U.S. Coal Subsidies Are Even Bigger Than You Thought FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Tom Sanzillo for Energy Desk Greenpeace:Research by IEEFA and Greenpeace is essentially filling a void that should have been covered by proper government oversight.Despite the paucity of publicly available data and the institutional recalcitrance of the BLM, IEEFA and Greenpeace hewed to methodology rooted in fact.We mined audits of the program from the the 1970s and 1980s (a bygone era in which there were 25 formal General Accounting Office reviews, a multi-volume congressional commission report, and a number of useful nonprofit and coal industry reports).We studied BLM practices from the time and investigated whether appropriate updates in program management or relevant policy had occurred.They hadn’t.Comment: US coal subsidies are even bigger than you thought
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Hannah Northey for E&E:The amount of time it takes companies to get a new gas project approved and operational — from the proposal phase to steel in the ground — has grown from three years to four, Donald Santa, CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, said during an interview this week.The principal causes for delays are the host of substantive, fact-based questions about pipeline routing and emissions that activists, landowners and other stakeholders are bringing up during the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission review process, Santa said.“I think in some ways it’s become the new reality,” Santa said. “Project applicants today have got to revise their expectations in terms of [when their pipelines will be operational] to anticipate the need to deal with more opposition.”“I think in some ways it’s become the new reality,” Santa said. “Project applicants today have got to revise their expectations in terms of [when their pipelines will be operational] to anticipate the need to deal with more opposition.”Developers face ‘new reality’ of protests, longer reviews Natural-Gas Executive Sees Growing Risk in Public Opposition and Regulatory Scrutiny
Cloud Peak Energy, in Standing Behind Push for Access to More Federally-Owned Coal, Ignores Market Momentum FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Gillette News Record:When Cloud Peak Energy applied in 2015 to open up 3,508 acres of public land to expand the Antelope mine south of Wright, it couldn’t know the industry was on the cusp of a historic downturn spurred by low natural gas prices and increased federal regulation on carbon dioxide emissions and federal leases.Two years later, the West Antelope 3 application that promises to give Cloud Peak and the Antelope mine access to another 441 million tons of coal is the only PRB federal lease effort still active.No applications were filed in 2016, and others that had begun earlier were dropped by coal producers when the downturn saw production drop by more than 25 percent over a two-year span.Because the federal permitting process takes anywhere from eight to 10 years, Cloud Peak decided to continue with its lease after President Donald Trump lifted an Obama-era moratorium earlier this year on issuing leases to mine coal on federal land.Shannon Anderson, an attorney and organizer for the Powder River Basin Resource Council based in Sheridan, agreed this application could be a test of the “new normal” for PRB coal leases.Anderson also said the BLM needs to make sure it gets a fair financial return from Cloud Peak if a permit is approved. Whether coal companies are paying a fair price to mine federal coal is one of the main issues that led to Obama administration to issue the lease moratorium.A recent federal appeals court ruling could impact Cloud Peak’s application as well.Last week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the BLM needs to consider not only the impact mining has on the federal land it happens on, but the impacts of burning that coal to produce electricity. An argument that extending the impact potential is moot because a power plant will simply burn coal from somewhere else needs more support, the court ruled.While the lawsuit and ruling are based on mining operations at the Black Thunder and North Antelope Rochelle mines in Campbell County, the two top-producing coal mines in the world, neither have any significant active coal lease applications, Anderson said.But the ruling does give environmental groups some legal ammunition to fight all new federal coal lease applications on the basis of the impact the coal could have when burned, she said.“It should have some implications for how the BLM does its analysis on this lease and the climate benefits of not leasing the coal,” Anderson said. “It’s climate change, and the BLM is under an obligation to do it and the science is sound. … We hope that’s one of the things the BLM will look at as they go forward with the process.”More: Lease tests coal’s ‘new normal’
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Platts:Capital Dynamics said Tuesday its Clean Energy Infrastructure business has signed an agreement with independent power producer Tenaska to build a 2,000-MW portfolio of greenfield solar power projects in the US Midwest.“This agreement was a unique opportunity for us to acquire a meaningful pipeline of solar capacity in an efficient project development structure within a market poised for growth,” Benoit Allehaut, director of Capital Dynamics’ Clean Energy Infrastructure team, said in a statement.Zug, Switzerland-based Capital Dynamics is an independent global asset management firm that focuses on private assets, including private equity, private credit, clean energy infrastructure and energy infrastructure credit.The deal, closed Monday, includes 14 solar projects in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator market, and the portfolio represents “a large share” of all solar projects currently in the MISO North interconnection queue, with projects in Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota, the companies said. “We are excited to be expanding our partnership and offer clean energy power through long-term supply contracts to customers in the Midwest,” Allehaut said.Omaha, Nebraska-based Tenaska has developed more than 10,000 MW of natural gas-fired and renewable energy projects in the US, including two utility-scale solar projects in Southern California in which Capital Dynamics is an investor, the companies said in the statement.More: Capital Dynamics, Tenaska to build 2,000MW of solar projects in MISO Swiss investment firm and Tenaska team to build 2,000MW of solar in Midwest
Bankrupt Mission Coal sees no future, plans to liquidate company FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Mission Coal Co. LLC finalized a bankruptcy reorganization plan that, if approved by a federal court, will dissolve the company.The plan would designate an administrator to “wind down” Mission’s businesses and affairs and reconcile claims, according to a disclosure statement the company filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama on Jan. 2. The Tennessee-based coal producer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2018, wrote that the plan would “avoid the lengthy delay and significant cost of liquidation under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code.”Mission has about $175 million in debt obligations between a $104 million first lien credit agreement and $71 million second lien credit agreement, according to the disclosure.The company plans to sell “substantially all” of its assets, transferring all assumed liabilities including any cure costs that may be needed for any executory contracts or unexpired leases following the transaction. Other liabilities include workers compensation and occupational health claims that arise after the transaction closes as well as all black lung responsibilities, among others.Those assets include all inventory, equipment, assumed contracts, transferred permits, owned and leased property, and all coal reserves excluding those under its Pinnacle businesses. Mission controls about 318 million tons of proven and probable coal reserves between two deep mines and a surface mine in West Virginia and one deep mine in Alabama.Upon the plan’s effective date, the board of directors would be dissolved, leaving only the plan administrator to direct matters pertaining to winding down the company, such as resolving remaining claims and paying off claims the buyer is not responsible for. Once that is complete, the coal producer will liquidate.More ($): Mission Coal submits bankruptcy reorganization plan that would dissolve company
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:South Africa’s Standard Bank will not fund any new coal-fired power plant projects, but will continue to provide finance to thermal coal mining projects and companies if they meet certain criteria, it said on Thursday.Climate activists have been pressuring Standard Bank – Africa’s largest bank by assets – to curb its lending to the coal, oil, and gas sectors, which together accounted for around 4% of its lending and commitments in December 2019.Under a new fossil fuels financing policy, Standard Bank may only finance thermal coal mining projects that comply with international conventions on greenhouse gas emissions and the environment such as the Equator Principles. The bank justified its continuing financing of thermal coal extraction by saying most of Africa’s electricity is still generated by burning coal.“If we were to stop completely to fund any coal mining related activity, we could as well say we are stopping 80% of Africa’s electricity generation and we do not think that would be a responsible thing to do,” said Kenny Fihla, chief executive of Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking.More than 80% of South Africa’s power is generated by coal, and lenders have not kept pace with international peers on ending funding for thermal coal.Standard Bank said it would not finance contractors or consultants to the thermal coal mining and coal-fired power generation sectors. But the bank will continue to finance new thermal coal mining projects and expansions, existing and new thermal coal mining companies, and existing coal-fired power generation utilities.[Helen Reid]More: S. Africa’s Standard Bank won’t fund new coal power plants, but sticks with coal mining South Africa’s Standard Bank takes first step away from coal, will stop funding new power plants
My heart feels broken, so heavy with loss I feel by the loss of my friend and paddling partner. She was taken from the world too soon. I miss her and feel sad not only for me, but for all of her friends and family. The kayak community lost one of their best this past week. Dear Mountain Mama, Can you help me find the light in this time of darkness? Yours,Broken Dear Broken,Of course you feel broken. Shannon Christy graced everyone she met with her signature smile, and with her warmth and generosity. She shared her love for life with everyone she met, on and off the river.I was lucky enough to paddle with Shannon a couple years ago when I was pregnant. She made me feel like a superstar for being pregnant and paddling. A year later, when I introduced my baby to Shannon at the put-in of a local run, she greeted him as if she was a long-awaited nephew. My baby boy couldn’t help but return her smile.In her brief time on this planet, Shannon lived with a pure and happy heart. We all loved her and feel the darkness of her death. So young. So beautiful. So talented. And when we feel loss, we can feel broken and sad.Broken, let yourself grief. But don’t stay broken. Let Shannon’s light shine through you, let her zest for life play out in your own life, and embrace challenges with her same sense of optimism. When you put-on the next river, look for the river mermaid smiling at you. And when you take your next boof stroke, let yourself smile and think of our friend.Paddle toward the light!Mountain Mamaa
Klean Kanteen is again making a serious push out on the festy scene, quite effectively reducing plastic bottles, cups and other plastic products — especially single use products — by providing hydration stations and working with festival organizers to incorporate and sell alternatives to plastic water bottles that show-goers reuse all weekend.It’s even more of a challenge because many music festivals are backed by companies like Coke and Pepsi, but that isn’t stopping them.At the center of KK’s single-use-free music fest strategy is the water refill stations. Companies such as Camelback have taken on similar initiatives at Austin City Limits and other festivals around the country.For FloydFest, they worked together and installed a commercial well — providing free drinking water to all and eliminating driving it in. According to KK, the most immediate impact was eliminating the waste of more than 50,000 single-use plastic water bottles throughout the weekend. Purchases of Klean Kanteen Steel Pint cups eliminated the use of more than 64,000 single-use plastic cups.To get behind this effort, a schedule and more info, click through to KleanKanteen.com.
In the past few years, I’ve abandoned my road-tri roots and only raced in off-road events. This really makes no sense because one broken collarbone, two surgeries, and an impressive collection of scars should have tipped me off that mountain biking is not one of my greatest talents. However, my husband and I moved to St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast recently, and I realized that our canoe was going to get more trail time than our 29ers. (We have an amazing water trail system down here, by the way.)If I wanted to overcome island life inertia, I needed to dust off my aero bars and do a road triathlon. There’s an amazingly scenic race on Jekyll Island called the Turtle Crawl and the name alone was enough to get me to raid my margarita-fund piggy bank and register. The sacrifices we all make for our sport, right?We moved into our little island cottage just in time to get some solid training in, but I’m not sure riding to the Harris-Teeter to get more limes counts as training (despite having to dodge kids and senior citizens on beach cruisers.) Anyway, I was used to racing in the mountains, which tend to be, you know, mountainous, and I think the total elevation gain for this race might be six feet (and that includes speed humps). AND the race has “crawl” in its name. Need I say more?No need to sand-coat it: the race was hard. I did well (second woman overall), but was reminded that whether it takes place on a mountain, island, or the local county park, every race is a personal adventure. My 4:30 a.m. wake-up was rewarded by a beautiful fiery beachfront sunrise. I dolphin-dived through waves, ran barefoot through the sand and leap-frogged with my super-fast husband on the bike. And I’m still chipping off layers of sand and salt from my body.I also learned not to hate on the flatland race. Do you know what happens after you slog your way up a hill on a bike? What goes up must come down (my hill-climbing mantra) and, for those few moments of down, you get to do this momentous thing: coasting. Ironically, while the coast was almost close enough to reach with a solid snot-rocket for most of the race, there was none of that going on in this race.My grocery-store time trials hadn’t quite prepared my legs (or any other part of me…ouch, sitting) for 29 miles of constant pedaling. And if there was such a thing as “off-road swimming,” it would be an ocean swim. Motorboat wake on a lake has nothing on an ocean current and wave crests. You also end up bumping into a lot of wildlife and it is NOT the bearded, tattooed, craft-beer-scented wildlife I’d previously encountered on my off-road tri swims. I’m trusting that I’m not being subjected to new-islander hazing when locals tell me that those Cannonball jellyfish that blanket our beaches are not poisonous. (Okay, just looked it up. Mostly true.)I’m not going to hang up my fat-tire bike for good, but I am looking forward to more road triathlon adventures…as soon as I can sit on a saddle again.
As I sit at my desk browsing race wheels on ebay, putting a race calendar together and writing down goals for the coming cyclocross season, I’m feeling a weird mix of excitement and a hint of annoyance. Excitement because, simply, cyclocross season. Call it crazy, but I start bouncing in my seat just thinking of an hour of racing a single speed cross-bred of a bike on caution-taped courses of sand, grass and mud, in between drunken, cowbell ringing, heckling fans. Annoyance because all of the goals I wrote down look familiar. Aka, goals that I didn’t achieve over the last few seasons. I’ve done this long enough that the improvement from year to year has tapered off, and the same goals are appearing for the next season. And it irks my need to improve and rather competitive self.And then I remember a particular race from last year. It was the Kingswood Park UCI (pro) race, part of the Cincy3 Cyclocross Festival. It’s one of the biggest cross races in the US, held under the lights in a park walking distance from the house I lived in when in high school.Since my high school days, I’ve gone on to attend school at Virginia Tech, and my family has moved on to Raleigh, NC, and none of us get back to Cincinnati often. Despite the fact that it had been on the list of races to hit the last few years, I wasn’t able to do it for various reasons. Last year was different, as I was taking a semester off of school to work a co-op, in no other place than Cincinnati. Honestly, I was more excited to spend another fall racing bikes in one of the biggest cyclocross towns in the country, catching up with the great people and families that I knew from racing and working at the local shop in high school than I was about the job.And I was no more excited than the first weekend of November for the Cincy3. It had been a dream for the last few years to get up to Ohio for this race. Three days of racing with the biggest names in the states, with one of them being under the lights, and another being the first ever Pan-American Cyclocross Championships. And to make it that much better, my family was coming up from Raleigh for it, my grandparents were coming down from the Toledo, OH area, and there was bound to be plenty of friends to run into.Saturday morning brought chilling air and the short lived snow flakes added to the excitement. The day’s races were filled with a bunny hopping fest by my brother and fellow BRO athlete, a non-exciting single speed race on my end, and plenty of hectic-ness to get ready for races. In between races brought on some great spectating, catching up with neighbors and friends, as well as some heckling and cowbell ringing.As the afternoon drew on, I started to think about and prepare for the UCI race in the evening. It would be my first UCI race, and I was racing much more to say that I raced with the big boys than to do well. Heck, my plan was to go balls to the wall just to see how long before I got lapped and pulled.Walking back to the van, I realized that I had lost my numbers. In the chaos of the day, I must have put them down in a nook in the van or dropped them in the porta potty. Despite desperate search attempts by my mom and I, they were nowhere to be found. So we walked back up to registration, me feeling like a dog with its tail between its legs. What an idiot, I thought. “Sooooo, my son lost his number for the elite men’s race, any chance he could get another one?” My mom asked, as I couldn’t bring myself to ask.“Well, let’s see. Looks like you’re in luck. We’ve got just one left, 99.” The official at registration checking in told us as he handed me a fresh set of numbers.I chuckled a sigh of relief, “Thanks a bunch!” As I handed the new set of numbers to my mom “Maybe you should hang on to these until I pin them up…”“Yeah, no kidding,” and turning to another official, smiling, she asked caringly “Long day?” Both of the officials nodded their head slowly. They had been here since seven in the morning, and wouldn’t likely get out until midnight. “Can I bring you back a cup of coffee or something?” They reassured my mom they were fine and had plenty of caffeine through the day.Walking back to car, my mom and I decided to head to Panera for a rather traditional pre-race coffee instead of a sit-down Italian restaurant that the rest of the family and grandparents were off to. As good as some pasta sounded, two hours out I wanted little more than a banana, a bite of a bagel, and as much coffee as I could down without shaking while warming up.As I sat in Panera with Momma, pinning numbers to my skinsuit and chugging Hazelnut coffee, I couldn’t help but feel a little selfish. Here I was, getting ready for a race I had been dying to hit for years. My family and grandparents had come to my temporary hometown, and I had opted go caffeinate my tired self instead of spending time with them. As we headed out, my Mom paid for another coffee to go. “Who’s that for?”“The official at registration.” I nodded, not surprised that she actually followed through on her offer.Back at the race course, I stayed in the van to stay warm, procrastinate actually warming up, and blasted music to try to get into the race mindset, while my mom went on a coffee delivery. Five minutes later she came back, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone more excited for a cup of coffee. The official just stood up and gave me a big hug and said thank you, while the other official gave me the thumbs up. Something different at every race.”In that moment, I couldn’t help but turn down my music, look her in the eye, and just smile ear to ear. No words. Just a smile. I don’t know what of. Gratitude, inspiration, understanding maybe? In that moment, that Saturday evening wasn’t just about bike racing. It was about much, much more. It was about friends, it was about family, it was about dreams and it was about making a difference in a stranger’s day. Bike racing had just happened to be the means by which it was all happening.The next fifteen minutes entailed quite the heart to heart conversation about the purpose of racing, really the purpose of pursuing anything that we have a passion for. It’s not about necessarily being the best, rising through the ranks, getting sponsored, going pro, or even meeting goals. It’s about giving your best no matter how good you are, and most importantly, using your God-given gifts and passions as a means to reach out and make a difference, even if that is as seemingly small as a cup of coffee.Kitted up, I got myself out into the cold, grabbed my bike off the rack after a quick lookover, and rolled over to the side of the course to simultaneously warm up and watch the end of the pro women’s race. As I rolled into the starting grid, my mom handed me my phone so that I could see an inspiration good-luck text from Becca, my girlfriend who was back in Blacksburg, Virginia. If I wasn’t already on a caffeinated, emotional and spiritual high, I was now.Wearing the 99 number, starting on the very last row, the gun finally went off. That race was the fastest I had ever entered, by a long shot. It was a night of cowbell filled, hand-up taken, adrenaline pumping cross racing. There were more cheers for me than people I thought I knew in Cincinnati. I made up little ground out of the gate, botched a bunny-hop, tripped over the barriers the next lap, crashed on a straight away, and ultimately ended up getting lapped and pulled barely half way through the race. And Sunday’s race, while I lasted until the last lap before being pulled, wasn’t much to write home about either.But that wasn’t the point. The point was that it was a fantastic weekend that brought friends, family and complete strangers together over a shared passion. It was a weekend of pursuing dreams, heart to heart conversations, and making differences.So instead of a list of goals taped to my door, something else is there. The 99 bib number from that night in Cincinnati. For motivation, yes, but more to serve as a reminder of what I can use Cyclocross as. It’s a reminder that there’s more to it than training to reach such and such goal. Just like any sport, any passion for that matter, it is a great means to spend quality time with family and friends, reach out to someone who has the same passion, and hopefully make a difference in someone’s day, even if it is as seemingly small as a cup of coffee on a cold Cincinnati night.