West Virginia Mine Lays Off Most of Its Workers FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Exponent Telegram (Clarksburg):A mine in Marion County has idled almost all its workers.Enough workers are on hand at the Federal No. 2 mine to prevent the mine from flooding and to keep it ready to reopen, but “it’s a minimal, skeletal crew,” said Phil Smith, communications director for the United Mine Workers of America.The mine is owned by ERP Compliant Fuels, which did not reply to a request for comment.Smith said he understood that the mine was idled because of adverse geological conditions and market issues.About 260 people lost their jobs when the mine was idled, Smith said. Another 59 were laid off a few months ago, he said.Federal No. 2 is the only mine owned by ERP, so workers do not have another mine to transfer to, Smith said.More: Federal No. 2 mine in Marion County idles most workers
TransAlta begins commercial operation of Alberta’s first battery storage project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Saur Energy:TransAlta Renewables has announced that its 10 MW WindCharger battery storage project began commercial operation on October 15, 2020.WindCharger is Alberta’s first utility-scale, lithium-ion energy storage project and utilizes Tesla Megapack technology. It has a nameplate capacity of 10 MW and total storage capacity of 20 MWh. This technology can be fully charged in approximately two hours and will be powered by the company’s Summerview II wind farm, making it a truly renewable battery energy storage system. WindCharger did not require any new infrastructure investments as it is an entirely behind-the-fence project.The project, which was acquired from TransAlta Corporation (TransAlta) in August of this year, has a total capital cost of approximately USD14.5 million, with approximately 50 percent being funded through the support of Emissions Reduction Alberta. As part of the acquisition, TransAlta will pay a fixed monthly capacity charge for the right to operate and dispatch the battery in the Alberta market.TransAlta Renewables is among the largest of any publicly traded renewable independent power producers (IPP) in Canada. Its asset platform and economic interests are diversified in terms of geography, generation and counterparties and consist of interests in 23 wind facilities, 13 hydroelectric facilities, seven natural gas generation facilities, one solar facility, one natural gas pipeline, and one battery storage project, representing an ownership interest of 2,537 megawatts of owned generating capacity, located in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, the states of Wyoming, Massachusetts, Minnesota and the state of Western Australia.More: TransAlta announces commercial operation of Alberta’s first utility scale battery storage project
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Roanoke Times:The Mountain Valley Pipeline has once again pushed its completion date back and the project cost up.Equitrans Midstream Corp., the lead partner in a joint venture of five energy companies that has faced widespread environmental problems while building the natural gas pipeline, made the announcement Tuesday.Rather than completing construction early next year as planned, the company is now targeting a full in-service date “during the second half of 2021,” a news release stated. The cost, which was estimated to be $3.7 billion when construction started in 2018, now stands at between $5.8 billion and $6 billion. The latest increase was attributed largely to the more costly task of continuing construction through the winter, which Mountain Valley plans to do in order to make up time lost to legal challenges.Despite the latest setback, Equitrans chairman and CEO Thomas Karam remained bullish on the project during a conference call to discuss third quarter results with financial analysts. “Our confidence has not changed because of these expected challenges, at all,” he said.Pipeline opponents, however, were encouraged by the latest news. They hope a sustained legal attack will eventually force Mountain Valley to cancel the project — as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline did in July — and help turn the tide to renewable energy.Although the project is two years behind schedule, it has far more pipe in the ground than Atlantic Coast did when it decided to fold.[Laurence Hammack]More: Another delay, cost increase for the Mountain Valley Pipeline Developer Equitrans raises cost of contested Mountain Valley Pipeline to $5.8 billion
Creighton Cutts loves water. He started The Dolphin Project in the 1980s, worked with sperm whales and sea turtles in the 1990s, and has volunteered with various Riverkeepers for nearly two decades.Creighton is also a candle maker. As the founder of Bee Natural, he hand-carves and presses 100% natural beeswax into luminaries.Fire and water usually don’t mix. But Creighton found a way to combine his passion for protecting rivers with his day job.Creighton is traveling to every major river in the Southeast to shoot photos of his candles on the water. He donates the photos to the local Riverkeeper, and for every candle he sells from that watershed, he donates 25% of the profits to the local Riverkeeper.His floatoshoot tour will be headed to the Nantahala River and French Broad River on November 12-13. View images from previous floatoshoots and follow the floatoshoot tour here.
Dream ChaserNever give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about, Winston Churchill famously said.For Natalie DeRatt, that was going to the Olympics. In 2012, the former University of North Carolina–Asheville running star missed that dream for the track and field team for Britain, but the fire to compete for the podium still burned. So when an opportunity for a spot on the USA Bobsled and Skeleton team came, she took it and ran.“Everything was just laid out, and it was an opportunity I saw as my last chance,” says DeRatt. “I’ve come so close before, and I think if I had not followed through I would have regretted it.”Running and racing were in her blood. Both parents competed and still do internationally at orienteering, and like them she had a spirited streak pushing her through high school and into college where she shined. In 2010, she became UNCA’s first and only student-athlete to earn a spot at NCAA championships.After graduating in 2011, she trained for the British team trials in the summer of 2012, but after setbacks and traveling logistics ran her worst race time of the year. She decided that her racing career was over.“I needed a break from track,” says DeRatt. After six months, though, she was already getting itchy feet again, “I soon needed a new goal and a new outlet.”“I don’t think anyone grows up saying they want to race bobsled, though,” says Keith Scruggs, sports performance specialist at Acceleration Sports Institute at Greenville Health System and also DeRatt’s coach. Typically the racers he sees like DeRatt come from previous lives as track and field athletes, football players, softball athletes, and even volleyball athletes.Scruggs and DeRatt’s friendship started back in 2006 when they both competed for UNCA. Scruggs played baseball, but due to multiple injuries, he was about to pack his bags.“She came up to me and said, ‘You should try the hammer,’” recalls Scruggs. “I grew up playing football and baseball, not track and field, so my first thought was hammer and nails.” Regardless, Scruggs tried out, performed well, and joined the team with DeRatt.Scruggs was then able to return the favor last December by suggesting she compete in the Greenville bobsled combine, which he hosted, for August 2014. DeRatt agreed, and then asked him to be her coach. The duo set to work training DeRatt to be ready for her first competition in eight months.Despite the snow and ice aspect of bobsled, most of the actual training is sprint running and weight lifting, both of which are DeRatt’s fortes. “Bobsled is so similar to track and field in training that technically I’ve been preparing my whole life,” says DeRatt. The bobsled track, however, was a different story.“The first day was horrific,” DeRatt says. Bobsleds race down mile-long, curving courses and can reach speeds of over 75 mph with up to five gs of pressure. The experience is like riding ‘the Intimidator’ at North Carolina’s Carowinds amusement park—except you first have to help push your 400-lb part of the coaster 54 yards before jumping in and enjoying the ride, which actually means getting bruised from several impacts.“The veteran bobsledders always tell you the start’s horrible and not to quit,” says DeRatt. The rides did get better with each session, and soon she found the sport exhilarating. She also decided it could be another chance to make the national team.To make it onto the team, athletes must compete in a four-part test series that looks at strength and speed. Athletes gain points based on performance, and a specific number and ranking allow them to move to the next tier. The first two tiers have combines all over the region, and the third and fourth have a couple major spots.The regional combine Scruggs hosted was DeRatt’s first stop on the way to national team trials. She needed 450 points to advance. DeRatt killed the competition, earning 532 points and winning overall by 17 points.She won the next two competitions, and by November, DeRatt found herself in Park City, Utah competing for an Team USA spot in bobsled. It felt eerily similar to being in Britain two years earlier competing for a track spot.“It really brought me back to my track days just to that race scenario,” says DeRatt. “I got really really nervous and really really excited.” Competing against her were athletes such as Lauryn Williams, who was one of only five Olympians to medal in both the Summer and the Winter Games with track in 2004 and 2012 and bobsledding in 2014. Her 2014 teammate Elana Meyers was also there vying for a spot on Team USA. DeRatt reflects, “It was nice to feel those nerves again when racing against those people.”Just a year after she started training, DeRatt put everything she had into that race on the ice. The course was steep and smooth, and when the buzzer hit she and her driver Jazmine Fenlator raced with everything they had.She only had to wait a few hours before the announcement came, and her name finally rang out among the members of the 2014-2015 USA Bobsled and Skeleton Team.“All of those hours I gave in my whole life—every six a.m. and after school/after work workout—felt okay when I heard my name over the intercom,” says DeRatt.There are still many more a.m. workouts and competitions between now and 2018’s Olympic Games, but DeRatt looks forward to it all. “I believe that if you work hard you are going to get what you want,” says DeRatt. “If you have an opportunity you owe it to yourself to take that.”
Control is a fleeting thing.Being a kayaker, I should have known that, but as I charged the rapids in the GoPro Mountain Games Steep Creek Race in Vail, Colorado, I felt very much in control. I was in the best shape of my life, racing a specially designed boat that I helped create, as part of a career that I loved. The cable cam zipping above me, the crowd on the side of the river, and the announcer’s echoing voice made me feel like a rock star.As I powered past the halfway point in the course, I lined up an innocuous five foot drop. I wasn’t worried about this rapid after nailing the line in practice all week, but as I dropped in, my body twisted in a strange way. I lost balance and started rolling left, extending my paddle reflexively in an attempt to save the flip. As I braced, the end of my blade caught a rock, and jerked my arm violently. With the paddle lodged, my boat and body kept going, and I felt and heard my shoulder ripping apart as my arm rotated past where it ever had before.I knew how serious shoulder injuries were for kayakers. They almost never heal on their own, dislocating again and again, and even with surgery, they often still spell the end of a competitive career. As I rolled up with my other arm, the crushing disappointment of the situation quickly turned to primal fear in the face of a chaotic river. I was in the middle of an angry class V rapid with only one functioning arm. With my left shoulder grinding and shooting pain, I placed the paddle on my good side and realized that I was probably about to get mangled and much more hurt. I felt extremely vulnerable. Any semblance of control was long gone.Miraculously, I floated straight and true through all three heinous drops, waves and holes crashing over me from all directions, and popped out within sight of the finish line. As I doubled over and cradled my arm, the announcer went silent, and my friends who had just finished their runs stared at me in horror. There wasn’t much to say. The party was over.I slowly slipped back to consciousness in the surgery room to my girlfriend Ashley sitting beside me, and nonsensical words coming out of the doctor’s mouth. The world was hazy and the whole left side of my body was numb from my fingers to my chest. Ashley and I slowly walked out to her car, and I felt hollow and without purpose. That began a four week period where I needed a lot of help to get even basic tasks done. Taking a shower, cutting a steak, putting jeans on, or signing a check—every painful action required assistance.While I sat at home doing hours and hours of PT, my athletic relevancy slipped away. Friends stopped calling to go paddling or biking; they didn’t want to rub it in that they were having fun while I was hurt. The paddling community forgot about me. Silence can be deafening.The primary solace from these worries and the pain of my injury was drugs. I found myself looking forward to the high dosage of Percocet prescribed to me every day, and I can now see why these chemicals cause such big problems for people. I didn’t feel sorry for myself when I was high, but I also knew that road led nowhere good.Then, suddenly, it was as if the momentum of my life redirected.The endless physical therapy hours started to slowly pay off, with motion returning to the shoulder joint one agonizing degree at a time. My therapist approved me to go trail running. The endorphins of motion sparked my brain and filtered everything through a more positive lens.There are two ways to approach any setback in life: you can blame that event and let it defeat you, or you can acknowledge it as an opportunity to explore things in life that might have been overlooked. I did my best to shift to the latter as time went on. And the drug bottle stayed on the shelf.My injury was a reminder to have compassion for those who live their entire lives with challenges far greater than my petty (and temporary) discomfort. Best of all, the downtime gave me the opportunity to cement every important personal and professional relationship that I had, most especially my relationship with Ashley.I’ve experienced some very intense things in my life, but nothing that I have ever done on the river has come close to the intensity of kneeling in front of her on a panoramic mountain ridge just before sunset and asking her to be my bride.
Are you looking for a new gig? Sure, you could go the traditional route—maybe find a nice office job with a short commute—or you could apply for a fully paid six-month adventure to test gear around the world.It sounds too good to be true, but that’s exactly the position that Columbia Sportswear is now hiring for.Aptly named ‘The Director of Toughness’, this esteemed post will require selected candidates to travel the world on Columbia’s dime, testing gear in some of the world’s most iconic wild places.Among other skill sets, qualified candidates (two of whom will ultimately be hired) are expected to posses a proficiency in skiing or snowboarding, trail navigation of varying degrees, and Instagram-worthy photography skills.The new ‘Directors of Toughness’ will also need to be media savvy and comfortable in front of a camera, because they’ll become brand ambassadors of sorts for the iconic outdoor company, appearing on TV shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live throughout the course of the six month gig.According to the job post, Columbia plans to pay the new employees $26k for the dream job and put them up in the outdoor hub of Portland, Oregon—when they’re not traveling the world testing the latest and greatest Columbia gear of course.Think you’re up to the challenge? Apply here now!
The “lungs of the earth” are burning. More than 74,000 fires have ignited so far this year in Brazil, half of them in the Amazon rainforest—marking an 80 percent increase in fires recorded over the same time period last year in the country. The fires are blamed on deforestation and a practice called slash-and-burn, which clears the forest for agricultural practices. Newly elected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro ran on a platform of opening up the forest for increased development and has gutted many of Brazil’s environmental regulatory agencies. As the fires raged, Bolsonaro claimed they were a conspiracy to attack the government. For daily news updates, join our News Group on Facebook Here On August 9, Harold Thompson, 58, of Knoxville, Tennessee experienced cardiac arrest while hiking along the Injun Creek manway in the Tennessee side of the park. Thompson’s brother and park medics administered CPR, but he was also pronounced dead at the scene. There have been 11 deaths in Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year. NOAA predicting widespread coral bleaching in Hawaii Two deaths from cardiac arrest in Great Smoky Mountains National Park In recent days, thousands of Brazilians have taken to city streets to demand action. In Rio de Janeiro, protesters marched on the city’s famous Ipanema Beach. The pressure, both in Brazil and around the world, seems to have forced Bolsonaro to change his stance on the fires—at least temporarily. Last week, Bolsonaro ordered 44,000 troops to begin fighting the fires and to address the criminal activity behind them. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coral Reef Watch Program has indicated that coral reefs in Hawaii will enter into a major bleaching event within the next two months. Rising seawater temperatures causes coral bleaching, which change coral from their normal browns, greens and yellows into a white color. Right now, August ocean temperatures in Hawaii are 3 degrees higher than normal. Brazilians march in the streets to demand action on fires burning in Amazon Coral can recover from moderate heat increases but will die if the higher temperatures remain over an extended period of time. Hawaii experienced an unprecedented coral bleaching event in 2014 and 2015 where, in some areas, over 50 percent of coral died. This bleaching event is expected to be even more severe. Anyone dipping their toes into the waters of Hawaii are asked to avoid touching corals or coral reefs and to use reef safe sunscreen. Read the Latest Outdoor News Here In the past two weeks two men have died from cardiac arrest while hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On August 22, Kirk Lazar, 70, of Evans, Georgia, collapsed while hiking the Juney Whank Falls Trail near Bryson City, NC. Bystanders immediately began CPR and emergency medical personnel responded quickly, but Lazar could not be revived.
By Dialogo October 16, 2009 Uruguayan authorities confiscated some 2,000 kilos (4,400 lbs.) of cocaine at a small marina on the outskirts of Montevideo, the biggest drug haul in the history of the South American nation. Coast guard sources told EFE the seizure followed a six-week investigation that led to a yacht anchored on the Santa Lucia River in the town of Santiago Vazquez. Two people thought to be the owners of the yacht were arrested. Media outlets said the detainees were Polish or Serbian nationals who bought the British-registered vessel in Santiago Vazquez a few months ago for $265,000. The drugs apparently arrived in Uruguay by sea and were destined for European markets. Authorities think the yacht was to be used to transport the cocaine out of coastal waters for transfer to a larger ship to make the trans-Atlantic voyage. Cocaine is produced in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.
“I have reason to believe, for example, that ETA members are buying cocaine from Colombian drug traffickers, transporting it to Portugal, and from there bringing it into the Basque Country,” said the author of the bestseller Gomorra [Gomorrah] about the Camorra, the Neapolitan mob. Saviano also cites the testimony of a repentant Italian mobster, Raffaele Spinello, according to whom ETA reached an agreement with the Camorra in 1999: “ETA agreed to use members of its organization to move cocaine in exchange for receiving arms from the Neapolitan mob (…).” “From the moment that ETA began to traffic in drugs, the reason for the group’s existence changed. Engaging in politics by taking up arms is no longer their priority. What is important for them now is the ‘business’ pure and simple,” commented Saviano, who still lives with bodyguards for fear of a mob hit. “Preparing attacks, acquiring arms, hiding fugitives from justice, providing financial help to the families of imprisoned ETA members … this is all very expensive,” he said. The seizure in the Basque Country at the end of January of packages of cocaine ready for sale, in the residence of an alleged ETA member, is “new and striking evidence that ETA traffics in drugs,” according to Saviano. The Basque armed separatist organization ETA traffics in Colombian cocaine to raise money and buy arms, the Italian journalist and writer Roberto Saviano has affirmed in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. By Dialogo February 16, 2010 The Basque armed separatist organization, considered responsible for the deaths of 828 people in more than forty years of violence for the independence of the Basque Country (in northern Spain), is in contact with the Italian mafia and the FARC Colombian guerrilla group in order to engage in this traffic, Saviano added in an interview with El Mundo. “The terrorists obtained the cocaine through their contacts with the Colombian guerrillas and took responsibility for getting the drugs to Italy,” according to Saviano.