‘Four Pinocchios’ for President’s Claim of a Turnaround in West Virginia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Washington Post:Even though Trump claims he has “turned West Virginia around,” the trends aren’t expected to last. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at West Virginia University estimated the state’s GDP growth to average 1.0 percent per year over the next five years and employment to grow 0.7 percent — well below national projections.Additionally, the coal industry still has a way to go to recover from its losses. In 2008, the state produced nearly 158 million short tons of coal, and by 2016, that number had plummeted to 80 million, according to a report by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research.John Deskins, co-author of the report and director of the bureau, cautioned that while increased coal production is projected to remain stable, the state still has a long road to economic recovery.“West Virginia has no short-term solution for its economic problems,” Deskins said. “We need industrial diversification and investment in human capital. But with the state’s poor education system and really bad drug epidemic, the human capital gains are a major challenge.”Trump takes credit for West Virginia’s economic gains, but it’s undeserved. For one, when the first quarter ended on March 31, 2017, Trump was just two months into his presidency. While he was quick to do away with several regulations on energy production, many of the new policies have yet to take effect. The state’s recent growth is due to increased mining production and a rise in prices for coal and natural gas.Taking credit for economic advances where no credit is due seems to be a habit for Trump. He should be more careful not to overstate the effect of his administration’s policies when praising economic gains across the country. For trying to capitalize on the hard work of West Virginians, Trump earns Four Pinocchios.More: President Trump’s claim that he ‘turned West Virginia around’ by cutting regulations on mining
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Solar power generation records have been set in three of Europe’s largest markets, with cleaner air as a result of the coronavirus pandemic a contributing factor.Reduced air pollution from the lockdown has contributed to new records in Germany and the U.K., while Spain’s bumper year of installations in 2019 is going through its first springtime boost.Records are common at this time of year as panels installed in the previous autumn and winter make their first meaningful contribution to the grid. This time around, however, the effect is more pronounced.The U.K. solar record was broken on Monday this week when production peaked at 9.68 gigawatts, according to data from Sheffield Solar, a project run by the University of Sheffield. The previous record was 9.55 gigawatts, set in May last year.In Germany, record solar generation was also achieved on Monday with a peak of 32.2 gigawatts, according to Bloomberg, as the same favorable conditions took hold.Spain broke its generation record on March 26, according to network operator Red Eléctrica, but newly connected projects from last year and this year are most likely the reason for that. The new peak record surpassed 6.3 gigawatts, about a quarter of mainland Spain’s power demand at the time.[John Parnell]More: Clean air, clear skies and fresh megawatts cause Europe’s solar records to tumble Clear air, new capacity push solar generation to record levels in major European markets
Joint venture to build 500MW of wind and solar capacity in Bangladesh by 2023 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Business Standard:Bangladesh-China Power Company Limited (BCPCL), a joint venture of North West Power Generation Company Ltd (NWPGCL) and China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC), is going to implement renewable energy projects with a target to generate 500 megawatts (MW) of electricity across the country by 2023.As part of the initiative, they signed a joint-venture agreement to form a company named Bangladesh-China Power Company Ltd (Renewable) on Tuesday.In the newly formed joint venture, NWPGCL and CMC will be investing equal amounts of capital. The authorised capital of the joint-venture company is Tk1,000 crore while the paid-up capital is Tk16 crore.BCPCL (Renewable) will implement three solar plants – Pabna 60MW, Sirajganj 100MW and Jamuna 125MW – and one wind plant. The wind plant with a capacity of 50MW has been planned to be set up in Payra of Patuakhali. Apart from these, solar and wind plants having 165MW capacity will be implemented in different areas of the country which are yet to be finalised.State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said the planned projects will help the government meet the target to generate 10 percent of energy from renewable sources.More: Bangladesh-China Power Company to implement 500MW renewable energy projects
Top five mistakes most new climbers make, and how you can avoid them. Forgetting your feet “Most beginners try to muscle up a route, using all upper body and dragging their feet up the rock,” says Ryan Beasley, owner of Rock Dimensions, a climbing guide and instructional service. “But if you use your feet well and keep your hips in balance, you’ll be able to climb longer and more efficiently.”Avoid It: During your climb, place two foot moves for every one hand move. Reaching for the stars“Beginners have a tendency to reach for holds way above their head with every move,” says Seneca Rocks climbing guide Alan Goldbetter. “This puts a lot of emphasis on the upper body and can lead to injury.”Avoid It: Find an easy route and climb it without raising your hands above your head. Overtraining your hands“I see climbers with those squeeze grips all the time. They look cool, but it’s easy to overdo it on hand exercises,” says Greg Perry, co-founder of Atlanta Rocks Climbing Gym. “Your hand is made up predominantly of tendons and ligaments, not muscles.”Avoid It: You need hand strength, but you’ll get it naturally by climbing. Ditch the squeeze balls. Sacrificing safety for gloryIt’s easy to get in over your head when climbing. If you’re too gung-ho, you might find yourself on a climb that’s out of your league with suspect anchors and knots that aren’t keeping you as safe as they should.Avoid It: “There’s a progression to climbing,” says Swis Stockton of Granite Arches. “Climb smaller rocks first, learn some technique, then move on to bigger rocks.” Faking an anchor“There are plenty of people out there setting up anchors that don’t have enough knowledge,” Ryan Beasley says. “A lot of times, they’ll just try to replicate what they saw other people do, but they don’t have the core concepts of anchor building down. Every site is different, requiring a different approach to the anchor.Avoid it: After taking the appropriate anchor building and top roping classes, you’ll want to start climbing on your own. How do you know when you’re ready? Ask a guide or mentor to brutally assess your anchor-building and knot-tying skills. Spending an extra day or two working on the fundamentals is better than risking injury by climbing with uncertain technique.
Dear EarthTalk: Radioactive rain recently fell in Massachusetts, likely due to Japan’s nuclear mess. Given the threats of radiation, wouldn’t it be madness now to continue with nuclear power? How can President Obama include nukes as part of a “clean energy” agenda? — Bill Mason, Hartford, CT In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, countries around the world that were growing more bullish on nuclear power are now reconsidering their future energy investments. Germany has shut down seven of its oldest nuclear reactors and is conducting safety studies on the remaining facilities; those that don’t make the grade could be closed permanently. Meanwhile, in earthquake-prone Chile some 2,000 demonstrators marched through the capital to protest their government’s enthusiasm for nuclear power. And China, the world’s fastest growing nuclear energy developer, has suspended the approval process on 50 nuclear power plants already on the drawing board, and begun inspections on 13 existing plants.But despite calls to shutter the U.S. nuclear program, President Obama remains committed to the industry despite his stated opposition to it pre-election. In December 2007, Obama told reporters at a campaign stop in Iowa: “Until we can make certain that nuclear power plants are safe…I don’t think that’s the best option,” adding that he was much more keen on solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative fuels.According to investigative journalist Karl Grossman, Obama changed his tune on nuclear as soon as he took office, “talking about ‘safe, clean nuclear power’ and push[ing] for multi-billion dollar taxpayer subsidies for the construction of new nuclear plants.” Right away, Grossman says, Obama brought in nuclear advocate Steven Chu as energy secretary, and two White House aides that had been “deeply involved with…the utility operating more nuclear power plants than any other in the U.S., Exelon.”Undeterred by the Japanese nuclear disaster, Obama pledged just two weeks following the initial explosions at the Fukushima Dai-ichi facility that nuclear power should be revived in the U.S., as it provides “electricity without adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.” He added that he requested a comprehensive safety review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to ensure the safety of existing facilities. “We’ll incorporate those conclusions and lessons from Japan in designing and building the next generation of [nuclear] plants,” Obama added.But just because nuclear energy isn’t a fossil fuel doesn’t make it green, given the ongoing risk of radioactivity. Also, reports the non-profit Beyond Nuclear, “Nuclear power is counterproductive to efforts to address climate change effectively and in time…funding diverted to new nuclear power plants deprives real climate change solutions, like solar, wind and geothermal energy, of essential resources.” Indeed, if policymakers were able to divert the hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to the U.S. nuclear industry every year to solar, wind and geothermal developers, there is no telling how quickly we could innovate our way to sustainable non-polluting energy independence and put the specter of nuclear power that much further in our rearview mirror. But it looks like as long as Obama remains in office, nuclear will remain a big part of our near term energy future, damn the torpedoes. 1 2
WV residents shred for free this weekend at Snowshoe.This time of year is always the trickiest to try and plan an epic weekend activity. The weather is so fickle, so unpredictable, that just the act of organizing a trip or outing will almost assuredly be met with snow, rain, or the dreaded wintery mix – What’s up with the wintery mix? It’s just the worst. While it has been pushing 60 degrees in the mid-Atlantic at points this week, winter looks like it could make a comeback this weekend. This is good news for skiers and snowboarders looking for one last chance at some powder turns before the legitimate spring thaw settles in and the slopes turn into a sloppy, albeit fun, mess. Let’s be honest, these last few weeks of the season are all about fun: fun on the slopes, fun in the sun, fun digging out your warm weather gear, etc. Take advantage of all this excitement and head up to Snowshoe this weekend for a last gasp at real winter.If you can only ski one day this weekend, I would suggest Sunday, March 3rd at Snowshoe. Every year, the resort shows its appreciation for all the things the community does to support it throughout the year by letting West Virginia residents ski for free. Now, we all know WV is a fairly large state, so you can imagine this event brings all kinds to the mountain. This may make for a slightly more robust crowd, but Snowshoe is fully open, so scoot over to the Western Territories is things get too claustrophobic. You may want to stay on the main side of the mountain however, as the beginners and personalities will be out in spades, which should provide the most entertaining lift rides this side of the Mississippi. No offense to West Virginians, any resort in any state would elicit the same reaction – offer free skiing and they’ll come out of the woodwork. Just keep your head on a swivel out there!View Larger Map
If you need a little inspiration to lace up those running shoes or to run that extra mile, think about Fauja Singh, who at 101 years old completed his last competitive marathon in Hong Kong about a week ago. Nicknamed the “turbaned tornado” by his fans, Singh took up long-distance running a decade ago to help cope with the deaths of his wife and son. Since then, Singh has run nine marathons around the world, and in 2011, he became the world’s oldest man to ever have completed a 26 mile race, when he finished the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in eight hours, eleven minutes and six seconds.The secret to Singh’s incredible drive? His simple love for the sport. “It’s because of the happiness I get out of it,” he said. “If something makes you happy, you’ll do it well.”
In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the town of Harpers Ferry, W.Va. is defined by its confluences. Harpers Ferry is located at the confluence of two of the main arteries of the mid-Atlantic, the Potomac River and the Shenandoah River. The town is also located at the intersection of three states: Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. This unique location – two major rivers, Mason Dixon Line, etc. – also made Harpers Ferry a flashpoint during the Civil War and was the scene for John Brown’s famous raid on the armory there. Today, the tiny hamlet of around 300 permanent residents is part living museum of centuries of historic impact, part modern outdoor recreation hub. What was once the launch point for settlement of the Shenandoah Valley – the only ferry across the mighty Potomac – is now a center for active pursuits ranging from white water rafting to mountain biking to rock climbing. The Appalachian Trail also runs right through town, and is the location of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters. Obviously, the town has not lost its touch of being a central part of United States history.All of these pursuits come together at the annual Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival, happening this weekend June 14 and 15. Although the focus of the festival is primarily paddling oriented – it is summer after all! – all outdoor recreation activities are celebrated and encouraged, with the aim of promoting the healthy and peaceful enjoyment of the natural environment. To that end, all proceeds are donated to conservation groups including Friends of the Shenandoah, Save the Blackwater, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and the Friends of the Cheat. Organized activities include the Tim Gavin Down River Race, Whitewater Rodeo, 5k trail race, whitewater film extravaganza, raft race, and kid friendly activities. There will also be a coordinated river cleanup and live music each day from local bands. Plus, you’ll be right outside downtown Harpers Ferry, where you may learn a thing or two about the robust history of the area and the town. It really is like stepping back in time, in a good way.The best part of this event may be the price: $10 gets you a day pass for either Friday or Saturday ($20 for both), but that includes free camping on site. So hit up the Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival this weekend to give a little back and have a whole lot of fun along the way.View Larger Map
Population: 3,944Public lands: Great Smoky Mountains National ParkOutdoor highlights: Smokies hiking, Pigeon River, Cades Cove cycling, ski resort
Between the low rolling hills of the Piedmont and the steep slopes of the Blue Ridge Escarpment lies the isolated mountain range of the South Mountains in North Carolina, a range of mountains often forgotten to its bigger neighbors to the north and west. The South Mountains include many clear mountain streams, beautiful waterfalls, scenic vistas, and elevations that rise up to 3,000 ft. And almost half of the range is protected from development as either State Park or Game Lands, encompassing nearly 40,000 acres of the highest peaks and headwaters of the mountain range.I have been running in South Mountains State Park for years. Due to its relatively close proximity to my work and home in the Catawba Valley, I have been a frequent user of the state park and its near 40 mile trail system in the park’s eastern side. That being said though, a recent western addition to the park has nearly brought the park’s boundaries to my doorstep and countless others’ in nearby Morganton, N.C. Nearly all of this land is just a short drive of 10-15 minutes from Morganton, unlike the current entrance which is almost 30-40 minutes away. The only problem with this, though, is that there is currently limited access into this section of the park and little to no trails in its near 9,000 acres, which is almost half of the park’s size.Every year in January I am reminded of this lack of recreational opportunity in the western half of the South Mountains when I join fellow adventurers and friends for the running of the Sultan 50K, which is a joyous “fun run” celebration of birthdays including red velvet cake and fuzzy crowns. The run starts in the western end of the park along Roper Hollow Road and continues into the eastern end of the park and its developed trail system. This road straddles the boundary of the State Park and the State Game Lands and follows it for nearly 10 extremely scenic miles. In my opinion, this gravel/dirt road might be the most scenic of all paths in the South Mountains. It is also the main gateway to explore the western end of the park and the surrounding Game Lands.After this year’s running of the Sultan 50K, I decided to return to Roper Hollow Road with some friends and explore more of what the area had to offer. I had noticed many paths leading into the Game Lands off the road during the Sultan 50K and we decided to explore those first. To our surprise, we soon entered into a ridgeline wildlife field and witnessed one of the most spectacular views of the Blue Ridge I had ever seen (along with a rare bobcat sighting). Not only could we see the surrounding peaks of the South Mountains, but the view stretched from the highest ridges of the Hickory Nut Gorge all the way past the northernmost peak of the towering Black Mountain Range. The Game Lands are riddled with many of these trails, but there is currently no public map of where they all lead. This, coupled with the fact that hunters do frequent the area, has probably kept curious adventurers from exploring this gem of land, that offers much more recreational opportunity other than just hunting.After being in awe of the views we had just experienced, our group next set our sights onto Buzzards Roost, the highest peak within South Mountains State Park, which sits at just under 3,000 ft in elevation and towers 1,900 ft above the surrounding valley. Surprisingly, there is no trail to this iconic peak of the South Mountains. Therefore, it was time for some bushwhacking. After a short mile and half bushwhack to the summit, we headed just down slope to a cliff and we were rewarded with another breathtaking view of the mountains of North Carolina. Our view now stretched from the Craggies in the south all the way past Grandfather Mountain in the north. The view also afforded us a look right into the heart of the Linville Gorge. The lack of a trail to this location just seemed odd to me.As we returned from our wanderlust into the western end of the South Mountains, I was perplexed by the lack of recreational opportunity that lied there, but also excited to explore it even more. I have spoken with the rangers of the park on many occasions about the lack of recreation on the western side and they too expressed my desire to open the western end up with more trails and other recreational opportunities, but currently there is a lack of allocated funding to make that happen. It would be great to see a ground swell of support for the further development of recreational opportunities in the western end of the park, but I doubt many folks even realize the potential that lies within its borders. Maybe with the mass support of the outdoor community, we can all see the untapped potential of the South Mountains become a reality to more than just the ambitious adventurer.