New Mexico legislation would speed closure of San Juan coal plant

first_imgNew Mexico legislation would speed closure of San Juan coal plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Santa Fe New Mexican:Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and several environmentalist groups on Thursday praised legislation aimed at ensuring the shuttering of the coal-burning San Juan Generating Station near Farmington and establishing ambitious targets for pushing New Mexico toward more reliance on renewable energy sources.The bill is intended to soften the financial hit both to the community surrounding the aging power plant and to Public Service Company of New Mexico, the state’s largest utility and majority owner of the plant, which is a major source of employment in Northwestern New Mexico.State Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, on Thursday introduced the 83-page Energy Transition Act, which proposes to allow PNM to recover investments through selling bonds that would be paid off with a new “energy transition” charge for customers.It also seeks to provide funds to assist and retrain workers who lose jobs from the shutdown and sets a 2030 deadline for investor-owned utilities and rural electric co-ops in the state to derive 50 percent of their power from renewable sources such as solar and wind energy.“The bill lays out the road map that will lead New Mexico from a fossil fuel-based economy to a green economy,” Candelaria said in an interview. “And keeping with the governor’s promise during the campaign, this bill lays out an aggressive 50 percent portfolio standard by 2030, then by 2045 puts New Mexico on the path to 80 percent renewable portfolio standard, which would make New Mexico the leader in the nation.”More: Backers praise bill to shut coal-fired San Juan Generating Stationlast_img read more

BNP Paribas to end ties with coal-dependent Polish electricity producers

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):BNP Paribas SA will no longer finance electricity producers in Poland because of their dependence on the coal industry, Laurence Pessez, the bank’s head of corporate social responsibility, said May 23.The French bank had placed the producers under surveillance in 2017 in the hope that the country would start investing in more renewable forms of energy, but two years later there is no evidence to suggest the companies BNP Paribas finances have changed their strategy, she told the bank’s shareholder meeting in Paris.It had thus decided to no longer finance those businesses, she said. “It is a brave decision that wasn’t easy to make given that we have a large presence in Poland,” Pessez said. BNP Paribas has 3.5 million clients in Poland and recently expanded its presence in the country after buying some of Raiffeisen Bank International AG’s Polish operations.She said the bank was obliged to see through existing contracts, but that the amount of its loans to the sector would decline “significantly” between 2019 and 2023. By 2028, the bank will have no exposure to Polish electricity companies, she said. According to the European Association for Coal and Lignite, Poland generates about half of its electricity production from coal-fired power plants.Like many banks, BNP Paribas is looking at different ways of reducing climate change risk to its lending portfolio. It started restricting investments in coal in 2011 and in 2015 committed to end the direct financing of coal projects. In 2017, it said it would no longer do business with firms whose primary activity involves oil and gas from shale and/or oil from tar sands.Coal now represents less than 20% of BNP Paribas’ financing of electricity production, lower than the 38% financed by banks globally, Pessez said. By 2040, BNP Paribas will no longer have any exposure to electricity producers who use coal-fired plants.More ($): To reduce coal exposure, BNP Paribas cuts ties with Polish electricity producers BNP Paribas to end ties with coal-dependent Polish electricity producerslast_img read more

Largest Montana solar project gets court backing in fight with local utility

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Billings Gazette:A 480-acre solar farm planned for Billings has won a significant legal battle over energy contract lengths. MTSUN solar farm will receive a 25-year contract to deliver power to NorthWestern Energy, District Judge James Manley ruled. The project, planned for the Alkali Creek area west of the Billings Heights, has been on hold for two years as solar developers large and small sued Montana’s Public Service Commission and NorthWestern.The small developers won their case earlier this year, but the order on MTSUN took a few more months. Manley set the per megawatt price at $38.33 including fees.The news had been trending favorably for Montana solar energy development and particularly for MTSUN in recent months. In May, Klein reached an agreement with NorthWestern for a second Billings solar development, the 150-acre Meadow Lark Solar Project, which is within walking distance of the 480-acre MTSUN development.Klein is also developing two renewable energy projects near Broadview that combine wind and solar energy generation with battery storage. That project was on track to come online by 2022, which was when Puget Sound Energy expected to begin replacing electricity from Colstrip Power Plant as its oldest units were shut down. The closure of the units frees up needed capacity on the transmission lines connecting Montana to the Pacific Northwest.But earlier this month, Puget and Talen Energy announced plans to shutter Colstrip Units 1 and 2 by year’s end. Talen said the units were no longer economical and needed cheaper coal. As a result, Puget is now looking for renewable projects that can be launched earlier than 2022. Klein is working to oblige the Washington utility.“The court ruling will certainly help, but the announcement of the closure of Colstrip 1 and 2, because of coal supply issues, two and a half years early, I think is by far a much bigger issue than anything else,” Klein said.More: Judge rules in favor of 480-acre solar project in Billings Largest Montana solar project gets court backing in fight with local utilitylast_img read more

African Development Bank makes no coal financing pledge

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Devex:The African Development Bank (AfDB) will no longer finance coal projects, bank president Akinwumi Adesina announced this week at the U.N. Climate Action Summit. It was the first public announcement by the bank committing to end financial support for coal.“Coal is the past, renewable energy is the future,” Adesina told the audience. “For us at the African Development Bank, we are getting out of coal.”The last coal investment the bank made, which was in 2015, was a supplementary loan of about $4 million for a small, 125 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Senegal that it originally financed in 2009, according to Oil Change International, a U.S.-based advocacy organization.Earlier this year, AfDB committed to doubling its climate financing to $25 billion by 2025 — nearly half of which will be devoted to climate adaptation, according to Adesina. “We really feel strongly that at the African Development Bank…what we should be focusing in on is a lot of clean energy, renewable energy,” he told Devex in an interview in New York.In the Sahel region of Africa, the bank is investing $20 billion in the construction of a 10,000-megawatt solar zone — making it the largest in the world — that will cover 11 countries, he said at the U.N. “It will allow us to power the whole of the Sahel using the power of the sun,” he said.The bank had been recently considering a plan to finance a coal-powered plant in Lamu, Kenya, which civil society groups have been fighting against for years. In June, the nation’s supreme court blocked the project, saying that a proper environmental assessment was not conducted.More: African Development Bank commits to coal-free financing African Development Bank makes no coal financing pledgelast_img read more

Germany’s Innogy begins construction of 47.5MW wind farm in Poland

first_imgGermany’s Innogy begins construction of 47.5MW wind farm in Poland FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:Germany’s Innogy SE said today it has launched the construction of a 47.5-MW wind farm in Poland’s West Pomerania province.The Dolice wind park, as it is named, will be powered by 19 of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy’s SG 2.5-114 turbines and is planned to be switched on at end-2020. Innogy will be building the power plant together with the 33-MW Zukowice wind park in Lower Silesia, spending EUR 101 million (USD 114.7m) for the two projects.Innogy won the Dolice scheme in a Polish tender for large-scale onshore wind capacity in November 2018. This will be its 10th onshore wind farm in the country.Commenting on the Polish market, Katja Wunschel, senior vice president Onshore & Solar, said that the country offers excellent wind and solar sites and the possibility to take part in auctions, making it “an important core market” for the company. Innogy already has eight operational wind farms there, with a combined capacity exceeding 240MW. Additionally, it operates the 0.6-MW Stawiec solar park and earlier this year won 42MW of photovoltaic (PV) projects in a tender for projects of up to 1MW, held by the Polish government.[Veselina Petrova]More: Innogy breaks ground on 47.5-MW Polish wind farmlast_img read more

Hush, Y’all: Should Locals Keep Trail Secrets?

first_imgLast month, the city of Asheville once again landed on the cover of Outside as one of the best places to live. You’d think it would give Asheville residents something to celebrate, yet many local outdoor enthusiasts were dismayed by the accolades. As national press surrounding this outdoor mecca grows, so do the population and number of visitors. The area’s trails, which were once the private playground of locals in the know, are now splayed out in national magazines of all kinds.As a result, some Asheville outdoor enthusiasts are choosing to keep their lips sealed in regards to their favorite outdoor retreats. Ask them where they like to ride, and they’re likely to point you toward the nearest paved greenway instead of their favorite singletrack.Asheville presents an interesting case study for other destination towns in the Southeast. At the heart of the matter is an interesting ethical dilemma: is it better to keep your favorite trails, crags, and rivers a secret, or is it smarter in the long run to let the world know?BRO asked several established members of Asheville’s outdoor community to weigh in on the topic. Here’s what they had to say about keeping their favorite outdoor hot spots a secret.Asheville mountain biker Jeff Keener, who recently described his ideal weekend in the Outside magazine feature:“I was worried about telling Outside about where I like to hike and bike. There’s a cross-country spot I like to go to outside of town that would have seen an increase of traffic if I would have told them about it.I think it’s okay to keep a trail secret. People who love the outdoors are always looking for that unique experience to keep all to themselves or to share only with their closest friends. We go outdoors to have unique outdoor experiences. They define us. My favorite outdoor spots are a part of me.”Asheville native Jay Curwen, an elite adventure racer and owner of Black Dome Mountain Sports:“I grew up here, and there are tons of fun, cool places that I’d love to keep all to myself, but the reality is, Asheville is a popular place. We get 20 to 40 people everyday in the store asking about great places to hike or see a waterfall or bike. Do I send everybody to Panthertown or Sam’s Knob? No. We end up sending these folks to the same places—Bent Creek, Shining Rock, Mount Mitchell. The good thing is, these places are still awesome, even though they’re no longer secrets.I love this place, and I’d love it if I never saw anyone else at my favorite trails, but I’m a business owner and I sell gear. It’s a catch-22. We’re victims of our own popularity. It would be great if the tourists came to Asheville, left their credit cards, and went home. The reality is, there are gonna be people on the trails and people moving to town. As long as residents do their job regulating development and access, it will work out. We still got it pretty good. It’s still wide open. You go to a trailhead north of San Francisco, and you’ll see hundreds of cars parked there.”Asheville mountain biker and bike journalist Bettina Freese:“Trails are public. They can be found on maps, in guidebooks, in forums, on websites, in bars with drunken braggarts, at bike shops, or at special parties for special people. It is foolish, selfish, elitist, and arrogant to believe that public land should only be shared with people in the “in-crowd.” If someone asks me where to ride, I consider their ability, their experience on the bike, their experience in the woods, and their respect of the sport before I provide advice. I take all of those factors into consideration, educate them to what they’re getting themselves into, and then I share with them a ride that I think will suit their desires. That may be at Bent Creek, or it might be on the Heartbre…shhhhhh!!! Wouldn’t want to get hung twice for the same crime.”Asheville native Lela Stephens, an avid mountain biker and a former bike shop manager:“I’m all for keeping secrets until I get to know someone. I grew up mountain biking in Asheville, and Heartbreak Ridge was a right of passage. Nobody would tell me how to get to that ride until I proved myself over and over. It’s offensive to think a bunch of out-of-towners can shuttle that trail and ride it with no respect for what it means to locals because a cue sheet for that ride was published in a national magazine. Honestly, I think it sucks that all the people are moving to town and visiting. I don’t like my favorite swimming holes, that my grandfather showed me, filled with beer cans. National attention comes with its headaches. I remember what it was like before, and I liked it better.”Asheville climber Chris Dorrity, author of the Rumbling Bald Bouldering Guide:“I think that the main reason that people keep their places secret is so that the places don’t get trashed by newcomers. Other reasons may be selfishness and they want to keep the place all to themselves until they climb all the new routes, explore all the new caves, paddle all the new creeks….I have kept several places secret, until I did the first ascent on all the best problems or put up all the best routes at a crag. Then I would start telling people about it. Since I have been climbing for 14 years now, I have seen all sorts of opinions on people’s favorite spots. Some have been neutral, others have been friendly, and some have been unfriendly. I tell you the truth: The people that were the friendliest to me got the most respect and reverence from me in return. I looked up to these people the most and helped them with their ideas. In any pursuit, we must show kindness—whether it is outdoors, urban, social, or in any situation. Asheville is the most unique and awesome city in the U.S. People are drawn to it for many reasons. People are moving to Asheville, like it or not. The best way to get respect from them is to show it to them from the very start. If we give the cold shoulder and are tight lipped about our outdoor places, then the newcomers will not know how to respect the environment and others. We must build bridges, not walls.” •—Graham Averilllast_img read more

Southern Appalachian Beer Guide

first_imgSerious beer with a side of adventureby Graham Averill and Jack MurrayGreek philosopher Aristotle famously said, “Everything in moderation.” We tend to agree. Except when it comes to adventure. And beer. What can we say? Sorry Aristotle, but good beer and good adventure are two hobbies we just can’t get enough of. Luckily, we live in the Southern Appalachians, where craft beer has become as ubiquitous as singletrack. Now, you find yourself a brewery that sits next to a killer piece of singletrack, and what you have there, is the “sweet spot.” We found eight sweet spots up and down the Southern Appalachians, so you can hit the mountains, then hit the brewery with a limited commute.brewery map1. Pisgah BrewingBlack Mountain, N.C.Pisgah Brewing was North Carolina’s first organic brewery and strives to get much of their ingredients locally, even looking to source local hops from fledgling hop farms in the near future. In addition to the taproom (cash only), Pisgah has an outdoor stage and lawn where they host live music four nights a week (the Wailers are regulars). pisgahbrewing.com The Flagship Pisgah Pale, a cloudy, orange ale with organic malts that hits the hoppy notes just right.The SeasonalBacon Stout. What happens when you combine bacon with beer? Something great. This winter brew pours black, but balances the sweetness of a chocolate stout with the salty meatiness of bacon.The Adventure Pisgah Brewing sits at the base of the Black Mountains (the tallest range east of the Mississippi), giving you easy access to singletrack with monstrous downhills. Check out Kitsuma and Heartbreak Ridge, which are two of Pisgah National Forest’s classic descents, or hike-a-bikes, depending on your prowess. If you’re an angler, you can’t beat the crowd-free and gin-clear water of Curtis Creek, which drops steeply off the eastern wall of the Black Mountain Range, but has easy road access through most of its course.Brewer’s Pick  Biking Kitsuma. It’s a classic ride in the shadow of Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi.2. Mountain State BrewingDavis, W.Va.Mountain State has two restaurant and pub locations, one in Deep Creek, Maryland, and another in Morgantown, W.Va. Both of these pubs serve good beer near epic adventures, but we like their original brew house in tiny Thomas, W.Va. Much of the taproom was built by hand by founders Willie Lehmann and Brian Arnett, who’ve grown the brewery from an upstart into West Virginia’s largest craft brewery since 2005. mountainstatebrewing.comThe Flagship  Almost Heaven is one of Mountain State’s original brews, and still its most popular. This amber ale is lightly hopped with a caramel finish for easy drinking year round.The Seasonal  Rumsey Rock Porter is named after James Rumsey, the Shepherdstown man who didn’t get credit for inventing the steam engine. It’s a dark and malty chocolate porter with plenty of hops.The Adventure  Mountain State sits on the edge of the Canaan Valley, the perfect base for exploring some of West Virginia’s signature adventures. During the winter, Canaan Valley has two downhill ski resorts (skithevalley.com) and the most active backcountry center in the Mid-Atlantic (whitegrass.com). You have hundreds of miles of cross-country trails at your disposal. After the snow melts, those trails become mountain biker and hiker nirvana.Brewer’s Pick  Hiking the Sods. Kate Lane, assistant brewer, opts for a simple hike. “Just pick any trail in the Dolly Sods. It’s all amazing.” The 17,000-acre Wilderness has a high-country ecosystem more common to Canada. You have 47 miles of trail to choose from, with Red Creek Trail being the most popular.Blue Mountain BreweryBlue Mountain’s family friendly atmosphere and outdoor patio make it the perfect spot for drinking in the Blue Ridge over some local brew.3. Blue Mountain BreweryAfton, Va.Blue Mountain is one of the fastest growing craft brewers in Virginia, with a newly-opened production facility geared toward canning and distribution, a restaurant and smaller onsite brewery, even a cooperative hop farm project. The restaurant sources as much of their food as possible from local farms, and the brewery crafts a wide range of lagers and ales at the foot of Shenandoah National Park. bluemountainbrewery.comThe Flagship Full Nelson Pale Ale, a pleasantly bitter American pale that uses five pounds of Blue Mountain’s own farm-grown hops in every batch.The Seasonal  Blitzen is a classic Belgian Christmas ale that has a drunk reindeer on the label. Thanks to the new expansion, this seasonal will be distributed beyond Virginia this winter.The Adventure  Blue Mountain sits five miles from Shenandoah National Park, with 200,000 acres of Virginia’s finest ridges and valleys as well as a 100-mile chunk of the Appalachian Trail. From the pub and restaurant, cyclists can choose between the 100-mile Skyline Drive, which bisects the park, or the Blue Ridge Parkway, which heads south through Virginia into North Carolina.Brewer’s Pick  Fly fishing the G.W. Owner Taylor Smack likes the hundreds of tiny creeks in the nearby George Washington National Forest, where native brookies thrive. “These are respectable fish too—9 inches, but honestly, I just like getting back into these tiny waterways, places you wouldn’t bother going if you weren’t fishing.”4. Moccasin Bend Brewing CompanyChattanooga, Tenn. Moccasin Bend is a nano-brewery just outside of downtown Chattanooga, crafting small batches of wildly inventive beers. Think barbecue-flavored porters and juniper-infused pale ales. Moccasin is in the process of expanding to meet distribution demands, but the brewpub already has a strong following among Chattanooga hop-heads looking for a beer with cojones. bendbrewingbeer.comThe Flagship  Moccasin’s diverse lineup resists the “flagship” notion, but Welter Weight, a light pilsner, is about as straightforward of a beer as you’ll find in the taps. It’s popular as hell too. The Seasonal  Dead Ned Imperial Red was a winter warmer that was so popular, it earned a permanent tap. It’s typically 8.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), but this winter, Moccasin is experimenting with an even higher, 10 percent ABV version that’s guaranteed to warm your cockles.The Adventure  Moccasin’s small brewpub is located at the base of Lookout Mountain, on the edge of downtown Chattanooga. Lookout Mountain has some of the South’s best-known kitschy tourist traps (Rock City, Ruby Falls), but it also houses some world-class adventure. Cyclists revere the roads that ascend Lookout, one of which (Nickajack Road) was the time trial in the gone but not forgotten professional Tour de Georgia, and 2,000 amateurs battle their way up and over Lookout annually as part of the Three State Three Mountain Challenge. The hang gliding park is on top of the mountain, the nearest trail head is a quarter mile from the dog-friendly taproom, and the local climbing gym, the Bouldering Authority, is a block away.Brewer’s Pick  In-town mountain biking. Owner Chris Hunt was a bike cop for 10 years, so mountain biking is his adventure of choice, particularly on Stringer’s Ridge, a newly conserved piece of forest inside Chattanooga’s city limits. “When I was training as a cop, I’d put the lights on and hit this crazy off-camber trail there late at night,” Hunt says.devils backboneAt the base of Wintergreen Ski Resort, there is no better place for an apres beer than Devils Backbone5. Devils Backbone BreweryRoseland, Va.Devils Backbone won the 2010 World Beer Cup Small Brewery Championship and pulled the gold for its Vienna Lager in 2012. The brewpub sits on 100 acres with 360-degree mountain views, but the crew has recently opened a production brewery in Lexington to fill the distribution demand in Virginia and beyond. DB is Virginia’s most decorated brewery, and one of the fastest expanding craft breweries in the South. dbbrewingcompany.comThe Flagship  Wintergreen Weiss, a Bavarian style Hefeweizen, was modeled after founder Steve Crandall discovered it while on a ski trip in the Alps during the ‘90s. It’s a low-hopped lager with a smooth, malty flavor. And it’s named after nearby Wintergreen Ski Resort.The Seasonal  The Kilt Flasher (check out the label!), a Scottish wee heavy ale that’s a little higher in alcohol content (7 percent range).The Adventure  The brewpub is perched at the base of Wintergreen Ski Resort and founder Steve Crandall is a life-long skier and backpacker. During warmer months, cyclists revere the long road climb up the mountain, and DB sponsors the popular Stampede mountain bike race in August as well as a 100-mile road race. The brewpub is a stone’s throw from the cycling on the Blue Ridge Parkway and is five miles from the Appalachian Trail. Even cooler, the brewpub will give hikers on the A.T. a ride from the trail to the brewery and let them camp on their property for free.Brewer’s Pick  The Appalachian Trail, of course. Founder Steve Crandall chooses backpacking the A.T. “There’s a section of the A.T. that runs through the Three Ridges that might be the toughest part of the trail,” Crandall says. “You can do a great 10-mile backpack that drops 3,300 feet to the Tye River, then rises 3,000 feet back to the ridgeline.”6. Hardywood Park BreweryRichmond, Va.Just a year old, the fledgling Hardywood Park Brewery has already endeared itself to the Richmond community, distributing its beer widely throughout the town and instigating cool city-based endeavors like the Community Hop Project, where local gardeners were given free hop rhyzomes to grow specifically for a special release beer. Hardywood is the hip establishment you expect from a downtown brewery, complete with Food Truck rodeos during the summer. Just don’t go looking for an actual park named Hardywood in Richmond. The brewery was named after the sheep station in Australia where founders Eric McKay and Patrick Murtaugh first discovered craft beer. Along with Devils Backbone and Starr Hill, Hardywood was instrumental in getting VA 604 passed (see sidebar). The tasting room is open Wednesday through Saturday. hardywood.comThe Flagship  Hardywood Singel, a Belgian-style blonde ale with a mellow finish. It’s too high in alcohol to be considered a session beer (6.2 percent ABV), but it’s a great food-pairing beer. It’s also the only year-round beer Hardywood produces.The Seasonal  Gingerbread Stout. This is an imperial milk stout brewed with fresh local ginger harvested from Casselmonte Farm and local honey. Sweet. And it packs a punch at 9.2 percent alcohol by volume. It was also this year’s bronze medal winner at the World Beer Cup.The Adventure  Richmond. Geographically speaking, you’d be hard pressed to call it a mountain town, and yet there’s no denying that Richmond’s adventure portfolio is stout. A smokin’ class III-IV section of the James River runs right through downtown. Belle Island, in the middle of the James and connected with downtown by a bridge, has tight singletrack and a new bike skills park. The city was even picked to host the UCI World Road Cycling Championships, cycling’s pinnacle event, in 2015.Brewer’s Pick  Fat tires. Both Murtaugh and McKay dabble in kayaking, but mountain biking is their go-to adventure. “From the brewery, you can ride a mile of pavement, then hit trail in Byrd Park for a 13-mile trail ride. Buttermilk Trail is the most technical piece of the ride, but I like coming out of the singletrack jungle and getting a big view of Richmond’s skyline,” says Eric McKay.7. Dry County BrewingSpruce Pine, N.C. Dry County is a nano-brewery/pizza shop in the surprisingly hip Spruce Pine, N.C., a tiny outpost of a town with more-than-decent grub and quick access to some of North Carolina’s most iconic adventures. DC’s production is small, putting out 10-gallon batches at a time, but the brewers love to experiment, so they have a stock of 30 beers they like to rotate through their bar with six beers on tap at a time. And you can pick up a giant cheese pizza for under $12, making a visit to the small shop a win/win. drycountybrewing.comThe Flagship  Though locals love the Farmhouse Ale and IPA, there’s no real flagship beer here—the experimentation of brewer Chad Mohr resists that sort of consistency. Dry County tries to put out at least one new beer a month.The Seasonal  The Homewrecker is a Belgian strong ale with crystallized ginger and cherry. Does anything say Christmas like ginger and cherries? Just keep the name in mind when you find yourself ordering one after the other.The Adventure  Spruce Pine is 15 minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway and about 30 minutes from Roan Mountain and its string of high elevation balds.  The North Toe River runs through downtown, offering in-town fly fishing. Cyclists have a love/hate relationship with Hwy 80, which leads up to the Parkway with a brutal ascent, and hikers and trail runners can explore miles of singletrack on the privately owned (but open to the public) Springmaid Mountain Retreat.Brewer’s Pick  Hiking high. “We always go straight to Roan,” says Dry County Brewing owner Chad Mohr. “It’s a little further than some local trails, but the hiking is amazing.” Pick up the A.T. at Carver’s Gap and head east for seven miles of grassy balds, all of which stand over a mile high in elevation.8. Nantahala Brewing CompanyBryson City, N.C. Nantahala Brewing Company is still a relative newcomer to the Western North Carolina beer scene (the tasting room opened in March 2011), but in just a couple of years they’ve managed to make a name for themselves as a brewery with an adventurous mindset. Brewery founder Joe Rowland also owns a paddling guide and hiking guide business, local boaters and bikers frequent the taproom, and Nantahala even puts out a special limited edition Trail Magic series that helps support the Appalachian Trail Ridgerunner program in the Smokies. The brewery is located in a converted warehouse on the edge of Bryson City, which is rapidly becoming a hot gateway town to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. nantahalabrewing.comThe Flagship  The Noon Day IPA was NBC’s first beer out of the tanks and is still the most popular. The pale ale gets plenty of hops throughout the brewing process, and has the citrus aroma and dry finish beer lovers have come to expect from an IPA.The Seasonal  Sticky Dog Stout is a straightforward stout without the typical hints of chocolate or coffee usually associated with winter stouts. Also look for the limited release Trail Magic Series in 22-ounce bottles.The Adventure  It’s hard to beat Nantahala Brewing’s location. The brewery sits less than two miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and not much farther from Lake Fontana, which offers pristine flatwater paddling as well as a handful of wild islands for those seeking an isolated campsite. Drive a little farther and you have Tsali Recreation Area’s 20 miles of buffed singletrack to the south, as well as the Nantahala River’s eight miles of class II-III whitewater and newly enhanced surf wave.Brewer’s PickFat tires in town and out. Joe Rowland, founder of the brewery, loves paddling the lake, but his go-to adventure these days is mountain biking. “The new SORBA chapter has done such a good job maintaining Tsali, it’s a great ride now,” he says. “But I also like doing a 10-mile road loop into Deep Creek, because you can hit one of the only trails in the GSMNP open to bikes, then come back for a beer.”last_img read more

Headlines: December 2012

first_imgMARATHON MOM: Alexandria, Va.Brooke Curran is a stay-at-home mother of three who suffers from asthma. But that hasn’t stopped her from running 51 marathons—the latest of which she completed in Denver this fall. Curran, who resides in the D.C. burbs, is attempting to run a marathon in all 50 states and on all seven continents to raise awareness for breathing problems. So far, the board member of the Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics has completed marathons on six continents, including Antarctica, and in 38 states. She plans to finish by October 2013.MANMADE BAT CAVE: Clarksville, Tenn.Approximately 5.5 million bats have been killed by White Nose Syndrome. The illness, caused by a deadly fungus, has decimated bat populations across North America. To combat the plight, the Nature Conservancy has built an artificial bat cave just outside of Clarksville. The cave can hold up 160,000 bats during hibernation, and it can be disinfected every spring to help eliminate the fungus. If successful, the cave could be a model for bat populations in other areas that have been greatly affected.ZIPLINE LAWZipline and canopy tours are exploding in popularity in the U.S., more than doubling in the last year according to word from the Association for Challenge Course Technology. Now that West Virginia has zipline options at 16 different resorts, state lawmakers have become concerned about safety. That has led to the Zipline and Canopy Tour Responsibility Act, a new law which requires zipline operators to face yearly inspections and meet specific safety requirements or risk being shut down.ALLERGY RELIEF VS. METH SUPPRESSION: Knoxville, Tenn. The most recent fall allergy season was brutal, especially for many in Tennessee, where three cities—Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Memphis—recently landed in the top 11 of a poll ranking the 100 worst places to live with fall allergies. That’s why organizations like the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America are speaking out against proposed legislation that could make some current over-the-counter allergy medications only available by prescription. Some of the medications are used to make meth, another widespread Volunteer State scourge. In addition to sneezing citizens, Tennessee has some of the highest number of meth lab seizures in the country.HINCAPIE ADMITS DOPING: Greenville, S.C. Just ahead of his retirement, pro cyclist and regional hero George Hincapie admitted to doping during his lengthy career, which included a record-breaking 17 Tour de France appearances and three national road race titles. As Lance Armstrong’s former teammate on the U.S. Postal Service team, the Greenville resident released a statement in October revealing his involvement in the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s investigation of Armstrong’s doping and also admitted his own use of performance-enhancing drugs. In his statement he said: “Early in my professional career, it became clear to me that, given the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs by cyclists at the top of the profession, it was not possible to compete at the highest level without them.”Beyond the Blue RidgeSTAY OFF THE SEA COW: Pinellas County, Fla.  A joy ride on a manatee could turn into jail time and big fines for a 52-year-old Florida woman. Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez turned herself in, after authorities unveiled photos of her riding on the back of a sea cow at Fort De Soto Park. If charges are filed, Gutierrez could be on the hook for $500 or 60 days in jail. Manatee safety is taken seriously in Florida. The marine mammals—protected under both the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the U.S. Endangered Species Act—are frequently injured or killed in Sunshine State waters, often by motorboats.COCKROACH EATING CONTEST PROVES DEADLY: DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.  A Florida man died shortly after ingesting dozens of cockroaches and worms. The strange dietary choice was part of a contest being held at a pet store. Edward Archbold took first place but soon after collapsed and was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. An actual cause of death was not immediately determined. Archbold was trying to win an ivory ball python.HAVE YOUR CAKE AND HEAD TO THE ZOO: PRESCOTT, ARIZONA A black bear cub entered an Arizona couple’s home and indulged in some chocolate cake sitting on the kitchen counter. After the orphaned cub scarfed the sweet treat, Game and Fish officers removed it from the home and provided a free ride to a nearby zoo. Arizona’s 2,500 black bears have endured a tough year, often displaced and searching for food as the state has battled wildfires and drought. •last_img read more

Earth Talk: The End of Global Warming?

first_imgDear EarthTalk: Does the fact that we’ve had such a cold and snowy winter mean that global warming might not be such a big problem after all?— Lacey L., Lynchburg, VA It’s tempting to think that the cold air and snow outside augur the end of global warming, but don’t rejoice yet. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), weather and climate are two very different beasts: “Weather is what’s happening outside the door right now; today a snowstorm or a thunderstorm is approaching. Climate, on the other hand, is the pattern of weather measured over decades.”Isolated weather events and even seasonal trends are not an indication of global warming’s existence one way or another, and most climatologists agree that the carbon pollution we have been spewing into the atmosphere for the past century is leading to more frequent and intense storms of every kind and causing greater temperature swings all around the planet. In short, the harsh winter we are having shouldn’t be viewed as a refutation of global warming, but rather as further evidence of a growing problem.“There is a clear long-term global warming trend, while each individual year does not always show a temperature increase relative to the previous year, and some years show greater changes than others,” reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The agency chalks up these year-to-year fluctuations to natural processes such as El Niño or volcanic eruptions, but points out that, regardless, the 20 warmest years on record have occurred since 1981, while the 10 warmest were in the past 12 years. And global average temperatures have risen by 1.4°F overall since the early 20th century.According to Becky Oskin of LiveScience.com, shrinking polar ice caps as a result of global warming in recent decades are one factor that may be contributing to the cold weather in North America this winter. “One way the shrinking ice changes weather is by pushing winter air south,” she reports. “When the stored ocean heat gradually escapes in autumn, it changes the pattern of an atmospheric wind called the polar vortex, streaming frigid Arctic air into North America and Europe.” Meanwhile, a 2012 study by researchers Jennifer Francis and Stephen Vavrus concluded that intense warming in the Arctic has caused changes to the jet stream that regulates air circulation around the planet, potentially leading to stronger winter storms hitting the eastern seaboard of the U.S.And what about all that snow? “Hotter air around the globe causes more moisture to be held in the air than in prior seasons,” reports UCS. “When storms occur, this added moisture can fuel heavier precipitation in the form of more intense rain or snow.” The U.S. is already enduring more intense rain and snowstorms, says the group: “The amount of rain or snow falling in the heaviest one percent of storms has risen nearly 20 percent, averaged nationally—almost three times the rate of increase in total precipitation between 1958 and 2007.” And some regions of the country “have seen as much as a 67 percent increase in the amount of rain or snow falling in the heaviest storms.”And Oskin points out that while we may be bundling up and shoveling out in the U.S., it’s turned into another scorcher of a summer in the Southern Hemisphere: 2013 was Australia’s hottest year on record, and 2014 has started off even hotter, with temperatures soaring to 125°F and severe fire warnings issued in at least two states there. Apparently global warming is still on.last_img read more

Whiskey Nation: Small Batch Whiskeys Made in the Blue Ridge

first_imgThink Kentucky and Tennessee have a monopoly on making whiskey? Think again. In the last few years, several craft distillers in Virginia and North Carolina have begun producing small batch whiskeys, bourbons, and ryes that have been winning awards and winning over the palates of whiskey aficionados everywhere. Here are five we’re drinking right now.Bowman BrothersA. Smith Bowman Distillery • Fredericksburg, Va. A. Smith Bowman is best known for producing the inexpensive and wildly popular Virginia Gentleman, but in recent years the distillery has developed a line of small batch and single barrel bourbon. For the Bowman Brothers Straight Bourbon Whiskey, the corn, rye, and malted barley are brought in from a sister distillery in Kentucky, but then the whiskey is made by hand in house, using a unique copper still, and aged in charred oak barrels for seven years. (90 proof;  $30; asmithbowman.com)Carolina WhiskeyTop of the Hill Distillery • Chapel Hill, N.C. Top of the Hill is one of only a handful of distilleries in the country making whiskey with wheat, which is more expensive than corn. TOPO’s Carolina Whiskey is 100 percent organic wheat, allowing the distillery to source the materials locally and provide for a young product that tastes smooth beyond its years. Age this wheat whiskey, and you’ll get the same caramel and oak flavors as bourbon in a fraction of the time. Look for an aged version to hit the market next year. (84 proof; $22; topodistillery.com)Defiant Whiskey Blue Ridge Distillery • Golden Hill, N.C. Blue Ridge Distillery only makes one product–a single-malt whiskey made from well-water and malted barley that’s ground on the owner’s family farm south of Asheville. Most of us are familiar with single-malt scotch, but Defiant’s version is closer to an Irish whiskey, thanks to the two-row pale ale brewers malt that produces no smoke or peat. The result is a mild whiskey that’s not too oaky. (82 proof; $55;  blueridgedistilling.com)Roundstone RyeCatoctin Creek Distilling • Purcellville, Va. Rye is hot right now in the whiskey world, and Roundstone has made waves, winning the Good Food Awards Gold Seal in 2013. Catoctin Creek uses 100 percent locally sourced, certified organic rye (as opposed to blending it with corn) that’s aged for two years in white oak casks. Rye is similar to wheat, in that it ages quicker and produces the caramel tones we all love from bourbon, but this rye isn’t as sweet as others on the market that also use corn in the mash bill. Instead, with Roundstone you get a sharp, dry flavor profile, similar to the ryes produced before prohibition, when cheaper ingredients began making their way into ryes. (80 proof; $39; catoctincreekdistilling.com)Wasmund’s Single Malt WhiskeyCopper Fox Distillery • Sperryville, Va. Rick Wasmund hand-malts the barley grown specifically for his distillery, then uses apple-wood and cherry wood to smoke and dry the barley (instead of incorporating the traditional peat found in Scotch). Wasmund distinguishes the whiskey further by using wood chips inside charred barrels to age the single malt in a matter of months. The result is a distinctive single malt whiskey with notes of fruit and smoke unlike most other whiskeys on the market. (96 proof; $38; copperfox.biz)last_img read more