first_imgWest Virginia Regulators Question Alpha’s Apparent Intent to Abandon Mine-Reclamation Liabilities FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Daniel Tyson for the Beckley (W. Va.) Register-Herald:West Virginia filed an objection earlier this week to the proposed sale of Alpha Natural Resources’ assets to a hedge fund, stating the sale could leave the state holding hundreds of millions in reclamation liabilities.The state argues that if the sale is approved, it could tilt the process in favor of the hedge fund and institutional investors, leaving West Virginia to accept costly concessions.“DEP’s own estimates of Alpha’s reclamation and water treatment obligation in the State of West Virginia runs to roughly $1 billion on an undiscounted basis,” the objection reads.The state contends the court should closely consider any business justification Alpha management gave as to the sale.In concluding, West Virginia argued approval of the sale would “appear to contravene Alpha’s fiduciary responsibilities to all of its creditors and parties in interest, not just the most vocal and powerful” in determining whether and how to propose a sale of assets.Earlier this month, the labor agreements covering about 600 active miners and 2,600 retired union miners were dropped by a judge’s order. In March, Alpha filed court papers that the company spent about $53 million in 2015 on health care benefits for employees under the labor contract, which is more than 30 percent higher than on non-union employees.The company successfully argued dropping retiree benefits as a way to eliminate about $60 million to offset the financially strapped company.Full article: State objects to Alpha Salelast_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ABC Australia:Battle lines have been drawn between the gas industry and its critics over whether allowing fracking to resume in the Northern Territory could help solve the east coast energy price crisis.The industry is using the idea of NT gas being a solution rather a problem to persuade the NT Government to lift its fracking moratorium by the end of this year.Gas companies are arguing that bringing more supply into the domestic market will bring down prices.But analyst Bruce Robertson from the green-tinged Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis points out that the Territory is a remote, high-cost location, with high pipeline transport costs.“Producing high cost Northern Territory gas, which is very high cost gas, about $7.50 a gigajoule, is no way to bring down the cost of gas on the east coast of Australia,” he said.He blames the big companies for high prices, because they have committed to selling most of their gas overseas under long term contracts.Under those contracts the companies are getting paid less because, ironically, international oil and gas prices have fallen due to a global glut.“They simply cannot produce the gas cheaply enough to make money on their export business,” Mr Robertson said.“But what they’re doing is they’re making that up by gouging the east coast consumer.”More: Cartel accusations fly over gas industry’s assertion it would reduce power prices Australia’s Gas Cartellast_img read more

first_imgTexas regulator says state coal production fell 30% in 2018 compared to prior year FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Houston Chronicle:Coal production fell sharply last year as coal-fired power plants closed and natural gas provided a cheaper and cleaner alternative for electricity generators.The state’s 12 active coal mines produced 25 million tons of coal in 2018, down nearly 30 percent from the 35 million tons in 2017, according to the Railroad Commission of Texas. Each of the mines produced significantly less. At the state’s largest coal mine, the Kosse Mine in Limestone County near Waco, production fell 16 percent to 8.7 million tons from 10.1 million tons.The Kosse mine is owned by Luminant, the merchant power unit of the Irving company, Vistra Energy. Luminant, citing economic reasons, shut down three coal plants last year with a combined generating capacity of more than 4,000 megawatts — enough to power more than 800,000 Texas homes on a hot summer day. Another coal-fired plant, the Gibbons Creek Generating Station about 20 miles from Bryan, will close for good in October.The number of active coal mines in the United States has fallen by more than half over the past decade to 671 mines in 2017 from 1,435 mines in 2008, according to the Energy Department. Last year, domestic coal consumption fell to the lowest level since 1978, the Energy Department said.Coal’s share of power generation is falling, too. In the first half of 2019, coal-fired plants generated about 21 percent for the state’s electricity, compared to 22 percent from wind and 44 percent generated by natural gas, according to the state’s power grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.More: Coal production falls sharply in Texaslast_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Queensland has the potential to draw all of its electricity from renewable sources in a 15-year transition away from fossil fuels that would generate almost 10,000 jobs, according to analysis commissioned by the Queensland Conservation Council.Almost 11,000 ongoing jobs would then operate and maintain a suite of energy sources either existing or proposed in the state, including wind and solar and farms, hydro plants and battery projects.The state government has targets to cut emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030 and have half of the state’s electricity generated from renewables by the same year. The government aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.Tristan Edis, a renewable energy analyst who was commissioned by QCC to look at existing and planned renewable projects, said the state had “world-class” opportunities in renewables simply because of the amount of sunshine and land available.Edis examined all the existing, planned and proposed projects across the state, finding a transition to renewables for domestic electricity supply within 15 years would generate 9,400 jobs in construction and almost 11,000 to maintain. A key step would be increasing investment in electricity transmission infrastructure, he said.Solar, wind, bioenergy and solar thermal would take up the bulk of the supply, with energy storage provided through batteries, pumped hydro and hydrogen produced from wind or solar power.[Graham Readfearn]More: Queensland transition to renewables would generate almost 10,000 jobs, analysis shows Australian state of Queensland could transition to 100% green electricity in 15 years—reportlast_img read more

first_imgEngie expands in Australia, buys development rights for 420MW wind farm FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Engie, the world’s biggest independent power producer, is reviving its push into the Australia renewable energy market with the purchase of development rights to the $750 million Hills of Gold wind project in northern New South Wales.Engie will take on the ongoing development of the 420MW wind farm, the largest wind project in the state, which is set to be constructed near the town of Nundle in NSW’s New England region, after buying out the development entity Wind Energy Partners.The project will be at the heart of what is set to be one of Australia’s first renewable energy zones, planned by the NSW government for the New England region, and is set to create more than 215 direct jobs during the construction phase, and 30 ongoing roles once in operation.Engie is one of the world’s largest electricity utilities, with the French multinational operating more than 115GW of generation capacity globally, including a 19GW portfolio of renewable energy projects.Engie’s acquisition of the rights to the Hills of Gold wind farm is the latest in a number of multinational energy companies that have made a push into the Australian clean energy space, as they work to pivot away from businesses built on traditional fossil fuel projects. This includes global energy giants Enel, and oil majors Total, Shell and BP, which have all made major acquisitions as they expand their local investments in clean energy ventures, and who can provide the balance sheet to overcome nervous financiers.The project will involve the installation of up to 70 wind turbines, with a rated output of 6MW per wind turbine, and will include the installation of an onsite substation linking the project to the transmission network link that runs between Liddell and Tamworth. At 6MW per turbine, the project will see some of the largest wind turbines ever deployed in Australia and with each turbine standing at more than 200 metres in height. Construction of the Hills of Gold wind farm is expected to commence in early 2022.[Michael Mazengarb]More: World’s biggest power producer buys $750 million wind project in NSWlast_img read more

first_imgW-flying snowsports action to downtown Morgantown.Morgantown, a small college town in the northeastern corner of West Virginia, is one of the best ski towns in the Southern Appalachians. This might come as a surprise, since Mo-Town, as locals call it, doesn’t actually have a ski resort to call its own. Here are four reasons to back up our bold declaration.MoTown ThrowdownMorgantown is the only city in the South that shuts down its main thoroughfare to hold a sick rail jam. The MoTown Throwdown, on Halloween weekend, has become one of the region’s most anticipated events, attracting the Mid-Atlantic’s best new-school skiers and boarders. The city closes two city blocks for the event and churns five tons of ice into blown snow, enough to cover three rails lent from Seven Springs Resort.The Throwdown is a weekend affair, with a Friday night ski and snowboard film screening at the Warner Theater to get the kids pumped up, then a rail jam under the lights on Saturday night. The event kicks off the season for many competitive riders in the Mid-Atlantic, offering enough prize money ($2,000) to attract talent from as far away as Vermont. Two years ago it featured a live show from Mix Master Mike, of Beastie Boys fame. This year, Fife from A Tribe Called Quest, performed.Prime Real Estate  Morgantown may not have a ski resort to call its own, but the town has pretty much adopted Wisp Resort, less than 45 minutes away in Deep Creek Lake, Md. Wisp pulled in nearly 200 inches of snow last winter and almost 300 inches of snow the winter before that, making it one of the snowiest resorts in the South. Even better, Seven Springs, in Pennsylvania, which has the biggest, most progressive park on the East Coast, is just an hour north.“We’ve had a lot of good riders come out of Morgantown mainly because of our proximity to Wisp and Seven Springs,” says Josh Zerkel, a Morgantown native and West Virginia University sophomore. “During high school, I would bring my board to school and we would have a crew head straight to Wisp after class at least four days a week.”Need more variety? There are six resorts within a three-hour drive of Morgantown, putting it in the center of the best winter terrain in the Mid-Atlantic.Skinny Skis Too Coopers Rock State Forest may be named for the fugitive who lived there for years (he sold barrels to locals while on the lam), but today it’s better known as a winter haven for cross-country skiers. The forest, 13 miles east of downtown, has 50 miles of interconnected trails and forest roads that see plenty of snow, particularly in the last two years. Get there early after a snow, or you’ll have to park a quarter mile from the gate.“Starting in November, we’ll get 50 days of cross-country skiing,” says Gwen Jones, an avid cross-country skier living in Morgantown. “It’s the biggest state forest in West Virginia, and the coolest thing about it is that they close the gate at the entrance in the winter. That makes it a winter playground.”Some skiers venture onto the singletrack, but it’s tight, twisting, and rocky. Most folks stick to the road, which rolls for three miles to the Cheat River overlook. Jones says the Snake Hill Wildlife Management Area, adjacent to the state forest, is even more popular with skiers, thanks to the seven miles of unmarked forest roads and large meadow with 30 acres of rolling, grassy terrain.New School In a state that’s known for its conspicuous lack of young adults (youth between the ages of 18-35 typically leave the state in search of jobs) Morgantown has a hip, young vibe, which translates into a progressive snow sports culture. Credit West Virginia University.“The town has been insulated from the economic crisis because of the school, and there are lots of young people, also because of the school,” says Gwen Jones. Add it up, and you’ve got a lot of people with the time, money, and energy to ski and board during the winter.The WVU Snowboard team has become an incubator of talent, ranking as high as third in the country among college club teams in recent years. During big storms, you’ll find young skiers and boarders in the woods riding power line cuts, and in town tackling urban terrain. Two years ago, more than a foot of snow lingered in downtown Morgantown for a month, turning the city into a giant terrain park for local boarders.“Typically, though, we get one big storm a year where we can ride in town,” Josh Zerkel says. “If you’re feeling really ambitious, our local ice rink lets us take snow from the zamboni shavings. We’ve got a few backyard parks set up around town.”Après-SkiAll good snow sessions end with a craft beer…or two. Morgantown has you covered with not one, but two, microbreweries. Morgantown Brewing Company, West Virginia’s oldest craft brewer, is run by WVU alum who have a knack for inventive beers. Try the Coal City Stout for the perfect winter brew, or hit them up on the weekend when they roll out their special small batch releases.morgantownbrewing.comDavis’ Mountain State Brewing has opened their newest location just down the street from Morgantown Brewing Company. The copper top bar and wood-burning-pizza stove add ambiance, but you’re here for the beer, which is outstanding. Go with a Miner’s Daughter Oatmeal Stout, which is lighter than it looks, or, for an aptly named easy drinking brew, order the Almost Heaven Amber Ale.mountainstatebrewing.comlast_img read more

first_imgPeep some fall foliage via cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway As we make our way into mid to late October, the visual evidence of the changing season is hard to ignore. For some, autumn is just a ‘shoulder season’ between summer and winter riding; but for others, autumn is what they look forward to all year. The beauty of the Southern Appalachian Mountains is only enhanced by the delicate palette Mother Nature pulls out during that fleeting moment in fall. Like she is sorry to take it all away come winter so she gives us one last fireworks show.Even if you aren’t particularly enamored by the colors of seasonal transition, take advantage of the cool weather and low humidity by getting up into the higher elevations. The best, albeit not the easiest, way to do this is by taking a cycling tour on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Luckily, there is now a Blue Ridge Parkway Travel Guide app for iPhone and Android phones.The best elevations for fall color likely will be in the 2,000-4,000 range, but even if you are looking down on it, the leaves will still be spectacular wherever you are. Just driving on the Parkway and stopping at the pullouts would get you an eyeful, but getting in the saddle to ride up is much more satisfying. Two of the best sections to ride at the southern end of the BRP are between Black Balsam and the Parkway’s highest point at Richland Balsam or the engineering marvel of the Linn Cove Viaduct coming out of Blowing Rock. Both provide sweeping panoramas and are less strenuous than other quad-busting sections.View Weekend Cycling BRP in a larger maplast_img read more

first_img(Editor’s note: Due to the federal government shutdown, the Appalachian Trail is officially closed along much of it’s length as of 10/10/2013, but is still open where it runs through state parks, state forests, and portions of national forests. Click here for more information on where the trail is open and where it is closed.)Planning an epic hike of the Appalachian Trail? If only doing a short trek, you can bring perishable food, though if the goal begins in Maine and ends in Georgia, it’s best to do thorough trail food research before lacing up your hiking boots. Nutritious food and snacks that are easy to pack and won’t spoil after a day or two are your best bets, so leave the chips and cheese puffs at home! Instead, go for packable proteins, carbs and good fats, all of which will keep you energized and satisfied. Check out a few tips concerning the best food for the Appalachian Trail on what will surely be the trek of a lifetime:Best Dry Food OptionsDried foods are staples of most long hikes, and with good reason — they won’t spoil easily nor do they contain a lot of water, which will only weigh your pack down. Make your own (literal) trail mix with nuts and dried fruit — think walnuts, almonds, dried apricots, cranberries, raisins, prunes, bananas, cashews, peanuts and anything else you want to throw in, such as antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. Granola bars that contain dried fruit and nuts are also a good choice, as are breakfast cereals and seeds. Seed options can include sunflower, pumpkin and flaxseed.Heartier SnacksCrackers and cheese work as heartier snacks that will leave you feeling full and ready to hike another mile or two. Crackers generally last a bit longer than most cheeses, so be sure to eat your cheese in a timely fashion and stock up on more at the next store or service center. Since crackers can break easily, pack them in a safe place where they won’t end up a crumbled mess, and cut cheese into slices or cubes to avoid having to stop for long periods of time while on the trail.Dinner IdeasIt’s doubtful you want to eat trail mix for dinner, however there are hot food options you can bring along and easily heat up. Raman noodles, to-go soup packs and dry pasta cook easily on portable stoves, as will dry rice and oatmeal. Foil packets of chicken or tuna are also often recommended as good protein sources when hiking the trail. Forget about building fires to cook these items, as fires are prohibited in some areas of the trail, and portable stoves make preparing food a lot easier after a hard day of hiking.Additional TipsThe Appalachian Trail Conservancy recommends carrying 1.5 to 2 pounds of high-calorie food per day, unless you’re hiking during colder weather in which case 2.5 pounds of high-calorie food is required. You need more calories to keep warm, after all! If you’re planning on hiking the whole shebang, don’t worry about packing four months of food, as the trail often goes through towns, such as Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, meaning you can easily stock up on what you need. Don’t forget to eat a variety of foods whenever possible, as variety is part of a healthy diet!Use these and other hiking tips to stay healthy and safe while on this historic trail! Happy hiking!Kent Page McGroarty is a blogger for whose work has also appeared in the SF Gate and AZ Central Healthy Living. Check out more of her tips on the Survivalbased blog.last_img read more

first_imgLooking for a good first marathon? The Virginia Creeper Trail Marathon, held in the corner of southwest Virginia, is a great race for first-time marathoners. The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 34-mile long rail-to-trail that runs from Whitetop, Va., near the North Carolina state line to Abingdon, Va. The former railroad bed is relatively flat with a mild uphill gradient from Damascus, Va., to the Whitetop station.Runners begin in Abingdon and run for a couple miles on Watauga Road before hitting up the VCT for the remainder of the marathon. Aid stations are spread out every 2.5 miles with homemade treats waiting for the competitors at the finish. The race is limited to the first 100 runners, filing the overflow on a waitlist.last_img

first_imgName: Email*: Phone Number: Address*: City*: State*: ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPARISCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYZip Code*: I certify that I am over the age of 18.WIN ONE MORE ENTRY IN THIS CONTEST! I would like to receive updates from BRO, and prize partners straight to my inbox!* denotes required field Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mis-transcribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and their promotional partners reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Winners will be contacted by the information they provided in the contest sign-up field and have 7 days to claim their prize before another winner will be picked. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received. One entry per person or two entries per person if partnership opt-in box above is checked. Our Road Team knows the importance of a good sleep system. While on the road this season they are using Sea to Summit’s UltraLight Mat and and their Airstream Dry Sack Pump for easy inflation. We’re giving away two sets of these this summer. The first drawing will be July 17 and October 23. Sign up for a chance to win!last_img read more