Increasing Worry Over ‘Hundreds of Million, if Not Billions’ in U.S. Coal Mine Cleanup Costs

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Steven Mufson and Joby Warrick for the Washington Post:A worsening financial crisis for the nation’s biggest coal companies is sparking concerns that U.S. taxpayers could be stuck with hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in cleanup costs across a landscape of shuttered mines stretching from Appalachia to the northern Plains.Worries about huge liabilities associated with hundreds of polluted mine sites have mounted as Peabody Energy, the world’s largest publicly traded coal company, was forced to appeal to creditors for an extra 30 days to pay its debts. Two of the four other biggest U.S. coal companies have declared bankruptcy in the past six months.Under a 1977 federal law, coal companies are required to clean up mining sites when they’re shut down. But the industry’s plummeting fortunes have raised questions about whether companies can fulfill their obligations to rehabilitate vast strip mines in Western states — many of which are on federally owned property — as well as mountaintop-removal mining sites in the East.A number of smaller companies have defaulted or skimped on cleanup obligations, leaving behind abandoned strip mines and denuded mountains. Some are simply eyesores, unhealed scars on the landscape that can be seen for miles. Others are perpetual sources of water pollution, slowly leaking acidic and otherwise toxic wastes into streams and groundwater supplies.Now coal giants are facing outcomes similar to those experienced by some of the smaller companies. Several are struggling to make payments on debts for ill-timed multibillion-dollar acquisitions of their rivals in recent years. On top of that, they have been financially squeezed by competition from cheap natural gas and declining U.S. and Chinese demand for coal.The biggest coal companies typically pay third parties to ensure that mine sites are cleaned up in the event of financial hardship. But in recent years, many coal companies have relied on a cheaper technique called “self-bonding,” pledging only their own names and financial wherewithal to guarantee their cleanup obligations.With mounting losses and debt loads, the companies do not have enough money to pay for all their obligations, and self-bonding is “not worth [the] paper [it’s] written on,” Steve Jakubowski, a bankruptcy lawyer with the firm Robbins, Salomon & Patt, said in an email. In a bankruptcy, where Alpha Natural Resources is now, a judge can decide which creditors are paid and how much — and state and federal governments could be left holding the bag for reclamation costs.“There is a lot of liability out there and a lot of uncertainty,” said Shannon Anderson, a lawyer with the Power River Basin Resource Council, a Wyoming nonprofit group that supports tougher rules for cleaning up mine sites.Full article: Can coal companies afford to clean up coal country? Increasing Worry Over ‘Hundreds of Million, if Not Billions’ in U.S. Coal Mine Cleanup Costslast_img read more

Mersey mission

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Children 14 or Under Need Fewer HPV Vaccine Doses

first_imgNew York Times 19 October 2016Children 11 to 14 years old need only two doses of the HPV vaccine, not the previously recommended three doses, to protect against cervical cancer and other cancers caused by the human papillomavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.But teenagers and young adults who start the vaccinations later, at ages 15 through 26, should stick with the three-dose regimen, the disease centers said.The new advice is based on a review of studies showing that two doses in the younger group “produced an immune response similar or higher than the response in young adults (aged 16 to 26 years) who received three doses,” the C.D.C. said in a statement. The two doses should be given at least six months apart, the agency said.The statement also noted that the two-dose schedule will make the process simpler and easier for families to complete and could increase the number of young teenagers who receive the vaccine. Despite the vaccine’s proven effectiveness, immunization rates have remained low.HPV is a group of more than 150 related viruses, according to the disease centers. They are spread by intimate, skin-to-skin contact, and by vaginal, oral and anal intercourse. HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active people become infected at some point. In most people, the immune system destroys the virus. But in some, the infection lingers. Some viral strains cause genital warts, and others can cause cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis and back of the throat.READ MORE: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/20/health/children-14-or-under-need-fewer-hpv-vaccine-doses.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=1Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

Kluivert keen on Van Gaal reunion

first_imgPatrick Kluivert would relish the chance to again work alongside new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal in a coaching capacity.Van Gaal formally took charge at United on Wednesday after his role as Netherlands coach came to an end following the nation’s participation at the FIFA World Cup. Kluivert worked as Van Gaal’s assistant at international level for two years and also played under the 62-year-old at both Ajax and Barcelona as well as for their country. And while Kluivert is disappointed to have been overlooked for the number two role at Old Trafford in favour of Ryan Giggs, he has not ruled out the possibility of forming part of Van Gaal’s backroom staff at the Premier League club at some point. “I talked with Van Gaal and he said he would have loved to have given me the opportunity at Manchester United, but there was somebody already in my position,” the legendary former striker told talkSPORT. “I’m fine with it.  “I would have loved to come to Manchester United. I hope it can happen in the future, you never know.”The synergy that exists between the pair means Kluivert is well placed to make predictions about how United will fare with Van Gaal. Although returning the club to the UEFA Champions League following the disappointment of last season is arguably the Dutchman’s primary aim, Kluivert believes Van Gaal is setting his sights higher. He added: “He’s absolutely going for the Premier League title. A club like Manchester United always has to go for the title and that’s what he wants in his first year.”He’s a great coach and I know he’s looking forward to taking over at Manchester United.  “It will be a difficult year but I know he can do it. He can work well with the squad.”Van Gaal is a great tactician and he wants to win matches. He likes to play offensive and attractive football as well though. He won’t disappoint the Manchester United fans.”last_img read more

Kaneta goes clear at Greenwood

first_img3rd Mike Johns (14) 35ptsNear Pins: B2 Mashi Kaneta, B5 Paul Smith, C3 Paul Hack, C6 Steve YoungerLong Putts: C9 Steve Younger, B9 Alex FieldWe had 13 eager starters to tackle Greenwood golf course, all taking advantage of the vouchers on offer.  It’s good to see that the courses are offering prices as numbers are down and seasons (high & low) are no different.We played B & C nines from the yellow tees, and although at 6,100 yards a little short for some, the tricky par 5’s sorted most out.  The course was in good nick although we needed to play ‘pick clean and place’ as the course did have some water in places.  The weather was also good to us, a bit of a breeze would have been nice as it did get hotter as the day got longer.With only the 1 division it was Mashi Kaneta who came up trumps, returning a tidy 37 points to finish 2 shots clear of a bottleneck of 3 players all fighting it out for 2 podium places.  Getting the nod was Glenn Smith with Mike Johns taking third while Paul Smith that was the unlucky golfer. Glenn Smith (left) with Mashi Kaneta.The Growling Swan Golf SocietyMonday, July 24, Greenwood – Stableford1st Mashi Kaneta (15) 37pts2nd Glenn Smith (26) 35ptslast_img read more

Coco ladies shine at Lawn Bowls National Singles event

first_imgOur local hopeful Bank pulled out all the stops in winning all three qualifying rounds but just fell short at the quarter finals stage.The ladies competition was a different story with the Bangkok representatives being outplayed by the local girls who took all three top spots.  Thanom Karnrandee was well focused all the weekend but was just outfought in the semi final by Coco’s own Sue Bryant to set up the final against Lek Pettyfer, who had just overcome Songsin Chou from Bangkok.  Thanom went on to win 3rd spot against Songsin 21-15 and Lek was pushed all the way but held on to an early 8–0 lead to resist a run in from a resurgent Sue to win 21-17.The winners received 20,000 baht, runners up 10,000 baht and play offs 5,000 baht and a cup from the Lawn Bowls Association of Thailand in association with the Coco Club and sponsors Singha. The Lawn Bowls Association of Thailand held their annual Singles tournament at an indoor venue for the first time on March 2nd and 3rd.  The top 28 Thai male and female lawn bowlers were at Coco Club Resort, located just outside Pattaya, to enjoy a friendly but serious weekend of lawn bowling which would normally decide who will represent Thailand for the coming year.  Very competitive bowling was seen and after a day and a half of play and with the finals on a 1 hour 20 mins or first to 21 scoreline, there was no time wasting.  The men’s event went generally according to ranking with Bangkok based Ing (Acting Sub Lt. Sakpraset Mitsaha) just outstaying the younger challenge of Num (Tanumsak Kinsorn) by just one bowl (17-16) in the final and Bus (Acting Sub Lt. Aunurek Rotmanee) edging Tan (Chaithai Kanganakparn) 21-18 for the 3rd and 4th place.Winners pose with their trophies alongside organizers and officials at the Thailand Lawn Bowls National Singles tournament held at Coco Club Resort, Pattaya, Sunday, March 3.last_img read more