Vermont House passes protective wetlands bill

first_imgThe Vermont House gave final approval April 15 to legislation that will significantly increase the number of wetlands nature s water filters that will be protected under Vermont law.The bill, H.447, will require inaccurate state wetlands maps to be updated and also mandate better protections for wetlands. This legislation shows what Vermonters with widely divergent interests can accomplish when they sit down, roll up their sleeves and focus on what s good for Vermont s natural resources over the long haul, said Kim Greenwood, staff scientist for the Vermont Natural Resources Council. All parties here have made compromises for the greater good of improving the regulation of our wetlands, Greenwood said.At the urging of legislative environmental leaders, in 2006 the state Water Resources Panel brought a broad group together to address issues of wetland classification in Vermont as a result of a Vermont Supreme Court decision relating to VNRC s effort to reclassify the Lake Bomoseen wetland. VNRC saw the court decision as an opportunity to correct a deficiency in Vermont s wetland protection laws that left many wetlands unprotected simply because they were not included on state wetland maps.More than a dozen groups including VNRC, the Vermont Realtors Association, other business groups, the Agency of Natural Resources, Agency of Agriculture utilities, and others, spent three years hearing testimony on the issue and negotiating a solution to improve protection for Vermont s wetlands. VNRC was the only environmental group involved in a two-year negotiating process that led to the bill.Specifically, the bill that passed the House:Authorizes ANR to update the Vermont wetland maps with information it has accumulated in recent years, including using wetlands maps that towns have created.Allows ANR on its own or at the request of a citizen to protect unmapped wetlands as they are identified in the fieldRequires the state to update the rules to require more protection for wetlands that are not on the maps but are similar in size or type to those that do appear on the maps, the protection of vernal pools for the first time ever in Vermont, and better guidance for landowners in locating wetlands.The bill should now head to the Senate, and then to the Governor s desk.Currently, Vermont regulates wetlands that appear on federal maps, known as Vermont Significant Wetlands inventory maps. The problem has been that those maps are outdated. Up to one-third of important wetlands are not shown on those maps and up to seven percent of the areas mapped as wetlands are not, in fact, significant wetlands. Consequently, people using the maps are making decisions based on inaccurate information.Between 35 and 50 percent of the wetlands that existed in Vermont before European settlement have been lost or severely damaged due to draining, dredging, and filling for development and agriculture.Wetlands filter Vermont s drinking water, help control floods, comb out polluting sediment from water flowing into our streams, and provide wildlife habitat, among other benefits.last_img read more

Vår Energi joins carbon capture and storage partnership in Norway

first_imgOil and gas company Vår Energi has entered into a partnership with the Norwegian Carbon Capture & Storage Research Center (NCCS) to enable fast track CCS technology development and deployment.Goliat field in the Barents Sea. Source: Vår EnergiVår Energi said on Friday that the agreement has a total value of NOK 30 million ($3.5 million) over a six-year period and is part of an industry-driven and science-based innovation effort.“This partnership complements Vår Energi’s research and development portfolio. The company is committed to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases through CCS technology development,” said Oddvar Ims, R&D Manager in Vår Energi.Vår Energi will contribute by investing 5 million NOK every year for a period of six years. The joint industry project started in 2017 and will continue until 2025.“NCCS’ main objective is to become a world-leading CCS Center by enabling fast-track CCS technology development and deployment by addressing major barriers in industry projects,” Vår Energi said.“It is a proud moment for NCCS to welcome Vår Energi to one of the largest CCS R&D efforts worldwide. Personally, I am sure Vår Energi will bring enlarged momentum to the center,” said Mona J. Mølnvik, NCCS director and Research Director at SINTEF.CCS is considered to be one of the most promising solutions to effectively reduce emissions of greenhouse gases on a global scale, as a means of limiting atmospheric CO2 emissions. The NCCS consortium comprises several oil and gas companies, CCS technology vendors and users in the private and commercial sector. The joint industry project also consists of institutions such as SINTEF, NTNU, UiO, NGI and others.“Our objective is to further minimize environmental impact in our operations, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a key element in our mission. The Vår Energi-operated Goliat field in the Barents Sea demonstrates this commitment by being mainly electrified with power from shore, making it one of the lowest CO2 emitting fields on the Norwegian continental shelf. All initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint are positive, and CCS deployment is an effective measure. We hope that our contribution in addition to others, will further enable NCCS’ progress,” Ims added.This partnership supports the Norwegian full-scale CCS project. In addition to this, the center also supports its industry partners in developing the necessary knowledge for large scale CO2 storage in the Norwegian part of the North Sea basin.“Supported by the Research Council of Norway and the partnership, NCCS will contribute to the development of cost and energy efficient CCS technologies, smart business models, and CCS deployment at large scale in Norway, Europe and globally,” said Mølnvik.last_img read more

Black Cats strike back for Stoke point

first_imgJohn O’Shea snatched a potentially priceless point for Sunderland as they held Stoke to a 1-1 draw despite seeing Craig Gardner sent off after only 34 minutes. Neither side had managed a shot on goal before Walters put the visitors in front in the ninth minute. Walters’ header from Adam’s corner was blocked by Danny Graham on the line but the Republic of Ireland international reacted quickest to power the loose ball home via the underside of the bar. Adam Johnson was Sunderland’s best attacking outlet but he was struggling for support. Sunderland’s task became even harder when Adam’s charge down the right flank was ended by a dangerous studs-up challenge from Gardner, but Stoke did not overdo attempts to punish their opponents’ numerical disadvantage. Johnson went close to producing an equaliser with a free-kick just prior to the break but it squirmed wide and O’Shea almost got on the scoresheet on the hour, prodding goalwards only to see Dean Whitehead block on the line. And the captain went one better two minutes later, popping up at the far post to side-foot Seb Larsson’s corner over the line after Whitehead failed to get a solid connection. Remarkably Sunderland’s 10 men did not appear to tire and Danny Rose was inches away from putting them ahead in the 80th minute with a skidding attempt that struck the the post. Steven Nzonzi went closest to winning it for the visitors, hooking a shot over with his back to goal. Defeat at the Stadium of Light would have left the Black Cats in a perilous situation just above the relegation zone but, having gone behind to Jonathan Walters’ early effort, they showed great heart in the second half and deserved to see O’Shea prod home a 63rd-minute corner. Gardner can take little credit for the result, though, and his red card for a dangerous challenge on Charlie Adam was fully warranted. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Modem takes control

first_img Press Association The five-year-old was sent off a 5-1 chance at the bottom of the weights for the two-mile Connacht Hotel Qualified Riders’ Handicap and turned in a power-packed display for her proud connections. Wood Breizh held a slight lead off the bend, but the grey was overwhelmed by Ted Veale, Awesome Star and Modem inside the final 250 yards. But it was the latter who held the momentum when it mattered as Kate Harrington kept her companion up to his work to defeat runner-up Awesome Star by a neck. Ted Veale, the 4-1 favourite, was not far away in third spot, while Wood Breizh stayed on doggedly for fourth. Modem’s sights will now be briskly switched towards the Guinness Galway Hurdle on Thursday. Jessica Harrington said: “Everything we wanted to happen in the race happened. “I said, ‘Jump out, get a place on the rails’, and it was absolutely brilliant. “Kate got out and he was great, the little horse. “He absolutely battled to the line and he’s a smashing little horse. “We’re trying to go for the big-race double. Trainer Jessica Harrington and daughter Kate teamed up in glorious fashion to take the feature race on day one of the Galway Festival with Modem. “He’s had a rest from Cheltenham to Killarney and we’ve been keeping him for this. “This was the plan but I didn’t think he’d ever get into this race.” Kate Harrington said: “You need some luck in this race, but I jumped out and got a perfect position. “Hopefully he’ll run on Thursday and he’d have a right chance. “I always dreamt one day I would win this race but I can’t believe it’s happened.” Harrington received a ten day suspension for not giving her mount enough time to respond. last_img read more

Sunday blog: Talking 1995, used-up controversies, babysitting Bryant, surveillance videos and Quinn

first_img2. Controversies that need to die and go to heaven…Roger StallbaumerNearly three weeks ago, the Wellington City Council appointed Mayor-soon-to-be-ex-mayor Roger Stallbaumer to fill the Wellington Housing Authority board vacancy left open when Kelli McComb was removed from the board.My apologies for the news delay. Here’s my three handy-dandy excuses in no particular order:1) I’ve had a lot of other things I’d rather write about this month.2) I have had little desire filing a WHA story knowing full well that it will require another round of policing the comment section over this never-ending tiresome Wheat Capital Manor controversy.3) I’m bored with the issue and want it to go away. Unless something concrete occurs, I’m moving on.Three people filed to fill the volunteer position including Sherry Sawyer and Chase Weber. Stallbaumer won by a 4-2 vote. Council members Jan Korte and Jim Valentine voted for Sawyer, while Kelly Green, John Brand, Vince Wetta and B.J. Tracy voting for Stallbaumer.Tracy was the swing vote and nobody was quite sure how he was going to vote before the meeting. It would have made for an interesting parliamentary procedure dilemma had Tracy voted for Sawyer and created a 3-3 tie among the city council. In case of a tie, the mayor, who usually does not vote, would be called to break the tie. In this case, that would have meant Stallbaumer would have either had to cast a vote for himself or against himself to appoint that position.That would have been an interesting moment in Wellington City Council lore. 2. After doing a painfully long research paper in the gifted program, we now get to do our presentation! 5. Contest time! Name the five different types of manna in Magic: The Gathering, but not by color. Email your answers to mccueq.sumnernewscow@gmail.com! A free T-shirt could be coming your way if you answer the question first.Follow us on Twitter. 4. Fun Fact: I named the first raccoon in “Where the Red Fern Grows” Steven and his favorite food is sautéed asparagus. 4. Cruel Internet…Britt McHenryIt seems like every week, some celebrity type is fighting for his/her career because of one of those unflattering Youtube or TMZ videos going viral. Last week, ESPN reporter Britt McHenry got herself in a jam when a video of her dressing down a tow company employee after her car was towed from a Chinese Restaurant parking lot. In the video, she was a complete witch and she embarrassed herself.But my problem with this video is not for the reasons you think.Why is this unpleasant exchange any of our business? She wasn’t arrested. We don’t know the circumstances on why the car was towed, and we don’t know whether or not this employee not seen on the video provoked her.Until this video surfaced, McHenry was never on my radar, and I watch a lot of ESPN. Yet now, I know of McHenry as the woman who threw the big hissy fit.McHenry is probably going to lose her job, her career, and have this albatross around her neck for the rest of her life. Yes, her performance that night was pathetic, but at what cost? It was on her own time, and, again, the incident was none of our business!And quite frankly, I’m guessing most of us have made a jerk of ourselves at one point or the other.You also have to wonder why the tow company or whomever thought this surveillance video needed to be shared with the world.The TMZ “gotcha” video craze bothers me greatly. Whether it is David Hasselhoff being drunk in a shower, or a TV newscaster accidentally dropping the F-word during a telecast, or some Jo Schmo doing something idiotic at a party — we feed off people embarrassing themselves.And to me that’s unfortunate. To me, the lowest form of human being is someone who posts without provocation something on the Internet for the whole purpose of embarrassing another individual. Everyone has a right to recover from a mistake. And everyone has a God-given right to their privacy. 5. Here’s Quinn…Quinn McCue1. First of all I’m in the community theater production. Our last show was today and I had a great time.center_img Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Cueball thoughts for April 19, 2015…1. Baseball reunion…1995 Wellington High School baseball team and Class 4A State Champions.Former Wellington High School head baseball coach Mike Wilmoth is organizing a 20-year reunion for the 1995 WHS varsity baseball players who won the Class 4A State Championship in Manhattan. The ceremony will be held May 7 at Hibbs-Hooten Field in between the Wellington-Clearwater doubleheader.It should be a hoot. I was the sports editor at the Wellington Daily News and the memory of that tournament makes me smile. Not only was it the first state championship team I ever covered as a reporter, but it was also the first time I used a cell phone.It had been raining all week, and the Class 4A state baseball tournament had been delayed a couple of times. It started on a Friday and was supposed to end on a Saturday. But the tournament was delayed way into next week. I remember driving to Manhattan on one of those days not knowing if we were going to play a game or not. My wife handed me her new Nokia cell phone and told me to call her when I got up there. I can’t even fathom my wife handing me her cell phone today. Hard to find someone more glued to her cell than my wife.So I called her somewhere on my way to Manhattan saying it’s starting to rain again. I almost wrecked the car trying to use the dang thing which is really no different from today.I also remember thinking of the cell phone as a bit of a novelty that won’t last much longer than the C.B. radio, or this new Internet thingy everyone was talking about. 3. Where’s Bryant’s pacifier?…Sometimes, you just have to yell out “are you kidding me?!” Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant is fussing with the Cowboys over a multitude of things including, get this, getting rid of his babysitter.“Hey, babysitter. If I can’t go out and break something or beat somebody up, I’m going to fire you and never play for the Cowboys again!!”Bryant wants to cut ties with David Wells, a former bail bondsman and current private investigator, whose main task is tagging the receiver 24/7 so he doesn’t get in trouble like burn down a nightclub or shoot all the neighbor’s cats or something.In other words, the Cowboys still feel they must babysit Bryant who is 26 years old… not 5, not 8, not 12, not 18, but frigging 26 YEARS OLD.If football wasn’t so darned entertaining, I’d gladly give it up and do something else rather than watch these pampered, overpaid, illiterate, immature, crybaby thugs bash in each other’s skulls on any given Sunday. 3. I really need to dust my fan in my room. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (12) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +2 Vote up Vote down craig · 277 weeks ago On Britt McHenry… they do it for the same reason you post the poli e notes – to attract viewers. The gossipy among us like other people’s dirty laundry. It lets them temporarily forget their own. And, by the way, getting arrested for something is *not* a conviction. But putting someones name in the paper for stuff is a great way to smear them horribly. Think about the irony here, Cue. Its not OK for TMZ but its OK for you. Really? Report Reply 2 replies · active 277 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Ted Logan · 277 weeks ago Never heard of #3 or #4. It’s too bad you can’t get behind the Royals. Even as they were in first place, making a run for the playoffs last season, you were still not on board. A great start to the season by the home-town, world series runner-up gets pushed aside for two fluff pieces? Report Reply 1 reply · active 277 weeks ago +4 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 277 weeks ago I’m ok with leaving celebrity screw ups out of the news. But the second they pull a “do you know who I am?” or “I’m on TV”, then their perceived right to privacy, due to not representing their employer at the time of said screw up, goes out the window. Report Reply 6 replies · active 277 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img read more

Netflix To Test Lower-price Plans As It Seeks More Asian Users

first_imgNetflix said it will test a lower-priced version of its film and television streaming service in some markets to boost sales.The company hasn’t committed to lowering prices anywhere, but does want to experiment, Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said in an interview Friday. He didn’t say when or where the test would be conducted.A lower-priced offering would be a departure for Netflix, which has maintained or raised prices in major markets as it adds content and invests in local productions to draw subscribers. While the company alluded to experiments with cheaper subscription deals in a conference call last month on its earnings, this is the first time Netflix has said it will test a lower-priced tier in some markets.Netflix offers subscriptions at three price levels, and doesn’t plan to lower that of its cheapest tier. Instead, executives are formulating an alternate version of the service, or a fourth tier, that will have different features and cost less.Netflix streaming first gained traction in the U.S. by offering a buffet of TV shows and movies for a fraction of the cost of pay-TV, encouraging millions of people to cancel their cable and satellite subscriptions — also known as cord-cutting. Now, the world’s largest streaming service is looking for growth in countries where per-capita income is significantly lower.Prices vary a bit by territory, and the cheapest U.S. plan is about $7.99. Many in Asia, including PCCW Ltd.’s Viu, offer a free service and a paid service, with the latter typically priced between $2 and $5 a month.“Leaving prices where they are, we are a very premium service,” Todd Yellin, Netflix’s vice president of product.Netflix, the world’s largest streaming service with more than 130 million subscribers, is looking to Asia as fertile territory for new customers after entering the region three years ago. The company announced 17 new shows from five Asian countries at an event last week in Singapore, where it hosted more than 100 journalists and social media influencers from across the region.The service is developing more than 100 film and TV projects across India, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Taiwan and has set up a local headquarters in Singapore. It is also looking to hire in Seoul, Tokyo and Mumbai.Still, growth has been slow in the region. The company has yet to amass 2 million subscribers in any country, according to estimates by Media Partners Asia. Hastings said Netflix could attract as many as 100 million customers in India alone.The most popular video service in Asia, and the world, is Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube. A bottomless repository of free videos, YouTube has added hundreds of millions of users as access to cheap, high-speed internet has spread across the region.“At what point do these guys start saying we need to change our pricing,” said Vivek Couto, executive director of Media Partners Asia, a consultancy. “He’s not going to get 100 million subscribers in India with the current strategy.”In India, Netflix offers subscriptions at 500 rupees a month ($6.85), 650 rupees and 800 rupees. Star India’s Hotstar Premium streaming service, by comparison, sells for 199 rupees a month.Hastings said he isn’t too worried about local competitors, nor is he trying to be as ubiquitous as YouTube. In India, for example, the company is targeting the 100 million or so people who speak some English, and earn enough money to afford a video service like Netflix.Beyond experimental price cuts, Netflix is also interested in raising prices in other markets.The company has burned through cash to expand its selection of TV shows and movies and has increased prices in many of its markets over the past few years without losing customers.–Bloomberg’s Bhuma Shrivastava contributed.(c) 2018, Bloomberg  Related Itemslast_img read more