Month: December 2020

Legal Expert Says Army Corps Rejection of Permit for Gateway Coal Export Terminal Looks “Pretty Air Tight”

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Christopher Coats in SNL:Few options have emerged for reviving the Gateway Pacific coal export terminal in Washington following the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recent decision to halt permitting of the controversial project, according to stakeholders involved.On May 9, the Corps announced that it halted the permitting process for the terminal in response to a challenge from the Lummi Nation over fishing waters protected by tribal agreements. The project would have been one of the largest coal terminals ever built in the U.S.Project-backer SSA Marine, which previously suspended its own environmental review, stopped short of offering any clear plan for challenging the Corps’ decision when it was announced. However, a representative did tell S&P Global Market Intelligence that it is exploring all possible options for reviving the project.Mark Squillace, a University of Colorado law professor and former member of the U.S. Department of the Interior solicitor’s office, cast some doubt on the ability to challenge the decision in court. Squillace called the case “pretty air tight.”Specifically, Squillace cited a part of the decision that stated: “To evaluate impacts on treaty fishing rights, the Corps conducts a de minimis determination to determine whether the impacts to treaty fishing rights are of legal significance. If it is legally significant, then Congressional authorization would be required to allow the impact. The process includes request for specific information in the form of declarations regarding the Lummi’s fishing and crabbing activities at or near the proposed project.”“Importantly … the company does not appear to contest this point so it does not seem like it could be raised on appeal,” Squillace said. “And if that is indeed the legal standard, then I think the Corps has offered a solid justification for their decision.”For that reason, he said the court would be unlikely to find the Corps’ actions “arbitrary and capricious.”“It would not surprise me if the company appeals and there may be procedural issues that are not evident from the face of the decision, but on the merits I think the Corps is on pretty solid ground,” Squillace said.Full article $:   https://www.snl.com/InteractiveX/article.aspx?ID=36496440&KPLT=4 Legal Expert Says Army Corps Rejection of Permit for Gateway Coal Export Terminal Looks “Pretty Air Tight”last_img read more

Corporations, Regardless of Current Government Policy, Continue Shift to Renewables

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wall Street Journal:More of the world’s biggest corporations are taking the fight against climate change into their own hands, aiming to cut their energy costs, pre-empt regulation or burnish their reputations with investors and customers.Apple Inc. has draped its new California campus with solar panels. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cut the energy consumption of its refrigerators. Steelmaker Thyssenkrupp AG streamlined trucking routes, Dell Inc. made its servers less power-hungry and Microsoft Corp. pledged Tuesday to slash its carbon output.Among just over 1,000 of the world’s biggest publicly listed companies, accounting for about 12% of total greenhouse-gas emissions, 89% have plans to cut those emissions, according to a survey from the CDP, a nonprofit platform for corporate environmental disclosures. That is a 16 percentage-point increase since 2011, said the CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project. Earlier this month, a group led by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and California Gov. Jerry Brown presented a climate pledge under which 1,400 businesses have set emissions-reduction targets.Investors with $100 trillion in assets world-wide—including BlackRock Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. —say they refer to the CDP’s database when making investment decisions.This month HSBC Holdings PLC said it would invest $100 billion in low-carbon businesses before 2025, and cut financing for new coal-fired power plants in the developed world and thermal-coal mines world-wide.“You don’t want to be the last one that wants to get out of certain assets once you realize they are no longer viable,” said Daniel Klier, HSBC Holdings’ global head of strategy and sustainable finance.Companies say setting targets and working to cut emissions helps them get a head start on any coming government mandates.More ($): How Companies Are Pushing Ahead on Climate-Change Targets Corporations, Regardless of Current Government Policy, Continue Shift to Renewableslast_img read more

Chubb becomes first U.S. insurer to put limits on its coal sector exposure

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Insurer Chubb Ltd on Monday decided to cut its exposure to operators of coal-powered plants and said it will not underwrite new risks for companies that generate more than 30% of their revenue from coal.Chubb said for existing coal plants insurance coverage for risks that exceed this threshold will be phased out by 2022, and for utilities beginning in 2022. Additionally, it will also not invest in companies that generate more than 30% of revenue from thermal coal mining or energy production from coal.Chubb joins other financial institutions, including Lloyds Banking Group, Hannover Re and Allianz Group, in scaling back its exposure to coal.At least 34 coal divestment or restriction policy announcements have been made by financial institutions since the start of 2018, according to a report published in February by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.Chubb said the exceptions to the new policy will be considered until 2022, taking into account an insured company’s commitment to reduce coal dependence and also regions that do not have practical near-term alternative energy sources.The company’s new coal policy is expected to have minimal impact on premium revenue and no impact on investment performance, Chubb said.More: Insurer Chubb decides to cut exposure to coal Chubb becomes first U.S. insurer to put limits on its coal sector exposurelast_img read more

Thai company indefinitely postpones planned polyethylene plant in Ohio

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Petrochemical Update:Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical’s long-awaited final investment decision (FID) to build an ethylene-polyethylene complex in Ohio will remain under consideration for an indefinite period.“Due to circumstances beyond our control related to the pandemic, we’re unable to promise a firm timeline” for an FID, the company said in a mid-May email referring to the project to turn shale gas ethane into ethylene to polymerize into 1.5 million tonnes annually of polyethylene.The Bangkok Post had reported as recently as on Feb. 12 that a decision related to the FID was going to be announced by mid-year. It quoted the company’s CEO Kongkrapan Intarajang saying PTTGC was seeking low interest financing for this project as it was a good fit in a strategy to expand overseas revenue.However, an industry expert told Petrochemical Update that conditions needed for such a complex had deteriorated even before Covid-19.“Prior to the pandemic the planned PTTGC project for Ohio faced a cumulative set of troublesome risks,” Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, an organization that examines issues related to energy markets. “The pandemic only increased the weak fundamentals and created greater uncertainty about the fate of the project,” Sanzillo told Petrochemical Update on May 25.PTTGC officials have given a number of firm dates for final decision and now they have put the decision off indefinitely, he said. “It would be a very big surprise if this project was revived. The oversupplied market, low prices, increased competition and now an unpredictable demand outlook and uncertain growth path all weigh to the downside,” he added.[Renzo Pipoli]More: Thailand’s PTTGC indefinitely postpones Ohio project amid challenges Thai company indefinitely postpones planned polyethylene plant in Ohiolast_img read more

DIY: Freestyle Backpacking

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first_imgMy friend Ryan Baxter and I are hiking southward up the A.T. Trail on the north side of Mt. Rogers headed towards the Old Orchard Shelter where we plan to stop for lunch. Our hope was to power up a little bit given we are both an embarrassing bit out of shape (shhh, don’t tell anybody), before making the bigger hike up the mountainside to the sweeping boulder fields that occupy the higher altitudes of the Mt. Rogers high country.I’m packing a traditional PB&J and a power bar, but Ryan’s got something else up his sleeve.“Prepare to have your mind blown,” Ryan chuckles as he begins digging through his pack for his lunch at the shelter. “Remember that surprise I was telling you about?”He pulls out what looks like a small yellow sake choko and an 8oz plastic bottle full of clear fluid (presumably sake). Unfortunately there was no sake in that bottle, but there was something close in resemblance. Alcohol.Boiling water via denatured alcoholI knew what he was up to because I had previously been reading up on small DIY survival rigs, although I’ve never made one, and had seen similar set-ups to what Ryan was about to reveal. While I had seen similar set-ups, I hadn’t seen one particularly like this. It was a homemade lightweight alcohol stove crafted out of an aluminum soda bottle. The bottle was machine-pressed into itself giving it a nice rounded rim with near pinhole sized air vents drilled into the side—all in all a much more well-crafted version of what some know as the Fancy Feast stove.Using an old Snow Peak cook pot as a cooking dish as well as a carrying container, Ryan was able to squeeze the bottle of denatured alcohol, the stove, and the windscreen all into the small pot. Minimal size and weighing next to nothing, it’s proven addition to any minimalist backpackers collection.Ryan lit up the stove and got water to boil so he could amaze me with his grand finale, but while doing so an elderly A.T. veteran named Sam wandered up with a couple hiking friends and took interest in Ryan’s contraption.“Did you make that?” Sam eyeballed the stove with curiosity before one-upping Ryan with his own homemade stove.Sam pulled out a very similar cup-shaped stove, only with the walls hollowed out to allow a tightly wound wick to be placed inside for better burn efficiency, and a stainless steel air vent built into it. The two of them marveled the craftsmanship and exchanged stories, clearly sharing a bit of enthusiastic appreciation for innovation, while I stood by observing their creations and enjoying my own personal and latest innovation of adding jalapeño jam to my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.Sam’s Alcohol StoveBut my lunch was about to get better.  Ryan had a large plastic bag of dried ramen noodles with dried mushrooms and seaweed and spices just waiting to be doused in hot water in order to spring to savory life.  The bag was placed inside a curious looking sleeve crafted out of pipe insulation and duct tape.Step One: Boil water.Step Two: Pour water into bag.Step Three: Sit around and shoot the bull until lunch is ready.The thermal bag could hold enough heat inside to cook for up to eight to ten minutes, even in freezing temperatures, allowing for minimum fuel consumption.After finishing Step Three we began Step Four, which involved me getting a share of the gruel, which I wasn’t about to argue with, I happened to know Ryan was pretty well rounded in the kitchen (you should have been at camp that night for the camp-style chicken alfredo—I’ll be thinking about that for days).DIY StoveRyan’s successfully homemade stove kit and heating sleeve.While eating lunch conversation drifted into sleeping gear which led to hammocks which led to Sam showing off one more piece of gear before we departed on the rest of our trip.Clearly a man of patience, Sam had crafted a hammock for less than $15 that rivaled many I’ve seen on store shelves selling for 50 bucks, not to mention rivaling most other DIY hammocks I’ve seen in quality.Sam’s HammockUsing two layers of rip-stop nylon, some excellent sewing skills, a custom buckle machined by a friend, and a crafty suspension cord utilizing Chinese-finger-trap technology, Sam had put together an excellent two-layer hammock allowing for a pad to be inserted inside for insulation and comfort while a custom sleeping bag with an open bottom end and straps instead of zippers is wrapped around the outside for cover and warmth.  Optional: bug netting and tarp.Sam quickly slung it up between two trees and allowed me to indulge, but I  had to quickly  climb out for fear of A: falling into an afternoon snooze, and B: developing a jealousy complex.So we bid the guys adieu and hit the trail, moving onward up the mountain to seek out adventure. But on the way up I couldn’t help daydreaming about little contraptions I wanted to build to add to my pack. As cheesy as it sounds, I guess old dogs can teach new tricks as well as learn them.Here’s a couple links you should check out if you’d like to work some quality hands-on time into your schedule:DIY Gear SupplyZen StovesTo The Woodslast_img read more

Switchback Results: Fees and Favorites

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first_imgWould you be willing to pay user fees to access public lands?YES: 71%I would gladly pay a small one-time or annual pass fee for access to public lands, but only if I was assured that those revenues would be put into maintaining and improving those areas. I want that money going directly into the trails, not into a general fund to be squandered by administrators and bureaucratic overhead.—Kevin Dobo-Hoffman, Asheville, N.C.I support fees as long as they support non-extractive recreation and forest protection. We should all be responsible stewards and end irresponsible subsidized timber cuts on public lands.— Ben Colvin, Asheville, N.C.The public often forgets about the costs of maintaining the land, roads, trails, restrooms, and scenic overlooks, as well as hauling out trash. Access fees might enable more of our tax dollars to be dedicated to acquiring more public lands for conservation.—Heather Widener, via e-mailI only support an access fee if it goes directly to the park or forest where it was collected and not into a general fund.—Richard Mansker, Atlanta, Ga.NO: 29%We already pay user fees in the form of taxes, which supposedly go to protecting our public lands system. User fees are double taxation, and the Forest Service already squanders hundreds of millions in subsidized logging on public lands.—Keira Whitley, Roanoke, Va.Outdoor recreation is already too white and elitist. A user fee only makes it even harder for low-income folks to explore the outdoors. There should never be a price tag on experiencing the natural world.—Danielle Foster, Knoxville, Tenn.Which are your favorite mountains? APPALACHIANS: 77%They each have their beauty, but there are fewer things in the Appalachians that can eat me.— Ingles Alexander, Saltville, Va.The easily accessible solitude and peace that the Appalachians bring far outweigh all others.—Eddy, Danville, Va.The Rockies and Sierras are the bold kids on the block with their in-your-face attitude. The Appalachians remain the quiet, mature adults with their soft green views. That coyness continuously beckons me to explore and be amazed by all that’s hidden from view.—Pete Webber, Petersburg, Va.The Appalachians are older and more manageable. They offer hiking without too many verticals and skiing for all abilities. Add the network of lakes for fishing and other watersports, and the Apps offer the complete package, all within a few hours of driving.—Karl Kunkel, Baltimore, Md.ROCKIES: 17%I’m an intermediate skier, so I’m biased towards long blue runs groomed or powder. The Rockies seem to provide the best of this.—Tony Hogan, Atlanta, Ga.As much as I love my home Appalachians, seeing the Rockies was an experience I will never forget, and they captured a very special place in my heart.—Carol G., Greenville, S.C.SIERRAS: 6%The Sierras have more snow, higher peaks, and better cross-country ski access, but they’re not as resort-laden as the Rockies.—Doug Vlad, Charlotte, N.C.last_img read more

Daily Dirt: Wagons East, Birthplace of Rivers, and the Dam Fish Comeback

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first_imgYour daily outdoor news bulletin for July 22, the day Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific Ocean, became the first Euro-American to cross the continent north of Mexico, a decade before Lewis and Clark and with no financial backing:Birthplace of Rivers National Monument ProposedIt’s known colloquially as the Birthplace of Rivers, but it could soon have an official designation from the official source of designations: the United States Government. There is currently a push to create West Virginia’s first national monument from land in Monongahela National Forest that makes up the headwaters of the Cranberry, Williams, Cherry, Greenbrier, Gauley and Elk rivers. If you are a paddler or fly fisherman, these names should be familiar to you. The plan calls for 123,000 acres in and around the Cranberry Wilderness to be designated the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument and be managed by the U.S. Forest Service. National Monument status would give the area more flexibility in regards to uses like mountain biking, trout stocking, stream restoration and forest restoration, most of which is prohibited by the current definition of “Wilderness,” while also allowing rules to limit fossil fuel extraction. The plan is supported by the big hitters in W.V. including Trout Unlimited, International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), and the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition.The Dam Fish Making a Comeback?The removal of two dams along the Chattahoochee River along the border of Georgia and Alabama has been a big deal in the South. The dam removal combined with the creation of the Whitewater Columbus – the longest whitewater rafting course in the U.S. – has brought world class paddling, and everything that goes with it to the area. What goes with it is an economic boost desperately needed in a part of the country that has seen hard times. The new stretch of river is estimated to bring at least 700 jobs, thousands of tourists, and up to $42 million annually. With the creation of a new riverwalk and a general embrace of the riverfront, the project could be the beginning of a wholesale change in the attitude of residents toward conservation. We have seen this model work in the South, most notably in Chattanooga, TN and on a smaller scale in Roanoke, VA.This is all good, but one of the lesser known benefits of the dam removal is the restoration of spawning habitat for Alabama Shad and striped bass, both great gamefish, and the results are already being seen as fish populations are increasing at the sites of the 175-year-old dams. This is no surprise as I’m sure the fish were eager to get upstream after nearly 200 years of being blocked off.Wagons EastIt seems as though the Great Western Migration is making a reverse pilgrimage back to the East in recent years, and the trend continues as a Colorado based outdoor company is planning to put down roots in Asheville. First it was Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium brewing companies opening major beer plants in the Asheville area, and now Boulder, CO, based Sport Hansa is planning on relocating their entire operation to the area. Sport Hansa specializes in importing and distributing European brands including Helle Knives (Norway), Kupilka camping dishware (Finland), Wetterlings axes (Sweden), and Montane outerwear and Terra Nova tenst (both of England). Sport Hansa should slip in nicely with the rapidly expanding outdoor retail and manufacturing sector that has taken hold in Buncombe County over the past decade, and could bring as many as 10 new jobs to the region.last_img read more

Heroes of the Trail | 5 Inspiring Regional Runners

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first_imgMirna Valerio pulled to the side of the highway and took some deep breaths. Panicked, and feeling like she was having a heart attack, she took a few minutes to regroup on the shoulder of a busy interstate. She finished the drive but scheduled an appointment with her doctor, who told her that if she wanted to watch her then-five-year-old son grow up, she needed to lose weight.Valerio was a big woman based on sheer genetics, but before moving to New Jersey the year before, she’d kept active her whole life. She played field hockey and lacrosse in high school, and later ran occasional road races. Growing up in Brooklyn, she was used to traveling by foot. But since moving to New Jersey, she drove everywhere and didn’t have time to exercise anymore.The doctor’s warning pushed her back toward exercise. Valerio started with 17-minute miles on a treadmill, then signed up for a road race. She volunteered at the New Jersey Trail Marathon and became aware the race was also offered in 50-kilometer, 50-miler and 100-miler versions.“I thought, oh my god, these people are crazy,” says Valerio, 40. “The race director, Rick, one of the race directors of the NJ trail series, he’d say we’ll see you next year at the trail marathon. Then I signed up and just did it,” in 2012.Encouraged by her newfound trail-running community, she did the same with a 50K trail race a year later. She struggled during the race but just kept going. She remembers the encouragement from volunteers and other runners, and at the finish line, “I was hooked,” she says. “I can’t say I was hooked while I was doing it, but the minute I finished, I thought, wow, that was great. I’m going to do it again, and I’m going to better my time.”As of November, Valerio had run seven ultramarathons, including her first 100K, the Javelina 100K in Arizona, which took place on Halloween and All Saints’ Day.She doesn’t exactly burn up the trails, running a roughly 12-minute pace most of the time, but Valerio, who stands 5 feet, 7 inches, runs doggedly, and often. She’s displayed discipline throughout her life, beginning with her vocal training at the Juilliard Pre-College Division, a program of the New York City music academy which prepares singers and musicians for conservatory. Instead of singing professionally, she channels her energy into teaching and running.RabunGap 587_FIXValerio now lives in the foothills of Appalachia in Rabun Gap, Georgia, where she teaches and coaches cross country at a private school, and she finds few things more satisfying than hitting a local trail.“Personally what drives me to the trails is being outdoors,” Valerio says. “I love living in the country. I was a city girl but I love being in the country and being in nature as much as possible. It makes me a healthier person, makes me a nicer person. I just love the fellowship of being a human in nature. We’re meant to be outside, we’re meant to be moving outside.”Valerio’s not sure of her maximum weight back in New Jersey, but early in her renewed exercising, when she’d noticeably lost weight, she checked the scale: 302 pounds. Today she weighs about 240 pounds, a fairly steady figure that serves as inspiration to her supporters and a target for trolls and detractors on social media and her popular blog, Fat Girl Runs.She started writing FGR in 2011 while training for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., which she has now run four times. Her posts focused not on the goal of weight loss—“The weight was coming off, so I wasn’t concerned about it and didn’t care about what others thought.”—but about health and fitness generally. Sometimes months passed between posts.Then, early last year, Valerio received an email from Rachel Bachman, the Wall Street Journal’s fitness and exercise writer. The ensuing story boosted her traffic before an extended profile in Runner’s World a few weeks later exploded it. Valerio had become an inspirational icon for a certain segment of would-be runners who just needed a nudge in the right direction.For her part, Valerio is bemused by the attention.“A lot of people say, thank you for being out there, thank you for letting people see you, thank you for being you, thank you for giving me permission to go outside and run and show my body, to try to run even though I’m fat. That’s surprising to me that there were so many people afraid to exercise or run out in public and let people see them. That’s depressing, but also really cool it opened the door for them.”As a teacher, both in her personality and profession, Valerio has embraced the role of inspiration, using motivational advice and selfies alike to reach her audience. In 2016, she wants to run at least a couple more 100K races, a triathlon, and her first New York City Marathon. Eventually she wants to run a 100-miler, but she’s doubtful it will happen this year.Valerio offers four pieces of advice: First, just get outside, no matter the weather. It will pay off on numerous levels. Second, turn off your television, computer and phone more often. Third, engage your children in outdoor activities. Finally, “just lace up and go.”“You’ve got to let go of preconceived notions of what running is,” Valerio says. “If you think you’re running, you’re running. Just because someone is faster doesn’t mean they’re more of a runner than you are. Let go of all of that. Just get outside and try.”Michael Wardian started running because it was cheap and efficient.The former college lacrosse player had laid down his stick during the tail end of his junior year but wanted to stay fit. “I picked up running because it was cheap and I was poor,” Wardian says. “It was really effective, because you could do an hour run and be good for a workout for the day.”He started running longer and longer, and then while visiting a friend’s house during Easter, his friend’s mother talked about recently completing the Boston Marathon. “I thought if that lady can run a marathon, I can run a marathon,” Wardian says. “I asked her if she could help me, and she was kind enough to give me a program. Now I know, she just copied it out of a training manual.”He was hooked. Today, Wardian, 41, who lives in Arlington, Virginia, has become a running celebrity. He qualified for the Olympics in 2004, 2008, and 2012, and although he didn’t actually compete he did represent the United States in 50K and 100K world championship races over that stretch.It made sense for Wardian to make the jump from marathons to ultras, but even he has been surprised by his 2015, which included the Vermont Marathon, the Western States 100 Miler, the 105K Buff Epic Run, the SpeedGoat 50K, the Chaski Challenge 80K in the Andes Mountains, and the Spartathalon—a 246K run from Athens to Sparta.All the while, Wardian has maintained a regular job as an international ship broker specializing in vessels carrying humanitarian food-aid cargo.“As I was growing up, I wanted to be the best lacrosse player in the world. There’s not a huge future in that,” Wardian says. “I never thought of myself as a runner, but now I’m one of the best in the world at what I do. It’s cool to get to challenge yourself against people in the North Pole, or Antarctica, or the far east. In college I would have been happy to finish a marathon. Now I’ll do a 100-mile race and the next weekend do a 50-miler. I race back to back to back.”Wardian’s advice for other runners? Be consistent, even if it’s only running short distances. “It builds on itself and becomes part of who you are and what you do,” he says. “You start to crave it, then get faster as your body becomes used to it. It’s very reflective of the amount of time you put into it. Mostly it’s this: If you do the work, you get the results. There are no judges in this sport. The clock is the clock no matter where you are in the world. I like that about it.”SHININGSophie Speidel got hooked on trail running during an early version of Blue Ridge Outdoors’ own Blue Ridge Burn 10K race in the late ’90s, when it was held at Walnut Creek Park near Charlottesville, Virginia.That event launched a passion that most recently culminated in the completion of her tenth—and final—Hellgate 100K. Afterward, Speidel took to her running site, Shining’s Ultra Blog, to reflect on the experience.“I had taken a calculated risk for this final ride, gambling that the warm 50 degree temps overnight and 70s during the day would not be an issue; I was wrong,” Speidel wrote. “After 42 miles of cruising comfortably near PR pace, on the hot grind up from Bearwallow Gap, the course once again reminded me who was in charge. And that’s the way it should be.”Speidel has been an athlete for her whole life, including playing lacrosse for the University of Virginia. After graduating, she and her husband both participated in sprint and international-length triathlons. She dabbled in road marathons before discovering trail running at the Burn.Ahead of her 40th birthday, Speidel heard about the Hard Rock 100 and the Barkley Marathons, both 100-mile trail races that attract an intense bunch of grizzly runners. She ran her first ultra in 2002 at the Holiday Lake 50K near Appomattox, Virginia, and then a year later ran her first 50-miler at the Mountain Masochist Trail Run near Lynchburg.“I was really hooked,” Speidel says. “Ultra-running attracts a lot of likeminded folks, refugees from other endurance sports: road marathons or triathalons or folks being athletic for the first time in their lives. That’s what is attractive for me, just the people.”Speidel, 53, runs from her home base in Charlottesville, where she lives with her husband. They’ve raised three children, ages 23, 21 and 18, two of whom have also played lacrosse at the collegiate level. When she first got into ultra-running, those children were 9, 7 and 4. Running provided an outlet for release.In a race, “you just have to focus,” Speidel says. “I’m a mom. How great is it when all you have to worry about is, are you eating enough? Are you moving at a reasonable pace? Isn’t it beautiful out tonight? Are you eating enough? You have to be very present, and pay attention to things you don’t normally get a chance to think about. I think about the moment I’m in. I check in.”That enables her to be more present when she is with her children, her students or the young athletes on the junior varsity lacrosse team she coaches. In fact, her “shining” nickname was bestowed on her by her 2005 team in honor of the Aaron Carter pop song, “Girl You Shine.”Don’t be surprised if you see one of those girls, inspired by Speidel, coming sometime soon to a trail race near you.WARRIORTrue runners become consumed by what began as a hobby, spending more time on the trail and running through life’s ups and downs.Anita Walker Finkle ran through cancer and out the other side. Finkle, 49, a Roanoke resident since 2003, started running in high school, first to supplement her soccer play and then as her primary focus. She walked onto the cross-country teams first at the University of Texas at El Paso and then at West Virginia University.Finkle ran her first marathon in 1996. Later, as she trained for more marathons, one of her training partners talked her into signing up for her first ultra, the Beech Mountain 50K in 2001. The following year she ran the Umstead 100, her first 100-miler. In January 2002, she met her future husband at the finish line of the Salem Lakeshore Frosty 50K. The following weekend they went on their first date, both running the Charlotte Marathon.“That was our social life, to go out and run,” Finkle says. “I think I always liked running and hiking, but I didn’t like carrying the big backpacks and everything. Here in Roanoke, this is trail mecca. It’s so beautiful and the people are so good to hang out with.”In 2010, Finkle went in for a mammagram after she found a lump in her breast. Doctors told her the lump was just a cyst, but to be cautious they took a biopsy. Initially the cyst looked to be non-invasive, but further investigation revealed a highly aggressive cancer that required not only surgery but chemotherapy. Those treatments lasted from July through September and were followed by a course of radiation.During radiation treatment, Finkle not only ran a 5K race in Roanoke but began training for the Indianapolis Marathon. “It was real slow, but [husband] Jay ran the whole way with me. I was exhausted but I was able to do it.”Finkle continued periodic intravenous treatment until the following spring, and then “I was just able to run through everything,” she says. That included the Crooked Road 24 Hour Ultra in 2011, along with a handful of 50Ks and, last year, the Umstead 100 again.In late 2011, Phil Phelan set out to quit boozing and turn his energies toward a life passion: documenting all of the trails, both official and vigilante, that ran through North Carolina’s Linville Gorge.Phelan, 35, had grown up exploring the gorge. He moved with his family from Texas to Raleigh, North Carolina, when he was 9 and spent weekends and summers traveling back and forth between the city and gorge. When he went to work on the guidebook, Phelan decided to really delve into the gorge’s many trails.“The U.S. Forest Service acknowledges 17 trails; there’s more like 300, the majority of them cut illegally,” Phelan says. While he doesn’t want to promote illegal or vigilante trails, he says they’re an important part of understanding how the gorge trail system works.“The problem is the fact that you have a trail—let’s say you head down on Babel Tower Trail,” he says. “At 1.4 miles you’ll take a right. But there’s an illegally cut trail not on the map one mile down. You’ll come down to that illegally cut trail that’s not on the map and get lost. That’s the problem with Linville these days. When you’re leaving things like that out, what’s a guidebook for if it’s not telling you everything?”Another aspect of Phelan’s fascination with Linville Gorge involves its cliffs and boulders. He’s constantly looking for unmapped and undiscovered spots to climb, both within and beyond the gorge.Although most of his work goes toward his books, Phelan also has won attention for his record-setting runs. He just notched the fastest-known-time on Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, completing the 575-mile journey in just over 17 days.[divider]Read More[/divider]last_img read more

Two Wildfires Burning in Western North Carolina

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first_imgThere are two active wildfires burning in the mountains of Western North Carolina.As of of Tuesday afternoon, a Burke County wildfire near the Linville Gorge Wilderness area had spread to 10 acres along Old N.C. 105 north of Lake JamesThe last official report stated that the fire was burning on the south end of the Gorge, adjacent to but not on the actual wilderness area.It was reported to the Grandfather Ranger District on Monday afternoon, and crews worked through the night to contain the blaze despite being impeded by strong winds.580fabc13b116-imageThe 10-acre Burke County fire as seen on Monday, Oct. 24.A helicopter was also on the scene.An investigation into what caused the fire is still underway, but U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Lisa Jennings said that human error is suspected.Nantahala National Forest FireA second fire is burning in the Dicks Creek area of the Nantahala National Forest near the town of Sylva.While this fire is said to be sixty percent contained, it encompasses 374 acres, according to a news alert issued at 5 P.M. yesterday by the USFS.Smoke is visible on US 74 near Sylva and is expected to settle in to the valley as temperatures drop in the evenings.This fire was discovered on the morning of Sunday, October 23, and, like the 10-acre blaze threatening the Linville Gorge, it is believed to be human caused.“The public is encouraged to use extreme caution with outdoor fires this fall,” the USFS said in a statement. “Western North Carolina is currently in a severe drought and fire danger is extremely high. Dry and windy conditions are predicted to remain in the region through early December.”Click here for some valuable tips on outdoor fire safety.last_img read more

Guerrilla Archiving: The Resistance takes on #DataRescue

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first_imgA new movement to secure and protect scientific information some fear will be lost throughout the Trump Administration is gaining traction across the United States.Guerrilla archiving, the effort to copy government website data onto independent servers, hopes to safeguard irreplaceable scientific information from political interference.Some environmentalists think the notoriously climate-hostile Trump Administration will intentionally delete public data on climate change, pollution, renewable energy, and more. Yet most do not see the malicious deleting of data as a threat due to the high risk of political backlash.Instead, environmentalists are scared that valuable information will be lost through the chaos of transition, downsizing of the Environmental Protection Agency, and environmental deregulation. Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist and journalist who helped launch the guerrilla archiving movement explains, “the biggest concern is that, either through budget cuts or neglect or tough changing priorities, some data is lost or at least access to it is lost.”Surprisingly enough, there is no federal system in place to protect and archive government website material. Indeed in 2008, the National Archives and Records Administration controversially decided to not record snapshots of government webpages.In December, the University of Toronto formally kicked off the movement with a conference entitled “Guerrilla Archiving: Saving Environmental Data from the Trump Administration.” The event was co-hosted by Internet Archive, a San Francisco based nonprofit that aims to archive United States Government websites that are at risk during political transitions.The event brought together a wide range of participants: scientists, coders, librarians, archivers, and many other tech savvy types. Decentralized in nature, the conference allowed different groups to focus on varying infrastructure priorities or policy areas.Librarians made sure data was correctly archived so it could still be used in professional research. Coders worked to streamline the data harvesting process. Scientists pinpointed certain research areas and datasets that could be at risk. Everyone had a place at the table.Since the Toronto event, similar action days have sprung up across the country, primarily in cities with burgeoning tech industries. In March, there will be guerrilla archiving events in New Haven, Ct., Madison, Wi., and Houston, Tx.Guerrilla archiving workflow has also been formalized for the masses through a custom built “Archivers” app. The mobile app allows individuals to check what government websites are yet to be archived and to then feed pages into Internet Archive’s End of Term database. If the specific page is too complex to download, the page can be flagged for further technical attention.Through action events and the Archive app, guerrilla archiving aims to empower citizens to secure and protect federal digital records–records that are not only important to our Earth, but our collective history.last_img read more