Landowners from New York to West Virginia are rubbing their hands in anticipation of potential windfalls from leasing land for natural gas drilling. And a number have already pocketed deals.
Landowners from New York to West Virginia are rubbing their hands in anticipation of potential windfalls from leasing land for natural gas drilling. And a number have already pocketed deals.
Coal River Mountain in Raleigh County may soon become the center of an energy battle that pits fossil fuels against non-fossil renewable sources. At issue is this: Should we develop coal resources now if that will destroy wind resources that can be harnessed forever?
North Carolina-based community organizers Appalachian Voices decided to raise this question.
The group contracted national wind development consultants WindLogics to analyze some likely wind resources in southern West Virginia.
They learned that Coal River Mountain northwest of Beckley offers a high-quality wind resource: Class 4, the lowest class considered by utility-scale developers, up through the very high quality Class 7.
Computer modeling also showed that previous surface mining on adjacent Cherry Pond Mountain had reduced its wind potential.
“The wind rushes out of the valleys and as it hits the ridge, the higher the ridge, the more speed it gains as it goes up,” explained Rory McIlmoil, who was hired from Appalachian Voices by Coal River Mountain Watch earlier this year to coordinate a wind energy campaign. “By reducing the ridge altitude by hundreds of feet you change the wind patterns and therefore impact the wind speed.”
To get a measure of Coal River Mountain’s wind energy potential, McIlmoil counted the number of 2-megawatt turbines that could be placed on the mountain’s windiest ridges.
“Taking the wind map in GIS software I placed the turbines along every part of the ridge at Class 4 or higher wind speeds,” McIlmoil explained. “Using a spacing of three rotor diameters between turbines, I found that 220 turbines could fit along the ridges.”
Maximized in that way, such a Coal River Mountain wind project would be the biggest in the east as far as McIlmoil knows. The Backbone Mountain Wind Farm in Tucker County, the first one operating in the state, has 44 1.5 MW turbines; Invenergy plans to install 124 1.5 MW turbines at its Beech Ridge development in Greenbrier County.
With the standard assumption that the wind would blow about a third of the time, a Coal River Mountain project could generate 1.16 million megawatt-hours per year: more than several of the state’s operating coal-fired plants.
But Not So Fast
Massey Energy leases mineral rights from land holding companies on the mountain.
It has obtained permits for two coal mines and has applications for two others in the works, for what McIlmoil said totals more than 6,000 acres of mountaintop removal operations — also on the highest ridges.
The permitted mines are held up by U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers’ 2007 decision that halted four U.S. Army Corps of Engineers valley fill permits granted to Massey. Chambers halted the permits because the Corps did not sufficiently consider the environmental impacts of the valley fill process. Those Corps permits are necessary for companies to engage in mountaintop removal mining.
Massey’s appeal will be heard Sept. 23 in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.
The Case for Wind
Recognizing that a Massey victory would lead to the mining of Coal River Mountain and destruction of its wind resource, CRMW is making its case publicly for wind over coal.
A wind farm would create 200 jobs during construction and 40 to 50 permanent jobs indefinitely, the group argues, while Massey’s mines would last only 14 years. Wind’s total job-years would exceed the mines’ in 27 years and would continue to sustain the community after that.
For Raleigh County, McIlmoil estimates that the current high coal prices would bring on average $1 million in severance taxes from Coal River Mountain for each of the 14 years. The wind farm, he said, could bring $750,000 each year indefinitely.
A wind energy project would allow for concurrent uses of the mountain, the group notes, including harvesting of ginseng and other wild plants, sustainable forestry, and even deep mining of coal.
And it would preserve local heritage, wildlife habitat and streams.
CRMW presented its idea at the Raleigh County Commission’s June 3 meeting.
And it has spoken with wind developers that recognize the appeal of a community that actually wants a wind project.
“A lot of developers are wary of West Virginia because most of the places where they propose wind aren’t in the coal fields — they’re in the non-coal-producing counties where there’s a lot of people with summer or winter homes or ski resorts and there’s a lot of opposition,” McIlmoil said.
“They know what the alternative is here, and they know the community members would prefer a wind farm,” he continued, “and at the same time they know that they have a lot of support on the ground if challenges do come about.”
As this article went to print, CRMW learned that its Coal River Wind campaign has been chosen for Co-op America’s Building Economic Alternatives award.
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Santiago
Heard in the corridor: "We've been down this road before", "They're not serious", "It's just a ploy to eat up time".
IWC history is bloody with betrayal. It will take more than an agreement to link arms and waltz off into the sunset to convince seasoned observers on both sides that anything more than a crock of frustration and heartache lies at the end of the path.
Also heard in the corridor: "We have to try", "It's the last chance", "Anything would be better than this mess".
The EU has a very clear mandate - we want to have the moratorium, or any better alternative that would stop whaling in due course, except for aboriginal whaling
Giuseppe Raaphorst, Netherlands' whaling commissioner
Even the keenest of those involved with the plan for pro- and anti-whaling countries to spend a year working out their differences and trying to agree some kind of compromise package acknowledge there is a great deal of ground to be covered.
"There's no doubt there are big gaps here between those who want to kill whales and those who want to conserve them," says New Zealand's whaling commissioner Sir Geoffrey Palmer, whose background in international law and diplomacy is one of the reasons why the peace deal is even on the agenda.
"What we've done is to start a process. It may lead to a position that is better than the one we're in, and that would be a wonderful thing."
Coming from a country where 92% of the population opposes whaling - according to the environment ministry - Sir Geoffrey's priority is to secure a deal that is in some definable way better for whales.
His government would be able to sell nothing less to its public, and the same goes for Australia, the UK, the US and most of the European and Latin American countries involved in the IWC
Thoughts and views on the IWC, whales and whaling
The biggest prize for these governments would be to secure an end to scientific whaling - not only to close Japan's current operations in the Antarctic, but also to prevent the provision ever being used again for large scale hunting.
Japan insists for now that it will not agree to give it up, although some observers believe this is a negotiating tactic.
From some standpoints, Japan would have little to lose and much to gain by ceding ground. The scientific whaling programme costs government money, and earns little but international opprobrium.
Anti-whaling countries would also be likely to insist on a ban in international trade in whale meat. This would go down badly with Norway and Iceland, where some in the industry see Japanese stomachs, rather than those of their compatriots, as the logical and profitable destination for their catch.
For all the talk of respect and a different way of approaching things - they're not going to compromise in any way
Laila Jusnes, High North Alliance
What about what the whalers would want? Almost certainly, a lifting - however partial and nuanced - of the commercial whaling moratorium, which was agreed back in 1982 in language that suggests a temporary measure.
Can the anti-whalers go that far?
"I'm afraid that for at least half if not a majority of the countries here present, that would be unacceptable out of principle, even if you would help the whales," says Giuseppe Raaphorst, the Netherlands' whaling commissioner, who has been one of the voices in the EU seeking an accommodation.
It may be an accurate summary of the situation.
If it is, that is not going to impress leaders of the pro-hunting bloc, already dismayed at this meeting by the decision not to allow Greenland's Inuit hunters to add humpback whales to their annual catch.
"I'm afraid that we're just walking around in circles," says Laila Jusnes of the High North Alliance, which represents whalers, sealers and fishermen in the Arctic.
"When it came down to anything of substance, like with the Greenland request, we saw that for all the talk of respect and a different way of approaching things, they didn't mean it - the EU blocked it with help from the Latin American countries and Australia and New Zealand - and that just showed us that they're not going to compromise in any way."
This version of the reasoning behind the refusal of Greenland's extra quota is, of course, starkly at odds with that given by countries voting against it.
And Giuseppe Raaphorst believes the EU is not duty bound to block any move that entails lifting the moratorium.
"The EU has a very clear mandate - we want to have the moratorium, or any better alternative that would stop whaling in due course, except for aboriginal whaling."
Where this will end up in a year's time, after all the various formal and informal meetings and dialogues and workshops and email exchanges have taken place, is anyone's guess.
At times your head aches with the complexity.
So it was refreshing to see, in the lobby of the Santiago hotel which has hosted this year's meeting, an exhibition of startlingly huge photographs of whales - a humpback turning upside down, apparently frolicking; a mother and calf; a close-up view of a giant cetacean eye.
And then you remember - so that's why it matters.
|Sunday, 10 August 2008|
|Russian nuclear energy company OAO Atomenergoprom has acquired a controlling interest in Hungarian nuclear fuel-loading apparatus and cooling pumps maker Ganz Energetika. Atomenergoprom will gain a 51% stake in Ganz, which will retain 49%. The value of the deal was not disclosed. Atomenergoprom – an arm of Russian state-held nuclear energy holding Rosatom Corp – expects to double Ganz’s sales to Russia to nearly EUR 20 million within a year. The Russian firm, which constructs and operates nuclear power plants and extracts uranium, had reportedly earmarked EUR 30 million to purchase nuclear plant parts suppliers in Europe and Russia in 2008.|
‘Nuclear Weapons: For Bragging Rights or M.A.D. Rites?’
Jack L. Key
Will Nuclear Proliferation Become Armageddon? Iran and that country’s headlong attempts at uranium enrichment for nuclear weapons manufacture has again focused world attention to use of these terrible weapons of mass destruction. Now we read that Syria and N. Korea are also involved in nuclear proliferation in a Middle East regional boiling pot of hatred and religious conflict. Is this the true Biblical philosophy of a world-ending bloody battle in modern times?
American military nuclear strategies must be upgraded and improved from those of Cold War times in order to deal with a volatile and a nuclear-armed Middle East. Comments of world leaders during the last few weeks and ultimatums by Israel have heightened these anxieties and brought more focus to the American presidential elections later this year. Is a quick-strike nuclear war the only viable option?
Must America just sit and wait for some religious lunatic or puffed-up evil country such as Iran to attack us with nuclear weapons and kill hundreds of thousands—perhaps millions—of us? September 11, 2001 showed us it could happen—and probably will. Our nuclear policies must be dramatically overhauled now!
An American nuclear strategist at The Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies in Oak Ridge, Tennessee wrote a newspaper article last September that held special interest for me. His article dealt with theories and policy statements by Thomas Schelling, a Nobel Economics laureate most social democrats think shaped the nuclear deterrence policies that contribute to the so-called “international security environment” and lack of nuclear war we have experienced since 1946.
Briefly, Schelling’s theory states the “nuclear deterrence” over the past 6 decades was that no state that had developed nuclear weapons has ever attacked another state armed similarly with nuclear weapons, and this alone has deterred nuclear war. Schelling also advocates nuclear weapons are for “having and not using”. Due to the equalizing threat of mutually assured destruction (MAD), these weapons cannot win wars but only prevent them.
In my opinion, the article misjudges this fact and Schelling’s theory, as well as the behavior of developed nuclear states over the past decades since America used the first atomic bomb to end the war with Japan and WWII in 1945.
The article went so far as to assume that the horizontal proliferation—the spread of nuclear weapons to other states—can maintain the same theoretical logic while referring to N. Korea, Iran, Pakistan, India, Israel and China as those of the U.S., Russia, Great Britain and France over the past 60 years.
It is not only false logic to assume these states will behave as the original four nuclear states, but that Schelling’s basic point in his theory, “get a nuke and permanently rule out invasion from other powers”, is fatally flawed.
That assumes that the vertical proliferation—the building of more and better nuclear weapons and delivery systems by nuclear nations—is controlled, and that political and military aggressiveness no longer exists in any nation simply because they possess a nuclear weapon.
That certainly is NOT the case, as evidenced by the new warheads and missile delivery systems recently announced by Iran and N. Korea and several of the major powers in defiance of existing treaties. The current aggressive leadership and unsettled political situation in Iran, and possibly Syria, N. Korea and others, blatantly exposes Schelling’s theoretical flaws, and is a perfect example of both the horizontal and vertical proliferation problems.
India and Pakistan, the Central Asian region’s two most warring nations, succeeded in the late 1990’s in obtaining nuclear weapons without a whimper from the Western Allies or United Nations, and surprised us all.
Did the two countries buy them or make them? Who provided the technology to manufacture, or who sold them the weapons and why? You may have two guesses, and both may be correct. All the evidence points to China and Russia, through their intermediary, N. Korea.
Unfortunately, the high academic standings of both Schelling and the Oak Ridge nuclear strategist alone is not nearly enough to make life and death judgments regarding world nuclear armament and use strategies.
THE COLD WAR STANDOFF
Only the American nuclear arsenal and the fact the U.S. had used the weapon in WW II combat was the security blanket for the free world during the Cold War, and certainly not an academics’ unproven theory.
If the U.S. had not kept pace with the Soviet Union on nuclear weaponry and delivery systems during all those years, does anyone doubt this country would not have been overcome politically or by war and become a Soviet satellite in the volatile Cold War years of the 1950’s?
During my own military service in the U.S. Navy I hunted Soviet Navy nuclear submarines in the Atlantic and North Atlantic. Both navies were armed with nuclear weapons and easily could have used them if the occasion ever arose. They were aboard my ASW aircraft many times, although never fused. In my personal military confrontations with Soviet naval units in those Cold War years, on every occasion they seemed to find ways to avoid direct intimidation or confrontation with our U.S. naval units—as we did with them.
Perhaps unknown to the Soviets at the time however, was that an American response to any overt naval action by them would have been almost impossible, due to the heavy restraints placed on U.S. Naval Commanders by the U.S. political leadership. Once the lengthy process of obtaining final permission to fire a weapon, either nuclear or conventional, was received from Washington, we would have already been defeated by faster Soviet approval action, which had only one on-board restrictive process, and did not require direct permission to fire from Moscow.
American policy in this regard, while upgraded since those years must be further upgraded to meet the current world conditions, especially in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. The Soviet naval mission, whatever it may have been at the time, would have been completed and well on their way to the next victory before we could have cleared permission to fire and set codes.
We all should remember that after the fiasco in Vietnam, when know-all Democrat politicians and strategists opted to fight an armed conflict from their desks in Washington that killed over 58,000 young Americans, it is the trained experts in the military who are best suited to plan and fight America’s battles, not civilian overseers. While oversight is needed, it is not needed on the battle line.
Americans should also be aware that even today, 18 years since the close of the Cold War, Chinese and Russian submarines armed with some one hundred or more nuclear missiles with multiple warheads lie off both coasts of the United States at all times. Because the political rhetoric has been turned down does not mean that the military readiness of either Russia or China has been lessened.
Nor has our own defenses and potential nuclear offensive weapons systems been completely shut down. President Bush has kept his promises to America and upgraded some of our outdated systems and has kept us free of further terrorist attacks and military provocations, with some exceptions such as the USS Cole.
But our country does not have the air defense or missile protection to stop over 80% of those enemy submarine missiles, plus other hidden hostile land-based missiles, from hitting their pre-set targets of American cities, military installations, missile sites and nuclear naval units.
While it is true the U.S. has both nuclear missile submarines and land-based missiles operating as a nuclear deterrent, some near both Russia and China and also armed with multiple nuclear warheads, it would not be possible to stop or overcome a sneak nuclear and biological attack from either country on the U.S. and Canada even with effective early-warning systems and devices.
If severely damaged from U.S. retaliatory strikes after a sneak attack, both aggressor countries would still be capable of immediately invading the destroyed U.S. and Canadian lands and cities and killing the remaining populations with biological weapons. This may be accomplished in weeks, not months or years. Under the current known political and congressional restraints and our military capability, our combined American-Canadian military could be defeated in approximately one hour in this type scenario. Both American and Canadian populations could be eliminated in less than a week.
The world was simply lucky during the Cold War era that the U.S. had used nuclear weapons once before in combat in ending World War Two and the Soviets knew it and feared it. That is what kept Soviet fingers off the nuclear trigger, not academic theories or paper strategies.
China did not enjoy a nuclear parity with the U.S. until the last decade. They were dependent early on with nuclear weapons and delivery systems purchased from the Soviets and were not then a large threat—not so now. China is engaged in the largest military upgrades in history and has the world’s largest military machine, and Russia has upgraded its nuclear forces while the U.S. has been busy elsewhere.
These facts alone have been the real nuclear deterrence up until now—a Mexican standoff between the three major nuclear powers.
If anyone doubts that honest opinion, then read the speech of the (then) Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Chi Hoatian in 2005 to the Chinese Communist Central Committee. He advocates not only nuclear war with the U.S. and that it is inevitable, but also how to “depopulate” America before the Chinese invade the country.
The speech was published on the Internet by several watchdog websites, as well as in the conservative press, and is still available by searching the web (at this writing).
A NUCLEAR TERRORIST WAR?
We should be deeply concerned that the world is approaching the casual use of these terrible weapons. If some Islamic jihadist murderer, other middle east zealot, a left-over communist ideologue such as rules in Venezuela or Cuba, or the paranoid Chinese with their itchy trigger fingers fire just one weapon at either Taiwan, the Navy’s Pacific or Atlantic Fleets, American Middle East forces or the U.S. mainland, then the end begins.
World War Two history tells us Hitler would have used WMD’s in his last days, and so would Tojo’s fanatic Japanese warlords if they’d had them. Castro said he would have used them in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 if the Soviets had given him the fusing codes to fire their first missiles placed on Cuban soil.
Thank God Soviet Premier Krushshev retained missile control until the warheads were removed from Cuba. Maybe even Nikita Krushshev would have fired earlier in a weak moment, no one knows for sure. And for the record, neither President John F. Kennedy nor Bobby Kennedy had not one thing to do with preventing a nuclear holocaust from Cuba. It was totally Krushshev’s call from the get-go. He probably saved the world in spite of the Kennedys’ stubborness.
Now the Chinese communists tell us they will use nuclear weapons against us if America interferes in their solving of the “Taiwan Question”. Russia recently reverted to a hard line stance over U.S. defense missile plans in Europe, and has threatened to re-target their missiles at us. Iran and North Korea are both posturing with their missiles and possible nuclear weapons capability, and daring the world to stop them. Terrorist cells are always a threat
The loony tunes leaders of Iran and N. Korea may not yet have a weapon, but are almost certainly making them. So what makes the great liberal thinkers and writers of today so sure we can trust other opponents such as these now?
Are they so naïve as to think N. Korea and China are being forthright and truthful? That Russia has disarmed? That the Middle East is a peaceful brotherhood of countries? That the current religious idiot and loose cannon heading up Iran wouldn’t use any weapon or kill any person to achieve his goals? That Osama Bin Laden wouldn’t use a nuclear device on America if he could find one? Or even buy one? And who is to say terrorist plans are not already underway and that nuclear strikes could occur now?
If Democrat President Bill Clinton had shown some guts in the 1990’s after the initial Islamic terrorist attacks on America we might have prevented 9/11 and the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts altogether and saved over 7,000 American civilian and military lives.
Millions of innocents died before and during the two world wars, and before the world and their own state-supported falsehoods and failures finally stopped the Sino-Soviet march of communism. Do we want millions more to die before we as a country rise up and stop the nuclear weapons progression and world terrorism dead in it’s tracks? Attacking and destroying Iran now could quite possibly save the rest of the world from destruction at a later time.
We can no longer wait to be attacked and killed first, as in 1941 and 2001, and then retaliate automatically as we have in the past. With nuclear weapons we would lose millions dead in a single attack—and possibly the ability to retaliate successfully—and we could lose a nuclear war, our country and many more millions of our citizens.
America must have a first-strike strategy, just as it’s enemies do—and the world should know it and be forewarned.
TERRORISM AND AMERICAN POLITICS
President Bush has been hampered and obstructed from quickly handling the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts by American liberal politicians, biased media, leftist academics, anti-war fanatics, uninformed no-win policy makers and lack of solid intelligence.
We should remember the American military defeated Iraq in two weeks, and only after the U.S. mainstream media empires embraced the Iraqi insurgency did it flourish. America’s runaway socialist media has used the terrorist war crisis and the horror of 9/11 for their own selfish purposes, just as Osama Bin-laden and his deputies predicted almost 7 years ago—when they said publicly American TV and newspapers would make them a winner.
The great American media empires of newspapers, the New York Times, Washington Post and others, press agencies such as the Associated Press and major TV networks like ABC, CNN, CBS and NBC have been re-formed since 9/11 and the election of President Bush.
Their mission now is to harass the government, provide anti-war propaganda, progressively change national policy, politics, education, and religion and obliterate cultural origins. Reporting the news truthfully and without bias is no longer a multi-media function.
Now mass media is full of glee as Congress mulls passing a “Shield Law” that would ban U.S. judges from using their power to extract news sources—true or untrue- -from reporters and editors and TV news producers. For the first time in our history, the public will be censored from ever knowing the truth. The so-called “Fairness Doctrine” will further empower the socialist press and shut down free and open radio reporting.
These media-programmed changes in our democratic life principles are taking place from small cities and towns to large metropolitan areas. Are you aware your city or town newspaper is no longer owned locally? Did you know your local TV station and newspaper are probably owned by the same media giant? That you see, read and hear only what they prepare for you—along with their views, biases and political leanings, day after day, week after week, year after year, generation after generation and so on?
Movie and TV moguls and liberal magazines such as TIME, NEWSWEEK and the NEW YORKER spew out hatred of our governmental institutions, our armed forces and prey on the minds of young adults on a daily basis. Our schools and colleges are organized with rewritten history that portrays America as a failing, racist and war-mongering country while preaching a “social-progressive” curriculum and poisoning our children’s minds.
Our great universities turn out teachers, journalists, doctors and lawyers that have been taught by academics and professors who openly teach socialism and communism as their ideal societies. Our Christian religion and its teachings are ridiculed and our cultural values belittled by leftist politicians sitting in the power chairs of America.
Just this weekend of August 1, 2008 a parade and mass demonstration was held in New York City that called the USA the “world’s aggressor” and aligned President Bush with Napoleon and Hitler as the world’s “most hated dictators.” This happened in our own country by foreigners and Islamists who entered freely! And they were protected by our own police forces! Where else but in America?
President Bush’s War on Terror’s military policies do have flaws—all combat policies do—but thank God we have a man such as George W. Bush who took it personally when we were viciously attacked that fateful day in September 2001 when 3,000 defenseless American men, women and children were murdered at their jobs by cowardly Muslim fanatics.
The President has kept the Islamic killers at bay, and enemy leaders confused and in disarray by showing them everyday we DO indeed carry a big stick, and will walk softly only until being tread upon—and will still fight the good fight—for the time being, at least.
Even with many hardened enemies in the media and in Congress, the President has presided over 7 years of the greatest American prosperity the world has ever seen. And all that while fighting a 6-year War on Terror in two foreign countries and keeping America free from further terrorist attacks—and it seems the country hates him for it.
History will record Mr. Bush as one of our greatest presidents, but his approval rating on leaving office next January is one of the lowest in history. The Democrat Congress record is even worse.
Bush has defeated an evil dictator in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan and faced down N. Korea and Iran. He is building new American missile defenses in Europe and the Pacific Rim. President George Bush has given “Homeland Security” a new meaning and globalized the fight against international terrorism. He alone held the country together after 9/11, and single handedly kept us from engaging in a nuclear catastrophe in the Middle East after the killings in New York and Washington.
Could we trust socialist democrats Hillary Clinton or B. Hussein Obama to do the same? Trust liberal quitters and “progressives”such as Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry or Nancy Pelosi to determine national policy? I don’t think so.
Defeatist policies, socialist principles and weak government will get many more American innocents killed in this mean and dangerous world we live in. We must have a sound, but formidable military strategy and effective nuclear policies, not a quick-draw, shoot from the hip fragmented design implemented by showy politicians with no military experience such as was employed by two Democrat presidents during the Vietnam conflict.
Misjudging the use of weapons of mass destruction by evil and power-mad countries and Islamic terrorist organizations will destroy the world as we know it—and all in the blink of an eye.
Jack L. Key, Ph.D
Jack L. Key, Ph.D. is a retired healthcare professional and a veteran of U.S. Navy aviation. He is the author of “Gideon’s Trumpet” a parallel of peace and war in the 21st century, and also writes political commentary for both print and electronic media. http://www.authorsden.com/jackkey