Monthly ArchiveDecember 2020

Maryland takes lead in forcing coal plants to clean up water discharges

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first_imgMaryland takes lead in forcing coal plants to clean up water discharges FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Baltimore Sun:Maryland is requiring three coal power plants to limit the amount of mercury, arsenic and other toxic metals they release into the Potomac and Patuxent rivers starting in 2020, amid uncertainty over whether the federal government will address the discharges.State environmental regulators issued the new water discharge permits to the Chalk Point, Dickerson and Morgantown power plants last month, replacing water pollution standards that dated to the 1980s.Dozens of Democratic state lawmakers and environmental advocates weighed in during the permitting process last year, urging Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration to require the pollution controls immediately, rather than wait for President Donald Trump’s administration to put new federal rules in place.A rule was set to be put in place under former President Barack Obama by this year, but the Trump administration at first put it on hold and then delayed it by two years. That delay is in the midst of a review in federal appeals court.Regardless of the outcome of that fight, the Maryland plants will have to scrub their water emissions of the toxic metals starting Nov. 1, 2020.More: Maryland requires three coal power plants to limit arsenic, mercury water pollution starting in 2020last_img read more

Developer GlidePath begins building standalone battery storage project in Texas

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first_imgDeveloper GlidePath begins building standalone battery storage project in Texas FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Renewables developer GlidePath has begun construction on a rare standalone storage project in the tricky Texas market.The 10-megawatt/10-megawatt-hour Prospect Storage plant will bid into the ERCOT markets for energy and ancillary services. Though small by the standards of today’s utility-scale market, the project, located 50 miles south of Houston, is notable for making the economics work in an inhospitable market for storage.Texas law forbids distribution utilities from owning storage for any number of useful purposes, because this technology, which does not generate electricity, is deemed “generation.” Without utility contracts to guarantee revenue, storage must compete with conventional gas generators in the wide-open wholesale markets, a challenge that has scared off even the most bullish storage boosters.ERCOT’s reserve margins have dipped to historic lows, though, and the peaks are getting peakier, meaning a highly flexible, fast-acting asset could scoop up enough revenue to eke by, maybe even prosper. That assumes a developer can convince financiers to trust a merchant play, another rarity in current U.S. storage development. All of which makes GlidePath’s achievement worth scrutinizing. It’s a pure merchant play in a market with no playbook for storage to succeed.“The reserve margins are the thinnest they’ve been in as long as I can remember, and that puts the grid dangerously close to having issues,” GlidePath COO Chris McKissack said of the ERCOT market. “It’s our view that battery storage can play a role in relieving the grid of these issues and adding to reserve capacity.”In an operational sense, the Prospect plant will be up and running in time for the worst of the hot summer price spikes, when just a few minutes of energy delivery during moments of scarcity can reap a windfall. The company touted going “from greenfield development to commercial operation in less than nine months” to hit that deadline. The system will connect to the distribution grid across the street from a utility substation. That allowed for faster and easier siting than a transmission-connected system, McKissack said, and it puts the asset closer to load.More: GlidePath builds merchant battery plant in ERCOT, bucking industry wisdomlast_img read more

Kenyan environmental tribunal cancels license for contested Lamu coal power plant

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first_imgKenyan environmental tribunal cancels license for contested Lamu coal power plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Daily Nation:The setting up of a coal plant in Lamu County now stands in limbo after an environment tribunal cancelled the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) license for the controversial project.The National Environment Tribunal (Net) on Wednesday faulted the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) for failing to conduct a proper EIA.Nema was also faulted for granting the project an EIA license that “appears to be generic and not specific to the project.”The tribunal said constructors of the coal plant omitted engineering plans and key facts of the project from public participation as well as failure to take consideration of Climate Change Act.The tribunal directed the coal company, Amu Power, and Nema to start a new EIA licensing process and ensure they comply with the law.More: Lamu coal plant in limbo as environment permit is cancelledlast_img read more

British firms plan massive underwater power link to bring Scottish wind to English markets

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first_imgBritish firms plan massive underwater power link to bring Scottish wind to English markets FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Three of Britain’s biggest energy companies have agreed to build giant underwater power cables to bring Scotland’s vast reserves of renewable energy to millions of homes in England.The multibillion-pound energy “superhighway”, to be built by Scottish Power, National Grid and SSE, could help to unlock the potential of the prime minister’s plan to build enough offshore wind farms to power every home in the country by 2030.The so-called Eastern Link will run from two separate points in Scotland – Peterhead and Torness – for more than 270 miles along the east coast of Scotland to Selby and Hawthorn Point in the north of England.The 2GW power project will use some of the longest subsea high-voltage power cables in the world to transmit enough clean electricity from Scotland’s wind farms to keep the lights on in around 4.5m homes in England. It will also have the potential to double in size to 4GW as Britain’s North Sea energy boom gains pace in the years ahead. The east coast of Scotland is already home to almost 1GW of offshore wind farms and hosts a pipeline of projects totaling 4.4GW. After the next leasing round for offshore wind licence areas there could be up to 10GW in Scottish waters in the coming years.In total the government hopes to build 40GW of offshore wind power capacity in UK waters within the next decade, as part of plans to meet the UK’s legally-binding 2050 target to build a carbon neutral economy.Alistair Phillips-Davies, the chief executive of SSE, described the project as “one of the most exciting energy developments over recent decades”, and said it was “essential to delivering the UK’s 40GW offshore wind target by 2030”.[Jillian Ambrose]More: Firms agree Scotland to England renewable energy ‘superhighway’last_img read more

Paradise Found: Scenic Swimming Holes of the Blue Ridge

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first_imgNot all swimming holes are created equal. You can beat the heat in just about any stream in the Southern Appalachians, but there are a handful of pools in our backyard that offer a refreshing dip in style. Deep, clear water, big falls, lush backdrop…finding the right swimming hole can feel a bit like finding paradise. So we scoured the mountains looking for the most awe-inspiring natural pools, the kinds of swimming holes that make you want to live-tweet pictures while you cannonball into the crystal clear blue water. Behold, seven of the most beautiful swimming holes in the Southern Appalachians.1. Paradise FallsWolf Creek, N.C.Tucked into a tight gorge in Nantahala National Forest, this swimming hole is more than just a pretty waterfall. It’s a mini slot canyon adventure. The waterfall itself is usually just a trickle thanks to the dam upstream, but don’t fret. What makes Paradise Falls so dreamy is the tight slot canyon that surrounds the waterfall. Swim across the clear pool to the entrance of the canyon, then climb a rope up the slick rock to the second level of rock, where the river drops between sheer, gray rock walls. The whole scene is like nothing else in North Carolina.Logistics: There’s a parking lot at Wolf Creek Lake off NC 281, a quarter-mile from the roadside trailhead. The user-created trail is steep, dropping into and climbing out of a separate gorge before delivering you to the bottom of Paradise Falls. Use extra caution when swimming below or around the falls and don’t go after a heavy rain. The dam at Wolf Creek Lake, above the falls, is often released to keep water levels balanced.Adventure Nearby: Standup paddle on the tiny, but gorgeous Wolf Creek Lake. Or rock hop downstream looking for more plunge pools and mini canyons on Wolf Creek.2. Brush Creek FallsBrush Creek, W.Va.Brush Creek Falls proves size doesn’t always matter. This waterfall is only 25 feet high, but it spans the entire length of the river, tumbling over a broad sandstone ledge. At normal water levels, the river cruises over the cliff in a series of smaller, lazy cascades giving the effect of multiple waterfalls at one site—think of a tropical grotto, but surrounded by a dense hardwood forest. You’ll find nooks at the base of the falls where you can scramble behind the water. Locals will occasionally jump from the top of the falls. As always, use caution; there have been serious injuries at Brush Creek in recent years.Logistics: The falls sits inside a tangle of public and privately preserved land that includes the massive Pipestem Resort State Park. The easiest access is through the Nature Conservancy-owned Brush Creek Nature Preserve, which protects a small pocket of land where Brush Creek and the Bluestone River meet. Hit the preserve and head upstream to the falls.Adventure Nearby: Hike the Bluestone River Gorge to rocky outcroppings with a view on the Canyon Rim Trail at Pipestem Resort State Park.  3. Cascade FallsLittle Stony Creek, Va.You’re going to share this 69-foot waterfall near tiny Pembroke, Va. (and not so tiny Blacksburg), but the scene is so stunning, you might not notice the crowd. Little Stony Creek takes a vertical drop over an upper cliff, then shatters into different streams as it cascades over steps of layered rock on its way to a deep, cold pool. The entire scene is flanked by 200-foot rock faces on either side. The Cascades National Scenic Trail follows the river upstream before forking into the Upper and Lower Trails. Both end up at the same spot below the waterfall. The whole lollipop loop is four miles. If you’re looking for a bit more solitude, continue to hike upstream for half a mile to Upper Cascade Falls. It’s not as dramatic, but not as crowded either.Logistics: Pick up the trail inside the Cascade Falls Recreation Area on Cascade Drive in Pembroke, Va.Nearby Adventure: The New River offers some of the finest smallmouth bass fishing in the South. Check out the Cliffs of Eggleston section of the New near Pembroke.4. Yellowstone FallsYellowstone Prong, North CarolinaYellowstone Prong has it all: scenery, wild trout, gin-clear water, and the crowds to prove it. Three waterfalls on Yellowstone are accessible from the popular Graveyard Fields recreation area off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Second Falls gets most of the attention, and rightfully so: it’s gorgeous and makes a great weekday dip when crowds are scarce. But head farther downstream to the much tougher to reach Yellowstone Falls, which isn’t even listed on the map at the Graveyard Fields parking lot. Sketchy, steep “paths” lead to the top of the falls and base of the falls. Both trails require scrambling, sliding, and a bit of praying. Before you reach the top of the falls, you’ll find deep and wide potholes that offer primo swimming opportunities. Yellowstone Prong cuts through a broad mountain valley that’s nearly a mile high in elevation and loses elevation in three dramatic drops. You’re surrounded by a skinny stone gorge thick with colorful “striped” granite. Even though Graveyard Fields is popular, the rock hopping and bushwhacking necessary to get to Yellowstone Falls keep the crowds down.Logistics: Park at Graveyard Fields at mile marker 418.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Follow the trail to Second Falls, then ditch the crowds and head downstream.Nearby Adventure: Run the Art Loeb Trail across Black Balsam, a 6,000-foot-high bald, not far from Yellowstone Prong, to the edge of Shining Rock Wilderness.5. Laurel Fork FallsLake Jocassee, S.C.You’re gonna need a bigger boat. Well, you’re just gonna need a boat. Laurel Creek drops 80 feet, twisting and turning over massive cliffs into a corner of Lake Jocassee, carving a narrow gorge out of the bedrock on its way down. The waterfall is gorgeous, but it’s the setting and the remote nature of the swimming hole that provide the wow factor here. You’ve got a deep hole for swimming and rocks to climb. The lower half of the falls is surrounded by a rocky grotto peppered with lush green foliage and vibrant moss. Discovering it from the belly of a kayak after a half-day paddle is indescribable. Whether you reach the falls by boat or by boot, there’s an excellent campsite at the top of the waterfall next to Laurel Fork Creek, making this a killer overnight option.Logistics: Pick up the Foothills Trail at US 178 and hike 8.5 miles before reaching the top of the falls. Then it’s a sketchy scramble down the side of the gorge to the lake and bottom of the falls. The other option is to launch a kayak from Devils Fork State Park and paddle northeast across the lake into the Toxaway arm of Jocassee.Nearby Adventure: The Foothills Trail cruises along the northwestern edge of Lake Jocassee running along the base of the Blue Ridge Escarpment for 77 miles, offering some of the finest backcountry hiking in the South.6. Cane Creek FallsFall Creek Falls State Park, Tenn.Fall Creek Falls may have top billing at this state park north of Chattanooga, but Cane Creek Falls has its own sense of grandeur. On the eastern edge of the park, Cane Creek drops 85 feet in a single plunge into a broad, rocky pool the size of a football field that’s surrounded by a massive rock amphitheater. Not cool enough? How about the second waterfall, Rockhouse Falls, which drops into the same pool to the left of Cane Creek. Two creeks, two waterfalls, one awesome swimming hole. The swimming at the base of the falls is surreal, and there’s plenty of opportunity for exploring the real estate behind each waterfall.Logistics: Find the park off Hwy 111 north of Chattanooga. Hike the easy Paw Paw Trail to the ridiculously steep and dangerous Cable Trail (you’re gonna want to use the cable), which drops you to the base of Cane Creek Falls.Nearby Adventure: The state park has six major waterfalls and 20,000 acres of hiking. You can knock them all out in about 10 miles of hiking.7. South River FallsShenandoah National Park, Va.At 83 feet, South River isn’t the tallest waterfall in the park (technically, it’s the third tallest), but it’s certainly one of the most stunning. The river enters a gorge laden with juggy, gray cliffs via a single narrow chute. Halfway down its vertical plunge, the falls hits a rock ledge and splits into two waterfalls as it makes its way into the pool below. Don’t expect an Olympic-sized swimming pool at the bottom of the falls. This is more like a soaking tub. Try to hit it after a good rain for the biggest impact.Logistics: In the central district of the park, follow Skyline Drive to milepost 62.8 and pick up the South River Trail at the South River Picnic Area. Make a 3.3-mile loop by combining the SRT and the South River Fire Road and A.T.Adventure Nearby: You’re in Shenandoah National Park, so there’s plenty of hiking. For something a little different, tackle the Bearfence Rock Scramble, a 1.2-mile hike/climb that leads to a 360-degree view.last_img read more

Race Ahead: Middle Mountain Momma, Douthat State Park, Virginia

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first_imgMiddle Mountain Momma Mountain (M3) Bike Race, May 4, 2014 — Douthat State Park, Millboro, Va.The Middle Mountain Momma mountain bike races (County of Bath and Alleghany) include an XC (21 miles), XXC (40 miles), Beginner, Kids, and High School events in one of the most popular off-road  bike races in the region.sponsored-event-1Race Registration: 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The XXC race begins at 9:30 a.m. and the kids race is at 10:30. Main races begin at Noon.Race distances range from 40 miles, to 21 miles, to 11 miles (beginner), to 5 miles for the kids race. XC Classes: All remaining classes begin on one-two minute staggers starting at 12:00 p.m.; 1) Pro/Semi-Pro Men/Expert Men, 2) Junior Expert  3)Masters/Veterans (sport & expert)  4) Pro/Semi-Pro/Expert Women  5) Sport men 6) Sport women 7) Junior sport 8) All Beginners.According to organizers, “The course provides mass-quantities of singletrack and it’s almost entirely unduplicated trail. There’s so much singletrack you might actually seek something wider after a while. Moreover, about the only non-singletrack sections of the 21-mile-one-lap race are the short start road, a few yards of asphalt, and that is it. And not only is it singletrack, it is majestic singletrack.”MMMfinal2 (2)Visit mountainbikevirginia.com for all the details and lodging information you need to know on Sunday, May 4! Claim points toward the WVMBA Ultra Series. Register on-site or online.Race Contact: Kyle InmanEmail: [email protected]; Phone: (540) 529-0462The M3 was rated one of the top Mountain Bike events in the region by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine in 2010.To get there: Douthat State Park is located 50 minutes north of Roanoke and 45 minutes west of Lexington. From Lexington, take I-64 west to first Clifton Forge exit (220 south and 629). Take 629 straight into Douthat State Park. From the south, take Daleville exit 150 off I-81 to 220 north. Proceed north on 220 until reaching Clifton Forge, and the end of 220. Take right towards 64. Go straight under 64 (the road turns into 629). Continue straight for 4 miles into Douthat State Park.Find them on Twitter @VirginiaMTB.raceaheadmtnbike02last_img read more

Race Ahead: Mad Mountain Mud Run

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first_imgMad Mountain Mud RunSaturday, May 31, 2014Berkeley Park, Hendersonville, NCThe Mad Mountain Mud Run is an obstacle course race and family festival, held in Hendersonville’s Berkeley Park and surrounding forests. Come for the mud race, stay for the festival — full of live music, games, food and craft beer.The course is approximately three miles and all ability levels are encouraged to enter in one of three categories.Start Time: All participants can expect to begin between 12:45 p.m. and 4:30 and the event ends at 7 p.m.Cost: $200/teamsponsored-event-1Visit MadMountainMudRun.com for all the information you’ll need to spectate or participate!MMMR2Family members, friends and others are invited for the day to cheer on their muddy loved ones and enjoy a festival atmosphere with food, beverages, and live music. No pets will be allowed at this event.The event will proceed unless under extremely bad weather conditions and yes, prizes will be awarded!All Mad Mountain Mud Run proceeds benefit Hendersonville’s non-profit children’s museum, “Hands On! A Child’s Gallery.”The Mad Mountain Mud Run welcomes racers and friends from all of western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina, and beyond. Our Hendersonville NC location is about 15 miles south of Asheville, NC and 30 miles north of Greenville, SC. We are also an easy drive from Charlotte, NC and eastern Tennessee.Race Contact: Heather Boeke; [email protected]; (828) 697-8333Contact Beth Bockoven at [email protected] if you would like more information on volunteering.MMMR_4c_logolast_img read more

Obama Gets “Every Kid in a Park”

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first_imgAs a magazine whose motto is go outside and play, it should come as no surprise that we are huge fans of a recently launched initiative that gets every fourth-grader in a national park.The program, which Obama put into effect today, provides free admission into national parks (as well as other federal lands and waters) for fourth-graders and their families for an entire year. The campaign also helps to kick off the new designation of three national monuments in Illinois, Colorado, and Hawaii.There have been multiple studies done that prove the positive effects nature can have on a child’s development, especially in the early years when traits like problem-solving and conflict management are just beginning to take shape. If you haven’t read our travel editor’s recent article on why we all, kids and adults alike, should spend more time outside, check it out here.It’s an important topic, especially given how much time we all spend with screens in front of our faces. From eyesight degradation to “text neck” to the fact that kids these days just aren’t bored enough, a government-supported plan to get more youth outside sounds like a long-overdue campaign, but one we’d rather have late than never.To read more about the initiative, read this article from the Washington Post or check out the National Park Foundation‘s website.And then, do yourself (and your kids) a favor — go outside and play.last_img read more

Epileptic Thru-Hiker

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first_imgIn the spring of 2014, 28-year-old Alex Newlon headed for Springer Mountain determined to complete a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. A lifelong hiker, Newlon appeared the portrait of health—tall, muscular, young, always laughing and smiling. However, compared to his thru-hiking comrades, he was starting at a deficit: Newlon had epilepsy.“I suffer from grand mal seizures, where you lose consciousness and fall to the floor while all of your muscles contract, causing you to shake and jerk uncontrollably,” says Newlon.Despite taking preventative medication and going almost two years without suffering an incident, in attempting to thru-hike the AT, he was risking his life. Dehydration, sleep deprivation, heat exhaustion, and strenuous activity were prominent triggers for seizures.Newlon had been dreaming about an A.T. thru-hike since his days as a teenage Boy Scout. Sick of being identified by a condition he’d inherited through the hereditary dice-roll, Newlon set out to claim his life as his own.“Sure, I could have a seizure anytime, anywhere, my life is always on the line, no matter what. But I couldn’t let something totally random keep me from pursuing my dreams. I wasn’t going to let epilepsy control and limit my life.”From Georgia to the border of New York, Newlon did just that. Then, with over two-thirds of the trail finished, he was struck by a seizure.“Luckily, I was on my way down to a road crossing where the trail flattens out and is less rocky. While I suffered a few scratches and bruises, it could have been much worse. Still, it left me feeling incredibly weak and disoriented. It took all of my strength to hike that last half-mile down to the road.”Newlon had to end his thru-hike in late 2014.That’s where the story could have ended. But not for Newlon. The next year, after working long hours, saving every penny he could, and launching a successful crowd-sourcing campaign, he set out again from Springer Mountain, confident that, this time, he’d reach Katahdin.“A lot of people didn’t get why I’d want to start from the beginning,” says Newlon. “But I knew if I didn’t do it that way, the itch to thru-hike the trail in its entirety would never leave me alone. I had to do the whole thing in one shot. Otherwise, it wouldn’t feel quite real.”Newlon summited Katahdin this past September. Reflecting on his journeys, he says they were well worth it.“I think epileptics are told much more often about what we can’t do instead of what we can,” he says. “I wanted to inspire others with epilepsy and show them that we are strong. I wanted to prove that we’re capable of doing anything in this life, no matter how difficult or strenuous our dreams may be.”last_img read more

Mexican Officials: Tijuana Drug Lord Captured

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first_imgBy Dialogo January 12, 2010 Mexico has captured a kingpin accused of terrorizing his way to the top of a gang fighting for control of key U.S. drug routes — even ordering rivals dissolved in acid. Tuesday’s arrest, announced by U.S. and Mexican officials, capped a series of victories in Mexico’s U.S.-backed war on narcotics. Teodoro Garcia Simental, known as “El Teo,” was arrested at 5 a.m., said Amy Roderick, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego, California. She said she had no other details. A U.S. official and a Mexican law enforcement official said he was captured in La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur state. He is the second alleged major drug lord to be taken down in less than a month by President Felipe Calderon’s government. Neither the U.S. nor the Mexican official was authorized to give a name for publication. Garcia is considered to be among the country’s most vicious kingpins. Officials say he was to blame for many of the beheaded bodies found dumped in Tijuana and that he ordered hundreds of bodies to be dissolved in acid. He is listed among Mexico’s 24 most-wanted drug lords and the government had offered $2.1 million for information leading to his arrest. Officials say Garcia was a cartel lieutenant who broke away from the Arellano Felix gang following the arrest of its leader, Benjamin Arellano Felix, and the death of his brother, Raul. Garcia formed his own gang, which was zealous in killing street-corner peddlers as he tried to solidify his control of eastern Tijuana. He is believed to be allied with the Sinaloa cartel, run by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, according to an army document dated February 2009. His arrest comes on the heels of another triumph for Calderon’s drug war. Mexican marines killed reputed kingpin Arturo Beltran Leyva on Dec. 16 during a raid on an apartment complex in Cuernavaca, south of Mexico City. Federal officials on Jan. 2 arrested his brother Carlos Beltran Leyva in another blow to the gang. Calderon’s government has sent more than 45,000 troops to drug hotspots to confront the cartels. Cartels have responded with a vengeance, unleashing unprecedented killings. More than 15,500 people have died from drug violence since 2006. The government says most of the dead are smugglers.last_img read more

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