FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Christopher Coats for SNL:In early 2015, Murray Energy Corp. founder, CEO and President Robert Murray told a Miami audience that the Uinta Basin of Colorado and Utah had been “virtually destroyed” and that the “worst is yet to come” Murray now updates his assessment of the region, warning of a more rapid decline, potentially driving westbound Uinta coal production to zero by 2030.“If anything, it’s going down at a more accelerated rate than I even imagined,” Murray said, adding that he had predicted the downturn years ago.Murray operates two mines in the Uinta Basin, Lila Canyon and West Ridge, both in Utah. West Ridge reported no coal production in the first quarter 2016.“Uinta Basin coal going west and power from coal in Utah going west is going to be totally eliminated in time so that’s why I said five years ago that the Uinta Basin would be destroyed,” Murray said, adding that Colorado wasn’t doing much better. “I see a rapid decline in the Uinta Basin,” he added.According to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence, Uinta Basin production tumbled by over 26% since 2010, with jobs dropping by over a third during the same period. Last year, production in Colorado alone fell to a 23-year low.Full article ($): Murray Energy CEO sees end of westbound Uinta coal by 2030 U.S. Coal Exec Sees Demise of Uinta Basin Production
The Problem for Coal and Nuclear: ‘Capital, With Its Lust for Growth, Continues to Migrate Elsewhere’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg Businessweek:U.S. electricity demand has stopped growing over the past decade, partly due to recession but more a reflection of structural changes in the economy and rising efficiency.Its tough to make the economics of a new nuclear or coal-fired plant work. By the time they are permitted and built, it can be many years after the initial proposal before such plants generate any electricity (and revenue). That was less of a problem in decades past when, even if initial budgets proved optimistic, ever-increasing demand meant that the capacity would be needed at some point and therefore produce cash flow.Even if you can justify plowing billions into a giant new plant pushing more supply into a flat market, gas-fired plants can be built more quickly, as can renewable-power sources such as wind-turbines and solar arrays.The latter do require high upfront capital. But, crucially, they can be built more easily in increments rather than big, one-off projects. Moreover, at least for now, capital for newer forms of energy technology doesn’t seem to be in terribly short supply, if Tesla Inc.’s latest bond issue is anything to go by. And once built, their fuel costs are zero, which means that, when they run, they switch on first and tend to suck revenue away from traditional plants.Hence, the argument for nuclear plants, and even coal-fired plants, has shifted of late toward less straightforwardly economic grounds, such as job security or even — a real sign of desperation — national security.In the meantime, the facts on the ground continue to change in ways unfavorable to the incumbent power sources. Focusing in on recent history, and the near future, it is clear which technologies are now battling it out for a bigger share of America’s electricity demand:America’s coal-fired and nuclear plants aren’t about to switch off en masse, just as plenty of gas-guzzlers will continue to be driven off dealer lots for a while yet. But capital, with its lust for growth, continues to migrate elsewhere. Ignoring that fact isn’t a realistic strategy.More: The Energy Market’s Facts Of Life
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Canada’s National Observer:Norway’s municipal employees pension fund, the country’s largest, has sold its last remaining stakes in companies with operations in Canada’s oil sands, saying holding them does not align with efforts to keep global heating below internationally agreed-upon targets.The fund, Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP), last year dumped stocks that drew more than 30 per cent of their revenue from oilsands operations, but on Monday said they can no longer tolerate even those that have five per cent exposure.KLP, which manages the pensions of Norway’s 900,000 nurses, firefighters and other employees of local governments and state-owned enterprises, said in a statement that it had jettisoned US$33 million worth of equity holdings and US$25 million in bonds from Canada’s Cenovus Energy, Suncor Energy, Imperial Oil (majority owned by ExxonMobil) and Husky Energy, as well as Russia’s Tatneft PAO.Jeanett Bergan, head of responsible investments at KLP, said in a phone interview that “the message we really would like to get across is that companies and fund managers and investors all need to start managing this risk and making sure that they’re doing everything they can to be part of the transition that all societies need to do.”KLP exited all stocks deriving more than 50 per cent of their revenue from coal five years ago, tightening that to 30 per cent in 2017 and five per cent this year. Last year, it used the 30 per cent cutoff to exit major oilsands companies including Canadian Natural Resources, MEG Energy Corp. and Athabasca Oil Corporation. KLP manages more than US$8 billion in total, of which 2 per cent is invested in fossil fuel and 5 per cent is in renewable energy.“Canada’s high-cost oilsands have been a poor investment for years,” said Tom Sanzillo, director of finance for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). “The global market is oversupplied and likely to stay that way,” he added. “The high production costs will make them uncompetitive in an increasingly competitive global market.”More: Norway public pension fund severs final link with Canada’s oilsands Norway’s municipal pension fund completes divestment of Canadian oil sands assets
Corporate renewable demand prompts coal-heavy Kentucky utilities to build solar FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Lexington Herald Leader:The amount of solar energy produced in Kentucky would increase dramatically under a plan announced Thursday. Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities said they have asked state regulators to approve contracts to buy power from a 100-megawatt solar facility in Hardin County.The array has not been built but would be ready to use by 2022 under the deal, according to an application filed with the state Public Service Commission.LG&E and KU said the project involving the planned 100-megawatt facility was a response to customers’ desire for power from renewable sources. Under the proposal filed with the PSC, LG&E and KU would buy all the power from the solar facility, then sell half of it to the Toyota plant in Georgetown and 25 percent of it to the Dow Silicones Corporation plant in Carrollton.Toyota and Dow approached the utilities with an interest in buying electricity from renewable sources, according to their application to the PSC.“As we continue to evolve with our customers’ increased demands for renewable energy, we are partnering with them to create customized solutions, as we’ve done in this case, to help them grow and prosper in the Commonwealth, which in turn creates economic vitality for our communities and residents,” said David Sinclair, vice president of energy supply and analysis for LG&E and KU.The price LG&E and KU would pay for the power from the solar facility over the 20-year contract “compares favorably” to the cost of power generated from coal and natural gas, the utilities said in their application. The amount the utilities will pay for the electricity was redacted from the application.[Bill Estep]More: Utilities propose Kentucky’s largest solar power array, mostly for Toyota and Dow
Boy, oh boy, is summer heating up. The Northeast is melting, the Midwest is sweltering, and the Southwest may as well be inside an oven. Things are not quite that bad in our neck of the woods, but the heat and humidity are definitely taking their toll, not only on our sweat soaked shirts, but also on our collective psyche. Oppressive summer warmth tends to boil the brains of the living into an irrational, easily irritated soup of bad vibes. If there ever actually is a zombie apocalypse, I’m betting it will be caused not by a virus, but by an increasing heat index (or, if you wanted to extend the thought: GLOBAL WARMING CAUSES ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!). But I digress.The only way to stop the coming brain-eating day of reckoning is to cool off, literally. It’s time to grab the kids, your honey, your dog, and head for the high country and all the crisp, refreshing, natural swimming holes they offer. The best way to access the best, and coldest, swimming holes is the Blue Ridge Parkway, because more elevation means cooler water. One of our favorites off the BRP in North Carolina is at milepost 417 and the Looking Glass Overlook: Skinny Dip Falls.There is a lot to love about Skinny Dip Falls: it’s easily accessed via a short hike, the water is always ice cold – even in July and August, and there is a great rock to jump off. Despite its name, Skinny Dip Falls is no nudist sanctuary, so keep those drawers on until you get home. You may only be able to stay in the chilly water for a few minutes, but it will be worth it: think about how many brains you will save from getting eaten.Directions to Skinny Dip Falls:The short half-mile trail to the falls is directly across the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Looking Glass Overlook at milepost 417. Follow the obvious trail until you hit the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and take a left to the falls.View Larger Map
Big Butt is a 5,980-foot summit in Big Ivy, a section of Pisgah that’s home to the second-most old-growth forest and rare wildlife in the region. It’s a powerful place of big trees and big water.Unfortunately, Big Butt and nearly all of Big Ivy’s 13,980 acres may soon be open to logging.Big Ivy is a mountain biking mecca, fly fishing oasis, trail running hotspot, climbing paradise, and a hiker’s wet dream: cascades, creeks, and swimming holes abound in Big Ivy, including 70-foot Douglas Falls.Big Ivy also includes classic outdoor destinations like Craggy Gardens, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Mountains to Sea Trail. Big Ivy’s panoramic vistas, hiking and mountain biking trails, climbing rocks, and waterfalls are some of the most beloved in the Blue Ridge.Why is such a popular and precious recreation spot being targeted for logging? Simply put: We are being outshouted.The timber industry, along with a small but vocal faction of deer and grouse hunters, want a lot more logging in national forests. They have been vocal in Forest Service planning sessions. Most of us recreation lovers have been too busy or blissed out to attend.A handful of locals have also been clamoring to cut Big Ivy, mistakenly thinking that logging will bring jobs. At best, logging would offer only a few short-term jobs and leave behind a scarred legacy.The best source of jobs for this region will not come from cutting old-growth forests, marring our scenic vistas, and polluting our pristine mountain streams.Tourism and recreation are the biggest job creators in the Blue Ridge today. Protecting our forests from short-term, short-sighted logging is the best hope for long-term prosperity. In the Pisgah Ranger District last year, recreation provided over five times more revenue than logging.Until recently, we outdoor enthusiasts have been too busy enjoying our forests to speak up for them. As a result, the Forest Service issued a timber industry-friendly proposal late last year that would have opened over 70 percent of Big Ivy and Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest lands to commercial logging.Thankfully, outdoor enthusiasts rallied. Hikers turned out in droves to protest proposed logging on Bluff Mountain near Hot Springs. And in February, over 300 outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists turned out at a community meeting with the Forest Service in an overwhelming show of support for protecting Big Ivy’s forest.The next day, the Forest Service called for a do-over. They plan to scrap their original Pisgah-Nantahala proposal and start over.We’ve been given a second chance. Let’s not miss this opportunity to speak for the trees and the trails. One million acres of public lands depend on our voices being heard.
It’s been a decade and a half since BRO started covering regional festivals. Accordingly, here’s a look at some of our favorite artists who have ascended from side stage upstarts to prime time headliners, as well as newer acts on the rise.Old Crow Medicine ShowBack in 2004 Old Crow Medicine Show released its breakout album, O.C.M.S., which contains the ubiquitous sing-along “Wagon Wheel” among the riveting set of high-octane old-time romps and heartfelt country rambles. The acoustic outfit was an early force in a revivalist movement that yielded many young bands that infused traditional string-band music with rock energy. While trends flare and fizzle, Old Crow has remained a steady favorite among its hardcore fan base and, despite line-up shuffles, continued to write songs that always feel relevant in the present tense of Americana.The band’s April-released album, Volunteer, was produced by hot-handed Nashville studio workhorse Dave Cobb. Breakneck boot-stompers like “Flicker and Shine” and “Shout Mountain Music” prove the string-busters haven’t lost velocity, while the honky-tonk swagger of “Dixie Avenue” will fit right in on big Southern stages this summer. The sextet is making the festival rounds this year, performing at DelFest, Papa Joe’s BanjoBQ, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, FloydFest, and the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion.Kindred Spirit: Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, a shaggy hard-plucking outfit from Wisconsin, delivers a similar front-porch rawness that will please fans of Old Crow. The group is touring behind new album The Ode, the first release from the Infamous Stringdusters’ new label, Tape Time Records. The hard-touring crew will appear at DelFest, Hoopla, and FloydFest.Photo Niel KrugFirst Aid KitSix years ago this Swedish sister duo turned heads in the roots world with the sweetly harmonized “Emmylou,” a melodic folk tune that affectionately named-dropped country music legends. A few years later Klara and Johanna Soderberg brought that song’s namesake, Emmylou Harris, to tears when they sang a version of her iconic “Red Dirt Girl” at an awards ceremony. The siblings, now well established and making records for Columbia, have expanded their sound on the January-released Ruins, which angrily comments on the recent revelations of systemic sexual assault and harassment through the distorted punk stomper “You Are the Problem Here.” Catch them at Bonnaroo.Kindred Spirit: Nashville’s Caitlyn Smith has penned tunes for Meghan Trainor, Lady Antebellum, Dolly Parton, and Garth Brooks, but earlier this year the songwriter for the stars decided it was time for her own turn in the spotlight. Throughout the new record, Starfire, Smith shares her way with words through her own powerful voice, poignantly singing about the emptiness of chasing Music City dreams in “This Town is Killing Me.” Performing at the Lockn’ Festival.Jason IsbellWhen BRO published its first festival guide 15 years ago, Isbell was working the circuit as a member of Drive-By Truckers. The story of his departure from the band amidst alcohol dependency and his redemptive rise through sobriety has been well told, and now, after notching multiple Grammys for his recent solo work, Isbell is a roots music hero continuing to cement his place as one of Nashville’s most authentic voices. By touring relentlessly with his backing band the 400 Unit, which on the best nights includes his wife Amanda Shires, Isbell has also developed a tight, dynamic live show that emphasizes his honest lyrics through just the right mix of rock, soul, and twang. Festival appearances: Papa Joe’s BanjoBQ, Gears and Guitars Festival, Sloss Fest, Forecastle Festival, and FloydFest.Kindred Spirit: Kentucky tunesmith Tyler Childers continues to sell out increasingly larger venues behind his Sturgill Simpson-produced record Purgatory. Festival season will be an optimal time to catch him, as he heads to some of the region’s biggest bashes including Bonnaroo, Hoopla, and FloydFest.Mavis StaplesGospel and soul icon Mavis Staples has continued her late-career comeback, releasing her third straight Jeff Tweedy-produced album, If All I Was Was Black, last fall. Full of heartfelt, activist sentiments that recall Staples’ efforts during the Civil Rights movement, the record delivers a sweet-spot combination of the singer’s golden voice and the gritty alt-country that Tweedy has perfected and contorted throughout his own career. At 78, Staples has a hearty slate of tour dates ahead of her this summer. In addition to regional shows this month in Charlottesville, Va., Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga., she’ll also perform at Bonnaroo in June.Kindred Spirit: The hair-raising vocals of husband-and-wife duo Michael Trotter and Tonya Blount-Trotter propel the burgeoning gospel-folk group the War and Treaty. Known for delivering fiery performances with foot-stomping tent-revival fervor, the band will get crowds moving this summer at Shaky Knees Festival, Papa Joe’s BanjoBQ, Bonnaroo, Red Wing Roots Music Festival, and Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion.Photo: David James SwansonJack WhiteAfter a three-year break from the road, Jack White is back at it, touring behind the ambitious new album Boarding House Reach. Throughout the effort, the former White Stripe’s garage roots are still in the mix, but he takes them on a wild ride into retro funk, dramatic rock, and electro chaos. White always puts together interesting backing bands, so these songs should be smoking live at festivals like Shaky Knees.Kindred Spirit: The best parts of 70s rock have been reborn in rising band Greta Van Fleet. Led Zeppelin comparisons have been abundant for the young Michigan quartet, and it’s easy to hear why. Guitarist Jake Kiszka has Jimmy Page’s shredding blues riffs down pat, while his twin brother Josh has a wailing howl that makes him sound like the spawn of Robert Plant. Despite the similarities, Greta Van Fleet doesn’t come off like a tribute act; instead they possess an authentic ability to reboot a sound many people have been missing. Festival spots: Shaky Knees, Carolina Rebellion, Hangout Music Festival, and FloydFest.
The Fourth of July is known for fireworks and explosions, but the last thing we think of when celebrating the birth of our fine nation are deadly explosives in our local swimming holes.The device was found underwater at 1 p.m. on the West Fork of the Pigeon River near the Sunburst Campground on Lake Logan Road. Local authorities were unsure if the device was a threat to the public, but took no chances when detonating it, which had been submerged for an unknown amount of time. No one was harmed and the scene returned to normal by 6 p.m. that day.“Deputies were met on the scene by responders from the U.S. Forest Service, North Carolina Highway Patrol, NCDOT, and the Asheville Police Department’s Hazardous Device Team” reported The Mountaineer, a Waynesville, N.C. based publication.With dozens of swimming holes, miles of hiking trails, and incredible fishing, the Pigeon River is a popular destination in Western North Carolina. Making its way toward Tennessee, the river cascades over waterfalls, into deep pools, across shallow runs, and around massive boulders. It’s beautiful, easy to get to, and the last place you would expect to find a dangerous explosive device. We are currently awaiting a response from the U.S. Forest Service for more information.Justin Forrest is an outdoor writer, fly fishing addict, and co-founder of Narrative North—based in Asheville, N.C. He posts pictures of cats and fishing on Instagram sometimes.
While the summer heat kicks up, it seems like a good time to start planning your next mountain escape. Allegany County, the Mountain Side of Maryland, is the place to go. The beauty of Allegany County is unparalleled and region features 60,000 acres of public wildlands- one in four acres is public land. Enjoy ample hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking/canoeing opportunities in Rocky Gap State Park and Green Ridge State Forest (largest contiguous forest in the State!). You’ll quickly find that Allegany County provides captivating landscapes and some of the most gorgeous fall foliage seasons you will experience.Rocky Gap State ParkThe two Trails Towns in the county- Frostburg and Cumberland are positioned along the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile bike trail that runs from Pittsburgh, PA, to Cumberland, MD, before connecting to the C&O Canal Towpath, a bike trail that runs from Cumberland, MD, to Washington, DC. The towns boast small town charm yet yield big-time adventure. The have walkable shops, outdoor dining, and wineries! It’s a quick 16-mile bike ride between them. Hop off your bike in Cumberland for a Beer at 1812 Brewery. Beer not your thing? Check out the Ice Cream Trail instead! 1812 BreweryAlthough not in the fall, let’s not forget DelFest, a family-friendly music festival celebrating the rich legacy of McCoury Music and the second largest bluegrass festival in the country, which calls Allegany County home. Mark your calendar now for May 24-27, 2019.Brad Kuntz-DelFestToday, the mountains are full of stories rich in history and heritage. Once the westernmost outpost of the British Empire in America, walk the remaining tunnels of Fort Cumberland, where a young George Washington led troops after Fort Duquesne. Climb aboard the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to appreciate the region’s rich coal heritage and westward expansion. Stroll along the Potomac River. Cycle and hike the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath, and you’ll actually be on the historic routes that marked the end of the canal era and the dawn of railroads. This summer Allegany County is celebrating a Summer of Heritage with special events including River and Rails Festival September 7-9 and Appalachian Festival September 15. Great Allegheny Passage Brush TunnelLet Allegany County serve as a home base for exploring attractions and the great outdoors. The accommodations include a handful of charming and historic bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels, a large selection of chain hotels, and beautifully set campgrounds.So, what are you waiting for? The mountains are calling!
For over ten years, Drew Holcomb has been churning out some of the best written Americana music in the country with his band, The Neighbors.Following a strong run of his own releases, Drew struck out on a different path earlier this year, collaborating with Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez, the married duo better known as JOHNNYSWIM, and up and coming band Penny & Sparrow on the EP Goodbye Road.Songwriters of this quality generally produce tremendous work, and this collection of five songs is no exception. From first listen, it was obvious that egos were left at the door as songs were grown and crafted.Fans around the Southeast were recently treated to performances from all three bands during The Goodbye Road Tour, a caravan of song that stopped in a dozen or so cities to highlight both their collaborative and individual talents.I recently caught up with Drew to chat about the EP, songwriting with JOHNNYSWIM, and one of Charlottesville’s darkest days became inspiration for hope in song.BRO – You recently came off the road and a run of shows with Penny & Sparrow. Something special about them as songwriters that jumps out to you?DH – I love that they play by their own rules. They are clearly fans of a wide spectrum of music, from theatrical pop to alternative, and they don’t ever overdo it. Great songwriters use their influences like ingredients to cook original work. That is what these two do together. I love it.BRO – What was the motivation behind doing this EP?DH – People don’t collaborate enough, in my opinion. I have been friends with Abner and Amanda for a while and we share a mutual respect for each other’s work. We originally talked about just touring together. We decided that if we wanted to do that, we should try and write a song or two together. So I flew out to L.A. where they live to write a song. We ended up writing “Goodbye Road” and “Ring The Bells” in an evening and a morning. It was a blast.BRO – We are featuring “Ring The Bells” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?DH – When I flew out to L.A., it was the day after the white supremacy rally in Charlottesville. All three of us had a ton of emotions surrounding the response of our national leadership. We were mostly angry. We tried to channel that into a song, but instead of being vindictive, we were trying to find some hope and solidarity. I hope we accomplished that.BRO – Tell me about the songwriting process for the project.DH – It was pretty simple. We all had ideas, words, thoughts, and stories that we channeled into the songs.BRO – Any plans for future collaboration?DH – I am very confident we will do something like this again. It was too much fun and too meaningful to us all not to give it another trip around the sun.Since wrapping the tour with JOHNNYSWIM and Penny & Sparrow, Drew’s touring schedule will be pretty quiet until the end of August, where fans can catch him on the festival scene in the Southeast.In the meantime, be sure to check out the new EP, Goodbye Road, as well as Drew’s most recent long player, Souvenir, which dropped last year. More information on both records, and Drew’s tour dates, can be found on his website.And be sure to check out “Ring The Bells,” along with great new tracks from Israel Nash, Hot Buttered Rum, The Sea The Sea, and Oliver The Crow on this month’s Trail Mix.