The ‘War on Coal’ Concoction

first_imgThe ‘War on Coal’ Concoction FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Mark Hand for SNL:Accusing the Obama administration of waging a war on coal may serve as an effective rallying cry in coal-producing states, but the people making the claim either are intentionally misleading their constituents or lack a clear understanding of the history of the Clean Air Act, according to a pair of environmental law experts.Each of the three major “fronts” in President Barack Obama’s so-called war on coal — the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and the Clean Power Plan — can trace its lineage to previous presidential administrations, Republican and Democratic, and the dawn of modern environmental policy, Richard Revesz and Jack Lienke write in their new book, Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the “War on Coal,” published by Oxford University Press.“The basic narrative here is that President Obama took office in 2009 and pretty much immediately set about imposing all sorts of onerous and unprecedented restrictions on the use of coal. And this is very misleading,” Lienke, a senior attorney at the Institute for Public Integrity at the New York University School of Law, said April 5 at a book launch event hosted by Resources for the Future, a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C.Of these three major regulations that opponents have characterized as a war on coal, none was entirely pursued at the discretion of the Obama administration, Revesz and Lienke write in the book. CSAPR was a “necessary” replacement for the George W. Bush administration’s Clean Air Interstate Rule, which was struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and was left in place only to give the EPA time to develop a substitute, they explain.The MATS rule was crafted to replace a rule developed under the George W. Bush administration, the Clean Air Mercury Rule, that the D.C. Circuit had vacated. The Obama administration would have had difficulty not issuing its own mercury rule, given the EPA’s previous findings that power plants were the largest source of mercury pollution in the country and that such pollution was a threat to public health and the environment, they write.The EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Power Plan was “similarly preordained” by the 2007 Supreme Court decision, Massachusetts v. EPA, which said the agency must consider greenhouse gas emission as pollutants, according to the attorneys. Once the EPA took steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks after the 2007 court decision, the agency did not have a persuasive defense against a lawsuit seeking to compel it to do the same for power plants, they argue.Observers should be able to recognize that these three rules “weren’t really the Obama administration’s idea, not entirely,” Lienke said in his comments at the Resources for the Future event. “It’s understandable that the Obama administration doesn’t really want to shout this part from the rooftops. If you’re thinking legacy, you want to say, ‘I did more to protect the environment than any president in history,’ not, ‘I took some incremental steps to further regulatory efforts that were set in motion by past presidents.’”Full article ($): Attorneys trace lineage of Obama’s ‘war on coal’ to earlier administrationslast_img read more


India Plans Major Push for Storage, Boosting Renewables

first_imgIndia Plans Major Push for Storage, Boosting Renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Hindu:The draft National Energy Storage Mission expects to kick-start grid-connected energy storage in India, set up a regulatory framework, and encourage indigenous manufacture of batteries, according to a member of the expert committee set up by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) last month.The draft sets a “realistic target” of 15-20 gigawatt hours (GWh) of grid-connected storage within the next five years, according to Debi Prasad Dash, director, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), an industry body that is a part of the committee. Power grids do not currently use storage options that would help in smoothly integrating renewable energy sources.The draft has been submitted to the ministry, and will be released for public feedback in the next few months, said Dash. He added that the mission will focus on seven verticals: indigenous manufacturing; an assessment of technology and cost trends; a policy and regulatory framework; financing, business models and market creation; research and development; standards and testing; and grid planning for energy storage.Renewable energy sources now make up almost one-fifth of India’s total installed power capacity. However, as power grids increase their share of solar and wind energy, the problem remains that the peak supply of renewable sources does not always meet peak demand, explained P.C. Pant, a senior scientist with MNRE. For instance, solar energy generation may be at its peak at noon, but unless stored, it will not be available when needed to light up homes at night. Moreover, renewable sources are inherently intermittent: there are days when the wind doesn’t blow or the sky is cloudy.Batteries could help store surplus energy during peak generation times, but are more immediately needed to stabilize the grid when shifting between renewables and the baseload thermal capacity. “Once the installed capacity of renewables reaches 100 GW [from the current 65 GW], it will become critical to incorporate storage options,” said Pant.Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) expects to issue tenders for grid-connected storage by the end of the year, said its managing director Jatindra Nath Swain. For its own 160 MW plant in Andhra Pradesh, SECI will issue tenders for a storage option by the end of July, he added. “Up to 10% of [solar] power can be injected into the grid without storage,” he said. “After that, storage will become a necessity.”More: Draft Mission To Kick-Start Renewable Energy Storagelast_img read more


Danish coal consumption continues falling

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CPH Post:Denmark has long championed the transition to more sustainable energy sources, and that is being reflected in a steep decline in coal consumption at a national level.New figures from the Energistyrelsen energy agency reveal that Danish coal consumption fell by 25.5 percent from 2016 to 2017, while the utilisation of sustainable sources rose by 11.4 percent over the same period.“It’s good news that energy from coal has dropped by more than a quarter in 2017. Despite the fluctuation from year to year, it shows that it’s going in the right direction in terms of restructuring the coal-powered power plants and the government’s goal to completely phase out coal by 2030,” said the energy minister, Lars Christian Lilleholt.The report showed that Danish consumption of coal has fallen by 81.4 percent since 1994, while oil consumption has declined by 89.5 percent.One of the principal factors in the significant decline in coal consumption from 2016 to 2017 is the transition to biomass at the central power plants, as well as a considerable increase in wind power utilisation.More: Denmark’s coal consumption plummets in just one year Danish coal consumption continues fallinglast_img read more


Report sees India’s reliance on thermal power dropping to 50% in 2021, 43% in 2026

first_imgReport sees India’s reliance on thermal power dropping to 50% in 2021, 43% in 2026 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享’s dependence on thermal power will reduce to 50 per cent by 2021-22 and 43 per cent by 2026-27 on the back of renewable energy (RE) capacity additions, a report said. Thermal power includes diesel, gas and coal-based electricity generation which contributes 63 per cent of total electricity generation capacity in India as per the report.“India is chasing ambitious RE targets and enhancing its T&D (transmission & distribution) infrastructure. Increasing RE use is decreasing dependence on coal. Contribution of the thermal sector will reduce to 50 per cent by FY22 and 43 per cent by FY27,” said a report by Praxis Global Alliance and ZetwerkAccording to the report the installed power generation capacity has increased at 8.6 per cent CAGR over the period FY12-FY19 and renewable energy is growing at the fastest pace. New private investment in the generation sector is expected to be largely in the renewable sector, it added.The report showed that owing to past bad experiences, long-term PPAs (power purchase agreement) in thermal power are unlikely to pick-up in the future.Renewables sector is likely to continue with long-term PPAs, it added.More: India’s dependence on thermal power will reduce to 50 per cent by FY22: Reportlast_img read more


Australia’s Suncorp to stop financing, insuring oil and gas industry by 2025

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Major Australian insurer Suncorp will end any financing or insuring of the oil and gas industry by 2025, adding to the group’s existing ban on support for new thermal coal projects.The insurer revealed on Friday it had already stopped insuring, underwriting or directly investing in new oil and gas projects and would phase out underwriting and financing existing oil and gas businesses by 2025. All direct investing in the oil and gas sector would end by 2040, the company said in a report.Suncorp said the move built on its commitment last year to end any backing of thermal coal projects.At the end of June, the company said fossil fuel extraction and generation made up less than 0.1% of its general insurance business. Among its insurance and shareholder investment assets, exposure was below 0.5%, and was less than 1.5% of all the investments it managed.“Suncorp will continue to underwrite, lend to and invest in companies whose business is clearly consistent with the transition to a net-zero emissions economy by 2050,” the report said. Current investments in low carbon industries stood at $236m at the end of June, the company said.Insurance companies globally are introducing internal guidelines restricting their exposure to fossil fuels. At least four insurers of Australia’s controversial Adani coal mine have backed away from the project. In 2019 Suncorp said it would not finance or insure new thermal coal mines and power plants and would not underwrite existing thermal coal projects after 2025.[Graham Readfearn]More: Insurance giant Suncorp to end coverage and finance for oil and gas industry Australia’s Suncorp to stop financing, insuring oil and gas industry by 2025last_img read more


Should the Southeast coast be opened to offshore oil drilling?

first_imgIllustration by Wade MickleyAs long as modern safety measures are maintained with close monitoring, oil drilling can safely be done just about anywhere. It’s cheaper and more efficient to get our oil from close to home instead of bringing half in from the other side of the planet. Our money also stays out of the Middle East. I don’t like big oil companies, but I would rather see our money going to them instead of OPEC. Our economy will get better benefits, keeping all the jobs here.—Bryan Robertson, Kilmarnock, Va.———-How is anyone going to get to their trail runs without their cars? It’s too far for me to bike from where I live in Virginia to the Babcock Trail Half Marathon in West Virginia, for example. If gas prices continue to increase, I’m betting less people will be traveling to races, including myself. Let’s take advantage of our natural resources within our territories until technology catches up with environmental requirements.—Lewis “Lefty” Leftwich, Salem, Va.———-If we could guarantee that the oil would be used here, then I would be all for it—if for nothing else, to not be held hostage by foreign governments. But will the oil be used here or sold to the highest bidder? What good would it do to drill and then sell the oil to China? Drilling is not my first choice, but I do not see the U.S. seriously moving in other directions.—Caesar Wyssbrod III,Greensboro, N.C.———-I think that oil companies should be allowed to drill anywhere that exploration indicates oil might be present. In this country, we have moved beyond the nicety of having available energy and nice views. These two approaches are no longer as compatible as they once were.—Norman Bednarcyk, Charlottesville, Va.———-Give the oil companies a small time frame to get oil from the location and institute an investment plan from those companies in alternative energy if they want rights to drill in those locations. This way we can ease our dependence on foreign oil and get large oil companies to invest in alternative energies.—Aaron Upp, Potomac Falls, Va.———-It will take somewhere between eight to 12 years to research where they need to drill, then build the oil wells and start pumping oil. Furthermore, it is estimated that offshore drilling will only supply two percent of the U.S. oil demand. Offshore drilling is not the answer—alternative energy, conservation, and lifestyle changes are more sensible solutions.—Jon Livengood, Knoxville, Tenn.———-Having spent time frequenting both the drilling-plagued Texas beaches near Corpus Christi and drilling-free coasts of the Southeast, I can say that I prefer the tar-free nature of the Southeast’s beaches. Having to scrub your body and scrap your clothing from being covered in tar at the end of the day is a good way to keep me off the beach. The loss of pristine beaches can never be replaced in value by any number of years of extra gasoline. The Southeast beaches would lose me as a source of tourism revenue when the tar balls float in.—Reed Leonard, Dacula, Ga.———-The U.S. needs to start thinking about energy from different sources—wind, solar, fuel cells (not nuclear)—instead of relying on 100-year-old technology (fossil fuels). If we take half of what we give to the oil industry and give it to other energy development, we would see dramatic changes.—Michel Valin, Marietta, Ga.———-Realistically, it would take ten years to begin extracting oil from the Outer Continental Shelf. Imagine the renewable energy infrastructure we could have in place in 10 years—from parabolic solar plants in the Southwest to wind farms along our coasts. We could develop electric cars (which we already know work) and the recharging stations used to keep them going. We could break our dependence on this non-renewable, polluting resource and invest our energies and our economy in safe, renewable, and eco-friendly solutions.—Erin Coe, Midlothian, Va.———-Alternative fuels should be where any money goes. Do not hurt any more natural habitats and animals. The price of fuel will stay high whether we drill or not, so we need to invest in alternatives. Our nation has been run by the oil companies and their subsidiaries for far too long.—Kristen Keller, Charlottesville, Va.———-Fossil fuels are weighing too heavily on our environment, and they cannot sustain the whole planet’s need for fuel. Why waste the resources on securing a finite amount of fuel which will result in more ecological damage, when we know that global demand will not ease the cost of fossil fuels? If we allow offshore drilling, we are only allowing oil companies to make outrageous profits while prolonging our global problem.—Nathan Ruff, Richmond, Va.last_img read more


Updated: Explosions Rock Boston Marathon Finish Line

first_imgTwo explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line Monday afternoon. Authorities carried off the injured while the stragglers in the 26.2-mile trek were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. Competitors and race organizers were crying as they fled the chaos. Bloody spectators were being carried to the medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners.The source of the two explosions are unknown, but the Boston Marathon Association called them two “bombs.” The explosions occurred around the four-hour mark of the marathon, when the largest number of runners and spectators are at the finish line.Tuesday morning, authorities are reporting there are now three fatalities – including an 8-year old boy – and over 140 injuries.Police have searched the apartment of a person of interest, but have not made an arrest. As of yet, no person our group has claimed responsibility for what is being called an ‘act of terror.’Focus in the media is now shifting toward praise for the first responders and bystanders who rushed to the aid of those injured in the blasts.Runners in our home towns of Charlottesville and Asheville are safe. Did you know runners at the Boston Marathon? Share your story in the comments.Read more here.last_img read more


Best Sixer Ever Chosen By BRO Readers

first_imgSpecial thanks to our sponsor Haywood County NC TDA.  It is no secret that the outdoor adventure industry pairs perfectly with the booming craft beer scene and it is no different in Haywood County, NC.  This area of the North Carolina Smokies is serving up a unique flight of outdoor adventure and delicious craft brews, which is why Haywood County has chosen to be the sponsor for Blue Ridge Best Sixer Ever Contest. Home to 46 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Haywood County and its five towns of Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Lake Junaluska, Canton and Clyde are a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. From the hardcore backpacker to the leisurely leaf looker, the North Carolina Smokies offer year-round activities for all ages and skill levels. And what could be more perfect after a long day on the trail than kicking back with a delicious craft brew?  Haywood County is home to four award winning microbreweries: Bearwaters Brewing, Boojum Brewing, Frog Level Brewing and Tipping Point Tavern and Brewery.  Each brewery has its own creative line-up of original brews, with many giving nod to the area’s avid outdoor scene like the Angler Amber at Bearwaters and the Balsam Brown Ale at Boojum.  So the next time you plan a Haywood County adventure, pair it with a craft beer from one of the local breweries for an authentic taste of the North Carolina Smokies. After more than 20,000 votes, the Blue Ridge Outdoors readers have spoken, and out of 32 contenders, six deserving beers from Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic breweries have earned a spot in our proverbial ‘Best Sixer Ever’!The beer with the most votes—Appalachian Mountain Brewery’s Long Leaf IPA—comes out of the High Country of Boone, North Carolina.With 43 percent of the overall vote count, AMB really ran away with this one, and it’s easy to see why. Sean Spiegelman and Danny Wilcox—two of the passionate people behind AMB’s success—have been garnering brewing accolades and community support since they opened their doors in 2011.Spiegelman is the CEO and founder while Wilcox acts as the business operations manager for AMB.I was lucky enough to talk to these two brewing luminaries and get the inside scoop on AMB’s steady rise to brewing prowess.“We operate on a three pillar system that touts the importance of philanthropy, community, and sustainability,” Spiegelman said. “We are deeply committed to this community and try to give back in every way possible.”In the philanthropy department, they’re way ahead of the game. With their ‘Pints for Non-Profits’ program, they donate a portion of every pint sold in their tasting room to local charities.“We recently brewed a saison with hand-picked elderberries from the mountains around Boone and sold those for eight dollars a bottle,” Spiegelman told me. “100 percent of the proceeds went to the Blue Ridge Conservancy to help protect the land here in the High Country.”While Spiegelman and Wilcox mainly focus their philanthropic efforts on Boone and the surrounding areas, they hope to one day expand similar initiatives to every community where their highly acclaimed beer is being sold.“The ultimate goal is to set up some type of program that will give back a portion of our proceeds to local non-profits in every town where our beer is being distributed,” Wilcox said.Philanthropy is key for Appalachian Mountain Brewery, but they’re also heavily involved in the outdoor recreation scene, a fact that comes through in their branding and company imagery.“We live and breathe the outdoor lifestyle,” Wilcox said. “And we’re committed to using the sale of our beer as a way to protect the outdoors for future generations to enjoy. Proceeds from every can of beer we sell support the revitalization of our mountains and rivers.” Cheers guys and keep up the great work!Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 5.38.53 AMPhoto Courtesy of Wonderland Woods Productions♦The remaining field includes beers from Blue Mountain Brewing in Nelson County, Virginia, Charlotte North Carolina’s NoDa Brewing Company, Devil’s Backbone—also from Nelson County, Black Mountain, North Carolina’s Pisgah Brewing, and Westbrook Brewing, which hails from the Lowcounty of Charleston, South Carolina. Read on to find out why each of these hand-crafted brews deserve a spot in your next self-made six pack!Blue Mountain Brewery—Full Nelson Pale AleFounded in 2007 by Taylor Smack, Blue Mountain is the brewery that started it all in Nelson County. The beer is outstanding, and their Afton restaurant and tap-room is a must-see destination in its own right. Also a flagship brew, the Full Nelson Pale Ale is a true classic. This year round offering is crisp and lighter in body but still packs the full flavors and maltiness indicative of any good pale ale.Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 5.47.32 AMNoDa Brewing Company – Hop Drop ‘n RollNoDa has been impressing the North Carolina craft beer crowd since the day they opened with styles that span the gamut from traditional to highly creative. The Hop Drop ’n Roll is an American IPA with a heavy emphasis on the Citra and Amarillo hops. A careful blend of English and American malts give this beer—which came away with Gold in the 2014 World Beer Cup—its rich amber hue. Look for this one all over Central and Western North Carolina.Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 5.51.48 AMDevil’s Backbone – Vienna LagerLocated just a few miles from Blue Mountain, Devil’s Backbone is the next stop on your Nelson County brewery tour. Founded in 2008 by outdoor enthusiasts Steve and Heidi Crandall, Devil’s Backbone beer is “inspired by tradition but not handcuffed to it”. Their winner in the ‘Best Sixer Ever’ contest is a  highly-touted award winner called the Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager. A perfect example of this tried and true, old-world style, it is medium bodied and effervescent with a biscuit-like maltiness, caramel sweetness, and an amber-chestnut color.Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 5.53.57 AMPisgah Brewing Company—Pisgah Pale AleThe Pisgah Pale is ubiquitous in the brewery’s hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, and it’s easy to see why. Organic malts and whole leaf hops give this pale ale an uncommon richness and a full-flavored body that’s hard to beat, even in a town known as ‘Beer City USA’. The best part about this beer is its easy drinking nature. At 5.1 percent ABV, it’s the perfect brew for a post-adventure camping trip in its Western North Carolina home.Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 5.55.23 AMWestbrook Brewing Company—White ThaiFounded and operated by husband and wife team Ed and Morgan Westbrook, Westbrook Brewing is one of Charleston’s all around best, and their Mt. Pleasant taproom is a must visit destination if you’re ever in the Low Country. The White Thai separates itself from the rest of the field with uniqueness and originality. Inspired by the flavor’s of Southeast Asia, this belgian-style witbier is brewed with ginger and lemongrass as opposed the coriander and orange peel traditionally used to flavor Belgian wits. It’s refreshing, smooth, and crisp, and goes down nicely, even on the hottest day of a Charleston summer.unnamedlast_img read more


The August Issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors is Live

first_imgDEPARTMENTSQUICK HITSCrowded A.T. • West Virginia’s new bouldering park • New Virginia license plate to honor runner • Gravedigger raceFLASHPOINTOnly 45 red wolves remain in the wild—all in North Carolina. A small group of landowners wants their protections removed. A decision next month will decide whether red wolves go extinct.THE DIRTScott Jurek broke the A.T. speed record last summer. Can his friend and fellow ultrarunner Karl Meltzer notch a new record in 2016?THE GOODSAdventure guide Sara Bell shares her swimming hole gear essentials.TRAIL MIXMandolin master Sam Bush explores his songwriting side on new album.FEATURESADVENTURE UNeed to ditch the books and play hooky? Here are the 10 best college campuses in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic for outdoor adventure.PARK N’ PLAYCelebrate the National Park Service’s 100th birthday by splashing in one of these 10 swimming holes in the Smokies, Shenandoah, and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.FIRED UPSmokey the Bear got it wrong: forests need wildfires to stay healthy. But are we willing to allow wildfires to burn? Fires in Linville and Shenandoah spark new debates.FIRST OBSTACLE COURSEA tough mudder race tests an again dad.last_img read more


The Road Team Sees The Great American Eclipse

first_img In preparation for the total eclipse, I read “American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World,” by David Baron. I highly recommend this read if you are a history and/or science nerd. It details the total solar eclipse of 1878 that swept the wild west and even what Denver was like around that time. It had just enough science in it that I knew what I was looking up at when the moon started making its way across the sun.“For three glorious minutes, I felt transported to another planet, indeed to a higher plane of reality, as my consciousness departed the earth and I gaped at an alien sky … I felt something I had never experienced before — a visceral connection to the universe …” -David BaronWe spent the weekend getting to know Greyrocks Reservoir in Wyoming in preparation for the big show on Monday morning. We set up camp Friday morning along the shore of the reservoir and began the waiting game. Greyrocks Reservoir sits just north of Wheatland, Wyoming, solidly inside the line of totality. It touted unbearable heat during the day, and gloriously breezy, perfectly temperature evenings. We slept with the van doors open and let the nighttime air relax us to sleep. Mornings were spent staring into the endless blue sky wondering how everything would change.Saturday and Sunday were filled with friends and family slowly filtering in, setting up tents and ez ups, sharing food, drinks, and excitement for Monday morning. We cooled off in the reservoir and let the dogs run around in the mud. We put our chairs in a circle and talked about how it felt not as crowded as we expected and like we had our own little plot of beachfront property. It was like any old ordinary camping trip, but with a major celestial event happening at the end. If you like the gear we’re reppin’, or what we’re wearing, check out some of the sponsors that make this tour possible: La Sportiva, Crazy Creek, National Geographic, RovR Products, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, LifeStraw, and Lowe Alpine. I’m sure every other article about the eclipse tells you you shouldn’t miss it. This one is no different. It exceeded our expectations. This world is a huge, incredible place, and magic still exists, even if it’s scientific magic. Standing under the dark sun with a handful of friends and family is life marker. I will never forget the feeling I had as the moon finally moved fully over the sun, and the world went dark in the middle of the day. Witnessing the moon slowly blot out the sun, and stars appear in the sky during daylight hours, is a once in a lifetime experience. The crickets chirped and the horizon line glowed pink and orange. The corona around the black hole where the sun used to be shimmered with an otherworldly gleam. Everyone I was with screamed with joy and nervousness. For three minutes of totality during the eclipse, the world was a completely unfamiliar place, even though we had made that campsite home for the past three days. last_img read more