‘Red Flags’ in Utah’s $53 Million Investment in Oakland Coal Port FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Lee Davidson for the Salt Lake Tribune:Legislators approved a fund-swapping scheme Thursday to commit $53 million to help build a deep-water port in California in the belief the project will allow Utah to sell coal and other products overseas.Critics have called it a suspect “shell game,” and it has sparked an outcry from environmental groups in California and Utah that say such coal shipments would further global warming and question if there is a market for such exports.Rep. Joel Briscoe questioned the soundness of the project. “If this is such a great financial investment … where are the banks stepping up to fund this program?”Some industry observers also expressed puzzlement at the deal, saying the global market for coal is drying up and international shipments have sharply tapered.“Investing in a coal terminal is like building a stateroom on the Titanic after it hits the iceberg,” said Clark Williams-Derry, director of energy finance at the Seattle-based think tank Sightline Institute.He said Asia’s coal imports are dropping as India boosts domestic production and China turns to other energy sources. Meanwhile, Bowie Resource Partners, which controls more than half Utah’s coal production, lost its contract to supply Mexico’s Petacalco power plant in 2015.But King argued that China, for one, seeks the kind of clean, low-sulfur coal that Utah produces to help reduce pollution.He said if Utah somehow could meet all of its demand, China would reduce its power-plant emissions by half.Disagreeing is Tom Sanzillo, finance director for the Ohio-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “The bill has more red flags than a 10-car pileup at a NASCAR race,” because of the declining coal market, he said.Utah Legislature OKs $53 million cash swap to fund Oakland coal port
Report: Trump Is Worse for Coal Than Obama Was FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Axios:The Brattle Group’s analysis, which was presented to the Energy Bar Association Tuesday, highlights a major tension running through Trump’s pro-fossil fuel initiatives: Helping coal is tougher when you’re supporting natural gas too.What they examined: Brattle forecast the production and employment effect of pro-coal policies, like killing EPA’s big power industry climate rule and rolling back mining regulations, in concert with the Trump administration’s wider support of fossil fuels.The bottom line: Combined with policies that affect oil-and-gas producers, like making more areas available for drilling and cutting royalties, Trump’s overall approach (the “pro-fossil” case) is actually forecast to be worse for coal than the Obama policy baseline.The gritty details: The report shows that the across-the-board support for fossil fuels will cut coal production by 220 million tons in 2020 and 210 million tons in 2030 compared with the Obama baseline, leading to net mining employment losses of 13,000-16,000 jobs.Yes, but: Like any effort to predict the future, a few dollops of caution are warranted here, and the presentation notes that the findings are “preliminary results” based on “what if” scenarios.Wild card: Those potential outcomes do not include the effect of the new Energy Department proposal to bolster revenues for coal and nuclear plants in some markets based on their “resilience and reliability” contribution to the grid.Whether and how much the proposal would bolster coal-fired power generation depends on variables including gas prices and how exactly the policy would be structured under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an independent agency.More: Modeling Trump’s coal conundrum
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ABC Australia:The woman who led the world to a global climate change agreement has a message for Australia: “You really do have to see that we are at the Kodak moment for coal.”Christiana Figueres, until last year the executive director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, doesn’t mean happy snaps for the family album.Rather, the decimation of the once dominant photographic company Kodak by digital change — in the same way that coal-fired power is being eclipsed by renewable energy.She hopes to see coal, like those sentimental moments in time captured in photographs, confined to history — with the world remembering the contribution the fossil fuel has made to human development, while recognising the need to retire it as a fuel source because of its contribution to global warming.And, she says, it’s happening.“The fact is that we are already seeing the decline of coal, we are seeing more and more countries phasing out of coal,” Ms Figueres, who is based in London, told the ABC.“We just had 25 countries come together [at the latest international climate change talks] in Bonn to say that they are moving out of coal in the short term.“That does not include Australia or India or China, but you can begin to see the trend.“India is headed for peaking its coal consumption by the year 2027.”We asked if you thought coal-fired power was facing its own “Kodak moment”. Read the discussion in the comments.Which makes arguments that India needs the coal from Adani’s planned mega-mine in North Queensland — and the Federal Government’s determination to see the mine ahead — baffling to Ms Figueres.The Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, or NAIF, is considering Adani’s request for a subsidised loan of up to $1 billion to help it build a railway to connect the Carmichael mine in outback Queensland to the Abbot Point Coal Mine near Mackay, which Adani also owns.By law, the NAIF is not permitted to make loans for projects that would damage Australia’s international reputation.More: The ‘Kodak moment’ for coal, and why the Adani mine could be a financial disaster Australia’s ‘Kodak Moment’ on Energy Policy
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:NV Energy announced Thursday it has contracted for more than 1 gigawatt of new solar energy and 100 megawatts of battery energy capacity, in a resource plan that’s still subject to regulatory approval and hinges on the outcome of a high-profile ballot measure.The utility signed power purchase agreements for six new solar energy projects and three related battery storage projects, selected through a competitive solicitation initiated in January of this year. All projects are expected to be complete and serving customers by the end of 2021 – if the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada approves the plan.“The six new projects position NV Energy to keep its commitment to double renewable energy by 2023 and, importantly, by diversifying our state’s electricity generation portfolio, will reduce the costs to serve customers,” said CEO Paul Caudill, in a statement.The clean energy expansion plan also represents a step forward in the company’s long-term goal of serving Nevada customers with 100 percent renewable energy, he said. NV Energy claims the direct investment in Nevada’s economy will be greater than $2 billion, and will create 1,7000 construction jobs and 80 permanent, long-term jobs.Work on the resource planning effort began shortly after Nevada’s 2017 state legislative session ended, “and demonstrates that we are navigating the uncertainties in the current market, given Question 3 on the statewide ballot,” Caudill added. Question 3, also known as the Energy Choice Initiative, would require the Nevada State Legislature to establish “an open, competitive retail electric energy market that prohibits the granting of monopolies and exclusive franchises for the generation of electricity.”Caudill noted that NV Energy has the option to not proceed with the proposed resource plan in the event Question 3 passes, in order to avoid increasing the liabilities and risks to NV Energy customers.More: NV Energy Contracts to Build More Than 1,000MW of New Solar, 100MW of Battery Storage Nevada Electric Company Goes Big on New Solar, Storage Projects
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:Navajo Nation Council legislation to allow a tribal-owned energy company to become a for-profit corporation was withdrawn before it could be considered.The Gallup Independent reports that the bill sought approval for a federal charter for Navajo Transitional Energy Company to purchase Navajo Generating Station and the Peabody Kayenta Coal Mine.Delegate Benjamin Bennett said he withdrew the bill from the council agenda Monday, the last day of a two-day special session because legislative staff concluded the bill required passage with a two-thirds vote.Because the bill was listed on the agenda as only needing a majority vote, it was listed last. That meant it likely couldn’t be considered until Monday night, and opponents who wanted to view consideration of the bill said they couldn’t stay that long.More: Navajo Nation bill to purchase Arizona coal-fired power plant withdrawn Plan to purchase and keep alive Navajo Generating Station, Kayenta coal mine is withdrawn
Solar project proposed next to aging Naughton coal plant in Wyoming FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享StarTribune:A utility-scale solar farm has been proposed in Wyoming, just next door to the coal-fired power plant that shuttered one of its three coal-burning units Wednesday.Fossil Solar LLC has proposed a 63-megawatt facility outside the town of Kemmerer, with plans to connect that power to the network of transmission serving PacifiCorp’s 56-year-old coal plant, Naughton. The solar farm would have a net production capacity of 58 megawatts, depending on sunshine.Fossil Solar registered in the state of Wyoming in late January. It is a subsidiary of Strata Solar, a North Carolina-based firm that facilitates development of solar energy projects. Strata officials did not respond to questions by press time.Due to its size, Fossil Solar’s proposed farm would qualify for a federal guarantee obligating Rocky Mountain Power to buy Fossil’s energy via a 20-year contract. The price Rocky Mountain Power would agree to pay Fossil Solar for its solar power would not be public, but it would be verified by Wyoming regulators and by law must be equal or less than the cost the utility would incur by generating that energy from its own resources.Changing economics for coal, wind and solar power in the U.S. threaten traditional plants like Naughton but also coal mines, like the Kemmerer coal mine that sells its coal to Naughton. Kemmerer’s owner, Westmoreland, which operates coal mines across the West and into Canada, filed for bankruptcy in October, faulting the weakening market for thermal coal. The sale of the coal mine, which employs about 300 workers in the rural area, to unnamed buyers is proposed for February.A developer began construction on the first utility-scale solar farm in Wyoming last year, the 80-megawatt Sweetwater Solar project near Green River. A second developer, Sage Solar, has obtained a power purchase agreement with Rocky Mountain Power for a 56-megawatt farm with operations slated to begin later this year. By comparison, installed wind capacity in Wyoming is a little more than 1,400 megawatts with another 3,000 megawatts under construction.More: Solar farm proposed as coal unit blinks out in Kemmerer
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Amazon on Monday said it will buy power from three future wind projects, two of them in Europe and the third in the U.S., while signaling that more deals could be coming soon. The announcement marks a return to the corporate renewables market for one of the biggest buyers of years past.The tech giant will back 229 megawatts of new wind capacity from projects in Ireland, Sweden and California to serve Amazon Web Services’ fleet of data centers. The wind farms will be built over the next two years.A 91-megawatt wind farm will be built in Donegal, in the Republic of Ireland, while a similarly sized project will be built in Bäckhammar, Sweden — near the windy coast of Vänern, the largest lake in the European Union. Meanwhile, a smaller wind farm will be built in the Tehachapi Mountains of Southern California, near the load center of Los Angeles. The Tehachapis are home to the largest wind farm in the U.S. — Clearway Energy’s 946-megawatt Alta Wind complex — but the area has seen a slowdown in development in recent years, mirroring a slowdown in wind development across California.“We expect more projects in 2019 as we continue toward our goal of powering all [Amazon Web Services] global infrastructure with renewable energy,” Peter DeSantis, vice president of global infrastructure and customer support at AWS, said in a news release.The new trio of wind farms will add to Amazon’s existing portfolio of nine utility-scale renewables projects, totaling more than 1,000 megawatts. AWS has a long-term target of reaching 100 percent renewables across its global footprint, and is already halfway there.Corporate and industrial procurement accounted for 22 percent of all solar and wind power-purchase agreements signed in the U.S. last year, and deal sizes are getting larger, according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.More: Amazon jumps back into corporate renewables market Amazon signs three new wind power deals, says more are on the way
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Over the past year, several states in the Western U.S. have passed or amended renewable portfolio standard legislation to significantly increase development of solar, wind and other forms of green energy. Market Intelligence estimates that Nevada’s law could spur 400-500 MW per year in new projects through 2030, when it aims to supply 50% of all retail sales in the state with renewable electricity.Nevada in April 2019 joined a growing list of states pushing aggressive milestones for renewable electricity. Senate Bill 358, signed into law April 22, stipulates that 50% of retail load be served by renewable electric generation sources by 2030. All utilities or retail electric providers who serve more than 1 TWh per year of load — virtually all of Nevada’s retail load — are subject to the standard. Qualifying generation resources include biomass, geothermal power, solar, wind or new hydroelectric power. The law includes the following interim milestones for renewable electricity: 2020 — 22%; 2021 — 24%; 2022 — 29%; 2024 — 34%; and 2027 — 42%.Natural gas has been the dominant technology in Nevada for well over a decade and accounted for roughly three-quarters of the state’s electricity generation in 2017. Like in most states, coal generation has been declining, with only one utility-owned coal plant remaining in operation. The North Valmy Station plant, owned by NV Energy Inc., is planned to shut down by 2025. With abundant solar insolation and generally poor wind resources, solar generation has been the largest benefactor of the shift away from coal. Annual solar generation increased from 156,000 MWh in 2008 to over 4 TWh in 2017. Nevada also has impressive geothermal resources and has boosted geothermal generation to over 3 TWh in recent years.Under the set of targets established in SB 358, Market Intelligence projects Nevada will need to procure a total of 7.3 TWh of generation in 2020, growing to the ultimate target of 18.2 TWh by 2030, or nearly 10% annual growth. With current federal tax incentives expiring for wind facilities and declining for solar facilities in 2020, Market Intelligence projects a higher rate of project growth through 2021, keeping pace with milestones and load growth thereafter.The current development pipeline, e.g., announced projects that do not have contracts and are not under construction, for Nevada totals 4,900 MW, including 3,800 MW of solar and 600 MW of geothermal projects. As this exceeds the 2,650 MW of market demand that Market Intelligence estimates by 2025, Nevada appears positioned to meet its near-term milestones. Note that the capacity development forecast for Nevada, which includes mainly solar projects and a small amount of wind, differs from the current set of projects under development, chiefly in consideration of potential geothermal projects.Nevada’s principal electric utility provider, Berkshire Hathaway Energy affiliate NV Energy, is an active participant in the Energy Imbalance Market, or EIM. The EIM optimizes electric generator dispatch across a number of interconnection points, or nodes, throughout the Western grid, providing new renewable facilities in Nevada access to a market potentially broader than the state itself. Additionally, several states across the West have compliance markets created by RPS, into which new projects can sell emissions-free electricity. The California market is the most prominent; Market Intelligence has identified 500 MW of solar projects in Nevada contracted to California’s RPS market, along with about 250 MW of geothermal projects.More ($): Nevada RPS to drive more than 5 GW of renewables development by 2030 S&P projects up to 5GW of new renewable energy development in Nevada by 2030
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:French energy major Total said on Thursday that it had reached an agreement with renewables energy developer Simply Blue Energy to acquire 80% of the Erebus floating wind project in the Celtic Sea.Total, which did not disclose the value of the deal, has said it plans to invest up to $2 billion annually to expand its footprint in low carbon businesses.The company said the 96 megawatts capacity pioneer floating offshore project would be installed in an area with water depth of 70 meters. “This makes Total one of the first movers in this technology in the United Kingdom, the world’s largest offshore wind market,” Total said in a statement.While offshore wind has so far mainly developed in shallow water depths based on fixed bottom technology, floating wind offshore is set for strong growth in the years to come, it said.Total added that the emerging floating offshore technology had a wide potential and could open access to sites further offshore, which would have less impact on the landscape, and benefit from very high wind resources.“Floating offshore wind is an extremely promising and technical segment where Total brings its extensive expertise in offshore operations and maintenance,” said Total’s Chairman & CEO Patrick Pouyanne.[Bate Felix]More: Oil major Total buys 80% stake in Erebus floating offshore wind project Oil major Total acquires controlling stake in 96MW floating offshore wind project
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:A Western Australian renewable hydrogen facility that will be powered by 5GW of solar PV and onshore wind has secured the backing of Danish investment firm Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).Announced in October last year, the Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project will be constructed near the town of Kalbarri in the mid-west of Western Australia and will provide hydrogen exports to Asian markets such as Japan and South Korea. The facility is being developed by Hydrogen Renewables Australia and will feature electrolysers from German firm Siemens.It is expected the partnership with CIP will enable the facility to proceed with its planned development to assess the feasibility of producing competitive hydrogen exports.“We believe Murchison represents the best combined wind and solar resource in Australia, and the project complements our existing activities in Australia,” said Michael Hannibal, partner at CIP.When launching its Renewable Hydrogen Strategy last year, the government of Western Australia revealed its ambition to become a “significant producer, exporter and user” of green hydrogen. The plan, which noted the state’s comparative advantage due to its geographical proximity to Asia, said the value of Australia’s potential low-emissions hydrogen exports could reach AU$2.2 billion (US$1.6 billion) by 2030 and AU$5.7 billion (US$4.15 billion) by 2040.[Jules Scully]More: Australian hydrogen project featuring 5GW of renewables secures investment firm backing Danish investor CIP signs on to Western Australia green hydrogen project
Photo: Roger GuptaThe Blue Ridge boasts a full calendar of fests through the fall.MayBeale Street Music Festival April 29-May 1 — Memphis, Tenn. This must-do fest in Memphis features 60 acts on 4 stages in scenic Tom Lee Park where Beale Street meets the Mississippi. Line-up this year includes John Mellencamp, MGMT, The Flaming Lips, Wilco, the Avett Brothers, and Mumford & Sons.Shenandoah Riverside Festival May 6-8 — Strasburg, Va. Join this three-day jam on the banks of the Shenandoah with a range of roots music from bluegrass to reggae to experimental rock.Cheat River Festival May 7 — Albright, W.Va. This low-key fest with some paddling fun and local string bands helps protect one of the Mountain State’s favorite rivers.Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Festival May 7 — Charlotte, N.C. Three of God’s greatest inventions come together at Symphony Park. Additional versions of this fest take place in Richmond, Va., on June 4 and National Harbor, Md., on June 17 and 18.White County Cork and Keg Festival May 14 — Helen, Ga. Drink regional beer and wine while hearing tasty tunes from Georgia Godfather of Jam, Col. Bruce Hampton.Trail Days May 14-16 — Damascus, Va. The mother of all hiking gatherings wakes up the sleepy town of Damascus for a long weekend of Appalachian Trail celebration. Thru-hikers reunite to trade trail stories, march in a parade, soak each other with water guns, check out a variety of gear booths, and sip a little moonshine.Xtremefest of the Blue Ridge May 14 — Waynesboro, Va. This one-day festival celebrates all things mountain sports, including climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking.New River Rendezvous May 20-22 — Fayetteville, W.Va. Come out for crazy climbing comps and campsite revelry in the Gorge. The most interesting thing on the schedule this year is the “Mountain Khakis presents: Pants to Panties, Drop Your Drawers and Win” event.Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival May 21 — Thomson, Ga. Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue headline this annual festival that commemorates Georgia blues legend Blind Willie McTell.Dr. Ralph Stanley’s 41st Annual Memorial Weekend Bluegrass Festival May 26-28 — Coeburn, Va. The Good Doctor is well into his 80s, and he’s still touring like a spry youngster. He also hosts this traditional bash at his old home place. This year features help from Dailey & Vincent, Blue Highway, Larry Sparks, and the Lonesome River Band.Abbey Road on the River 2011 May 26-30 — Louisville, Ky. If you love the Fab Four, get to Louisville for what brands itself as the world’s largest Beatles-inspired music festival. Another version takes place in Washington, D.C., on September 1-5.Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que Bluegrass Festival May 27-28 — North Augusta, S.C. Dig into a plate of the South’s finest BBQ and dig the sounds of Doc Watson, Old Crow Medicine Show, Chatham County Line, Frontier Ruckus, and Charlie Parr.Rooster Walk May 27-28 — Martinsville, Va. This annual event at the idyllic Blue Mountain Festival Grounds remembers two fallen friends with a big weekend of regional roots music including Folk Soul Revival, The Mantras, Big Fat Gap, and many more.White Squirrel Festival May 29-30 — Brevard, N.C. Brevard pays tribute to its favorite neighbor with a street festival that includes White Squirrel walking tours, a box car derby, craft and food vendors, and a solid line-up of live music. 1 2 3 4
A happy Friday to our readers. Here are some videos to kick off your Easter Weekend:1. You sure did, buddy.An instant classic to get your weekend started on the right foot, unlike this guy. Although you can’t beat his attitude.2. AwakeningHere is a cool regional video of some bouldering action near Sugarloaf Mountain, Md. Backing music is slightly NSFW, but we’re all adults here, maybe.Awakening from Robin Close on Vimeo.3. Sketchy LineAs you may have read, gravity riding is becoming uber-popular on the East Coast. Although downhill MTB’s roots are in British Columbia, Utah can claim at least a piece of the hardcore action. Here is pro freeskier KC Deane ripping sketchy lines in the desert. Not bad for a guy who broke his back in 201o, and doesn’t even, like, mountain bike that much.KC Deane edit from steven lloyd on Vimeo.We do our best to bring you the finest web clips and videos the internet has to offer. If you have something you would like to submit to Clips of the Week, please leave a note in the comments or email [email protected]
Warmer weather lures black vultures north where they are killing calves The federally protected black vulture is most common in South America but as temperatures rise the vulture has extended its range, first into the southeastern U.S. and now into Midwestern states like Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. Farmers in those states are reporting the loss of newborn livestock as black vultures swoop down and peck calves to death. Lambs, goats, foals and other small animals have also been victimized. Black vultures and the much more common turkey vultures play a critical role in our ecosystem, cleaning up dead carcasses. But black vultures attack young, live animals, sometimes during the birthing process and farmers and ranchers are grappling with ways to protect vulnerable livestock. Black vultures are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Vultures can be shot but only with a permit and proof of damage is required to get the permit. Virginia Music Festivals Unite at SummitBound by a goal to make Virginia’s music festival scene even better, members of Virginia-based live music production companies gathered in a two-day summit to examine ways to strengthen Virginia’s music festival landscape. Representatives from fan favorite festivals like Devils Backbone Hoopla, Bonnaroo, Front Porch Fest, Rooster Walk, Red Wing Roots Music Festival, FloydFest and others were present. Virginia has become a premier destination for live music fans and the group is committed to maintaining and improving the festival experience in the Commonwealth. Top Climate Official at National Park Service Resigns In 2011, Archaeologist Marcy Rockman became the first person ever appointed to study climate change’s impact on cultural resources in National Parks. That year, a republican controlled Congress cut her budget by 70 percent, ensuring that her program remained a party of one. Rockman was responsible for studying the effects of climate change on archeological sites, cultural landscapes and historic buildings. Her job was part of the National Park Service’s Climate Change Response Program, which was created to better understand the effects of climate change on National Park Service owned sites and resources. On Twitter, Rockman stated that she resigned after “a series of pressures from the NPS that required me to spend ever more time & energy fighting for the right to exist & perform basic tasks.” Rockman also cited gender inequality and harassment as an additional reason for leaving the National Park Service.
“The U.S. Forest Service is excited to partner with Foothills Conservancy on this newest acquisition,” said Nicholas Larson, North Carolina Forest Service district ranger. “Chestnut Mountain will be a great addition to the Forest, with easy access to Lenoir. We are working with both the Blue Ridge Horseman’s Association and Northwestern N.C. Mountain Bike Alliance to improve and add to the existing trail system.” The Find Your Virtual Park page on NPS.gov provides resources that feature the sights and sounds of parks, games, videos, webcams and kid-friendly activities. The National Park Foundation offers a series of virtual escapes as well as suggestions for home-based park experiences. Photo of Pisgah National Forest, Blue Ridge Mountains from Getty Images National Parks Week begins Saturday Earth logs its second-warmest March on record From April 18- April 26, the U.S. will celebrate National Park Week. Due to the disruption of COVID-19, this year’s celebrations are going digital. While holed up at home, you can still journey to national parks through a variety of online activities including virtual tours, scavenger hunts, trivia contests and junior ranger programs. On March 7, the U.S. Forest Service purchased a former inholding in Pisgah National Forest from Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, the organization said in a press release. The 96-acre property located off U.S Highway 321 in Caldwell County, between Lenoir and Blowing Rock, creates opportunity to extend trails in the Boone Fork recreation area near Mulberry Creek and Blowing Rock. Mother Earth may be taking a much-needed breather right now, but the globe continues to warm. Following the warmest January ever recorded and the second-warmest February, the planet has now logged its second-hottest March on record, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Thursday. NOAA warns that models are already suggesting that 2020 could be the warmest year on record. “It does look like there’s a better-than-half probability that we will finish the year warmest on record,” Deke Arndt, chief of the monitoring branch at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, said in a news briefing.
By Dialogo May 26, 2010 For the first time, the U.S. government has characterized as narcoterrorism the crime of which three al-Qaeda members detained in Mali and with contacts in Brazil are accused. The detentions, the result of a operation designed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), revealed ties between the terrorist network headed by Osama bin Laden and Brazilian smugglers. The daily Folha de São Paulo has published a report highlighting the fact that following these discoveries, the Brazilian Federal Police are moving forward on investigations seeking to identify Brazilian connections to narcoterrorism, defined as trafficking in narcotics in order to finance terrorism. According to the São Paulo morning newspaper, al-Qaeda militants have declared that they received help from Brazilian smugglers to transport between half a ton and a ton of cocaine from Colombia to Mali, in West Africa, with the ultimate aim of selling it in Europe. The supposed Brazilian connection was revealed by Omar Issa, Harouna Touré, and Idris Abdelrahman, al-Qaeda militants active in Ghana, Mali, Algeria, and other regions of West Africa, who after being detained were deported to New York, where they will be tried. According to the detainees’ declarations, supported by the stamps in Touré’s passport, which demonstrate his presence in Brazil, France, and Saudi Arabia, he was the Brazilian smugglers’ contact. According to what the DEA was able to discover through an undercover agent who held telephone conversations and made video recordings of meetings, Touré went to Colombia in search of the drugs and transported them to Mali with the help of Brazilian smugglers, the Folha de São Paulo report reveals. From there, the drug shipment is said to have been transported across the desert to Morocco in order to introduce it into Europe by way of Spain. The DEA succeeded in unraveling the operation by infiltrating an agent who passed himself off as a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who was willing to obtain half a ton of cocaine for al-Qaeda, leading to a million-dollar profit for the terrorist group, according to Folha. The three captured al-Qaeda militants, now detained in New York, belong to the Aqim faction, meaning al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a group authorized by Osama bin Laden to use the terrorist network’s name since 2006.
Sgt. Ríos: We talked, but there was not time for socialization. With 1st Cpl. Roblero I was coordinating the work in the “hot zone,” talking in combat terms. We would monitor the readings of the capsule in a computer: pressure, air and so forth. Additionally, we were constantly checking the other miners because they were somewhere else. See, the area where the Fénix 2 landed was the workshop space, so the miners where 250 meters (820 feet) below. We had to control them down there, going up and down. By Dialogo October 18, 2010 Everyone did a great job, but all that was done due to the presence of God because only He can allow such great work with humans. Many congratulations to all who participated but especially the Almighty our Lord Jesus for giving them the opportunity to all those miners and protect them until rescued. God bless you always! This is a real and true testament. All uniformed troops and especially I believe, like my Lieutenant Rios, that the mission has been carried out when the last man has been rescued, and the rescuer has fulfilled his duty.Bravo Zulu Navy rescue team, always on the front lines. Sgt. Ríos: Personally, I learned that there is nothing impossible for God. Professionally, learning that you can do this type of work 700 meters (2,296 feet) below the surface is priceless. Infosurhoy.com: While one miner was going up, what did you do? Sgt. Ríos: I had to check [each miner’s] pulse, blood pressure, heart rate, eardrums, lungs and breathing frequency. If one miner was not physically ready to make the lift, I was there to stabilize him and send another one up. But fortunately, nobody needed to be stabilized. All of them were in good health, some had some pre-existing conditions but they were not severe. It was very easy to work with them. Infosurhoy.com: What went through your mind when the door of the Fénix 2 was locked before sending you beneath the earth’s surface? Sgt. Ríos: I am a Christian man. I thanked God for all I had lived, for having the opportunity of being part [of the rescue]. I put my faith in God: I was praying as I descended. I thought about many things, including my family and the  miners’ families. But I was very focused, because while I was inside the Fénix we had to stop it twice, once because the door was jammed and also because of another glitch. The third time, they asked me if I was ready and I told them that I had been ready for a long time. Sgt. Ríos: Tremendous happiness. When all the miners were out and the rescue members were the only ones left inside the mine, we made jokes that they had turned off the lights and all that was left was the crane operator. Besides, being greeted by the President of your country is an honor. Infosurhoy.com: What was your task? Sgt. Ríos: I saw many faces, really. I don’t remember who I saw first, but I do remember that all were very effusive. Lots of hugs, lots of “Viva Chile,” lots of “Welcome, Sergeant.” There were also a lot of smiles. When I got down there, we were all very happy, we all hugged. Infosurhoy.com: What did you learn from this experience? Sgt. Ríos: About three weeks ago. I got a message asking me if I was willing to be part of the rescue team. I immediately said “yes.” I had no doubts that I had to be part of this, and from then on, all has been happiness. You become happy for participating in these kinds of assignments. Infosurhoy.com: Did you cry? Sgt. Ríos: No. Do you know when I felt very emotional? When the first miner, Florencio Ávalos, went up and his little boy and his wife were waiting for him at the surface. But I was there to work. I introduced myself to the miners, I told them what I was there for and said “Let’s get to work.” Infosurhoy.com: What did your wife say to you before you went down? Infosurhoy.com: When did you get to the mine? COPIAPÓ, Chile – Army Sgt. Roberto Ríos Seguel was watching the news with his wife Ivette in their hometown of Quilpué, in central Chile, when he learned about the 33 miners trapped inside the San José copper and gold mine in Copiapó. But little did he know he was going to be one of the rescue workers who would spend 25 hours beneath the surface helping lift each of the 33 workers to safety. Ríos, a 34-year-old who has experience as a military nurse, received training overseas on how to escape from confined places, tactical diving, and surviving in extreme conditions. Ríos, however, said he saw the culmination of his entire professional training when Florencio Ávalos emerged from the Fénix 2 capsule. “Now, I know about mines,” he said. In an exclusive interview with Infosurhoy.com, the father of Roberto Jr., 3, and 7-year-old twins Paz Alexandra and Elizabeth de los Ángeles, talks about his work, his life and his role in the unprecedented Oct.13 rescue. Sgt. Ríos: Ten days ago. From then on, we have been working on a special casing, similar to the one used on the first 50 meters (164 feet) of the shaft. With this casing, we tested the Fénix 1, we went up and down several times and we practiced. Even though we had headlights, my rescue partner 1st Cpl. Patricio Roblero and I trained in absolute darkness, thinking in the worst case scenario. If the lights went out, we were going to be ready. Infosurhoy.com: When did you know you were going to participate in the rescue? Sgt. Ríos: I told her to trust in God, to be calm and to make me calm. My daughters blessed me. When we spoke again, my wife told me she was very proud of me. “I was worried all this time,” she said. The girls were asking “At what time does daddy get out?” Infosurhoy.com: How did you feel while ascending inside the capsule after the rescue? Sgt. Ríos: It was 1st Cpl. Roblero’s idea. He suggested demonstrating the objective had been completed with something – and nothing is better than a flag. We wanted the world to see that with Luis Urzúa up there, the mission was indeed accomplished. If we got stuck down there, it didn’t matter. Infosurhoy.com: Who’s idea was having a flag with the words “Mission Accomplished, Chile”? Infosurhoy.com: Which miner did you see first?