Op-Ed: Mitch McConnell Isn’t Helping Kentucky’s Flailing Coal Communities

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Noel Taylor for the Cincinnati Enquirer:It has become clearly evident that McConnell represents those who “put him” in office instead of those who actually elected him. Mitch is a pawn of the GOP establishment and all the well-heeled political groups that endow it. His marching orders are to block any legislation and appointments initiated by the President or Democrats then blame the opposition for creating a dysfunctional government.Following his party’s traditional anti-union position, he has refused to allow a senate bill containing pension protection for Kentucky’s miners and their widows to come to the floor for a vote. This action is a blatant rejection of those who elected him at the expense of his ruse to wage war on coal. And, let’s not forget that the war Mitch is conducting favors coal operators, owners, and the Koch brothers who have national vested interests in the fossil fuel industry.In the meantime Representative Hal Rogers, Fifth District Kentucky congressman, continues his diligent work to support members of his constituency. He is an active co-chairperson of SOAR, a bi-partisan organization dedicated to the development of a diversified economy in eastern Kentucky. Hal has secured federal funds to reclaim the scarred land from strip mining, to provide retraining for unemployed miners and to improve the highway infrastructure in that part of the state. Just recently his actions yielded funding for a federal prison in Pike County. Last fall he stepped forward to reinstate benefits until hearings conducted held for 900 Social Security disability recipients whose monthly checks were canceled due to an investigation of medical practitioner fraud.Anyone who travels through the Fifth District can easily see the Rogers’ name attached to a highway, airport, public park or community service. It’s more than obvious that Mr. Rogers is a prime example of how an elected official uses his seniority as the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and political power to seize economic opportunities, infrastructure development, health care services and educational programs for his district’s constituents.If Sen. McConnell, wielded the political influence indigenous to his position as Senate Majority Leader to support the constituency he should represent in the same way Hal Rogers manages his office, then the entire state of Kentucky would become an immediate benefactor of funds and programs it desperately requires.Full column: Mitch and Hal, A tale of two Republican leaders Op-Ed: Mitch McConnell Isn’t Helping Kentucky’s Flailing Coal Communitieslast_img read more

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EIA: 2016 Will Mark Biggest U.S. Coal Production Decline on Record

first_imgEIA: 2016 Will Mark Biggest U.S. Coal Production Decline on Record FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Everette Wheeler for SNL:As producers contend with mounting stockpiles and falling consumption this year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects the largest annual production decline on both a percentage and tonnage basis since the beginning of record keeping in 1949.In its latest “Short-Term Energy Outlook,” the government agency projects that 2016 coal production will fall 16.7% to 746 million tons, a 0.9% decline versus the prior outlook. If 2016 production meets the EIA’s projection, it would mark a greater than 25% decrease from the 2014 total of 1 billion tons.The government agency expects the largest production cuts to come from the Appalachian and Western regions. At 15% and 20%, respectively, those cuts compare to a drop in Interior region production of 9%.The falling production comes as producers struggle to rationalize production in the face of falling demand. According to the government agency, domestic coal-fired generators burned an average of 948 million tons annually from 1997 through 2015. According to the “Short-Term Energy Outlook” released May 10, the government agency lowered its latest forecast for 2016 by 1.1% versus the prior outlook to 682 million tons, a 7.8% drop year on year.Last month, the government had projected that coal would account for roughly 31% of the nation’s electricity needs to natural gas’ 33.9% in 2016, but the latest projections have coal providing roughly 30.5% of generation to natural gas’ 34%.The shift in coal consumption patterns has the nation’s coal stockpiles rising. According to the government agency, power-sector coal stockpiles ended February at 189 million tons. “This pattern deviates from the normal seasonal pattern where stockpiles decrease during the winter months,” the report said. “U.S. end-of-February coal stockpiles were still at high levels, despite the coal plant retirements that have occurred in recent months.”Full article ($): 2016 could bring about largest US coal production decline on recordlast_img read more

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Peabody Bankruptcy Proceeding Moves Forward, Including Sale of Company’s Share in Prairie State Coal Plant

first_imgPeabody Bankruptcy Proceeding Moves Forward, Including Sale of Company’s Share in Prairie State Coal Plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享By Henry Lazenby in Mining Weekly: US metallurgical and thermal coal producer Peabody Energy has received final approval from the US Bankruptcy Court of the Eastern District of Missouri for its $800-million debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing facility, the company announced on Tuesday.  The approval provided Peabody with access to capital to ensure the company could continue operating its business during the Chapter 11 process, which it filed for in April. The financing by a lender group that included the participation of a number of secured lenders and unsecured noteholders, included a $500-million term loan, a $200-million bonding accommodation facility, and a cash-collateralised $100-million letter of credit facility. The court also granted final orders approving several other motions, including approval of the company’s long-term incentive plan for non-insiders, and approval for the planned sale of the company’s interest in the Prairie State Energy Campus. The DIP approval marked another important step as the company moved through the Chapter 11 process, aiming to better position the company for the long-term. No Australian entities are included in the filings and Australian operations were continuing as usual, the company advised. Peabody had retained Jones Day as its legal adviser, Lazard as its investment banker and financial adviser, and FTI Consulting as its restructuring adviser. Full article: http://www.miningweekly.com/article/court-approves-800m-dip-financing-for-peabody-2016-05-18/rep_id:3650Related Story on Morningstar.com:  Peabody Energy Gets Court Approval for Bankruptcy Financing: http://news.morningstar.com/all/dow-jones/market-digest/2016051710802/peabody-energy-gets-court-approval-for-bankruptcy-financing.aspxlast_img read more

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Con Ed, Johnson Controls launch storage JV

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:Consolidated Edison Inc., or Con Edison, announced today that its clean energy arm will create an energy storage joint venture with Johnson Controls International Plc.The purpose of this move is to expand the market for the technology developed over the past several years by Johnson Controls, the announcement says.Consolidated Edison Solutions Inc, which is a unit of Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses Inc, will be the majority owner of the new company and will act as the operating partner. On the other hand, Johnson Controls will contribute its intellectual property (IP) for battery management systems and controls.“Energy storage will play a growing role in the coming years and this arrangement is a natural fit with our renewable energy and energy management offerings,” commented Mark Noyes, president and CEO of Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses.Under the terms of the JV deal, Con Edison Solutions will be the exclusive provider of battery energy storage to customers of Johnson Controls.More: Con Edison forms energy storage JV with Johnson Controls Con Ed, Johnson Controls launch storage JVlast_img read more

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Navajo bill would turn the page on coal, focus on renewable energy

first_imgNavajo bill would turn the page on coal, focus on renewable energy FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Farmington Daily Times:A new bill proposes the Navajo Nation shift from receiving revenue from coal production to renewable energy sources. It also seeks to rescind the tribe’s energy policy from 2013.The current policy became law in October 2013 and sets the standard for the exploration, development, sustainable management and use of energy resources on tribal lands, including coal mining and renewable energy development.If the proposal is enacted, the Navajo Nation Department of Justice would draft a new energy policy.“The time has come for the Navajo Nation to begin the movement from coal source revenues to more sustainable and renewable energy sources,” the bill states.The bill also calls for creating a task force to provide recommendations for replacing revenues for the tribe considering the closure of the Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine in Arizona. The coal-fired power plant near Page, Arizona is scheduled to cease operations in December.Task force members would also provide recommendations for assisting displaced coal mine and power plant workers such as job training, placement services and priority hiring for reclamation and decommissioning work at the coal mine and power plant. The group would also examine the mining and power plant sites for reclamation and re-purposing suggestions.More: Bill aims to shift Navajo Nation revenue from coal to renewableslast_img read more

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Alaska backs away from massive North Slope LNG project

first_imgAlaska backs away from massive North Slope LNG project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Alaska’s decision to cut back staff at the state-run company developing a massive LNG terminal and shift its focus to only permitting amounted to an acknowledgment that the state no longer plans to work to commercialize the gas export venture or manage it long-term.That leaves Alaska LNG facing the same challenges it has for years: permitting obstacles, a lack of customers, and an estimated cost of $43 billion that is significantly higher than rival North American LNG export projects in an increasingly competitive landscape for developers.The state-run company, Alaska Gasline Development Corp., or AGDC, said in a July 10 statement from Interim President Joe Dubler that the organization would slash staff by 60% to eight people. The focus on finishing the permitting process would “substantially de-risk Alaska LNG and open the door to a wider range of potential project parties with the broad expertise required to unlock the value and manage the risks associated with a project of this magnitude,” the company said.What that meant was AGDC will not play the lead role in designing, funding, building or operating the project after receiving the necessary permits. “The future commercial structure for Alaska LNG will not be determined by AGDC,” company spokesman Tim Fitzpatrick said in an interview. “It will be determined by whoever takes this project on at the completion of the permitting process.”The state could end up supporting the project in other ways such as tax incentives or government-to-government operations. But questions linger about whether the project conceived of as a way to export resources of the North Slope, which has 35 Tcf of proven gas reserves, will advance even under private ownership.“The fundamental reality was that this project — $43 billion just for the midstream — it’s very difficult to make it work,” said Nikos Tsafos, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and past advisor to the Alaskan legislature about the project as an oil and gas consultant. “The bottom line is that this is about as tough as it was a few years ago, and not much has changed.”More ($): Future of $43B Alaska LNG project in doubt as state cuts spending, shifts focuslast_img read more

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Hendersonville Mountain Medley Giveaway

first_imgEnter our Hendersonville Mountain Medley Giveaway to win race entries, lodging and more!Grand Prize includes:Entry of your choice into the Mountain Medley Sprint or Olympic distance off-road triathlon at beautiful Lake Summit in Hendersonville, North Carolina, on September 14, 2013Two nights local accommodationDinner for two at Mezzaluna Brick Oven Tap House on Historic Main StreetGift Card for local shoppingThis contest is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!Don’t forget to enter all our other great giveaways!Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning  date. Entries must be received by mail or through the www.blueridgeoutdoors.com contest sign-up page by 12:00 noon EST on August 15th, 2013. One entry per person. One winner per household.  Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United  States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older.  Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge  Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No  liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate,  non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled,  mistranscribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for  technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable  network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer  transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of  processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the  sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, Mountain Medley, Hunter Subaru, Hendersonville CVB, and Mezzaluna Brick Oven Tap House reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information  and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their  sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry  process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes.  Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating  sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies  shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from  acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash,  or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of  the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to  allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater  value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply.  Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors  office on or before August 30th, 6:00 PM EST 2013. Winners will be contacted by  the information they provided in the contest sign-up field and have 7  days to claim their prize before another winner will be picked. Odds of  winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received.last_img read more

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Trail Mix: Jim White vs The Packway Handle Band

first_imgJim White vs The Packway Handle Band.Take It Like A Man, the new record from Jim White and Packway Handle Band that releases today, is a sonic marriage most curious. At first glance, White, a modern Renaissance man and eclectic musician, and Packway Handle Band, one of Georgia’s best nouveau old time groups, are an odd pairing. Having listened to both for a long time, I didn’t know where, or how, their disparate sounds would blend.My misgivings proved to be unfounded. By the end of my first listen to Take It Like A Man, it was hard to tell where Jim White ended and Packway Handle Band began.I recently caught up with Tom Baker, banjo player for Packway Handle Band, to chat about the new record. Also, this week’s blog includes the premier of a brand new tune from the record, “Smack Dab In A Big Tornado,” which you will find linked below, and a ticket giveaway to one of the band’s upcoming shows with Jim White.BRO – How did you guys fall in with Jim White?TB – We actually first encountered Jim’s music at Burning Man in 2006ish. We played several acoustic shows there for a group of wonderful, degenerate Texans who called themselves The Damn Fucking Texans. There was a really interesting DJ at that camp who played us several of Jim’s songs and told us about his film Searching For The Wrong Eyed Jesus, which we sought out and watched in our van on tour. A few years later, Jim moved to Athens and we started to cross paths periodically. Last year, Jim asked us to help him record a track for Aquairum Drunkard and some instrument tracks he was producing for the band The Skipperdees. Later on, we approached Jim about producing our upcoming record, and he proposed we team up and make a record together at our first meeting. It would be half his songs, half our songs. Of course, we jumped at the chance.BRO – Jim is not a bluegrassy guy. You guys are a bluegrassy, old timey band. Was it difficult at all to mesh your respective sounds?TB – Not at all. We were all certainly forced out of our comfort zones for this project, but I think that proved to be a great advantage. Perhaps my favorite track on the record is “Sorrow’s Song,” which is one of Jim’s. We didn’t intend to record it at all. Jim repurposed it to create “Sorrow’s Song. Packway Handle Band is full of obsessive planners, and we probably wouldn’t have been capable of such spontaneity – ate least not in the studio with our phenomenal engineer, Andy LeMaster – but Jim set to work on the tune and, sure enough, it evolved into one of the strongest songs on the record.BRO – Packway Handle Band and Jim White will be hitting the road together. What can fans expect at these shows?TB – It will be a surprise for all of us. We’ve played live exactly one time so far, which was when we were visiting the folks at Yep Roc. Just like during the recording, we are all forced out of our comfort zones on stage. Jim is fond of saying he looks like he’s sitting in the dentist’s chair when he’s performing. We, on the other hand, tend to lean heavily on fast, energetic material. There will probably be a little bit of each of those, and hopefully we’ll meet in the middle a lot, too. Our first show was a lot of fun, and I’m certain it will only get better.BRO – We are featuring “Not A Song” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?TB – I’ve subcontracted the answering of this question to Michael, our mandolin player, since it’s his song. He said, “I had actually written this one a few years ago but was not satisfied with the melody. Then, more recently, it just popped up out of nowhere with a melody I was really happy with. The words are a culmination of the frustration from being in a touring band and feeling like you’re never really getting anywhere. I also liked the idea of a  song that definitively declares itself as not being a song.” I can share that this was the first song we played at our first practice as we were getting ready to record. This was before Jim was in the picture. A lot of songs take a long time to be complete and fully arranged and sounding good, but this one felt great right from the first time we played it.BRO – You and your wife are celebrating the birth of your first child, Ida. As a gift, I’d like to send her a banjo. How soon would be too soon?TB – I feel qualified to say that it is never, ever too soon for a banjo.Tom, the rest of the boys in Packway Handle Band, and Jim White are celebrating the release of Take It Like A Man, which drops today. Here at BRO, Trail Mix is excited to team up with the band and the fine folks at Yep Roc to provide you with the exclusive premiere of “Smack Dab In A Big Tornado.”  You can check it out here!Jim White Vs. The Packway Handle Band hits the road in support of the new record this weekend, and you can grab a couple tickets to any of the shows below so very easily!Shoot me an email at [email protected] with JW vs PHB and the show of your choice (see below!!) in the subject line. January 30 – Standard Deluxe/Waverly, ALJanuary 31 – The Melting Point/Athens, GAFebruary 5 – Eddie’s Attic/Decatur, GAFebruary 6 – Eddie’s Attic/Decatur, GAFebruary 7 – High Watt/Nashville, TNFebruary 19 – Isis Music Hall/Asheville, NCFebruary 20 – The Visulite/Charlotte, NCFebruary 21 – Barking Legs Theater/Chattanooga, TNA winner of will be chosen from all emails received by noon on Thursday, January 29th.For more information on these shows or how you can grab a copy of the new record, surf over to the band’s website. Also, make sure to check out “Not A Song” on this month’s Trail Mix.last_img read more

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BRO Athletes: Maria Bocanegra Recaps Back to Back Mountain Races

first_imgLast year, in 2014, I ran the Blue Ridge Marathon as my first marathon, almost one year after my second child was born. I trained strategically and had realistic expectations. It was as hard as I anticipated, and I loved the experience. I did well, but not astonishingly so. Regardless, after the race, I had to temper my desire to immediately sign up for another marathon. With two kids and a full time job, I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to commit to the training it would take to really tackle another marathon, and take it to the next level.So, when Blue Ridge Marathon sent out an enticing discount to sign up for the 2015 races one month after the 2014 marathon was over, I took a deep breath and signed up for the 10k instead. It was tough not to jump in head first again, especially while still riding on the high of the race and feeling a little bit of the “post-race blues” at the same time. The practical side of me won out.Fast forward nearly a year, and I’m knee deep in the Mountain Junkies RNUT series. It just so happens that the RNUT version of the masochistic run up Mill Mountain was scheduled to take place one week before the Blue Ridge Marathon Star 10k.I was committed on both fronts, so I decided to partake. On April 11th, I towed the line on Fishburn Parkway to take on Mill Mountain Mayhem. This race takes you uphill—or up-mountain, I should say—along a paved road for about 1 mile before transitioning to the Mill Mountain trails for the rest of the race. There are a lot of steep grades for the first 4.5 miles, with slight reprieves every now and then. It’s a tough course, but occasionally you get a view of the city and the mountains through the early spring growth on the trees that takes your breath away. We wound through the trails relentlessly, and just when I felt like I couldn’t maintain the same pace going up any longer, I reached the Roanoke Star and began the descent to the finish line. Most of the time “descent” is something runners welcome. But, Mill Mountain Mayhem is known as the best “bloody” race of the series for a reason. It’s common to see bloody knees and legs at the post-race festivities, since runners have to run down the mountain on a rocky, rooty trail trying to make up time. I evoked all of my technical trail running experience, and had a very good downhill run, passing some runners and improving my average pace quite a bit. The effort was good for second place.The week between Mill Mountain Mayhem and the Star 10k consisted of yoga and a few shakeout runs ranging between 3-4 miles. It made me nervous to cut down my mileage so drastically, but I also knew my legs needed the rest. Plus my husband was traveling for work most of the week so I was flying solo with the kids, meaning my opportunity to do much more was limited.The Friday before the Star 10k my legs were still heavy and stiff, but I hoped the adrenaline of such an exciting race would get me through. My husband had to take my daughter to ballet the morning of the race, which meant I had to go it alone without my cheering squad. I woke up, ate, and left before anyone in the house even stirred, since gun time was at 7:35 a.m. My strategy for the race, if you can call it that, was to go out as hard as I could and keep it up for as long as I could. Basic, but it seemed the best way to test my limits yet again on this goliath of a mountain. I went out hard with the front marathon runners, and let them pace me up the mountain.I led the women’s race from the start. The challenging part of the Star 10k is that after the first mile, it’s all uphill (er, up-mountain) for nearly 2.5 miles without a break. I paced well on the first two miles, but then the heaviness of my legs took a toll on the third mile, and my pace suffered. I focused on maintaining the lead while cresting the mountain at the famed Star. Once the ascent ended, I allowed my legs to relax for a few steps and then settled into my downhill stride. This type of downhill running is no easy feat either, but at this point my legs were happy for the change.I made up a lot of time on the downhill, then the last mile was mostly flat. I pushed hard through to the finish, and finished first female and 9th overall. Breaking top ten overall was a nice surprise, and the reception at the finish line at that caliber of race is always so amazing and a bit overwhelming.My kids and I always joke that we can see the Star from wherever we are in Roanoke; it’s such an iconic and pervasive landmark. After the past two weekends, I have a slightly different feeling when I look up and see the Star; a more intimate knowing, you might say, and a sense of respect for the way this piece of Roanoke has tied the running community together in the past couple of weeks. We live in a beautiful region, and even though the races were tough, I am so glad I took on the challenge of racing up (and down) Mill Mountain two weekends in a row.race_976_photo_16422629last_img read more

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Fantasy Drinking League

first_imgI’m not really a football guy, but I am a drinking guy so when a buddy asked if I’d join his Fantasy Football League, I said yes. Because I’m always looking for a reason to drink beer in the middle of the week, and from what I understand, Fantasy Football Leagues are basically just a reason to get together, drink beers and talk shit about each other. I like beer and talking shit, so if I have to watch a little football to facilitate that, then so be it.Apparently, I underestimated how much football would play a role in our Fantasy Football League. People came to the draft prepared. They had a solid plan of attack, then a backup plan, then a backup plan to the backup plan. There was heated debate about the appropriate round for drafting a kicker. There were spreadsheets.I spent a lot of time doing research leading up to the draft, but I wasn’t researching potential sleeper running backs, I was researching the perfect beer. Turns out, the perfect beer for the Fantasy Football League draft is also the perfect beer for mountain biking. You need something you can drink for an extended period of time while keeping your wits about you. There’s a lot of down time between picks in the draft, but if you get too caught up in the drinking, your Fantasy Team will suffer. So a session beer is in order, and there are a lot of great ones to choose from if you’re trying to drink below the Mason Dixon. Terrapin’s RecreationAle is a solid choice, Oskar Blues’ Pinner is awesome, even New Belgium’s Slow Ride is a winner, but I wanted to try something new. So I settled on Unknown Brewing’s Pre-Game, a session ale that comes in at an easy-drinking 4.5% ABV.This is a beer literally brewed for football. Specifically, Unknown brewed this beer for tailgating, which begins roughly 36 hours before the game in most Southern towns. I may not love football, but I definitely love tailgating. Where else is it socially acceptable to drink beer and eat fried foods from the trunk of your car in the morning? And I think I’ve found my new tailgating beer for this season. Unknown’s Pre-Game doesn’t have the pretense of a session IPA, which hit you with complex hop profiles and aromas so you think you’re drinking a headier craft beer. There’s none of that in Pre-Game, which barely has any hop bite at all. There’s a creamy body and a little bit of corn-like sweetness, but ultimately, this is just an easy drinking beer that goes down fast. Probably as fast as my Fantasy Football team will go down this season; Apparently, I stocked my team entirely with Canadian Football League players.It’s gonna be a long season. At least I’ve got the right beer for it.last_img read more

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