Editorial: Secrecy in Utah Around an Embarrassing State Coal-Export Scheme FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the Salt Lake Tribune:When accommodating murky projects, it is standard operating procedure in the Utah Legislature to wait until the last days of the session to unveil a complicated bill intended to dodge the projects’ legal problems.Mission accomplished this week for Sen. Stuart Adams, whose Senate Bill 246 is aimed at giving $51 million in state money to a private developer for access to a California port to ship Utah coal to Asia.The Oakland coal port project, which faces steep opposition in the Bay Area and may never happen, had already drawn in four Utah counties with coal mines. The counties’ first shot stalled last year over legal troubles because their plan would send $53 million in Utah Permanent Community Impact Board money to the developer. That money comes from royalties on minerals, including coal, and is intended to build roads and other infrastructure to mitigate the impact of mineral development.In this case, that intent was turned on its head by using the funds to not mitigate but instead to encourage more impact here by spending the money in California. (Throughout the process, port proponents have been dodgy about its real purpose. They say the bulk-loading facility also could be used to export potash, salt, alfalfa or copper, but none of those Utah commodities are exported in anything close to the million-ton quantities the port would handle.)The Utah Attorney General’s Office has had almost a year to sign off on the deal, but it hasn’t. That is a pretty good sign that state lawyers see problems, although of course no one has said that publicly.Then, boom, here comes legislation, introduced nine days before the 2016 session ends. SB246 involves sending state transportation money to the Oakland project, and then still using the Impact Board money to pay back the state. Is that legal? Hard to say, but legislators are voting on it. Gov. Gary Herbert has been encouraging of the project, although his spokesman says he, too, is only now seeing the bill and can’t commit to Adams’ solution.So why all the secrecy? Some of this is just politics as usual, but could it also be that Utah is a little shy about its global-warming denial? Our coal mines are losing their domestic markets as the nation converts to cleaner fuels. That has political leaders, from the governor on down, looking across the Pacific. Even as lung-challenged China cuts back on coal, other Asian nations are building more coal-fired power plants, often with little regard to their carbon footprint. (And those nations also are mining more of their own massive coal reserves, which makes Utah coal less attractive.)Utah has a bright future as participant in the world economy, but it’s going to be tough to live off floating a $42-per-ton commodity to the other side of the globe, especially when that commodity is falling in value because it harms the planet and its inhabitants.Do we really want that to be our calling card to the world? No, which is why this is supposed to be a secret.Editorial: Late legislation furthers coal port’s cloudy process
Ørsted commits to move forward with 900MW offshore wind project in Taiwan FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Ørsted A/S made a final investment decision on the about 900-MW Changhua 1 and 2a offshore wind project in Taiwan.The company confirmed its decision April 30. In a news release, it noted the Taiwanese government had approved the Danish offshore wind giant’s local supply chain plan, after which the company signed a power purchase agreement with state-owned Taiwan Power Co. on Jan. 30 at a 6% cut in the feed-in tariff and a new cap on annual full-load hours.“With the Changhua 1 and 2a offshore wind farm, which is the first under the localization rules to take final investment decision, Ørsted will invest significantly in Taiwan’s transition to renewable energy with substantial impact on local job creation and industrial development,” Ørsted Asia-Pacific President Matthias Bausenwein said in the news release.Ørsted in October 2018 selected Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA as the preferred turbine supplier for the wind project, expected to be built between 2021 and 2022. Upon completion, the project will provide power to about 1 million Taiwanese households.The company received the right to build the 920-MW Changhua 2b and 4 offshore wind facility in June 2018. Construction is expected to begin in 2025, subject to the company making a final investment decision on the projects in 2023.The Greater Changhua sites have a total potential capacity of 2,400 MW, of which about 1,800 MW is already set to be built. The remaining 600 MW is available for future auction rounds.More ($): Ørsted commits to 900-MW offshore wind project in Taiwan
Coal generation falls to just 12% of Tennessee Valley Authority’s power supply in first quarter FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Chattanooga Times Free Press:For the first time in more than six decades, the Tennessee Valley Authority got more power from renewable sources than from burning coal during the first three months of 2020.With electricity sales down due to the mild weather and COVID-19 virus shutdowns, TVA used its coal-fired power plants to generate only 12% of its power needs in the past quarter. A generation ago, TVA’s coal plants supplied more than two-thirds of the utility’s electricity.Last month with most schools, restaurants and stores shut down, TVA at times turned off its 25 remaining coal-fired units and relied entirely upon its nuclear, hydro, natural gas, solar and purchased power supplies to meet the electricity needs in its seven-state region.Despite President Donald Trump’s appeal to TVA and others to revive “beautiful coal,” TVA has phased out more than half of the 59 coal-fired units it once operated, including the shutdown of its last unit at the Paradise Fossil Plant in Kentucky in February. At the same time, abundant rainfall pushed up power production at TVA’s 29 power-generating dams and the addition of more solar farms in the Tennessee Valley boosted power generated from the sun.The biggest share of TVA’s power, 43% in the first quarter, came from TVA’s seven nuclear power reactors in Tennessee and Alabama. TVA is studying whether to add even more atomic power by building the nation’s first small modular reactor to help supply Oak Ridge, Tennessee.TVA was not alone in turning to wind, solar and hydro power, rather than coal, for its power this year. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis reviewed government data on energy production across the United States and found electricity generated by renewable sources like solar, wind and hydro exceeded coal-fired power in the U.S. for a record 40 straight days [and throughout the month of April].[Dave Flessner]More: TVA getting more power from renewables than coal this year
How do you stay in the game when your heart’s not in it?I ran a tough race a couple of weeks ago. Tough in that the competition was fierce and the course relentless. But even tougher in light of the fact that my heart and mind just weren’t in it. And it was a long race. It’s one thing to gut it out for the twenty minutes it takes to run a 5k – another thing all together when you’re facing ten-plus hours on the trail. I knew I had a long day ahead of me.You might ask why I would run a race when motivation is flagging. Good question – and one that I asked myself many times over the eleven hours it took me to cover the course. The best explanation that I could come up with was that I had been psyched about the event…when I entered months ago, during all of my workouts, the night before at packet pick up, even standing on the line the morning of. But as soon as the starting gun fired, all of that excitement dissipated and I found myself thinking, “Why am I doing this?”The first hour of the race was spent in an internal debate about quitting. Part of me really, really wanted to pack it up and call it a day. I could hang out at the finish and cheer for the finishers, and still be part of the excitement of the race. Or I could go home and take my dog for a walk. Or go downtown and while away the hours in a coffee shop. Anything but push my mind and body to do something it really didn’t want to do.While those thoughts were appealing, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to live with a DNF, especially since nothing was really wrong with my body. So I eventually made up my mind that quitting was not an option. The debate was over and I was going to continue. My next question was how to make this as enjoyable (and competitive) of an experience as possible.The first thing I did was to remind myself how fortunate I was to be out there. As grueling as ultramarathons can be, they are also a luxury. I am lucky to have the health, the family support, the time, and the finances that allow me to spend an entire day out in the woods. I have friends who would give anything to have a healthy, strong body like mine. To have childcare or a spouse who would support them taking a weekend off to themselves. To have money for entry fees and gas. So even though I wasn’t having the race I wanted to have, I wasn’t going to allow myself to wallow in a puddle of self-pity. 1 2
In my sophomore year of school at Warren Wilson College, I took a Sports Psychology class with Dr. Bob Swoap. I found the class to be absolutely fascinating, and the material definitely left a lasting impression, helping me immensely in how I viewed competition.Dr. Swoap got in touch with me recently, and I was honored and excited to be invited back to speak from the opposite side of the classroom about my experiences with whitewater kayaking and how they related to real life and tapping your potential in any pursuit. As the day approached, I was admittedly a bit hesitant about getting in front of the class. I knew that it was a Freshman Seminar, and I dreaded the possibility of blank stares and awkward silences following my attempts to engage them.What I was met with, however, was completely the opposite! These young adults came from all walks of life… amongst them were writers, competitive mountain bikers, varsity basketball players, musicians, and everything in between. They were amazing, and the hour and a half literally flew by before I knew it. I walked back to my car that day thinking that Dr. Swoap was a pretty lucky guy to be able to hang out with people like that as his job.Our discussion ran the gamut in the field of Sports Psychology and elsewhere, but one thing that we focused on was the search for that feeling of flow in which everything seems effortless and perfect. Often referred to as “the zone,” this state of mind is as incredible as it is elusive. It is something that you can recognize when you see it, and something that feels incredible when you are experiencing it.I shared with the class one of the most poignant representations of an athlete in the zone that I have ever seen. To preface this video, Danny is a young biker on the scene, competing in the biggest race of the season, on the steepest, gnarliest course, and in the worst possible conditions! Watch him rise to the occasion…Before I had time to flash my own slide up on the screen to frame how I approach my search for the zone, the students had already listed off most of my strategies plus some even better ones! Everyone has a different way of doing this, but I focus on a couple of things:1) WORK HARD. I believe that the biggest advantage in the world is knowing that you are prepared for an event. All sports carry with them a huge amount of mental challenge as well, but the physical foundation needs to be there.2) Self-Affirmation Statements. There is a huge difference between athletes who can persevere through hardships/unexpected incidents and continue to perform well, and those who can’t. These statements are things that you say to yourself when you don’t think you can go any further, or you feel things unraveling. Repetition of a few simple words or a phrase can center you and bring you back to what you know you are capable of. One of my favorites is “strong, fast, focused.”3) Metronome Analogy. I have always loved music. It gives me motivation and provides a soundtrack to my life. I compare the physiological functions of my body to a musical metronome… pulse, breath, paddle strokes, etc. I have my best races when I tune into that metronome and pace myself perfectly based on what I know about the race course. Too rushed or too lax and I will not compete to my potential.These are a few of the tricks that help me, but once you’ve done all of the preparation you can possibly do and have gotten yourself into that optimal state of mind, it’s time to put your head down and give ‘er hell!Nobody ever said it was going to be easy…(Author’s note: After all the great insights offered up by the class, I’m very interested to know what our readers find is most helpful to achieve that optimal mental zone? Feel free to comment here or on the BRO Facebook Page.)
The folks over at Green Guru sent us the Spinner Recycled Bike Tube Backpack a few months ago. We decided to do a long term test on this unique backpack, because we feel that only after a bit of time do you really get a feel for a pack.Unique you ask, well the Spinner has quite a few things that set it apart from other companies offerings. The first and most obvious is that it is made from upcycled bicycle inner tubes and recycled performance fabrics made from post-consumed water bottles. In fact every product that Green Guru offers is made from a combination of recycled materials. I dove a bit more into their story and this use of recycled materials stems from their love of the outdoors and the accompanying realization that a lot of the gear they used was not exactly made in the most eco-friendly ways. Instead of sitting on their laurels they did something, and now offer some great products that also have low environmental impacts. This is a huge plus in our opinion here at Blue Ridge.Alas I digress, back to the pack. So I put this pack through its paces. Daily commutes to work, hikes, overnight trips, a gear pack, you name it I used the pack for it. After all this abuse, it doesn’t look a bit worse for wear. This thing is tough. The inner pockets of the pack have plenty of organization so if you’re OCD like me this thing is right up your alley. I never found a problem stashing all my gear and belongings in this pack on hikes or short trips. At 1268 cu. in. of space it has room for everything you can imagine.I can’t say this is the lightest pack I have ever worn. The recycled tubes make for a heavier feel, but as I mentioned earlier this is also the cause of its durability. At $99.95 this pack is at a very competitive price point. Many other companies offerings are much more than this, and are not nearly as environmentally friendly as Green Guru.Bottom line: This pack helps you experience the outdoors, and doesn’t come with the accompanying guilt of less environmentally friendly offerings.
Dan Ashe is at war. As Director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, he has been on the frontlines for control of America’s public lands. That battle reached a radical new tipping point earlier this year when a mob of armed militants seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon that falls under Ashe’s jurisdiction. Even as an inherent optimist, Ashe had difficulty suppressing his outrage over the occupation.“I was angry. I was angry because Ammon Bundy and his cohorts were walking around the community, going to the Safeway and buying supplies and going to church on Sunday, and I wanted them in jail,” Ashe said in July. “But I tip my hat to the FBI. Their whole strategy was to ignore them. They said, ‘They’re way out there at the refuge, and we know that means a lot to you, but they’re isolated and they can’t really do any damage. We’re just going to ignore them and all the press is going to go away and they’re going to get frustrated.’ And they were right.“It was tragic that LaVoy Finicum was killed, but when you think about the loss of life that could have occurred, it could have ended a lot worse.”On the grand scale, of course, nothing has ended. And Ashe recognizes that all too well. Many Republican lawmakers have joined the armed militants in calling for the transfer of public lands out of federal ownership.Beyond the cascade of death threats to Oregon State Troopers, FBI, and federal officials in retaliation to Finicum’s death (he was shot by State Police when he ran a road block), beyond the blow to employee morale that left half the Malheur NWF workforce desiring to leave, and beyond even William Keebler’s thwarted attempt to blow up a Bureau of Land Management facility near Finicum’s grazing allotment in northwest Arizona, this most explosive manifestation of the public lands takeover effort to date is just another in a series of historic attempts to wrestle away the wild, open spaces initially set aside for the benefit and use of all Americans.Ammon Bundy led the controversial armed takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.“This is an ideology and they are waging a campaign. They know what they’re doing,” Ashe said. “It’s closely related to this effort to divest millions of acres from the federal estate. And it’s not about giving it to the states so the states can be better managers of a recreational resource. It’s about converting that land and that resource to capital, to profit. So the [outdoors and conservation] community needs to recognize that. We have to get smarter. We have to have a better strategy than they have. Because right now, they’re winning. They’re doing what the conservation community used to do well—they’re putting together a long ground game, and they are changing the minds of voters on this issue. We have to get back to those basics. We have to be better at it than they are.”It does remain rare to see the fight over America’s public lands played out so vividly on the ground. The political arena has historically served as the battleground for well-funded special interest groups orchestrating attempts to usurp millions of acres of primarily Western lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.Those politics have become increasingly evident as the push recently has made its way eastward, with nine state legislatures east of the Mississippi adopting language crafted by the shadowy American Legislative Exchange Council to pass, or attempt to pass, resolutions expressing support for the transfer of public lands out of federal ownership.On a national scale, groups like the American Lands Council, run by Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory and Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder, and the congressional Federal Land Action Group created by U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop and fellow Utah Rep. Chris Stewart, have been chipping away at more than a century of responsible American stewardship with a combination of legislation attempts and erosion of public support by confusing the issue for voters.Echoing the voices of militants in Oregon, Bishop says his group is working to “return these lands back to the rightful owners”—by taking them away from the American people.In July, the Republican National Committee upped the ante by approving a Party Platform that endorses the disposal of federal public lands, saying, “Congress shall immediately pass universal legislation providing for a timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to states. We call upon all national and state leaders and representatives to exert their utmost power and influence to urge the transfer of those lands.”If federal lands are transferred to states, they can more readily be sold or used by private and commercial interests.In addition to 10 states in the intermountain West and Alaska, anti-public land state legislators in Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia have jumped on board by crafting resolutions supporting the idea that our public lands should be turned over to the states. The potential transfer of some of the East’s most popular national public lands—the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail—along with vulnerable U.S. wildlife refuges and treasured national forests is growing incrementally closer to reality.Nothing is outside the realm of this movement.Bills still lingering in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced by Republican congressmen from Idaho and Alaska attempt to carve off up to 4 million acres of national forest per state, granting “advisory councils” comprised of county officials and extraction industries control over how our now public lands are managed. Just last summer, Bishop and fellow Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz also attempted to slip amendments into bills that would have defunded law enforcement programs of the U.S. Forest Service (and BLM) and disposed of the popular Vieques National Wildlife Refuge in Puerto Rico. The amendments were ultimately removed.The reality of the Republican platform, combined with the barrage of Republican-sponsored bills or amendments attempting to undercut protections for public lands in recent years, make it difficult not to frame this as a partisan issue. It isn’t, at least not uniformly. Despite the exclusive support of Republican lawmakers, voters from the party of Teddy Roosevelt have traditionally seen eye-to-eye with Democrats in their opposition to public land transfers. Public opinion nationwide has shown overwhelming support for conservation of national parks and public lands through the years, along with high opinions of federal land management agencies.Without a sustained counter-attack, however, folks like Ashe worry that the physical representation of 240 years of American democracy could disappear in a blink. And Republican land managers like Jim Caswell, Director of the BLM for 8 years under George W. Bush and a former National Forest supervisor in Idaho, agree.“I said, ‘It will never happen,’ for a long time, but now I’m not so sure,” Caswell said of the takeover attempts. “We’ve lost our public support. We’ve lost our constituency. People do not go to battle for us anymore.”More likely, that constituency has merely been misplaced as much of the voting public fails to recognize just what’s at stake. The 640 million acres of federally administered lands owned by the people, for the people, are managed for a variety of uses, ranging from livestock grazing and resource extraction to outdoor recreational opportunities like camping, hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, boating, skiing—even gatherings like the Burning Man festival.According to the Outdoor Industry Association, America’s public lands serve as the foundation of a $646 billion annual outdoor recreation economy, with 6.1 million Americans relying on the outdoor industry for employment. More than $80 million in annual tax revenue is spread among communities across the country, including about $1 million in northern Nevada during the weeklong Burning Man. The event’s economic ripple measured between $55-60 million in 2015.But rather than sustain the long-term economic benefits of federal lands, many state governments would rather sell national forests and parks through timber sales, mining, and outright transfer of public land to private and commerical interests. Idaho, for example, has sold off more than 1.7 million acres (41 percent) of the 4.2 million given to it by Congress at statehood. That’s an area roughly equal to the entire George Washington-Jefferson National Forest system liquidated to big corporations and other wealthy private interests.Economic analysis by multiple universities shows that the financial burden placed on states attempting to manage millions more acres of land transferred from federal agencies is likely to result in significant deficits, demanding more selloffs. Rest assured it won’t be a group of disgruntled cowboys buying up that property—or even Wilderness-restricted mountain bikers, for that matter. But like the rest of America, they’ve all got skin in the game.“If we lose our public lands heritage, we’ve lost a lot for a long, long time,” Caswell said. “We have to keep them public. They are worth fighting for.”
By Dialogo May 20, 2009 The Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa said that he will voice his ideas freely during his upcoming trip to Venezuela and that this need not frighten anyone, in response to an official warning from the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) that he could be exiled from the country if he tries to discredit the government of Hugo Chávez. In an interview with the Lima daily La Republica, the writer said: “I have my ideas and I express them freely wherever I am. Furthermore, I always express them with dignity, so of course I’m going to do so in Venezuela.” “I have been invited by Venezuela, by an institution that defends the same ideas I defend: democracy, freedom, peaceful coexistence, the rejection of all forms of violence in human relations and political activity. And I believe that these ideas are respected in any country, including Venezuela,” he added. When asked about the possibility of being exiled from his country, the writer said he hoped “that doesn’t happen. Venezuela has always been a very hospitable country and I hope it remains so. We are going to a meeting where he will discuss ideas. Nobody is coming with destabilization in mind. It will be an intellectual presentation, and that need not frighten anyone.” On Monday the PSUV warned that Vargas Llosa would be exiled if he tried to “discredit the government” of Chavez during next week’s visit to Caracas to participate in a symposium on freedom and democracy. “Mario Vargas Llosa comes with provocation in mind. The PSUV will support any government decision, such as exiling a person who comes here to discredit us,” David Medina, a PSUV member, told the press. “We want to warn these intellectuals who are about to come to the country. They come to provoke us, to create scandal, and to start a smear campaign over the issue of freedom of expression,” he added. Other participants in this symposium include Mexican historian Enrique Krauze, former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga, Colombian writer Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, and intellectual and former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda.
Colombia is ready to share efforts and personnel with neighboring countries in the fight against organized crime, Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera declared on 3 February, following a meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Robert Gates. “Despite the successes we’ve had, we can’t feel at ease; we feel that we also have a great deal to contribute. Just as in our most difficult moments we received cooperation, we’re now not only offering, but putting forward specific cooperation,” Rivera declared at a press conference. “It’s our obligation to talk about these issues. The United States is making a great effort; so are we,” he added. A total of fourteen Latin American countries, including Mexico and Central American nations, are being advised by Colombian military or police forces on security matters, the minister recalled. “We’ve been responding to requests from those countries, on a case-by-case basis, but now we want to do so with a plan that corresponds to a strategic logic, with a portfolio of capabilities, of services, that we can make available to other countries,” he said. Rivera’s visit to Washington, his first since becoming defense minister, is taking place as the U.S. Congress and the White House are launching a fierce debate about the 2011 budget. Colombia is the region’s largest recipient of U.S. security assistance, with more than six billion dollars received since Plan Colombia was activated in 2000. The Central American countries, however, suffering under an unprecedented wave of violence, are also demanding more aid from the United States for a regional plan. Mexico, for its part, signed the Mérida Initiative four years ago, for which Washington has budgeted around 1.3 billion dollars. Rivera characterized his meeting with Gates as “very warm,” although he nonetheless conveyed to Gates his “concern” about a possible cut in funds for Colombia. “I believe that it’s a shared aspiration that all this cooperation can be maintained with a more creative, more prolific dialogue, not only in our country but throughout the region,” he explained. By Dialogo February 07, 2011
By Dialogo September 07, 2011 The defense ministers of Brazil, Celso Amorim, and Argentina, Arturo Puricelli, ratified their countries’ commitment to maintaining the South Atlantic as an area of peace and free from nuclear weapons, among other points in a joint declaration signed on September 5 in Buenos Aires. During their meeting, the two ministers reviewed their countries’ bilateral cooperation agenda in the defense area, a press release issued by the Argentine ministry indicated. “For Brazil, nothing has been more important than rapprochement with Argentina, overcoming historical rivalries,” Amorim told the press on his first official visit to Argentina as defense minister, a post he took on a month ago, after serving as foreign minister in the administration of former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. In accordance with what was agreed by the two countries’ presidents, Cristiana Kirchner and Dilma Rousseff, in July, the ministers resolved to intensify activities intended to developed a bilateral cooperation agenda in the defense area, in the context of the strategic alliance between the two countries. Within that framework, they identified areas of mutual interest, such as “maintaining the South Atlantic as an area of peace and cooperation and free from nuclear weapons,” according to the press release. The two ministers also analyzed the possibility of conducting combined exercises, with the possible participation of third countries. They resolved to coordinate positions with regard to the United Nations mission in Haiti, as well as actions and postures at the South American Defense Council (Consejo de Defensa Sudamericano) of the Union of South American Nations (Unión de Naciones Suramericanas) and other forums. In addition, they will promote an intensification of training exchanges, especially in defense engineering, and an increase in cooperation in the area of Antarctic training and logistical support. With regard to cooperation in defense technology and production, the declaration specified that the prototype development stage of the Gaucho is coming to an end, a light 4×4 vehicle that can be transported by air and is intended to equip the Armies of both countries. The two Governments also resolved to move forward on the development of armored vehicles and to cooperate in the area of naval and aerospace industry. Another objective is to “conclude as soon as possible” the process of signing an agreement between the two Governments on security measures for protecting classified information exchanged in the defense area, according to the statement.