiration, or a new friendship forged on the trail.”—Kayla Strong, Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, NC“As we set up camp I soon discovered that my borrowed tent was just a rain fly. Backpacking 101: No matter how late you get in after celebrating your birthday, always check your equipment prior to departure, especially if it is borrowed.”—Kris Hensley, Shenandoah Wilderness, Va“I’ve found a new meaning to the phrase “trail magic” on this hike. When you are lost and panicked, out of the blue the trail just finds you and guides you in the right direction.”—Jennie McElroy, Cheaha Wilderness, Al •last_img read more

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Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers Dish Their Favorite Field-Tested Gear

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first_imgAndy Mossey and Steph Whatton know how to road trip. The couple does it for a living. Mossey and Whatton are a traveling trainer team for Subaru and Leave No Trace, driving across the Eastern U.S., educating schools, camps, and the general public about Leave No Trace principles. They live year round in an Outback and spent 250 nights camping last year. “The best part of living in your car, is you have everything you need to adventure all the time,” says Mossey. “If we have a couple of hours of free time, and we’re in a spot with incredible climbing or trail running, we’re ready to go.” After a year on the road, Mossey and Whatton have dialed in their road trip gear and system. Here, they outline their favorite pieces of road trip gear.Taxa TigerMoth ($12,900)AM: We recently put a trailer on the Subaru. It only weighs 900 pounds, but has a queen sized bed and a pull out kitchen. There’s tons of storage room…it’s amazing. It’s designed to give you every piece of living equipment, as if you’re living in a basecamp.tigermoth1_FIXBig Agnes Double Z ($110)SW: I couldn’t do this job without that thing. Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial, and this insulated sleeping pad is more comfortable than the mattress in my last apartment.DoubleZ_Small2014_FIXThule Sonic XL ($659)AM: This roof box is our gear closet. It has a super rigid design, with tons of room for all of our climbing gear. Says Whatton, “It’s so sturdy, and unbelievably durable for all weather conditions. I don’t know what we’d do without it.”thule-sonic-xl-cargo-box_FIXENO Hammock ($60)SW: We have our ENOs with us at all times—a DoubleNest and a SingleNest. I really like the new strap system, the Helios, made from Dyneema. They’re really lightweight but also user friendly. The SingleNest is key if we want to have our own space. We’re together all the time, so sometimes that’s nice.SH khaki-olive_FIXCamp Chef Everest Stove ($125)AM: We’re big foodies, making food every day, twice a day. It’s a two-burner stove that’s incredibly reliable You can cook anything on this stove. Our go-to meal is vegetable stir fry, with curry rice.MS2HP_FIXRinse Kit ($90)This little tub of sanitation holds and pressurizes two gallons of water so you can get clean and hit the town immediately after that trail run, ride or climb.RinseKit-Product-2016-Open-Print_FIXMazama Sidestream Hydration Pack ($39) The Sidestream provides a smooth, bounce-free run and an easy, one-handed drink motion that doesn’t interrupt your stride. Just pull the hose to your mouth and drink.Sidestream_FIXSOL Urban Survivor Kit ($80)This grab-and-go emergency backpack filled with all the necessary essentials to survive when a disaster strikes, including water, food, survival tools, and first aid.SOLUrbanSurvivorKit_FIXYakima Streamline $199-towers, $119-crossbarsYakima reinvented rack Streamline features towers that can adjust to most car shapes, and new cross bars that are more aerodynamic, but also stronger than their predecessors.Shot_4_RidgeLine_JS_Slvr_FIXlast_img read more

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Top 10 Tick Facts

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first_imgIf you’ve paid attention to the news in recent months, you probably know what we are currently in the midst of what most experts would call a banner tick season. Because these blood sucking parasites are well-known carriers of lyme and other disease causing pathogens, it’s important for every outdoor enthusiast to arm themselves with knowledge about how to avoid and cope with tick encounters in the wild.Reference this handy tick fact sheet next time you set out into the great outdoors. 1. Ticks crawl up. Ticks don’t jump, fly, or drop from trees onto your head and back. If you find one attached there, it most likely latched onto your foot or leg and crawled up over your entire body.2. All ticks (including deer ticks) come in small, medium and large sizes3. Ticks can be active even in the winter. Deer Ticks in particular are not killed by freezing temperatures, and will be active any winter day that the ground is not snow-covered or frozen.4. Ticks carry disease-causing microbes: Tick-transmitted infections are more common now than in past decades. With increases in deer populations, extending even into semi-urban areas in the eastern and western U.S., the trend is for increasing abundance and geographic spread of deer ticks and Lone Star ticks; and scientists are finding an ever-increasing list of disease-causing microbes transmitted by these ticks (Lyme disease bacteria, Babesia protozoa, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and other rickettsia, even encephalitis-causing viruses, and possibly Bartonella bacteria).5. The only way to get Lyme disease is by being bitten by a deer tick or one of its “cousins” found around the world.6. For most tick-borne diseases, you have 24 hours to find and remove a feeding tick before it transmits an infection. Even a quick daily tick check at bath or shower time can be helpful in finding and removing attached ticks before they can transmit an infection. Lyme disease bacteria take at least 24 hours to invade the tick’s saliva.7. Deer tick nymphs look like a poppy seed on your skin. And with about one-in-four nymphal deer ticks carrying the Lyme disease spirochete and other germs in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and upper mid-western U.S., it’s important to know what you’re really looking for. They’re easy to miss, their bites are generally painless, and they have a habit of climbing up (under clothing) and biting in hard-to-see places.8. The easiest and safest way to remove a tick is with a pointy tweezer. Using really pointy tweezers, it’s possible to grab even the poppy-seed sized nymphs right down next to the skin. The next step is to simply pull the tick out like a splinter.9. Clothing with built-in tick repellent is great for preventing tick bites. An easy way to avoid tick bites and disease is to wear clothing (shoes, socks, shorts or pants, and shirt) with Insect Shield tick repellent built-in.10. There’s really only one way you get a tick-transmitted disease, and that’s from a tick bite. Reducing tick abundance in your yard, wearing tick repellent clothing every day, treating pets every month and getting into a habit of doing a quick body scan are all great actions for preventing tick bites.–Tips courtesy of tickencounter.org.last_img read more

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