In Peabody’s Hometown, Calls for a ‘Societal Shift’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Jacob Barker for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:Speakers urged a societal shift away from coal because of air pollution and its high carbon emissions and global warming potential. Others worried a bankrupt Peabody might walk away from mine cleanup costs.The protest was coordinated by Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, or MORE, which has targeted Peabody over the years. It was meant to “send a message” to the bankruptcy judge to keep the miner from shedding mine cleanup obligations in court, said Jeff Ordower, a MORE organizer.The bankruptcies of Peabody and other large coal companies, including Creve Coeur-based Arch Coal, have drawn attention to the companies’ practice of guaranteeing many mine cleanups with their own assets rather than insurance.Arch Coal has received bankruptcy court approval to pledge $75 million for self-bonding liabilities exceeding $450 million. Peabody has roughly $1.5 billion in self-bonding cleanup liabilities.Even in bankruptcy, Peabody draws coal protesters
Coal Production in Uinta Basin of Colorado and Utah Drops by 34.7% FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Christopher Coats for SNL:Coal production at mines in the Uinta Basin continued to slide in the first quarter of the year, down nearly 900,000 tons from the previous period and 34.7% below the same period in 2015.For the 12 months ending with the first quarter of the year, basin output was 29.3 million tons, down about 26.5% from the same period last year.This quarter’s results continue a production slide that has plagued the western region, along with others, with Uinta mine output down nearly 3 million tons from the first quarter of 2015, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis of U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data.One of the most significant drops in production from the first quarter of last year came at Arch Coal Inc.’s West Elk mine in Colorado, where output collapsed nearly 650,000 tons from 2015 to 521,527 tons in the latest period. Mine owner Arch Coal filed for bankruptcy protection during the first quarter, though the company has previously reported that it intends to continue production efforts during its restructuring.The basin’s largest drop for the 12-month period was seen at Bowie’s No. 2 mine, which finished the period down about 82%. The mine closed out the first quarter with just 33,395 tons, down from 615,924 tons during the same period last year.Full article ($): Uinta Basin coal output dives in Q1, down 34.7% from year-ago quarter
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNBC:Over 500,000 new jobs were generated by the renewable energy industry last year, a 5.3 percent rise when compared to 2016, according to a report.The number of people working in the renewable energy sector—including large hydropower—hit 10.3 million in 2017, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) study said.The world’s biggest renewable energy employers were China, Brazil, the U.S., India, Germany and Japan. Altogether, these countries represented over 70 percent of jobs in the industry globally.Breaking the figures down, IRENA said that the solar photovoltaic industry employed the largest amount of people, with almost 3.4 million working in that sector. China remained a solar powerhouse, and accounted for an estimated two-thirds of solar PV jobs, or 2.2 million.In the wind energy sector, IRENA noted a slight contraction in the market last year, with 1.15 million jobs recorded. China again led the way, accounting for 44 percent of employment.More: Jobs In Renewable Energy Hit 10.3 Million Last Year, Report Finds Number of Renewable Energy Jobs Tops 10 Million
Work begins on largest battery storage project in China FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:Subsidiaries of state-run energy conglomerate China Energy Engineering Corp have started constructing two major solar plants and one of the largest energy storage systems in China, according to filings on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (HKEX).China Energy Engineering Group Shanxi Electric Power Engineering has started building a 500MW solar PV project, split between two separate 250MW plants, located in Licheng County and Pingshun County in Shanxi Province. No further details were provided in the filing.Meanwhile, China Energy Engineering Group Jiangsu Electric Power Design Institute has started building a huge energy storage system in Jiangbei New District, Nanjing, in Jiangsu Province.The 130.88MW/268.6 MWh grid-side electrochemical energy storage system is claimed by the company to have the largest capacity and the highest power in China, but no further details were released on the specific storage technology – presumably lithium-ion batteries – being used for the two-hour duration system.China is underway in building massive flow battery projects as well as lithium-ion energy storage, with policy initiatives including a nationwide strategy on energy storage and market dynamics including regional high penetrations of renewable energy and coal power station retirements or efficiency upgrades among the drivers for adoption.More: Chinese state firm starts building 500MW of solar, huge energy storage system
Sale of troubled Kemmerer coal mine in Wyoming falls through FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Casper Star Tribune:The Virginia businessman who’d planned to purchase and operate a troubled coal mine in western Wyoming has backed out after a failure to secure bonding ahead of a deadline.Bankrupt Westmoreland Resource Partners was set to sell the Kemmerer mine in western Wyoming to Tom Clarke — a businessman from Virginia who first made his fortune in the health industry but has dabbled, sometimes controversially, in mining operations in recent years.The bankruptcy court approved a sale of the Kemmerer mine to Clarke in March for $7.5 million in cash and more than $200 million in secured promissory notes. Westmoreland lenders, however, objected to Clarke’s acquisition of the Kemmerer operation soon after, arguing that Clarke was attempting to close the sale without having first provided collateral or surety for reclamation liabilities in southern Wyoming.If Clarke had not taken over that responsibility, it would have remained with Westmoreland’s first-in-line lenders.In a meeting Tuesday in Texas to discuss the objection, it was disclosed to the parties in the bankruptcy that Clarke had rescinded his offer, following an extension and failed attempts to come to an agreement on bonding with Zurich Insurance, according to sources included in the meeting.Peter Morgan, a senior attorney for the Sierra Club, said in an emailed comment Tuesday that Clarke’s failure to secure bonding is indicative of larger issues in coal and should be noted. “The companies that operate these mines, and the lenders who have invested in them, are pretending like everything’s fine and the industry isn’t going through a historic shift as demand plummets,” he said. “But the surety bond providers who will bear the cost to reclaim these mine sites, if and when they fail, are now taking action to protect themselves.”More: Virginia businessman no longer buying troubled Kemmerer coal mine
Indonesian government pushing ahead with reforms to jump-start renewable energy transition FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Jakarta Post:The government aims to jump-start stalled renewable energy projects through a recently issued regulation as it races against time to catch up with Indonesia’s green energy commitments.The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry issued last month a regulation that scraps the unpopular build, own, operate, transfer (BOOT) scheme. Many renewable energy players have said the scheme undermined their projects’ bankability. The new regulation also enables Indonesia’s sole off taker, state-owned PLN, to sign power purchase agreements without conducting a bid under certain conditions.The ministry’s various renewables director, Harris Yahya, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday that these “few changes” were meant to get stalled renewable projects going before a more powerful presidential regulation (Perpres) on renewable electricity pricing – slated to be issued this year – put new projects on the table.The government is aiming for renewables to contribute 23 percent of power production by 2025, yet regulatory headwinds are setting the country back from achieving its goal. Regulation stipulates that Indonesia should have reached a 17.5 percent renewable power mix by 2019 yet the country only hit 12.36 percent that year.Among the frequently complained headwinds is Ministerial Regulation No. 50/2017 – dubbed “Permen 50.” This was the regulation that introduced the BOOT scheme and erased a feed-in-tariff pricing policy, which is widely considered to be a very effective means of boosting green energy growth. As a result, out of 75 renewable energy projects signed between 2017 and 2018 in Indonesia, 27 remain without financial close and five have been terminated as of October last year, according to records from the Jakarta-based energy think tank Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR).The new regulation also introduces guarantees for government-backed renewable plants “in improving their economics.” The regulation authorizes the energy minister to order state-owned power firm PLN to buy electricity from hydropower plants attached to government-built reservoirs from state-funded waste-to-energy power plants and from state-funded renewable energy power plants.[Norman Harsono]More: Government issues regulation to jumpstart stalled renewable energy projects
There are several companies now selling natural insect repellents, many of which use essential oils as their active ingredients.Dear EarthTalk: I can’t seem to find any natural bug repellents that really work so I end up using the harsh, chemical varieties. Are there any really effective bug repellants that aren’t chemically based, or other strategies we can use to keep bugs at bay? — Melissa Armantine, New Paltz, NYWhile the industry standard insect repellents rely on the insecticide DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) to keep bugs at bay, many environmental and public health advocates worry that regular long-term exposure to even small amounts of the chemical can negatively affect the human nervous system.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that, in studies, DEET has been shown to be “of low acute toxicity,” although it can irritate the eyes, mouth and skin. The EPA concluded after a comprehensive 1998 assessment that DEET does not present a health risk as long as consumers follow label directions and take proper precautions. And since nothing works quite as well as DEET in deterring disease-carrying ticks and mosquitoes, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is relatively bullish on its use in order to reduce incidences of Lyme disease, encephalitis and other insect-borne diseases.Regardless, many consumers would prefer natural alternatives, and there are several companies already selling DEET-free insect repellents, many of which use essential oils as their active ingredients. WebMD reports that soy-based repellent formulas (such as Bite Blocker for Kids) are the most effective substitutes for DEET, usually lasting for 90 minutes, which is longer than some low-concentration DEET formulas. Some other leading alternative repellents include All Terrain’s Herbal Armor, Quantum Health’s Buzz Away Extreme, Lakon Herbals Bygone Bugz, and California Baby’s Natural Bug Blend Repellent.WebMD adds that, despite popular opinion, products containing citronella are not the best non-chemical choice, as their effectiveness typically wanes within an hour. Likewise, peppermint oil and some other plant-based oils are also effective as insect repellents. Even venerable Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil, long thought to deter pests as well as DEET, only keeps mosquitoes away for up to a half hour.Beyond repellents, there are many other ways to keep pests away. For one, avoid floral fragrances from perfume, deodorant or other sources that can attract mosquitoes and other bugs. The EarthEasy website recommends eliminating standing water around your home to keep mosquito breeding at bay. Bird baths, wading pools and pet water bowls should be changed at least twice a week; also make sure your gutters are draining properly. Also, since mosquitoes are attracted by carbon dioxide released from campfires and barbeque grills, EarthEasy recommends throwing sage or rosemary on the coals to repel the mosquitoes.If all else fails and DEET is your only option, use it sparingly. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using repellents with no more than a 30 percent concentration of DEET for kids over two-months old (and no repellent for younger babies). Keep in mind that formulas with lower concentrations of DEET may work just as well as others but not for as long. A 10 percent DEET concentration, for instance, should work for up to two hours outside. Applying DEET-based bug spray to your clothing instead of skin can help minimize any negative effects of exposure. Also, kids and grown-ups alike should wash off any DEET-based repellents when they are “out of the woods” so to speak.CONTACTS: EPA DEET Fact Sheet, www.epa.gov/opp00001/factsheets/chemicals/deet.htm; CDC Insect Repellent Use & Safety, www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/qa/insect_repellent.htm; EarthEasy, www.eartheasy.com; American Academy of Pediatrics, www.aap.org; WebMD, www.webmd.com.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.
The first weekend of August means the Dog Days of Summer are upon us. The mercury rises to its zenith, the humidity really kicks in, and the drive to get outside and sweat is near baseline. Sitting inside next to the air conditioner is one option, but no one ever wants a case of summer cabin fever. There is only one thing to do during the stickiest weekends in August: tube.Tubing is one of the great American traditions and is so quintessentially Southern, one has to think the practice started in the Appalachia. It combines the pleasure, coolness, and excitement of the river with the enjoyment of just sitting there. Sure you may have to move a little to get to the beer cooler, or to cool off with the occasional dunk, but really it’s just like sitting in a floating recliner and watching the clouds drift by. If you want to relax outside, this is the best way to do it, and one of the best places to do it is at Big Bend on the South Branch of the Potomac in West Virginia. If you are over exercise tube Big Bend, but if you are dead set on getting a workout, grab your SUP and give your core a little boost while you’re at it. Respite is only a wobble away.Deep inside the wild Monongahela National Forest, the South Branch of the Potomac makes a drastic U-turn through the scenic Smoke Hole Canyon. Green forested gorge walls are interspersed with rocky cliffs on the outer edge of the “big bend” in this river, while a forested campground occupies the inside peninsula. The entire loop around the campground is a mile long, packed with small riffles and fun waves, perfect for running laps in a tube on a hot summer day. Tube for an hour, walk a few hundred yards across the peninsula, and start again. This is primitive tubing at its finest, so bring your own tube, and don’t expect heavy crowds, even on a summer weekend.Nearby: The 24-mile long North Rim Trail follows the western rim of Suck Hole canyon. It’s a primo mountain biking and hiking trail with rocky outcroppings and a cornucopia of long-range views.Closest Town: Petersburg, W.Va.Directions: Follow US Route 220 south from Petersburg to the Upper Tract Bridge at County Route 2. Take a right at the bridge and follow County Route 2 for 10 miles into the campground.View Larger Map
The Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival will have Downtown Knoxville buzzing this weekend.Come Friday afternoon, music lovers across the Southeast should be flocking to Knoxville.With its rich musical history and integral role in East Tennessee’s establishment as the cradle of country music, Knoxville now celebrates its heritage each year with the Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival.Set amidst the historic buildings of Knoxville’s downtown, six stages and lots and lots of bands — including The Decemberists, Drive-By Truckers, Delta Spirit, The Dirty Guv’nahs, J.D. McPherson, The Apache Relay, The Suffers, Alanna Royale, and Humming House, amongst a host of others — will have Scruffy City rocking all weekend long.I recently caught up with Cruz Contreras of The Black Lillies, one of Knoxville’s favorite bands, to chat about this weekend’s festivities.BRO – What does a festival like this mean to Knoxville?CC – Rhythm & Blooms is such a great opportunity to showcase what makes Knoxville so special. We have a rich and diverse musical culture, an energetic community, and a thriving and accessible downtown. Put all these ingredients together, add some dogwood blossoms and good spirits, and it’s always a weekend to remember.BRO – Your favorite Rhythm & Blooms memory?CC – My favorite Rhythm & Blooms moment was getting to sing “Tennessee Jed” with Amos Lee at the Botanical Gardens. It doesn’t get any better than being an artist and a fan at your hometown festival.BRO – Tell me about the Midnight Merry-Go-Round.CC – The Midnight Merry-Go-Round will be a late night tribute to Knoxville and East Tennessee’s rich musical heritage. We’ll be performing Saturday night at the Standard and will feature a variety of artists, including Scott Miller, Jill Andrews, Chuck Mead, Amythyst Kiah, Cereus Bright, Subtle Clutch, Josh Oliver, Margo Price, and Mike McGill, and we’ll also have an all-star backing band. It’s one of those shows where I can’t really tell you what will happen, because I don’t know. But the energy ought to be through the roof, and I suspect it will be a night people talk about for a long time.BRO – Any particular band you are looking forward to seeing this year?CC – Rhythm & Blooms is one of those festivals where I don’t even look at the schedule. I know if I walk around from stage to stage, I’ll see nothing but amazing and inspired performances. Make sure you’ve got some good walkin’ shoes and try to catch them all!BRO – What’s one spot in Knoxville that someone in town for the festival should visit?CC – That’s a tough question. I live downtown and there are so many exceptional restaurants, bars, and stores. When I’m home, I will usually make a loop from the 100 block to the Old City, Gay Street, and Market Square. Be sure to check out Status Serigraph for some world class show posters, and if you need some funky duds or a guitar, be sure to check out The Parlor. In general, just follow your nose. You can’t go wrong.Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival kicks off around 5:30 on Friday afternoon. With six stages that will be going strong until the wee hours of Sunday night, there is a ton of great music for you to check out all weekend long. Trail Mix wants to help you do just that. If you are interested in a pair of Saturday passes to this year’s Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival, please shoot an email with RHYTHM & BLOOMS in the subject line to [email protected] A lucky winner of two Saturday passes will be chosen from all of the emails received by 5:00 P.M. on Thursday, April 9th.For more information on the Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival, including the complete line up, schedule, and tickets, please check out the festival’s website.
A Virginia woman named Laurie Cooksey fell victim to a bear attack in Bath County, Virginia’s Douthat State Park over the weekend.The attack, which took place after a day of hiking and canoeing with three of her four children, left Laurie with 14 stitches in her back and 14 more in her leg.Cooksey and her children were headed down the Tuscaroa Overlook trail when they encountered an adult black bear. By the time they saw the bear it was only ten yards away, peering at them from behind a nearby tree.According to Cooksey, she and her children began retreaing upon seeing the bear, but it caught up with her first.“He was fast. He was just so fast,” Cooksey later told the Richmond Times Dispatch while recovering from wounds sustained during the attack. “I’m very thrilled that it was me and not (my children)…I’m really grateful.” Bear attacks are becoming more and more frequent as human development continues to encroach on wildlife habitat and National Parks like Yellowstone see steady influxes of tourist from around the world.Do you think a bear that kills or injures a human in its natural habitat should be put down? Let us know in the comment feed. Photo Courtesy of Laurie Cooksey Fortunately, Cooksey was able to knock the bear off balance with several kicks, but not before sustaining severe bite wounds.“The saving grace was it was raining hard and the leaves were slippery,” she said.After freeing herself from the bear’s grasp, Cooksley made a run for it and regrouped with her children at which point the bear approached the family one more time. At this point, Laurie’s 19 year-old son Ellis intervened.He advised the group to “get big” and “get loud”, tactics he’d learned during a recent trip to Yosemite National Park.The strategy worked, the bear withdrew, and Laurie Cookesy was later treated and discharged from LewisGale Hospital Alleghany on Saturday night.According to the Richmond Time Dispatch the “Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation law enforcement officers, along with a district wildlife biologist, tracked the bear to a location near the site of the incident and humanely killed the bear around 4 a.m. Sunday.”They are still unable to say with absolute certainty whether or not the bear they euthanized is indeed the black bear that attacked Laurie. Genetic testing is excepted to return within a week that will determine the bear’s true identity.Back in June, the wrong bear was euthanized as retribution for the attack of a 16-year-old hammock camper in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.This Virginia attack comes on the heels of a Grizzly bear attack that left one hiker dead and “partially consumed” in Yellowstone National Park on Friday. This attack occurred near Yellowstone’s Lake Village on a hiking trail popular with tourists and employees who live and work near the Lake Yellowstone Hotel.The victim, 63-year old Lance Crosby, was an experienced hiker and Montana native who had worked in Yellowstone going on five seasons. The grizzly bear and one of her cubs believed to be responsible for his killing have been captured. If it is determined that the captured sow is indeed the bear that mauled and consumed Crosby it will likely be euthanized and its cub placed in a zoo.