As Coal Prospects Decline, a Colorado Town Reconsiders Marijuana

first_imgAs Coal Prospects Decline, a Colorado Town Reconsiders Marijuana FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Jack Healy for the New York Time:One mine here in the North Fork Valley has shut down amid a wave of coal bankruptcies and slowdowns, and another has announced that it will go dark. The closings added to a landscape of layoffs and economic woes concussing mining-dependent towns from West Virginia to Wyoming. And as Hotchkiss searches for a new economic lifeline, some people are asking: What about marijuana?“If we could get it legalized right now, we could create some jobs, and we need the tax revenue,” said Thomas Wills, a town trustee who runs a used-book store and supports allowing some marijuana stores. “Downtown’s not going to be all flashing green crosses and dancing marijuana leaves. You can make it as unobtrusive as you want.”Next month, Hotchkiss will vote on whether to undo its ban and welcome marijuana shops and the traffic and taxes that could come with them. With cannabis sales soaring to nearly $1 billion across Colorado, and big states such as California poised to embrace legalization, wary towns like Hotchkiss are looking at the economics of marijuana and starting to reconsider.“It’s an evolving discussion in a lot of communities,” said Kevin Bommer, deputy director of the Colorado Municipal League, which tracks local debates on the issue. Six Colorado towns are voting in April on whether to scrap their prohibitions on marijuana stores, and in January, another narrowly voted to lift a moratorium and approve wholesale marijuana growers.“There were a lot of questions and unknowns,” said Mayor Joel Benson of Buena Vista, a town in Colorado’s central mountains that allows medical marijuana and is weighing whether to allow recreational sales. “It was really just to give people time to wrestle with the ins and outs.”“People have been tightening the belt or just plain moving away,” said Robbie Winne, who runs the Rose, a secondhand clothing shop along Hotchkiss’s main street. She said she supported the marijuana plan as a way to entice more visitors, or at least capture some traffic as people passed through on their way to ski towns.Ms. Winne said that although pot was no panacea, at least it could perk up business and tax revenue. Colorado collected about $135 million in taxes and fees from marijuana sales last year, and small governments have taken in millions from local sales taxes. In the tiny town of DeBeque, near the Utah border, officials told Colorado Public Radio that they were considering using the tax money from marijuana to start a scholarship fund or repair streets, curbs and gutters.Full article: As Coal Prospects Decline, a Colorado Town Reconsiders Marijuanalast_img read more

Peabody Asks Bankruptcy Judge to Permit New Bonuses for 42 Salaried Employees

first_imgPeabody Asks Bankruptcy Judge to Permit New Bonuses for 42 Salaried Employees FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Taylor Kuykendall for SNL:Peabody Energy Corp. is asking a bankruptcy court to allow the company to award “no more than $3.24 million” to 42 key employees. As proposed, the program will cost approximately $2.74 million. The highest potential individual award is $134,000 and the average per participant is $65,200.The company said the employees provide “vital services” necessary for day-to-day operations and noted that in exit interviews employees have been saying they were seeking higher levels of job security than the coal industry currently offers. The employees include those working in finance, operations, legal, sales, marketing, human resources and information technology.Employees in the proposed program are divided into three tiers based on “relative importance to retain, difficulty of replacement and likelihood of departure.” The awards range from 25% to 40% of base salary payable on Peabody’s successful emergence from bankruptcy.Full article: Peabody seeks bonuses as employees flee for job security outside of coallast_img read more

‘Bearish Fundamentals’ Diminish Hopes for U.S. Coal-Export Renaissance

first_img‘Bearish Fundamentals’ Diminish Hopes for U.S. Coal-Export Renaissance FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享SNL:The export market for U.S. thermal coal continues to gain strength but is likely only a temporary boost given the bearish long-term fundamentals for domestic consumption, several speakers at an industry event said Dec. 5.Emily Medine, a principal with Energy Ventures Analysis, said at the American Coal Council’s annual Coal Trading Conference in New York that the thermal coal sector remains “challenged.”Medine cited a surplus of natural gas, lack of growth in power demand, wind production tax credits, a strong U.S. dollar, continued regulatory pressure and public perception against coal.The export market for U.S. thermal coal continues to gain strength but is likely only a temporary boost given the bearish long-term fundamentals for domestic consumption, several speakers at an industry event said Dec. 5.Emily Medine, a principal with Energy Ventures Analysis, said at the American Coal Council’s annual Coal Trading Conference in New York that the thermal coal sector remains “challenged.”Medine cited a surplus of natural gas, lack of growth in power demand, wind production tax credits, a strong U.S. dollar, continued regulatory pressure and public perception against coal.Paul Bailey, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, highlighted declining load growth as among the many challenges facing the thermal coal sector.“In the old days, the pie got larger and everyone’s piece got larger, but the pie is not getting larger, so load growth is really having a profound effect on the coal fleet,” Bailey said.More: ($) Bearish fundamentals dim long-term prospects for coal, industry players saylast_img read more

Colorado co-op sees big potential in battery storage

first_imgColorado co-op sees big potential in battery storage FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy News Network:Jerry Marizza likes to think the Colorado electric cooperative he works at learned a lesson with solar power. “We had the attitude that it was too expensive — nobody would do it except the rich greenies,” said Marizza, coordinator for United Power Cooperative’s new energy program. “Well, we were dead wrong.”And so Marizza spoke with a sense of humility but also determination as he led visitors on a tour of the co-op’s new battery storage project about 30 miles north of downtown Denver. The 16 lithium-ion batteries total 4 megawatts and 16 hours of storage, making the project the largest in the state. It will likely remain so until Xcel Energy completes installation of 275 megawatts of battery storage by late 2022.United Power sees the Tesla PowerPack ESS batteries as the sort of low-risk gamble that it is well-positioned to take and should take. The co-op has 87,000 metered members, from homes in the foothills to fast-growing towns and cities north and east of Denver. The oil and gas industry is responsible for a third of the co-op’s load and most of the growth, a 50 percent increase in eight years.The electrical distribution cooperative’s embrace of batteries, though, has been stoking tensions with its power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which adopted a policy last summer capping the amount of battery storage members are allowed to have on their systems.United, despite its early skepticism, wasn’t caught entirely flat-footed on solar. In 2009, the cooperative launched the first community solar project in the nation, allowing customers to buy solar capacity in lieu of rooftop solar. The co-op plans a similar “community battery” storage, allowing users to purchase a share of the battery system’s output to directly reduce demand charges.Marizza and United Power began investigating battery storage three years ago, got board approval two years ago, and signed a contract with Tesla in late 2017. Crucial was Tesla’s warranty that the batteries will remain at 100 percent capacity for 10 years. Marizza expects they will decline to 70 percent capacity after 20 years. With savings of $100,000 a month, United expects full payback within eight years on the cost of $7 million to $8 million.More: Colorado’s biggest battery a ‘gamble’ co-op decided it needed to makelast_img read more

BHP CEO says company likely to exit coal mining business

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Nikkei Asian Review:BHP Group might sell off coal assets, the mining giant’s chief hinted Tuesday, joining global peers in the move toward environmentally sustainable businesses as retail and institutional investors grow more sensitive to such issues.“We increasingly have concluded that this is not a business that is going to offer the prospects for growth and would compete for capital … compared to our other businesses,” CEO Andrew Mackenzie said on an earnings call.And while coal is not going away quickly, “the plentiful supply of energy coal, combined with a somewhat dampening in demand, as it’s going to form a smaller part of the market share going forward, means that this is a less interesting asset than others for us to invest in,” Mackenzie said.BHP owns the Mount Arthur thermal coal mine in the Australian state of New South Wales, as well as the Cerrejon project in Colombia. BHP’s thermal coal output in ownership stake terms came to 27 million tons during the fiscal year ended June, down 6% from a year earlier.The Anglo-Australian multinational projects the output to sink as far as 13% in the fiscal year ending June 2020, underscoring the extent of the downsizing. If a buyer made a generous offer for the two mines at this moment, BHP will seriously consider it, a company insider said.BHP at one point owned coal mines in South Africa and North America. It produced 73.49 million tons of thermal coal in the year ended June 2014 — nearly three times the volume of the year ended this June. Production plunged after BHP parted with South African and North American assets. Output went further south in recent years due partly to inclement weather in Colombia.More: BHP weighs pullout from coal mining as investors grow greener BHP CEO says company likely to exit coal mining businesslast_img read more

The November Issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors is Live

first_imgCover Illustration Courtesy of Kevin HowdeshellDEPARTMENTSEDITOR’S NOTEALS is taking Royce Cowan’s body but not his adventurous spirit.CONTRIBUTOR QUESTIONTell us about your worst gear mishaps.QUICK HITS11-year-old completes running streak for friend with cancer • Cyclist sues runner • 220-mile art expedition down the HoochTHE DIRTGreen River Games • Road-kill cookoff • Cyclocross championships headed to Biltmore EstateFEATURESTOP TOWNS 2016Over 100,000 votes poured in for 48 favorite adventure hubs—mountain biking meccas, whitewater oases, climbing paradises, and hiking nirvanas with vibrant outdoor communities. Which three towns took the crown?MUDDY TIRES AND THE MANSIONThe city of Asheville will host the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships at the Biltmore Estate January 4-10.PEAK GEAR AWARDSWe asked the region’s top experts and outdoor adventurers—including a few of our very own BRO athletes—to select the gear they simply can’t live without.FINDING LOVE ON THE TRAILWhy couples that hike together stay together.BASED IN THE BLUE RIDGEGo local with your gear dollars. BRO editors select their favorite products from top regional outdoor companies.POWER OF THE PEAKBrad Stulberg searches science and spirit to uncover why mountains move us.TRAIL MIXNew Albums from Former Collaborators Ryan Adams and David Rawlingslast_img read more

Mountain Mama: Stuck in the Middle

first_imgMy legs shake as I contemplate the upper rock garden section on the Jim Branch trail in Dupont State Park for what seems like the hundredth time. For the past week, I announce to anyone who will listen that my summer goal is to make it to the top. Secretly I hope to conquer the climb sooner.Straddling my bike, I look up and see with perfect clarity the line I want to take –slightly to the right to avoid the biggest rock and then straight up the center, hitting the smooth part of the steepest rock up to a larger jumble of jagged grey rocks.The tips others give me about getting to the top lo0p in my head. Scoot forward on my seat when the trail steepens. Weight my front wheel. Pull my elbows in and my handlebars toward me, but not up. Scan the line I’ve committed to and then look up, scan, look further up and repeat. Keep peddling through uncertainty.I push off with my right foot. My bike wobbles until I gain momentum. I peddle ten feet up before my front while spins on the surface of a rock without traction.13041452_10153562246936299_685251550880023098_oUghh, I forgot to weight my front wheel.I go again. My every thought is about getting forward on my seat and weighting that wheel. This time I get a little further up the trail when my wheel gets stuck in a rut between two rocks.Damn, I was so focused on scooting forward that I forgot to look up at where I wanted to go and got stuck.I curse the rocks, hating the feeling of being stuck. Nothing seems to work. Self-doubt creeps in and I wonder what’s holding me back from the top. Is it my technique or fitness or mindset?I wish for a magical fast forward bottom, where my skills and muscles and thoughts all colluded to get me to the top. I consider giving up, but in the end I stay the course. I keep trying until my legs give out and I’m falling before I even start the climb. I leave with several scrapes and bruises.On the drive home I feel surprisingly good about the afternoon. I didn’t get much closer to making it to the top and I may never get there at this rate. The only way to find out is to keep trying. I promise to go back the next day and the next. Every time I return to that rock garden I’m showing up for more than just mountain biking, I’m showing up for my life.I decide on a new mantra.I ride, I fall.I ride, I climb.I ride.last_img read more

Outdoor Updates: Dog rescued after being trapped in 81-foot hole for six days

first_imgStill, Hawaii’s coral reefs did experience substantial bleaching. The most impacted island was Kona, where reefs along the coast averaged 40% bleaching of live coral. Cauliflower and rice corals were most impacted by this year’s bleaching event. To see bleaching reports visit www.hawaiicoral.org.  When it comes to the rules of the road, most cyclists follow them and most motorists don’t  PHOTO: DLNR A one-year-old Catahoula hunting dog named Orange has been rescued after spending six days at the bottom of an 81-foot hole on the island of Kaua’i. Orange’s owner had a GPS tracker on the dog and was able to locate him almost immediately after his fall. He kept the dog alive by lowering food and water down the hole. He says he knew Orange was alive because the dog would occasionally whimper or howl. There’s some good news coming out of Hawaii’s oceans this autumn. The widespread coral bleaching event that was predicted by NOAA earlier this year was not as severe as many scientists feared. While warm waters over the summer and into the autumn did cause bleaching events that impacted reefs throughout Hawaii, the bleaching was not as destructive as it has been in previous years. Dog rescued after being trapped in 81-foot hole for six dayscenter_img A new study of out Denmark finds that less than 5% of cyclists break traffic rules while riding their bikes but 66% of motorists break traffic laws while driving.  The hole, believed to be part of an old water irrigation system, was on DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) land and eventually, an employee with DOFAW, who also happened to be an experienced climber, was tapped to extract the dog from the hole. Adam Williams, a botanist with DOFAW, lowered himself into the bottom of the hole and loaded the dog into a small canvas bag, which was then pulled back to the surface by a team of volunteers. “He was really happy to see me,” said Williams. “After he got over the shock of being down in a hole for a week.” Hawaii’s coral bleaching is not as severe as predicted Researchers studied video cameras that captured 28,579 cyclists crossing intersections and found that only 4.9% of cyclists broke road rules. The most common law broken by cyclists was biking on the sidewalk. However, cyclists broke road rules more frequently (14% of the time) when they did not have access to cycling infrastructure like bike lanes. Separate studies in Denmark found that nearly two-thirds of motorists regularly break the law and speeding is the most common offense.last_img read more

Free Online Yoga Classes

first_imgAnd here’s a bonus video {45-Minute Spring Yoga Flow for Balance & Intention Setting} for the Spring Equinox yesterday! https://youtu.be/J2r4GSoaFrw  Namaste in Nature was planning on an official launch of the 2020 season this week but it’s crazy how much the world has changed recently. We are confident that life and business will return to normal-ish again soon, but until then, we are sharing the tools we use to stay happy and healthy via the following FREE videos.Now, more than ever, it’s important to put extra effort into maintaining your mental, physical and emotional health. Even if you’ve never practiced yoga or meditation or hiking before, here are 108 reasons (health benefits) as to why you should give it a try or keep maintaining your current practice. Video 1 – “10 Minute Sensory Meditation to Calm Down and Boost Immunity“ A 10-minute sensory meditation that will get us out of our heads and into our bodies. https://youtu.be/y1a1dZzlWy8 Video 3 – “Gentle Yoga for A Healthy Immune System” A gentle, immune-boosting yoga asana practice with plenty of twists and folds to help refresh the sinuses and detox the body. https://youtu.be/M8DyopN6klY center_img We will be so grateful if you subscribe to our Youtube channel and/or share these videos with colleagues, customers, friends and family. It’s FREE and we will be releasing many more yoga and meditation videos over the next several days and weeks that you can practice from the safety and comfort of your home. It will also help us work towards recovering lost income (getting paid by YouTube) from not being able to teach yoga in person right now.Sending some happy & healthy vibes your way and Happy Spring Equinox! Video 2 – “How To: Walking Meditation (Calm Down & Boost Immunity)” A guided walking/hiking meditation designed to get you outside into the fresh air and sunshine, which has been scientifically proven to help boost immunity or speed illness recovery. https://youtu.be/VhFprM6jgIYlast_img read more

Suspected Swine Flu Deaths In Mexico Top 100

first_imgBy Dialogo April 27, 2009 Mexico’s government is trying to stem the spread of a deadly strain of swine flu as a new work week begins by urging people to stay home Monday if they have any symptoms of the virus believed to have killed more than 100 people. Officials have already closed schools in three states and canceled hundreds of public events. But as the number of suspected cases and deaths rose again Sunday — and millions returning to work Monday — they looked to other measures to control the outbreak. Labor Secretary Javier Lozano Alarcon said employers should isolate anyone showing up for work with fever, cough, sore throat or other signs of the flu. Fear of the disease caused most residents of Mexico’s capital to hunker down at home on Sunday. The cardinal said Mass in a shuttered cathedral. Football teams played to empty stadiums. A television variety show filled studio-audience seats with cardboard cutouts bearing broad smiles on their faces. For the first time in 300 years, the cathedral in Mexico City’s main plaza pulled an icon of the Lord of Health from storage, and worshippers placed it on the principal altar. The Rev. Cuauhtemoc Islas said it would remain there until the medical emergency is over, Mexico’s government news agency Notimex reported. But the bad news kept coming. Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova said late Sunday the number of suspected swine flu cases in Mexico had climbed to 1,614, including 103 deaths. Authorities were trying to confirm how many new cases were caused by the virus, which has been confirmed or suspected in at least a half-dozen other countries and has caused the U.S. to declare a health emergency. But even as Mexican officials urged those with flu symptoms to seek medical help, some complained of being turned away. In Toluca, a city west of the capital, one family said health authorities refused to treat a relative Sunday who had full-blown flu symptoms and could barely stand. The man, 31-year-old truck driver Elias Camacho, was even ordered out of a government ambulance, his father-in-law told The Associated Press. Paramedics complained that Camacho — who had a fever, was coughing and had body aches — was contagious, Jorge Martinez Cruz said. Family members took him by taxi to a public hospital, but a doctor there denied Camacho was sick and told the trio to leave, Martinez said. “The government told us that if we have these symptoms, we should go to these places, but look how they treat us,” Martinez said. Camacho was finally admitted to the hospital — and placed in an area marked “restricted” — after a doctor at a private clinic notified state health authorities, Martinez said. Jose Isaac Cepeda, who has had fever, diarrhea and joint pains since Friday, said he was turned away from two hospitals — the first because he isn’t registered in the public health system, and the second “because they say they’re too busy.” The streets of the capital were largely deserted Sunday. The city canceled its weekly cycling day, in which major boulevards are closed to cars. The city’s two main chains of movie theaters announced they were closing temporarily. Restaurants and bars were empty. “We normally get 200 diners over the course of the day,” said waiter Eduardo Garcia, wearing a surgical mask as he presided over empty tables of an Italianni’s restaurant in the Zona Rosa neighborhood. “Today’s pretty bad. Nobody’s coming out of their houses.”last_img read more