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Florida Power wants out of the biggest coal plant in the U.S.

first_imgFlorida Power wants out of the biggest coal plant in the U.S. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News:Florida Power & Light Co. no longer wants to own part of the nation’s largest operating coal-fired power plant.FPL, the state’s largest electric company, told utility regulators in the Sunshine State last week that it plans to exit its ownership of one of four units at Plant Scherer, a massive coal plant near Juliette, Ga., that’s been in operation since the 1980s.FPL wants to abandon its ownership of Unit 4 of the plant by January 2022. The move is part of the utility’s plan to remove coal from its system, the majority of which already is natural gas, nuclear and a growing portfolio of utility-scale solar. The utility also plans to close a 330-megawatt coal plant on Florida’s Treasure Coast and two older natural gas steam units on the state’s west coast.FPL made its plans known in a 10-year site plan filed with the Florida Public Service Commission. FPL is owned by South Florida-based energy giant NextEra Energy Inc., which owns the world’s largest renewable energy developer, NextEra Energy Resources.FPL owns 76% of Unit 4 at Plant Scherer, and Jacksonville, Fla.’s electric company, JEA, owns the remaining share. JEA did not say in its 10-year site plan what it wants to do with its portion of Plant Scherer, and the utility did not respond to questions from E&E News by deadline.The owner of Plant Scherer, Atlanta-based Southern Co.’s Georgia Power, has routinely made headlines for its carbon emissions, as it’s the largest coal plant in the nation. The plant’s four units combined can produce up to 3,600 MW of electricity and power more than 2 million homes.[Kristi E. Swartz]Fla. utility to exit nation’s largest coal plantlast_img read more

Competition Day

first_imgIs there anything that can compare to competition day?I never get tired of it… I have been visualizing my lines and strategies all night, all week, or all month.  I wake up before my alarm, eat my lucky peanut butter bagel/egg/banana breakfast, and drink tons of water to stay hydrated.  Nervous energy pervades as I scan my body and gauge how everything feels the day-of.The car ride to registration generally consists of blasting loud music and fist pumping while my buddies and I exchange bouts of trash talk.  We each take the time to describe just how badly we are going to beat each other today, and refute the others’ lies.Once there, it’s time to calm down a bit.  I tell myself, “Don’t waste too much energy jumping around like you’re Rocky Balboa; better to save some of that fire for when the clock starts.”How long is it until the race?  Food and water needs to be carefully packed so as to not be hungry, but not be too full when it is game-time.  How are the other competitors looking?  Some are quiet but friendly, others antisocial, and others gregarious and outwardly excited… we all have our own method.Wow, only 30 minutes to go, it’s getting real.  Time to warm up, but not push too hard. Balance.  Balance.  Balance!  I feel ready to explode with excitement, but I need to back that throttle off just a bit… when that countdown ends, I visualize myself coming off that line like a cheetah.  Efficient, silent and powerful.Oh wow, there is the starting line and the timers.  Everyone warms up within view of each other.  The heavy hitters know what is at stake in their performance, and the first-timers are nervous about simply completing this challenging course.  It doesn’t matter if it is a kayaking extreme race, a DH mountain bike race, or a 5k… everyone is trying to channel their nervousness into focus and energy.Suddenly I find myself on the line, and the clock is counting down.  10…9…8.  Deep breaths to enrich my red blood cells with as much oxygen as possible before I push my physiological functions to their redlines.  7…6…5.  Quick visualizations of perfect completions of the most challenging portions of the course.  4…3…2.  Every muscle enters a heightened awareness, and my body puts itself into the starting position.  I am a human elastic that has been held back and is about to be let go.  It’s time.1… GO!!!!  I spring into the course in a state of pure joy.  That antelope is in front of me, in person or in my mind, and I am doing everything in my power to catch it.I think that everyone goes through life searching for their “ism.”  For those who aren’t familiar with this, it is an expression referring to each of us doing exactly what it is that we were put on this planet to do.To me, racing is as close as I have ever come to finding this.  I don’t even really care what kind of race it is… I love running, kayaking, sailing, SUP, swimming or mountain biking.  I am an impartial competition fanatic!  Just having the opportunity to get out there and find our own personal limits after a devoted preparation process is incredibly rewarding, and it is something that I hope that I can do forever.As spring wraps up and summer edges its way into the picture, I can’t wait to catch up with good people and live this competitive emotional rollercoaster over and over.  For those of you who make it out West this summer, I’d love to share a starting line with you at CKS PaddleFest and the Teva Mountain Games in Colorado, the North Fork Championships in Idaho, or the Red Bull Divide and Conquer in BC!Good Lines,ChrisFor more articles from Chris, check out The Flow!last_img read more

Best Beer In The Blue Ridge

first_imgRemember when the only beer you could get in town was an Anheuser Busch product? It wasn’t too long ago when our only choices on tap were Bud or Bud Light. It was a coup when Coors started distributing east of the Mississippi. Finally, options! More recently, many of us packed an extra suitcase on our ski trips so we could bring back a couple of cases of Fat Tire from New Belgium. Oh, how things have changed. Today, breweries line the Southern Appalachians and surrounding foothills. Why? Apparently, there’s something to those old Coors commercials.“There’s a lot that goes into making a great beer, but the first thing you need is good water,” says Win Bassett, executive director of the North Carolina’s Brewer’s Guild. “That’s one of the reasons you see so many breweries popping up in places like Asheville. The mountains have good water.”Forget the Rockies. Tap the Appalachians with this list of our favorite beers in the Blue Ridge.Best Field BeerBoxcar Pumpkin Porter • Starr HillCharlottesville, Va.You can smell the pumpkin in this dark-pouring English style brown porter, made with caramel and chocolate malts. The sweet malts help balance the subtle pumpkin spice we’ve all come to expect from a pumpkin beer. It’s a combination that screams fall. The low alcohol by volume makes this the perfect cold-weather session beer.Available in the fall, distributed widely in the bottle throughout Virginia and beyond. starrhill.com Best American Pale AleFull Nelson • Blue Mountain BreweryAfton, Va.This perfectly bitter pale ale uses a dose of Blue Mountain’s own farm-grown cascade hops in the mix for that floral aroma, but you’ll also notice the malty, rich taste that helps balance the ale. Full Nelson hits all the American pale high notes.Available year round, on draft at the brewery and in cans and bottles throughout Virginia and beyond. bluemountainbrewery.comBest India Pale Ale Sweetwater IPA • Sweetwater Brewing CompanyAtlanta, Ga.Intense is the only way you can describe the hop character of this India Pale Ale. The aroma is thick with pine and citrus, and the beer starts sweet but finishes hoppy, thanks largely to an extensive dry-hopping process. The beer is a multiple award winner on an international scale. Most recently, it won the Gold for IPA at the 2012 U.S. Open of Beer.Available in bottles year round throughout the Southeast. sweetwaterbrew.comBest Fruit Beer Pisgah Blueberry Wheat • Pisgah Brewing CompanyBlack Mountain, N.C. Hazy in color and light in body, the Blueberry Wheat is a thirst quencher on a hot summer day. A healthy dose of blueberry puree gives the beer its signature flavor, but it’s not too sweet for even the manliest of manly beer drinkers.Available in the summer on tap at the brewery and throughout the Asheville area. pisgahbrewing.comBest Amber Ale Almost Heaven • Mountain State BrewingThomas, W.Va. Amber ales are designed to be easy drinking brews, and Almost Heaven doesn’t disappoint. There’s nothing for hop-heads to get excited about, but the rest of us love the caramel finish. This is the beer that will get macro beer drinkers hooked on craft beer.Available year-round on draft at the brewery’s three locations (Thomas, Morgantown, and Deep Creek Lake, Md.) and select bars throughout the Mountain State. mountainstatebrewing.comBest LagerVienna Lager •  Devils Backbone Brewing CompanyRoseland, Va. This amber-colored beer looks a little like the beers of your youth, but has a smooth malty finish that’s light and balanced. We’re not the only ones who love this beer; it won the gold for Vienna style lagers in the 2012 World Beer Cup, the biggest brewing competition in the world.Available year round at the brewery and in bottles throughout Virginia and beyond. dbbrewingcompany.comBest Hefeweizen In Heat Wheat • Flying Dog BreweryFrederick, Md. Some beer drinkers steer clear of hefeweizens (too fruity!), but on a hot summer day, after a long run, you can’t beat the easy drinking goodness of In Heat Wheat. The golden-hued German-style hefe is way low on the bitter scale and has slight banana, orange, and lemon notes.Available year round in the bottle. flyingdogales.com  Best Stout Black Mocha Stout • Highland Brewing CompanyAsheville, N.C. Dark, rich, and sweet, you wouldn’t want to finish a six pack of Black Mocha solo, but taken singly, the stout’s chocolate and coffee flavor deliver the goods, particularly on a cold winter night. The beer has won silver medals at both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Festival in the past.Available year round and distributed widely on draft and in the bottle. highlandbrewing.comBest Porter People’s Porter • Foothills BrewingWinston-Salem, N.C. This tasty beer pours dark brown, the way an English-style porter should, and delivers hints of chocolate and toffee before finishing with espresso notes. It’s a moderately hoppy brew, but overall, beautifully balanced thanks to the deep malt character.Available year round at the brew pub and in bottles in North Carolina. foothillsbrewing.comBest Session BeerEasy Rider • Terrapin Beer CompanyAthens, Ga. Session beers are low in alcohol and easy drinking ales meant to sip for extended periods of time. Think, car camping. Easy Rider has a hoppier finish than you’d expect from a session beer, taking it firmly into the pale ale category and giving pale ale aficionados something they can drink all night long. The beer won the silver at this year’s U.S. Open of Beer.Available during the summer in bottles distributed throughout the Southeast. terrapinbeer.comlast_img read more

Trail Mix: The Willow Tree Turns One

first_imgTeri Dosher and her daughter, Zoe, at The Willow Tree Coffee House & Music Room.I have been involved with booking festivals and concerts for much of the last decade. One thing I have learned is that the music business can be amazingly fickle and money can be made – and lost – very quickly. That latter reality has had me working on a volunteer basis in all of my endeavors – sure, I don’t make any money, but I am able to feed my musical addiction and, at the same time, don’t risk losing money, either.Teri Dosher, proprietor of The Willow Tree in Johnson City, Tenn., shares my passion for live music. But, I admit, she is much braver than I. Teri was willing to mate her money with her vision and open a music room of her very own.Last week, The Willow Tree wrapped up a month long celebration of its first year in business. Teri and her crew brought some great bands to town for the festivities, including Sam Quinn & Taiwan Twin, Yarn, Possum Jenkins, Big Daddy Love, and Sam Lewis, who was featured in this blog last month.Other great bands that played The Willow Tree in its first year were Dangermuffin, Sol Driven Train, Ian Thomas & The Band of Drifters, Valley Young, The Howling Brothers, Woody Pines, Zach Deputy, among many others.Considering the plethora of talent that has already graced The Willow Tree’s stage, it is not a stretch to say that the room will soon be a serious player in the regional music scene. Fans – and bands – take notice when word begins to spread about a killer place to see live music. It’s my guess that Teri and The Willow Tree will not be lacking in crowds for some time.I recently caught up with Teri to chat about The Willow Tree turning one.BRO – What led you to open a music venue?TD – My passion for music and the appreciation I have for the people who make it. Music moves my soul every day. I wanted to have a place where those I love to listen to so much could come play and I could introduce them to other music lovers.BRO – Describe what you were feeling the night you opened the doors for the first show.TD – The same thing I have felt this whole past year. It’s very surreal, and I’m not really sure how I got here. But it’s always an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.BRO – Knowing what you know now, do you have one piece of advice you would offer aspiring music venue owners?TD – Not really. Chris Phelps, my friend who runs my other favorite music venue in Lexington, N.C., called High Rock Outfitters, had me read a book called A Rock And A Hard Place. It was written by the guy who opened The Handlebar in Greenville, S.C. It was his perspective on how hard it can be. That helped me see that everyone who is involved in music isn’t in it for the love of music. I think that it’s important to love it and appreciate those who make it. I think that’s been what has made us successful thus far. It also makes it all worth it when you aren’t making any money, which is all the time. My payment comes from the music and from making people happy.BRO – Cast any and all budgetary worries aside and book your dream show. Who would it be?TD – I have a vision board of all those bands I hope will play for us one day. Many have come true already. Sam Quinn played this week and sold out. Yarn and Big Daddy Love was our double header grand opening show and it also sold out. Having Elephant Revival was a huge show for us and a dream come true. Other dream shows are Gregory Alan Isakov, Joe Purdy, and The Black Lillies.For more information on The Willow Tree, including hours, location, and event calendar, surf over to their website. Already, there are some great shows on the horizon. Emi Sunshine will be there this Saturday, while Jalopy Junction and Megan Jean & The KFB hit the stage next weekend. If you feel like checking out a show at The Willow Tree, shoot me an email at dave@blueridgeoutdoors.com with THE WILLOW TREE in the subject line. Teri has offered up a couple tickets and a couple drinks – caffeinated or fermented, your call!! – to the show of your choice. A winner of this special offer will be chosen from all emails received by noon on Friday, February 6th.last_img read more

Last Woman Standing

first_imgCourtney Dauwalter RAN 279 Miles in Big Backyard Ultra and outlasted all but one competitor.On the morning of the fourth day, Johan Steene and Courtney Dauwalter stood at Big Backyard Ultra’s start corral once again. The three whistles had blown, signaling the three, two, then one-minute countdown. The duo awaited the clang of the cowbell, the official green light to begin their 68th lap. Having run an improbable 279 miles over four days, three nights, and virtually no sleep, only one would be the ‘last man standing’–but when that would happen, no one quite knew.Dauwalter, 33 and a rising star on the ultrarunning circuit, had learned about Big Backyard after reading about founder and organizer Gary Cantrell, a.k.a. Lazarus Lake’s, famed races. Steen first heard of BBU in 2014 (when he won the race in his inaugural year of competing); he was the third-to-last surviving competitor before quitting at last year’s competition. He entered again this year because he knew that first prize gains admittance into the Barkley Marathons. “I wanted that spot,” he says.While Dauwalter has yet to enter Barkley, Big Backyard appealed to her because “with this format, you get to find your own limit, whatever that is,” Dauwalter says. “There’s no finish line. You just get to keep going and see how long you can go.”Or how long you can, well, suffer. The race began at 6:40 a.m. on Saturday, October 20th, when 70 runners lined up and awaited the cowbell clang from Cantrell, before starting the 4.1667-mile loop trail on Cantrell’s backyard farmland in Tennessee (the race is named for his pitbull, ‘Big’). Competitors had an hour to complete the loop. Once finished, any down time was spent, at least initially, chatting with other competitors or crew members, enjoying a snack, or sitting in a folding chair that competitors set up for themselves as a micro, makeshift camp while awaiting the next round of whistles, which happened three minutes before 7:40AM. Four port-a-potties were stationed near the start; Cantrell says you can always tell when a runner has to ‘go’ because, “that’s when he runs his fastest loop.”The loops continued each hour; runners gathered at the start. Pause. Another loop. Another pause. Another loop–and so on, every hour, for hours and hours and hours, as daylight faded to dusk.“It’s a mind game,” Cantrell says. “The runners say that it’s a total mind fuck, because you can’t run off and leave people, and you can’t win until they lose.”Throughout the first night, when the race transitioned to the road, runners dropped. Cantrell chooses the competitors each year (many more runners apply than are granted admittance) and says he can usually identify who will quit first; however, trying to choose a winner is much more difficult.By the second night, Dauwalter started to feel the effects of no sleep. Her husband, Kevin, who serves as her crew, awaited each return to her camp chair. Dauwalter started hallucinating–she saw a giant cowboy, 12 feet tall, standing in front of her with a yellow bucket hat on his head, swinging his lasso. Then she saw an ice castle, and spectators lined up along the imaginary streets, cheering and twirling. Still, she kept running.“You can’t have a bad hour with Backyard,” Lake says. “With 100-mile races, you can take a long break or have several hours where you struggle. This, you have to step up every hour. If your stomach is upset and you are ill, an hour later you may be fine, but by then it’s too late.”At the start of the third morning, with 183.3 miles down, five runners remained, including 2017 champion Guillaume Calmettes; Dauwalter was the only female. By nightfall, only Dauwalter, Steene and Gavin Woody were still running. “I remember looking at both of them standing in the start corral that night and thinking, ‘this might never end,’” Dauwalter says. “They were showing no signs of fatigue and weakness. I thought to myself, holy buckets, what have we done?’”But Woody dropped at 270.8 miles, leaving only Steene and Dauwalter.“He had been a beast for the entire race, but we are predators now,” Steene says. “We all aim for the grand prize and therefore we leave the weak behind for carnage. And we feel triumphant while we do it. One less competitor to worry about.”On they ran, throughout the night. Steene says he likely slept a few minutes between every loop; Dauwalter tried to push through on minimal rest.“I feel that the absolute limit of how long you can go without sleep is around 80, 85 hours, then you run into issues,” Cantrell says. “You can take those five-minute naps, but if you don’t go through actual sleep, eventually, it will catch you.”On the fourth morning, at the start of the 67th lap–67 hours and 279 miles into the race, Dauwalter turned to Steene, shook his hand, said a few words, and walked back to her tent. She was done–or, in the vernacular of BBU and the 68 competitors who’d quit before her, ‘DNF’ – Did Not Finish.“I didn’t consciously decide it at that moment, it was just a reality of, there’s no battery power left,” Dauwalter says. ”It wasn’t a big dramatic thing or me having bones sticking out of my leg; it was just internally, I couldn’t give any more.”Steene ran his final, lonely, 68th lap, the 2018 champion. “After she told me to ‘go out and win’ and walked away, I wanted to grab her and drag her out again,” Steene says of Dauwalter. “The lonely loop was extremely long. I understood that Courtney wanted to be kind, letting me to know that she was quitting in order for me to enjoy my last loop. The effect was strangely the opposite. I thought of all the runners that had spilled their guts on the Backyard. I thought of Courtney who had been the leading warrior, the steady metronome throughout almost three full days. I was feeling empty and alone. I longed back to the community. We hunt best in a pack.”With 283 miles run, Steene set a new Big Backyard Ultra record, and Dauwalter’s 279 miles crushed the previous female farthest distance of 120 miles.The race has evolved into a worldwide event, with Big Backyard Ultras taking place in over 12 countries. As such, the 2019 Big Backyard Ultra will be a world championship of sorts.“Next year, the Backyard has an even stronger field than this year, which is astonishing,” Cantrell says. “Almost everyone in there is a contender to win. And they all know it. And they come to win.”last_img read more

Roanoke – Virginia’s Blue Ridge

first_imgExplore the area surrounding Philpott Lake by bike at Jamison Mill Park. Spend the afternoon riding through the woods and along the lake on the three primary loops. Go for a swim or a paddle on the lake, surrounded by 100 miles of undeveloped shoreline. On your way back to Roanoke, grab a drink at Chaos Mountain Brewing Co., an award-winning craft brewery known for its flagship brews and seasonal options. North Mountain, or Dragon’s Back as many local riders call it, has some of the best backcountry riding in the region. You’ll be sweating and smiling all day as you follow the technical trail along the ridgeline. Stop by Olde Salem Brewing Company for a reward for working hard for every mile. From singletrack and paved paths to a pumptrack and skills areas, Falling Creek Park has something for every kind of rider. Stretch out your legs with a round of disc golf. If you prefer German-style beer and barbecue, the menu at Beale’s will have your taste buds watering all night long. The whole family is welcome, including your pet, on the outdoor patio. Head deep into the backcountry on the Price & Patterson Mountain Trail system. The two ridgelines run parallel to each other with trails connecting the routes between the two mountains. If you enjoy singletrack and downhill runs, keep an eye out as groups are working to connect more trails in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Visit Ballast Point Brewing Company’s first tasting room on the East Coast, featuring stunning views of Virginia’s Blue Ridge and a fire pit. For some urban trails just minutes from Downtown Roanoke, head to Mill Mountain Park. Challenge yourself as you take in the views of the valley below. Make sure to view the iconic Roanoke Star while you’re at the top. Take advantage of the location and visit one of several breweries in the city, including Big Lick Brewing Company, Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers, Deschutes Brewery, and Starr Hill Pilot Brewery.   Beginners will enjoy exploring Waid Recreation Park, including several ADA accessible trails, winding paths along the Pigg River, and the new Old Buzzard jump line. Kick back and relax at Hammer & Forge Brewing Company on your way back into the city. Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, discover more than 14 miles of trails at Explore Park. Rent a tube and float the Roanoke River or soar above the trees on an aerial adventure course. Be close to the action when you stay at one of the cabins or campsites on the property. Head over to the nearby town of Vinton to Twin Creeks Brewing Company for a rotating tap, food trucks, and live music. If you’re looking for singletrack, look no further than Carvins Cove. With more than 60 miles of multi-use trails, riders of all levels can test their skills over multiple days. A reservoir on the natural preserve is the perfect place to cool down as you paddle or fish the afternoon away. There’s no better way to relax than a cold one on the patio at the Parkway Brewing Company. Enjoy the best of biking and beer when you visit Virginia’sBlue Ridge- America’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital. As America’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital, there’s nobetter place to get outside than the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Withmore than 300 miles of trails and 15 breweries, it’s the perfect place for aday of mountain biking, capped off with a beer or two. Check out these bike andbrew matchups to make the most out of your trip. last_img read more

Virginia’s Western Highlands Publishes Regional Trail Guide

first_img The guide is made possible in part through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy. “We think this guide will be a valuable tool to bring outdoor enthusiasts to our region, and once they’re here, help them find a trail that meets their needs,” said Teresa Hammond, Executive Director of the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. The regional travel council will distribute the guides at local visitor centers and select Virginia Welcome Centers. They will also be available to local lodging establishments to distribute to guests interested in hiking, biking or riding. The entire guide can also be viewed online as an interactive flipbook that is tablet and mobile-friendly. For additional information visit vawesternhighlands.com. “The number of trails included in this guide demonstrates that the four-county Virginia’s Western Highlands region has so much outdoor adventure to offer to visitors,” added Chris Swecker, Executive Director of the Highland County Tourism Council and Chamber of Commerce. The Virginia’s Western Highlands Travel Council made up of tourism offices from Craig, Alleghany, Bath, and Highland counties has published a guide to hiking, biking, and riding trails. The 48-page guide includes descriptions and maps of trails in all four counties, including some that span multiple counties. The booklet uses icons to indicate which trails are open to hiking, biking, and horseback riding. last_img read more

Appalachian Trail Conservancy urges Congress to consider Trailside communities in stimulus packages

first_imgIn mid-March, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy submitted a letter to the Appropriations Committees in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives asking them to take special consideration of the Trailside communities that rely on outdoor recreation dollars in upcoming stimulus packages. The closure of the AT is likely to have deep economic impacts on these rural Trailside communities. “We are excited to support these communities and these projects because we want to make sure that every Georgian has a chance to get outdoors,” said Mark Williams, Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources. “We’ve seen public access dramatically increase through the many great trails built in partnership with RTP, and we are looking forward to even more.”  The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has selected the recipients of the Georgia Recreational Trails Program grants for construction and rehabilitation of trails. Selected applicants are now asked to submit final applications for their proposals, which will result in nearly $2.5 million of funding to support outdoor access in Georgia, according to a press release. Georgia DNR announces 12 grants through the Recreational Trails Program Tour de France postponed due to COVID-19 The world’s most famous cycling event has decided to postpone amidst the global pandemic. The three-week race is still scheduled to take place in 2020 but has received a new start date of August 29. The race will run until September 20. The route of the Tour de France will remain the same. Appalachian Trail Conservancy urges Congress to consider Trailside communities in stimulus packages “Many of these communities are in the early stages of building small businesses focused on serving the outdoor recreation community,” the ATC wrote in the letter. “Many Trail-related businesses will not survive the impact of travel restrictions and attempts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Economic stimulus legislation under development now in Congress needs to generate the necessary income and workforce development for rural communities to recover quickly.” “We would like to thank all of cycling’s stakeholders, the Tour de France’s partners, its broadcasters as well as all of the local authorities for their reactivity and support,” the organization said in a statement. “We all hope that the 2020 Tour de France will help to turn the page on the difficult period that we are currently experiencing.”last_img read more

Drug Trafficking Grows In Peru, Newspaper Says

first_imgBy Dialogo August 05, 2009 Drug trafficking has grown in Peru to the extent that revenues from cocaine exports total some $22 billion, equivalent to 17 percent of gross domestic product, the business daily Gestion reported. Peru’s drug czar, Romulo Pizarro, estimates that foreign drug cartels’ earnings from peddling Peruvian cocaine have risen by $3.8 billion since 2004, the newspaper said. The problem “is inside our borders and appears set to grow,” Pizarro, who heads Peru’s Devida anti-drug agency, said Tuesday. This figure is not only equivalent to 17 percent of GDP, which totaled $127 billion in 2008, but it is bigger than any legitimate sector of the economy, according to Economy and Finance Ministry figures, Gestion said, noting that manufacturing accounts for 16 percent of national output. A U.N. study released in June said Peru, where 56,000 hectares (138,271 acres) are planted with coca, produced 36 percent of the cocaine in the world in 2008. Of the total cocaine produced in Peru, some 60 percent was exported to the United States and Europe, 35 percent to Asia and the remainder to various countries in Latin America, analyst Jaime Antezana told Gestion. While a kilo of cocaine goes for $1,500 in Lima, a gram of the drug fetches at least $100 in New York and $172 in Europe. Drug trafficking also harms the domestic economy because it drives down the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar due to the large supply of the currency, economist Cesar Peñaranda said in a column published by Gestion. “This money increases the risk of corruption, so it distorts the functioning of the market,” Peñaranda said.last_img read more

Mexican Military Make Record Seizure of Methamphetamines

first_img Mexican military personnel made a record seizure of over 15 tons of methamphetamines and other substances used to manufacture synthetic drugs, the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) announced on February 8. The discovery of these psychotropic substances was a result of ground reconnaissance carried out by troops in the municipality of Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, in the state of Jalisco. Since 2006, the Mexican Army has dismantled 646 laboratories for producing synthetic drugs and seized more than 45 tons of methamphetamines, according to official figures. According to Antonio Mazzitelli, director of the UN anti-drug office for Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, synthetic drugs represent an attractive opportunity for criminal organizations because, unlike natural drugs, they can be produced anywhere, once the organization has access to the chemical precursors. By Dialogo February 10, 2012last_img read more