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Blazing New Trails: Transforming Former Coal Mines into Outdoor Oases

first_imgKyle Hill could look at any number of things at the former surface mine on Dale Ridge: the scrubby hillside, the retention ponds built to catch runoff, the crumbling highwall sending truck-sized boulders careening to the mine floor. Instead, when he visits this site in Virginia’s Wise County, Hill sees opportunity—and ducks.“See down there?” Hill asks, aiming his binoculars at a clump of cattails framing a nearby wetland. “That place was just full of ducks last week.”An avid outdoorsman, Hill is a native of Coeburn, a town built around the coal industry in this corner of southwest Virginia. As a student at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, Hill has been taking a different look at the many former surface mines that dot the central Appalachian landscape, wondering how they can support populations of game species like waterfowl.While using old mines as a catalyst for wildlife conservation might seem odd, Hill’s approach isn’t happening in a vacuum. A host of efforts is taking a renewed look at former minelands as a linchpin in diversifying Appalachia’s outdoor economy.As many as 1,800 square miles of central Appalachia have been touched by surface mining, a practice where coal is reached by removing the rocks above it rather than using a shaft to reach it underground. This approach has far-reaching impacts, including leaching metal-laden runoff into waterways and eradicating headwater streams and forests. A 2016 study by researchers at Duke University even found that surface mining has altered Appalachian topography, dropping the average slope of mined areas in the mountains by forty percent.While the environmental and social concerns of mining have been well-advertised, surface mines can become forgotten by the public eye once coal extraction has ceased. “The environmental community has done a really good job of communicating how destructive mining is—and for good reason, I think,” says Adam Wells, new economy program manager for Appalachian Voices. “However, it’s not that cut and dry.”Wells stresses that the coal economy’s collapse has opened the door to novel discussions about economic alternatives, including those based around former mines. New funding opportunities have also become available for developing abandoned mineland (AML) features, closed before the passage of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. “That funding could really serve as a catalyst to get some innovative economic development projects going that right now are just good ideas,” Wells says.In 2016, Appalachian Voices and partners released a report identifying 14 AML sites in southwest Virginia that could support projects from solar farms to community parks and trail systems. Their work marks a shift in our collective philosophy of how to deal with former mines, viewing them as less of a permanent liability and more as an opportunity for growth.One of the sites identified in Appalachian Voices’ report is the Norton Riverwalk, a planned trail along the Guest River that will link downtown Norton, Va. to neighborhoods on the city’s eastern end. The project would rehabilitate a decommissioned coal loading site and connect it to a popular multiuse path running along a former mine highwall, which was transformed into a gateway for the city in 2014.Norton’s City Manager, Fred Ramey, believes that the Riverwalk is “perfect” for creating dual environmental and community benefits. “It’s a win-win scenario that will remediate environmental concerns, transform portions of the area into outdoor classrooms, and provide more recreational opportunities,” Ramey says.Nearby, the town of Haysi, Va., is creating a multiuse trail to connect its downtown to Breaks Interstate Park. A nearby coal waste site presents the opportunity for creating a park that would include a put-in for boaters on the Russell Fork.The town of St. Paul, Va.—which hosts a 100-mile trail system built partially on a former surface mine that caters to both ATVs and non-motorized users—has become a model for revitalizing coal economies. Private investment poured into town following the trail system’s 2013 opening, with new businesses catering to visitors and a $7.3 million project renovating a downtown building into a boutique hotel that will open this year.Redeveloping former mines is slow work, and each site comes with a unique set of complex—and expensive—environmental issues. “It’s not hard to look at a reclaimed mountaintop removal site and envision a field of solar panels,” Wells says, “but it’s a little trickier to think about smaller-scale ways to turn these liabilities into assets.” Regardless, a former mine can still hold surprises.Earlier this year, I accompanied Kyle Hill to the mine on Dale Ridge. We arrived just in time to flush a pair of wood ducks that had arrived for the season in one of the mine’s settling ponds. Hill has inventoried almost 15 waterfowl species there this year, including several not previously recorded in this corner of the state.It can be daunting to imagine the site being a haven for birdwatchers or outdoor enthusiasts, but as we stood in the middle of the mine, the ducks caught our eye. Instead of leaving, they flew in a long arc around the fringes of the mine and settled back in the pond once we’d moved on. For them, this was already home.last_img read more

Liza Destiny FPSO reaches Guyana

first_imgThe Liza Destiny FPSO has reached Guyanese waters 42 days after it set sail from a shipyard in Singapore.Liza Destiny FPSO reaching Guyana / Image Source: Hess CorporationThe news of the FPSO arriving in Guyana has been confirmed by Hess Corp, a partner in the ExxonMobil operated Stabroek block, where the Liza Destiny will now be moored.Able to produce up to 120,000 barrels a day, the Liza Destiny will be used by ExxonMobil to for the development of the first phase of the Liza offshore oil field.“After clearing customs, hookup and installation of the Liza Destiny FPSO will begin,” Hess said Thursday.The Liza Phase 1 development is on track for startup by the first quarter of 2020, which will make Guyana an oil-producing nation.ExxonMobil’s Liza field sits in the giant Stabroek block, which covers almost 27,000 square kilometers, circa 200 kilometers offshore Guyana and where ExxonMobil has struck more than a dozen oil discoveries which are yet to be developed, meaning a couple of more FPSOs should be deployed in Guyana in the upcoming years.The Liza FPSO, converted from a VLCC by Keppel, will be spread moored in a water depth of 1,525 meters and will be able to store 1.6 million barrels of crude oil.Liza Destiny, Guyana’s first oil production vessel, has arrived at the Stabroek Block after traveling 42 days. This vessel is a significant component of the Liza Phase 1 development, which will produce up to 120,000 gross barrels of oil per day.https://t.co/Ssphmh2Rla pic.twitter.com/vdz90fHPWD— Hess Corporation (@HessCorporation) August 29, 2019Offshore Energy Today StaffSpotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email. Also, if you’re interested in showcasing your company, product or technology on Offshore Energy Today, please contact us via our advertising form where you can also see our media kit.last_img read more

The “Rugby Equality Bill” – (the “Redefinition of Rugby” Act)

first_img(Author Unknown)Rugby is a game played by most boys in New Zealand in their childhood, though some don’t want to play it at all. A significant section of the community have always preferred to play a different sport, like soccer.But Rugby gets all the status in New Zealand, commanding all the respect. So much so that those who play soccer are often made to feel like second-class citizens. They lack the mana of those who play the nation’s revered game.To end this discrimination we have decided to redefine Rugby to include any sport involving two teams with a ball. As long as you love your team-ball sport you are a rugby player and should be recognised as such in law. Some of our opponents try scare mongering by saying: “well then hockey will end up being called rugby” – but that is not what we are saying at all. This bill is only about soccer players having the right to be considered rugby players like all other rugby players. Hockey uses a stick and no one is saying that should be called rugby.This isn’t about whether you prefer soccer or rugby. It is a fundamental matter of justice and equality. Why should those soccer players who play every week with a ball against another team not have the equal opportunity and right to be recognised in the street as rugby players? Why are they denied the title and privileges on the grounds that they play differently? Shouldn’t all boys in New Zealand have the same rights regardless of their sporting preference? Why discriminate against boys for the way they choose to play their ball-sport? Aren’t we a country that prizes freedom of choice? In New Zealand you can be a rugby player if you are a boy or a girl, an Asian, Indian, Maori or European…. but apparently not if you are a soccer player.We should remember that rugby itself has historically undergone many changes. Once upon a time, there were only four points for a try and now there are five. There are eight in the scrum today instead of six in earlier times. Before you had to jump by yourself in the lineout and now you can be lifted. So the Rugby Union is happy to adjust and refine the definition of rugby throughout the ages– but for some reason they stop at soccer. That old boys’ club want to control the definition themselves because underneath, they really regard soccer players as wusses. But look at how they handled their own finances in Otago. And let’s never forget that once upon a time there were white Rugby Union teams in South Africa who refused to let black people be rugby players alongside them. Do we want to perpetuate the same kind of discrimination by denying that soccer is an equally legitimate form of rugby?New Zealand has always prided itself on a clear separation between sport and politics, and in the 21st century our political system needs to be free from all forms of discrimination. We led the world in giving women the vote. Yet there are still those who are happy to bar the door to those who play sport differently. There is no point in having a referendum on the issue because of course most rugby-playing New Zealanders will want to defend their privileges and guard the status quo.Some say that we have already achieved equality, when the national soccer team finally got called the “All Whites”. That was a step in the right direction, but it didn’t go far enough. Soccer players need the same access to the “All Black” name and jersey. It’s not good enough to call them “All Whites” when overseas everyone’s heard of the All Blacks. No one talks about the All Whites. It is time to embrace the right of all ball-playing New Zealanders to be regarded as rugby players, regardless of the shape of the ball they use and how they choose to handle it.UPDATE: Please note that we have removed the reference to suicide in this satirical piece. In light of horrendous stats on suicide just released, it was an inappropriate reference. The piece was sent to us – we didn’t write it – but we should have vetted it better. We apologise for any offense the reference may have caused. It was certainly not our intention.last_img read more

Catcher job is in Will Smith’s hands, but Austin Barnes makes it a ‘partnership’

first_img Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start “I learned I can play in the big leagues,” Smith said confidently of his 2019 experience. “I’m not overmatched or anything. I can help the team win.”After bursting onto the scene following his call-up to the big leagues last season, the Dodgers’ Will Smith Smith hit just .183 with three home runs over his final 26 games in 2019. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)That might be true. But the feel-good Fresh Prince of the summer gave way to a less impressive finish. After hitting 12 home runs and batting .318 with a 1.210 OPS in his first 28 games, Smith hit just .183 with three home runs and a .581 OPS over his final 26 — and was 1 for 13 in the Dodgers’ National League Division Series loss to the Washington Nationals.“That’s just the ups and downs of baseball. I mean, you always go through those,” Smith said. “I didn’t make adjustments quick enough to get out of it. At the end of the day, I had a couple good weeks at the end.”Smith’s confidence remained intact. But he was 2 for 19 this spring before a two-run double in his first at-bat Sunday and the Dodgers had reason to wonder which player they would have going forward – the dynamic two-way player of his first 28 games or the struggling hitter of the final six weeks.“Well, I think somewhere in the middle,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said to that. “With Will, you’re still working on things. I just think that I trust him in the batter’s box. I think that he’s gonna be just fine. “I don’t think it’s a fluke. I think if you look at the first month, you’re looking at a guy that would hit 50 homers. So I think that that’s not fair. I mean that’s just a person that came out swinging the bat well. So I think somewhere in the middle is a fair kind of assumption.”Somewhere in the middle would be more offense than Austin Barnes has been able to provide over the past two seasons. Roberts talks about Smith getting the lion’s share of playing time at catcher this season but also speaks of a “partnership” between Smith and Barnes at the position.“What that means – that’s to be determined,” Roberts said. “Is it 60-40, 65-35? That I don’t know.”Barnes’ exceptional skills behind the plate will get him playing time. But Roberts is optimistic that he can provide more offensively, whatever that playing time becomes.“I think there was a lot of things going on with his swing last year,” Roberts said of Barnes who was demoted to Triple-A in mid-season, clearing the way for Smith. “I do think that when you look at the scoreboard (and see your batting average), that has some kind of factor on how he was and took things. You start pressing and trying to perform, which I absolutely understand.“But I think that right now, mechanically, the headspace that he’s at, he’s in a great place. I think that if he could get better defensively, he’s done that in this camp. The receiving is even better than it has been and it was already elite. His arm is healthy. He’s throwing the baseball as good as I’ve ever seen him. So Austin has really come into camp impressing.”HEALTH CAREMookie Betts was back in camp and participated fully in Sunday’s workout after being sidelined by food poisoning the previous two days. Roberts said he expects Betts to play Monday against the San Diego Padres, most likely at DH.Related Articles Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error GLENDALE, Ariz. – It is a reflection of the job done by the Dodgers’ player development staff that Will Smith says nothing really surprised him after making the jump to the big leagues last summer.“Not really,” Smith said. “I felt prepared when I was called up.”Nonetheless, Smith’s debut was surprising. He matched the club record for most home runs (six) by a rookie in his first 14 games, set the franchise record with 19 RBI in his first 14 games and became the first Dodger catcher and only the second in major-league history (Gary Sanchez) to hit 10 or more home runs in his first 25 big-league games.By the start of August, the Dodgers had made the 24-year-old rookie the primary catcher on a team with championship aspirations. Joc Pederson saw his first game action of the spring, playing five innings and taking five at-bats in a minor-league camp game Sunday. Roberts said he could be in a Cactus League game by the end of the week.Jimmy Nelson threw a 17-pitch bullpen session Sunday. Nelson has been limited by lower body discomfort this spring.“I think that as we kind of map it out, there’s still an opportunity for him to pitch in a game here,” Roberts said. “How many that’s to be determined but hopefully it’s a couple games but then we’ll just see where we’re at.”Roberts acknowledged that Nelson’s progression this spring has been slowed to the extent that it is questionable whether he will be ready to open the season on time.ALSOClayton Kershaw is scheduled to pitch in a minor-league camp game Monday. Roberts said he will be ready to announce the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter at some point Monday as well. It would be Kershaw’s franchise-record ninth season-opening start. … The Dodgers made some more cuts following Sunday’s game, sending pitchers Josh Sborz, Kyle Lobstein, Tyler Gilbert, Marshall Kasowski and Jordan Sheffield, catcher Steve Berman and infielder Cristian Santana to minor-league camp. There are 51 players remaining in big-league camp. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco last_img read more

G Street is open to through traffic, Vandenburgh opening coming soon

first_imgby Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The first of six road projects in Wellington appears to be over! G Street from 11th to 14th Street in the Subway Sandwich Shop area opened to four-lane traffic for U.S. 160 and 81 travelers late Monday afternoon. The crossing intersections also were reopened from 11th to 14th Street.Those businesses along G Street cheered loudly. So did travelers who use the busy 12th Street intersection linking a large portion of west Wellington to the rest of the community.All told this patch of 1,200 feet of new concrete road ended up costing $365,000 with the state of Kansas kicking in $200,000 and the city paying for the rest. The KLINK project started in May.Wellington City Manager Gus Collins said the overall cost of this stretch of road was higher than expected. First of all the bids were higher than projected for a complete base removal and replacement. The original base foundation was also said to be of inferior quality.Collins had hoped there would be enough funds to link the G Street project to the the newly build Vandenburgh Ave. to the north which is scheduled to open to the public during the first week of November. However, the Pizza Hut intersection linking G Street to 15th, will have to be rebuilt on a different day.“The (Wellington) governing body will need to decide on the next KLINK project whether to rebuild that intersection to the north or rebuild the highways to the south,” Collins said. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (5) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +6 Vote up Vote down Opinion · 355 weeks ago I would think the intersection at 15th and G would be next, so that stretch of road would all be the same age. It is in bad shape and handles a lot of daily traffic. I would have thought it would have been included with adjacent projects being the equipment was here already. Report Reply 2 replies · active 355 weeks ago 0 Vote up Vote down Wellington Res. · 355 weeks ago Did you read the article? Simple to as why not. I’m glad we something verses nothing at all. Report Reply +2 Vote up Vote down ……. · 355 weeks ago I would think one would read the entire comment before commenting negatively on it. Report Reply 0 Vote up Vote down Crusader Fan · 355 weeks ago I think it was really stupid not to do it all at the same time. I am most certain there are funds for rainy days the city could have dipped into for the occasion and put it back from the over priced electric bills. Report Reply 0 replies · active 355 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down Ted Logan · 353 weeks ago You and I have verrrry different definitions of the word ‘soon.’ Report Reply 0 replies · active 353 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img read more

Benzema trains partially with the group and Madrid breathes

first_imgWho are totally discarded to face Julen Lopetegui’s team are Sergio Ramos and Hazard, which continue with their recovery processes. The central combined work in the gym and on the lawn alone.Benzema could not participate in the Super Cup that won Real Madrid in Jeddah because of his injury and his return seems crucial. This season there are already 16 goals scored, 12 of them in LaLiga. Benzema could arrive in time to face Sevilla on Saturday after this thursday I have been part of the training session with the group, something that had not happened since it was known, two weeks ago, that He suffered a fibrillar microrrotura. Further, Jovic, who had also missed the post-Super Cup training because of a chafe, It is fully recovered. Thus, Madrid is relieved its problem in attack.last_img read more