Planned 2020 shutdown for Davis-Besse nuclear plant raises questions concerning site’s cleanup

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Toledo Blade:It’s back to the drawing board for FirstEnergy Corp. and its subsidiary, FirstEnergy Solutions, now that a federal bankruptcy judge has struck down an important part of the utility company’s proposed restructuring plan.The plan attempted to free the parent company of liability for mounting losses for the division of the firm that controls FirstEnergy’s unprofitable coal-fired and nuclear power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, including the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ottawa County.FirstEnergy Solutions, which has been assigned to take on the debt and operations of those plants, responded by saying it expects to submit a revised disclosure statement for its reorganization plan. The filing will be with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Akron overseeing its Chapter 11 restructuring.FirstEnergy Solutions also wants to assure Ohio and Pennsylvania residents that Thursday’s ruling by Judge Alan Koschik has no impact on the company’s operations or its ability to continue delivering safe and reliable energy.That’s good news for Davis-Besse’s 700-employee workforce and the Benton-Carroll-Salem Local School District that has relied on property tax revenue generated by the plant since it went online 42 years ago, on April 22, 1977. But the long-term outlook for that plant and others managed by FirstEnergy Solutions remains hazy at best. Davis-Besse remains set to close for good no later than May 31, 2020, unless a buyer or a bailout emerges.Critics from both parties have been fiercely determined to let the situation play out on its own without a bailout or market reforms, some claiming such efforts are acts of socialism.More: Davis-Besse remains in limbo after bankruptcy judge strikes down FirstEnergy plan Planned 2020 shutdown for Davis-Besse nuclear plant raises questions concerning site’s cleanuplast_img read more

Wood Mackenzie: Spain to lead new solar boom in Europe

first_imgWood Mackenzie: Spain to lead new solar boom in Europe FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Europe’s long solar winter has come to an end. After a multi-year period of depressed installations, Europe’s annual solar market is set to double over the next few years, and do so in a sustained manner, according to new research from Wood Mackenzie Power & RenewablesSolar projects now regularly beat onshore wind in competitive auctions in Germany, one of the world’s most mature wind markets. France has rebounded and is now seen as the most attractive place to build solar in Europe. Meanwhile, long-dormant Spain has rapidly transformed into a globally significant solar market, as well as a new hotspot for corporate renewables deals.Since the rise of modern wind and solar technologies, few markets have seen as dramatic and sustained a downturn as European solar. The sudden elimination of feed-in tariff programs for big projects nearly a decade ago in Germany and Italy precipitated a collapse in installations. In the peak boom year of 2011, Europe installed 22.7 gigawatts of new solar capacity — with Italy alone putting up a remarkable 9 gigawatts. That same year the U.S. installed 1.8 gigawatts. But the European market then crashed hard, slumping to a low of 7 gigawatts in 2016, WoodMac figures show.Today, however, Europe stands on the cusp of a gravity-defying rebound. WoodMac forecasts 18.8 gigawatts of installations in 2019, up from 10.7 gigawatts last year. By 2022 the market is expected to hit nearly 25 gigawatts, and remain above 20 gigawatts for the foreseeable future.And unlike the days when installations were driven by politically vulnerable subsidies, the European market is increasingly centered around competitive auctions and subsidy-free projects.“Europe has gone through the boom, been through the bust, and is now entering a third phase — which seems to be much more sustainable in terms of growth,” said Tom Heggarty, senior WoodMac analyst and author of the new Europe Solar PV Outlook 2019 report, in an interview.More: Spanish ‘gold rush’ helps fuel new European solar boomlast_img read more

Do you support user fees for public lands?

first_img I am not in favor of fees for the use of public land. If we really want people to enjoy them, we should fully fund them using existing tax dollars. Plus, the cost of collecting user fees often exceeds 50 percent of the fees collected. —Mark Wenger, Williamsburg, Va. I support user fees as long as 100 percent of the money is kept at the park where it is collected, instead of going into a national fund to be doled back out. I have recently visited a national park where collections were done based on vehicle instead of occupant, and it was free to enter on foot or on your bike. Many of these same parks offer yearly passes for locals at significantly discounted rates. We can only expect so much from our government. While we can vote for the environment and support organizations and companies that are stewards of the environment, I don’t have a problem with ponying up for a user fee as long as it is properly managed. —Barry Lucas, Knoxville, Tenn. I don’t mind paying a fee—as long as it is used to keep the park and its trails in good shape. I don’t trust the government to support the parks. All they do is help their own interests, and they never give a single dollar to anything we really need. —Chris Hinton, Greenville, S.C. The current administration in Washington has cut the funding so much that it has choked the national forests and parks into raising fees even higher. The people who need it most can’t afford to access it. —Micah Wheat, Black Mountain, N.C. I don’t agree with fees. I think our government should use tax dollars for employee salaries and maintenance instead of so much foreign aid. This would allow those less fortunate in the U.S. to use parks, trails, and campsites without a fee. —Tracy, Staunton, Va. I don’t think anyone should have to pay a fee to enjoy the trails, rivers, and views on our publicly owned lands. The parks belong to everyone; we all pay for them with our taxes. I do think there should be a fee for driving your car into the park. Driving a car is not necessary to enjoy the park, but it does damage the outdoor experience through air and noise pollution. The money generated could be used to maintain the roads and support park public transportation. If someone chooses to walk, bike, or take a park bus to the trailhead, they would have free access. —Jon Livengood, Knoxville, Tenn. Facing a massive federal deficit, the government is cutting funding even further for our national and state parks and forests. Already the forests and parks do not get enough money to pay the rangers and maintain the trails. I’ll gladly pay a few bucks to help the upkeep of these parks and forests. Heck, we pay $10 just to see a lousy movie at the theatre. —Larry Angrimson, Woodbridge, Va. 47% say yesLet’s face it: most users do not plan to volunteer, have never volunteered, or volunteer only once or twice, and then believe they have fulfilled their duty to maintain the park. Without the entrance fees, facilities lose the ability to meet the financial needs of the area, and the slim participation among volunteers necessitates purchasing equipment and staff to manage the land. You have to maintain the tools used to cut trails and staff the park with rangers. The free parks I visit are supported by only a few volunteers. Entrance fees help everyone take part in sustaining the life of the land. —Aaron Basmajian, Richmond, Va.last_img read more

Heart of Stone

first_imgGrassroots organizations like the Southeastern Climbers Coalition and the Carolina Climbers Coalition are gaining and preserving access to this treasure in a unique way – by buying it. This new film celebrates what many are calling a Golden Age of discovery and stewardship in the South. It’s a look at the miraculous mix of activism, generosity, and respect for tradition, in the Heart of Stone.Heart of Stone – HD from Andrew Kornylak on Vimeo.Hearts of StoneHearts of Stonelast_img

Going the Distance at Warren Doyle’s A.T. Institute

first_imgPrintWarren Doyle is an Appalachian Trail icon who has thru-hiked the A.T. 16 times. And his pupils at the Appalachian Trail Institute are three times more likely to finish than those who attempt a thru-hike on their own. They complete the AT at a 75% rate versus around 25% for those who don’t take the class.Often regarded as eccentric for his unique ways on the trail (read: having taken only Little Debbies with him on extended hikes, never carrying or treating water), Warren Doyle has methodically created a successful “path” to help potential Appalachian Trail treaders complete the entire 2,180-mile trail.The most important piece of equipment? According to Doyle, it is your mind. Training your brain to handle the vagaries of the trail is the key. A typical potential thru-hiker trolls websites and tramps to outfitters, learning about the latest packs, the best boots, the hardest hills and the coolest trail towns. Some also train their bodies. Yet almost none consider toning their mental muscles in order to fulfill the dream.Doyle started the Appalachian Trail Institute in 1989. Prior to that, he had hiked the Appalachian Trail multiple times, at one time holding the thru-hike speed record.  Introduced to the Appalachian Trail while in his home state of Connecticut, the retired college professor, now living near Mountain City, Tennessee, has made the A.T. a driving force in his life for 40 years.Doyle runs the Appalachian Trail Institute out of his home, a 19-room rambling old farmhouse complemented with an assortment of outbuildings. His compound is designed to host groups for educational endeavors extending beyond the A.T., including other outdoor adventures and Doyle’s other passion — contra dancing.Doyle’s most famous Appalachian Trail Institute graduate is Jennifer Pharr Davis, a three-time AT thru-hiker and current thru-hike speed record holder at 46 days. Another is Bill Irwin, a blind hiker who completed the A.T. with his seeing-eye dog. Another man, whose trail name was Gutless, took Doyle’s class and completed the A.T. journey despite having his stomach removed due to cancer.Students of all ages and backgrounds travel from across the country and around the world to attend the one-week workshop.  They all attended the Appalachian Trail Institute to “shorten the learning curve,” as Doyle puts it. Doyle’s students learn the psychological and philosophical aspects of the thru-hike. It boils down to his 13 statements of wisdom. Here are a few Doyle nuggets:Walking the entire Appalachian Trail is not recreation. It is an education and a job.Time, distance, terrain, weather, and the trail itself cannot be changed. You have to change.It is far better, and less painful, to learn to be a smart hiker rather than a strong hiker.Doyle also reminds his students to take control of their individual temperaments, levels of comfort, and thresholds of pain. If they can match these mental states with the requirements of an Appalachian Trail thru-hike, then they will likely complete your pilgrimage.Classroom workshops cover lessons about trail safety, goal setting, sponsorship, hitchhiking, and handling the domestic front.Afternoons are spent hiking the A.T. near Doyle’s home. This gives students a taste of the trail, learning to set their pace, feel the mountains, and discover a Doyle axiom: “The trail knows neither prejudice nor discrimination. Don’t expect any favors from the trail. The trail is inherently hard. Everything has to be earned. The trail is a trial.” •last_img read more

Is that a banana in your beer?

first_imgI have a good friend who’s a WaterKeeper—one of those paddlers who fights to clean up our waterways and tries to keep Duke Energy in check. At least that’s what he says he does. From what I can tell, his job consists of paddling around in a canoe with his dog and drinking beer. It’s not a bad gig. It’s an even better gig considering the fact that SweetWater Brewing, out of Atlanta, likes to shovel beer and money at the Waterkeeper Alliance (over $150,000 last year alone), developing an annual “Save Our Water” campaign that helps raise awareness and supply funds for Waterkeepers like my buddy, so they can keep canoeing with their dogs and drinking beer…for a living.Okay, seriously, Waterkeepers do some important work. They’re the dudes and dudettes who stop the murky discharges from factories and farms from hitting our rivers, the paddlers who remove the trash from our river banks, and the heroes who make sure our federal and state governments comply with the Clean Water Act.SweetWater is so smitten with the Waterkeepers of our land, that they’ve created a special brew to honor their unsung numbers. The Waterkeeper Hefeweizen is an easy-drinking, summer beer that’s crisp with just a hint of banana. But please don’t try to stuff a banana into the bottle in an attempt to maximize that particular flavor. This would be a mistake. Bananas don’t belong in beer. Everything turns to mush. It’s like trying to drink baby food. I’m not saying I’ve tried this personally, this is just what I’ve heard on the street. I swear.Pick up your Waterkeeper Hefe from now until Labor Day. I’m serious about the banana thing. Don’t do it.Check out SweeetWater’s Waterkeeper campaign here: Hefeweizenlast_img read more

Bike, Run, Swim and Rock your Yoga at Red Wing Roots Music Festival

first_imgTucked away in the Shenandoah Valley, the Red Wing Roots Music Festival is poised to launch July 14-16 at Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon, VA. The three-day music festival has become a hallmark for family and outdoor fun in the summer, surrounded by the natural beauty of Natural Chimneys Park. Four stages, each with a vibe of its own, and 38 bands provide many don’t miss opportunities.The festival features a deep musical lineup of American roots music, camping, miles of hiking and biking trails, swimming, yoga, craft beer and food, artisan vendors, and a free climbing wall and gaming area for the kids.Music headliners this year include three-time Grammy winner, Steve Earle and the Dukes, Lake Street Dive, The Steel Wheels, West Virginia Music Hall of Fame inductee Tim O’Brien and two time Grammy winner Sarah Jarosz. On Saturday morning there is a wide variety of outdoor activities for all ages and interests. Cyclists can join one of three road rides, from an easy 10-mile spin up to intermediate and advanced level rides, the later summiting Reddish Knob, where riders are often surprised with an acoustic performance from one of the Saturday lineup bands.Friends of Shenandoah Mountain and Potomac Appalachian Trail Club each guide an invigorating hike on Saturday morning in the surrounding George Washington National Forest. And for those who don’t want to leave the Park, there are 2.5 miles of hiking trails on the grounds. For the runners, VA Momentum leads two fun runs. And finally, for those looking to get their yoga fix, The Center offers morning yoga sessions for free on Saturday and Sunday as well.The North River winds through the park and when the water levels are right provides a refreshing dip in cool, fresh mountain water. The park also has a pool exclusively for festival guests, which is great for kids and adults looking for a swim.After festival goers finish hiking or biking and are ready to kick back and listen to some music with a cool beverage, Blue Mountain Brewery, Old Hill Cider and Bluestone Vineyards provide a local craft beverage experience. While camping is sold out at the festival, there are a variety of local campgrounds, including the George Washington National Forest, and other lodging options to choose from in the surrounding area.The inviting vibe at Red Wing Roots Music Festival is unlike any you’ll encounter at any festival anywhere. The mix of a gorgeous outdoor setting, top-level music acts, delicious local food, beer, wine and cider, a family atmosphere and fun outdoor activities set this festival apart, not to mention that kids 12 and under are admitted free. Check out for all the details.last_img read more

Outdoor Updates: Duke Energy ordered to relocate all coal ash to lined landfills in NC

first_imgEarlier this week, the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced that Duke Energy is required to drain all 31 of the company’s coal ash ponds across the state. For decades, ash from coal-fired power plants has been mixed with water and stored in unlined ponds. In 2014, an ash spill into the Dan River exposed the potential for heavy metals from the coal ash to enter and contaminate the water supply, including groundwater. Some of the worst ash-contaminated groundwater in the country has been found near Duke’s Allen power plant on Lake Wylie. Real life mermaid’s distance swim to bring awareness to the plastic problem in our oceans The Blue Ridge Hiking Company, owned by accomplished Appalachian Trail thru-hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis, is expanding their operation to include a hiking and backpacking store in downtown Asheville, NC and a bunkhouse on the Appalachian Trail in Hot Springs, NC. The Asheville retail location at 70 College Street opens April 5 and will carry an inventory of backpacking and hiking gear handpicked by experienced long distance hikers. Blue Ridge Hiking Company opens new store in Asheville, NC and new hiker hostel in Hot Springs, NC Of the 16 total coal-fired plants that once existed in North Carolina, Duke has closed nine. The company has indicated that they plan to close their seven remaining coal plants in the next 30 years. Duke Energy ordered to relocate all coal ash to lined landfills in NC The company’s Appalachian Trail bunkhouse, located in a converted double-wide called “The Appalachian Trail-er,” opened April 1 in Hot Springs. The location serves as a hub for the company’s guided backpacking trips as well as a bunkhouse and gear rental shop. The bunkhouse will also offer shuttles for hikers. DEQ has ordered Duke to dig up the ash and move it to lined landfills. Duke has said that cleaning up the ash will take decades and cost billions of dollars, and that the cost of cleanup will likely be passed on to customers. Open water swimmer and Tokyo 2020 Olympic hopeful Merle Liivand of Estonia will swim two miles around the Miami, FL island of Di Lido while wearing a mermaid tail to draw attention to the plastic pollution problem plaguing our oceans. Liivand lives and trains in Miami and has decided to celebrate her birthday by undertaking the challenging swim to advocate for the ocean. Liivand hopes that when kids and adults see a real mermaid swimming in the ocean off of Miami they will be begin to consider the environmental issues facing our oceans. About 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans each year. Liivand’s mermaid  swim will take place on April 7.last_img read more

April 2019: Outdoor Family Guide

first_imgON THE COVER A.T. ENTREPRENEURS An Appalachian Trail thru-hike is an incubatorfor several businesspioneers in SouthernAppalachia. An outdoor instructor’s go-to gear for camping and backpacking. TRAIL MIX FLASHPOINT “When it comes to family hikes, we have one simple rule— you’re going! This is one of our favorite local hikes, Hay Rock on the Appalachian Trail.” THE ADVENTURE IMPRINT Access vs. preservation: new battles in a classic public lands tug-of-war. BUILD YOUR OWN ADVENTURE LAST WORD THE GOODS Four outdoor families share their tips and tricks for adventures with kids—plus their favorite campsites, trail foods, and trail-tested advice. Lessons learned from an outdoor parent.center_img How did iconic whitewater rapids and climbing routes get their names? We dig into the backstory behind the region’s most colorfully named adventure hotspots. QUICK HITS Photo by Kenton [email protected] A parent of adventurous pre-teens starts letting go—but still holds onto the rope. Chatham County Line covers + 5 fave fests this spring. Is Appalachia the next Cancer Alley? • Must- reads for the outdoor fam • Zip lining and whitewater paddling for kids with autism • Pipeline CSI uncovers dirty secrets FEATURES PHOTO BY STEPHANIE JACOBSON / WHIMSY & WILDERNESS PHOTOGRAPHY OUTDOOR FAMILY GUIDE 2019 DEPARTMENTS BAMBI MEETS GODZILLA, BUBBA MEETS JESUS Learn how to craft a fishing rod, build a bike, fashion a knife, weave baskets, and test your outdoor skills. last_img read more

Girl survives shark attack at North Carolina state park beach

first_imgWinter’s father, a firefighter and paramedic, began punching the shark in the nose five times until it released the girl and swam away. From there, he continued to help keep her alive with the help of beachgoers. She was then immediately transported to a hospital by helicopter after firefighters and paramedics responded at 12:19 pm. Even though the attack came with a great cost, Winter is said to be doing well after her surgery. Family reported she was in good spirits and cracking jokes. Even more impressive, the young teen stays true to her deep love for the environment and marine life. The hospital told CBS News that she “wishes for people to continue to respect sharks in their environment and their safety.” NC shark attack survivor and ‘Iron Man’ fan gets video surprise from Robert Downey Jr. Winter suffered ‘deep lacerations to her leg, pelvic and hand areas’ and underwent surgery Sunday evening. Her grandmother posted on Facebook Sunday evening saying Winter lost a leg above the knee in the surgery and may need a hand transplant in the future.  This past Sunday in Atlantic Beach N.C. a park ranger reported that 17year old Paige Winter was bitten by a shark while swimming at Fort Macon State Park. “Thank God our son was with her he said he punched the shark in the face 5 times before it let go. Wish we could be with them,” her grandmother Janet Winter posted on Facebook Sunday evening.  Last month, a cluster of massive great white sharks gathered about 20 miles off the coast of the Carolinas. Some of which researchers have been tracking for more than a decade. Girl survives shark attack at North Carolina state park beach A GoFundMe for her medical costs raised over $4,000 as of Monday morning. On May 29, 2019, we reported on two great white sharks that were identified off the North Carolina Coast “Two great white sharks have been spotted in the Outer Banks off of the coast of North Carolina. The female, named Jane, was tagged in October 2018 in Nova Scotia, Canada. The male, Brunswick, was tagged in South Carolina earlier this year.  Jane has reportedly been in the area for over a month while Brunswick just arrived this week. A third tagged shark pinged last month in the same waters but there’s no word if he’s still out there. Great white sharks are a migratory species, moving to warmer waters in Florida over the winter and heading back north once the weather heats up. The sharks are about 20 miles off of the coast and pose no threats to beachgoers.”last_img read more