Dominion SCANA Deal Begs Question: What’s Next For Santee Cooper?

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Post and Courier:Dominion Energy delivered a blockbuster offer to buy SCANA Corp. on Wednesday in the wake of South Carolina’s failed nuclear project, pitching a $14.6 billion deal that would be among the largest in state history.The offer from the Virginia-based utility giant, which SCANA has accepted, vowed to deliver lower electric rates to South Carolina Electric & Gas customers and a partial refund of the costly and incomplete expansion of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.Richmond, Va.-[based] Dominion is believed to have beaten out three other large Southeastern utilities for SCANA— NextEra Energy of Florida, Southern Co. of Georgia and Duke Energy of North Carolina, which is already South Carolina’s largest power provider. Those three power companies…are central to negotiations for SCANA’s partner in the V.C Summer Nuclear Station project: the state-run electric utility Santee Cooper.[Shar Pourezza, a utility analyst at Guggenheim Securities] said it will be difficult to land a deal that secures the future of one power company and its customers without resolving the V.C. Summer issue for the other. The General Assembly would need to approve the sale of Santee Cooper, which is headquartered in Moncks Corner.The governor said he wants to protect the state’s 700,000 electric cooperative customers, mostly in rural areas, who get electricity through Santee Cooper.  “(The SCANA sale) doesn’t resolve the issue,” he said. “The only way to resolve this travesty is to sell Santee Cooper. There is more work to be done, but today, we are headed in the right direction.”More: https://www.postandcourier.com/business/dominion-offers-to-buy-scana-in-wake-of-s-c/article_c3f17458-f030-11e7-a058-334629fee3f2.html Dominion SCANA Deal Begs Question: What’s Next For Santee Cooper?last_img read more

Natural Gas, Plant Closures To Challenge Coal In 2018

first_imgNatural Gas, Plant Closures To Challenge Coal In 2018 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享SNL:The coal sector found some balance in 2017 and hopes for a stable 2018, but another round of plant retirements and new natural gas facilities in the pipeline threatens to further diminish the industry’s domestic customer base in the coming months.The sector remains in secular decline despite a slight correction in markets as coal producers bounced back from a rapid drop in demand, said Moody’s Vice President and senior analyst Anna Zubets-Anderson. Another major contraction is likely in the next few years as natural gas power plants continue to come online and coal plants shut down, she added.“We have a significant amount of natural gas capacity coming online, and that’s when we’ll see coal being squeezed,” Zubets-Anderson said of the next few years. “They are going to have to burn natural gas, and they are going to have to displace something. A lot of coal plants have already been shut down, and I don’t think much of anything is going to bring them back.”An S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis published in December 2017 showed planned natural gas combined-cycle generating projects totaled more than 89 GW of scheduled capacity as of early November 2017. Much of that was in the early stages of development, with most capacity scheduled to come online through 2020. About 45% of the planned additions are in the coal-heavy PJM Interconnection.Compounding coal’s challenges from new natural gas capacity is a lack of new coal generation as old coal plants retire. Many large utilities, even those with coal-heavy portfolios, have increasingly expressed a desire to move away from coal even with a friendly administration trying to support the fuel.An October 2017 analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence showed scheduled and completed retirements of coal-fired power plants between 2013 and 2017 totaled 39.8 GW. Another 9.8 GW of coal-fired capacity is set for retirement by 2021. Both figures only include coal units for which a firm retirement date has been set, and some retirement announcements were not yet included in the total.More ($): https://platform.mi.spglobal.com/web/client?auth=inherit#news/article?id=43090901&cdid=A-43090901-15146last_img read more

‘How Puerto Rico’s New Grid Could Go Wrong’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News:The territory’s power company, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), is about to be privatized after 70 years as the island’s sole power provider.What worries Román is that the commonwealth’s government is approaching the massive undertaking in haste and with few safeguards in place, which it has done before, sometimes with disastrous results.That’s because the world has never seen circumstances like Puerto Rico’s.There have been bankruptcies. There has been upheaval in its regulatory regime. There have been technology transformations. There have been natural catastrophes. But there’s never been a case where all of these, plus privatization, have happened at the same time.In March, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló made an announcement. His government would do what government often does when public infrastructure is beyond repair: cede control of PREPA and invite private dollars to rebuild it.PREPA’s monopoly would end, the generation plants would be sold off, and the transmission and distribution network would be operated on a long-term concession of up to 25 years.The Legislature took up a bill to enable it called the “Puerto Rico Electrical System Transformation Act,” which is undergoing hearings.“We are very optimistic that this process will result in us being able to transform the energy system in Puerto Rico,” said Carlos Mercader, head of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, which represents the territorial government to Washington, D.C.Others aren’t so sure.“The bill establishes a mechanism to sell PREPA’s assets via politically driven contracts — rich in fees for lawyers, accountants, consultants and advisors,” wrote the authors of a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).The Legislature’s blueprint doesn’t address the basic problems that drove PREPA into a ditch, including political meddling, IEEFA wrote. “There’s no coherent plan toward moving toward new renewables or retiring plants to deal with declining demand,” one of the report’s authors, Cathy Kunkel, said in an interview.Others have pointed to Puerto Rico’s last privatization of a key utility as an example of what can go wrong.In the early 1990s, the island’s water agency, the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA), was in the same sort of shape PREPA is in now: saddled with debt and decrepit, unable to meet customers’ needs.Privatization of PRASA was set in motion by Gov. Pedro Rosselló, the father of the current governor. A study from the University of Iowa explains what happened. In its haste to close the deal, Puerto Rico sought few bids and wrote contracts poorly. Cost overruns ensued, along with conflicts that led to master contracts being canceled not just once, but twice.How Puerto Rico’s new grid could go wrong ‘How Puerto Rico’s New Grid Could Go Wrong’last_img read more

Spain outlines plan to install 2GW of wind annually through 2030

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ReNews.biz:The Spanish government is targeting over 2GW of annual wind energy installations out to 2030 as part of its new 10-year plan for renewables.Madrid has submitted its National Energy & Climate Plan (NECP) to the EU and wants renewables to account for 42% of the country’s energy mix and generate 74% of its electricity by the start of the next decade.All EU member states are required to submit 2030 plans, which will set growth targets for clean energy.“Spain has long been a leader in renewables: wind is 20% of their electricity and they create more export revenues from wind energy than from wine. It’s great to see they’re now planning a significant further expansion of renewables,” Wind Europe chief executive Giles Dickson said. “The level of ambition and visibility sends a clear signal to investors and will be good for jobs and growth. It makes Spain a frontrunner in the EU Green Deal. Five other EU Member States still haven’t finalised their NECPs yet. They should find inspiration in the excellent Spanish example,” he added.Spain currently has 25.7GW of installed capacity onshore and was Europe’s leading market for onshore wind last year, adding new projects totaling just over 1.6GW.More: Spain sets sights on 22GW of new wind by 2030 Spain outlines plan to install 2GW of wind annually through 2030last_img read more

BP buys into U.S. offshore wind market, inks $1.1 billion deal with Equinor

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Equinor ASA has agreed to sell a 50% stake in two offshore wind farms to BP PLC, establishing a strategic partnership to further develop similar projects in the U.S.The Norwegian state-owned energy company will sell the nonoperated stake in the 2-GW Empire Wind, located off the coast of New York State, and in the 2.4-GW Beacon Wind, located off the coast of Massachusetts, for a total consideration before adjustments of $1.1 billion, according to a Sept. 10 news release.Equinor currently holds 100% interest in both leases and will remain project operator through the development, construction and operations phases. BP’s acquisition of interests in the wind projects is effective Jan. 1. The deal is anticipated to close in early 2021.“Optimizing equity and bringing in new partners allow us to realize value, increasing our financial flexibility to fund further growth,” said Pål Eitrheim, executive vice president for new energy solutions in Equinor.Both companies hope to expand this cooperation further by considering future joint opportunities in the U.S. for bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind.Equinor aims to grow its renewable energy capacity to 4 GW to 6 GW by 2026 and 12 GW to 16 GW by 2035, and recently announced its expectation to accelerate these ambitions. BP is also looking to increase annual low carbon investment to around $5 billion a year by 2030. As part of its new strategy, the company plans to increase its developed renewable generating capacity from 2.5 GW in 2019 to around 50 GW by 2030.[Maryam Adeeb]More ($): BP marks entry in US offshore wind with $1.1B deal, partnership with Equinor BP buys into U.S. offshore wind market, inks $1.1 billion deal with Equinorlast_img read more

Earthquake Energy: Now that’s alternative

first_imgDear EarthTalk: Can earthquake energy be harnessed for power, particularly in places like Japan? Also, how can Japan, so vulnerable to earthquakes, even have nuclear power?  –– Sasha M., AustraliaWhile it is no doubt theoretically possible to generate electricity by harnessing the kinetic energy of shifting tectonic plates below the Earth’s crust, pulling it off from a practical standpoint would be a real logistical challenge—not to mention prohibitively expensive compared to harnessing other forms of energy, renewable or otherwise.Big earthquakes throw off vast amounts of energy. According to Beth Buczynski of the CrispGreen website, researchers have calculated that the January 2010 magnitude 7.0 earthquake that killed upwards of 220,000 people in Haiti released as much energy as 31 of the atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. And the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck northeast Japan in March 2011 unleashed the equivalent of more than 15,000 Hiroshima bombs. That’s a lot of energy indeed.“The total energy from an earthquake includes energy required to create new cracks in rock, energy dissipated as heat through friction, and energy elastically radiated through the earth,” reports the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program. “Of these, the only quantity that can be measured is that which is radiated through the earth.” Likewise, only this radiated energy—which is what shakes buildings and is recorded by seismographs—could be harnessed given the dedication of enough resources and the proper implementation of the right technologies.Just how to harness tectonic energy is the big question. One way would involve stringing quartz crystals, which can transfer electricity via piezoelectricity, underground along known fault lines. When tectonic plates shift, the crystals could transfer the energy they pick up to a grid-connected storage medium for later use. But this is hardly practical, for one because earthquakes rarely happen in a predictable manner let alone in the exact spots where energy harvesters would have set up their gear. Also, fault lines tend to run deep below the Earth’s surface, so laying down a network of quartz crystals would involve mining out shafts and connecting them underground on a scale way beyond what humans have done to the present.Regarding why Japan is so reliant on nuclear power despite the tectonic risks is a matter of economics. Lacking the rich oil, coal and other energy reserves of many other nations, Japan relies on nuclear power for some 30 percent of its electricity. Prior to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Japan was gearing up to boost its nuclear power reserves to account for half of its electricity needs by 2030. This increased reliance on nuclear power was set to play a big part in the country’s rollback of greenhouse gas emissions.Prior to the earthquake and tsunami, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency had modeled a 54 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2000 levels by 2050, and a 90 percent reduction by 2100, with nuclear energy accounting for upwards of 60 percent of the country’s total energy mix. Now it looks like the country may scale back its nuclear expansion plans, which in the short term will only increase its reliance on fossil fuels which will in turn drastically limit Japan’s ambitious plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, one would hope that turning away from nuclear expansion would spur the growth of alternatives such as wind power and other forms of renewable energy.CONTACTS: CrispGreen, www.crispgreen.com; U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program, www.earthquake.usgs.gov.last_img read more

Flashpoint: Solar Could Power Half of Appalachia

first_imgNo doubt you’ve heard the excuses from certain lawmakers and their benefactors in the petrochemical industrial complex: Forget renewable energy. Especially solar. The technology isn’t there and it’s too expensive and it’s really just pie-in-the-sky stuff for hippies.Investors disagree. Solar production has grown 900 percent in the past five years, and now even Wall Street has taken a shine to solar power. As a recent CitiGroup investment report put it, “Our viewpoint is that solar is here to stay.”Jeff Deal, senior project manager at the Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy, says we already have the technology to power up to half of Appalachia with solar alone—and we can do it affordably, if we get our policies and priorities straight. We talked with him about the massive, unrealized potential of renewable energy.Why hasn’t solar energy been more widely adopted in Appalachia and around the country?The big problem right now is that there’s no way to finance it. To buy a solar system, you have to produce that money upfront—like $20,000 to $40,000. People love it in principle, but then they see the price tag and freak out. If you could buy renewables as easily as buying a car, it would be a different world.What is the long-term potential of solar?Colossal. Even though it’s not exactly Southern California, Appalachia gets enough sunlight to power 50 percent of its electricity demands.How can we change our public policies to encourage, rather than discourage, the use of solar?First, the government should make it legal for people to sell electricity to each other. A lot of our policies have been created to favor entrenched market forces like fossil fuel companies. For example, it’s illegal in North Carolina for the owner of a solar panel system to sell electricity back to the installer to defray the installation cost. Removing that roadblock would be huge. We need to have 21st century economic policies for the sale of electricity, not medieval, plantation-esque policies. And while we’re at it, we should create solar loan and finance programs like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. If houses are important, electricity to power homes is also important.If the subsidies currently offered to fossil fuel industries were offered to solar, would that make solar cost-competitive?Absolutely. We should provide the same level of subsidies that the fossil fuel and nuclear industries get. If you had to pay the true, cradle-to-grave cost of energy, renewables would win hands-down.Would we need new battery storage or other technologies for solar to work well?No. We have more than enough technology, but we haven’t manufactured and deployed it. This isn’t a technical issue—it’s a financing and policy issue. We haven’t invested enough in solar energy to realize its full potential, but the technical part is figured out. Five years ago, we thought it would be gravy to get solar panels down to a dollar a watt, and now we’re below that. We’ve cut the cost of solar panels by 400 percent over the past three to four years. And yet our yearly solar energy generation is something a third-world country would be a ashamed of. We’re busy building nuclear plants that were supposed to be too cheap to meter, and decades later you still can’t get insurance for them and taxpayers are on the hook.How would solar work at night and when the sun is obscured by clouds?A variety of storage techniques are available now, like pump storage, compressed air, and batteries. It’s not technically difficult—you just have to spend money on them in the same way you do on fossil fuels. There’s a big reason why we keep an entire carrier fleet in the Gulf of Arabia. If we upped our spending on solar and other renewables, we could probably bring that fleet home.How much acreage would be required for solar panels to power Appalachia, and where should they be sited?Some people think you’d need a massive amount of land for solar panels. That’s just not true. A chunk of land the size of the state of Delaware would be enough to power the entire country using solar concentrated power plants, so you’d need a whole lot less just to power Appalachia. Abandoned farmland close to large population centers in Appalachia would be the best place for a centralized system. But importing power to the region is phenomenally expensive, so it would be cheaper to have a decentralized system made up of both large plants to satisfy demand peaks and also individual buildings with their own solar panels.What role would wind, geothermal, and other types of renewable energy play in powering Appalachia?All of them could and should play a role. For example, Appalachia has a lot of wind, and hydroelectric would also probably play a role. And we have huge amounts of biomass, which is potential solar energy and represents stored carbon. We have more than enough resources. What we don’t have right now is the political will.last_img read more

What’s Keeping Austin Weird?

first_imgAuthorities said Howell was free climbing in one of the most challenging portions of the Linville Gorge. UPDATE: Free soloist Austin Howell died Sunday after falling more than 80 feet from Shortoff Mountain in Burke County, officials said. Burke County Emergency Services Director Mike Willis said rescue crews were able to reach the victim by rappelling down the mountain about 90 minutes after the call for aid was made. Other climbers were performing CPR on the victim. The U.S. Forest Service is investigating the incident.center_img Austin Howell has been known to climb in a top hat, naked, and without a rope, but he’s also frequented many hospital beds. What’s keeping Austin psyched on climbing? Since the dawn of rock climbing, and throughout its bruised and bloody history of improbable speed ascents and unprecedented tragedy alike, the question ‘why?’ has never been far from the minds of climbers. Why climb in the face of danger? Why risk life and limb for the sake of a summit? Why try when you could die?For 28-year-old Atlanta-based free soloist Austin Howell, those questions hit close to home. Since embarking on his now decade-long relationship with climbing, Howell has been more than bruised and bloody, and on more than one occasion.In 2008, it was a broken back. A few years later, shattered ankles. Then, just last year, Howell fell 20 feet headfirst while climbing The Nose, fracturing his skull, wrist, and five neck vertebrae. To the average climber, any one of those injuries might be sufficient reason to stop climbing altogether, but Howell is not your average person, nor is quitting climbing an option.Born and raised just outside of Houston, Howell has always had an affinity for heights. As a child, he would take to the trees during hide-and-seek, proudly perched on a limb for hours while his friends searched tirelessly. But it wasn’t until Howell attended the University of Houston that he was formally introduced to the sport that would change his life.“One of the girls that worked at the [indoor] wall explained what routes were and tied me in,” Howell remembers. “I got skunked 15 feet off the ground, not because it was impossible, but because I didn’t know what to do. At that point, it became a puzzle and it needed solving. That’s when I got hooked.”Though Howell was in school to study electrical engineering, his interests quickly evolved from the academic to the athletic. When he wasn’t in class, he was on the wall. When he wasn’t on the wall, he was pouring over YouTube videos of his spirit animal, Tommy Caldwell. On his third day of climbing, Howell was already projecting 5.8 routes at the gym. The challenge of the puzzle, part mental, part physical, became all-consuming.“Hans Florine said it best,” Howell says, quoting the famous American speed climber: “The only thing better than climbing is more climbing.”Just two years into his climbing career, Howell was forced to reevaluate that logic. While projecting a new gym route called Final Destination, his belayer failed to catch a fall, causing him to land back-first from a height of 35 feet. Yet it wasn’t the broken T11 and T12 vertebrae, or the four ensuing months of back brace sedentary living, that made Howell doubt his passion. It was his mother.“Basically, she told me I could keep climbing or keep having family support for college,” he says. “As you can see, I’m still climbing.”The perceived risks of climbing became such a source of tension between Howell and his mother that their relationship, especially after Howell quit school, crumbled beneath the weight of ‘what if.’ For Howell, the choice was a no-brainer. The courage to see it through, however, was on par with leading a runout 5.12 trad route.“When you find something that gives you that deep of a sense of peace, why would you let it go?” he says. “For most people, if they’ve really found something that’s meaningful in their lives, the choice…is going to be really obvious. The trick is admitting it.”The next five years for Howell were a whirlwind of bloody fingers, burritos, and truck bed camping. From Hueco Tanks to Looking Glass, and a side trip to Germany, Howell targeted the best crags to push his limits. He was living the quintessential dirtbag dream. Even without the college degree, Howell found success in climbing Telecom towers to fund his fun, which eventually landed him in the Southeast.Meanwhile, Howell was slowly coming to grips with an identity he never expected to embrace—that of a free soloist. His life until then had taken some unexpected twists and turns. But the more he climbed, the more he trained, and the more he trained, the harder he climbed. Soon, Howell’s baseline for “easy” was a solid 5.10 trad route. Free soloing, it seemed, was the logical next step.“Once upon a time, there was only climbing. We didn’t have safety equipment. There was no sport, there was no trad, there was no solo. There was just climbing,” he says. “Whenever I’m climbing easy stuff, placing gear gets really annoying and slows me down. It takes me out of the moment.”His inquisitive and analytical nature earned him the nickname The Professor. Having an activity that quiets the mind and forces the present is imperative to his being, Howell says. No longer a puzzle of mind over body, climbing became first and foremost an activity of the spirit.“Whenever you’re doing something incredibly hard on the wall, everything disappears,” he says. “It’s just you and this handhold, this foothold, this particular way to twist your body. When you’re really at your limit, your mind has to become a complete void. You just become the movement.”Oftentimes, Howell and his meditative but quirky personality are met with apprehension at the crag. Fellow climbers, unaware of Howell’s values, are quick to judge. They see a young and seemingly reckless dude in a top hat casually sending 80-foot, 5.10 trad routes, with just two pieces of protection. When Howell eliminates the rope altogether, the judgments worsen.“I frequently draw a mixed bag of reactions, from genuine concern to horror, rage, elation, contempt and simple confusion,” Howell writes on his blog, Dreaming of Gnar. “Well-intentioned folks try to point out all the possibilities that could lead to an accident: there could be loose rock, there could be bugs, there could be wet rock.”Be that as it may, Howell argues that roped climbers face the same situational uncertainties that free soloists do. A slipped foothold doesn’t necessarily lead to a whipper, just as the mere presence of a belayer won’t ensure you don’t hit the deck if you do fall. In fact, Howell says, were it not for the false pretense of safety under which modern day society operates, fewer climbers would put their faith in gear over skill.“Your first fundamental piece of protection [in climbing] is your fingers,” Howell says. “We have this safety culture, but really, you don’t have any safety protection beyond your ability to make competent decisions.”Behind Howell’s wide eyes and wiry hair, the wheels never stop turning. Though he has racked up a number of onsite solo ascents 5.10 and under (including an 11-pitch tour of Shortoff Mountain, totaling 4,500 feet of vertical climbing), most free solo attempts in the 5.11+ range require countless roped laps. Each time Howell stands at the base of a potential solo, if he’s not calculating his mojo, he’s adding up hours spent on the campus board in his basement. Thorough, humble, and honest, Howell knows when to back off a solo, and when to power through.“I hate stressful climbing,” he says. “Being scared out of your mind while climbing is not a pleasant experience.”Unlike the vast majority of climbers, Howell experiences fear not from free soloing but from leading trad. Remember the fractured skull, wrist, and neck vertebrae? Howell wasn’t free soloing The Nose when he fell headfirst—he was roped in, well-protected, and seemingly on top of his game. “We’ll never know what happened,” he says. “The first thing that went wrong was it was wet, which forced us to aid climb instead of free climb. Then a piece of aid gear pulled out under body weight. Then, an additional piece probably pulled out as well. Then I hit the ledge.”Fractures aside, Howell also lost the hearing in his left ear as well as his internal equilibrium. He spent two days in the intensive care unit, and nearly another week in the hospital unable to comprehend what had happened, or why the world spun uncontrollably whenever he tried to sleep.“Every time I closed my eyes, it was like getting tossed into one of those paint can shakers at Home Depot,” he remembers.The doctors, unsurprisingly, told Howell there was no foreseeable future in which he would ever be able to climb again. The average person suffering from so many fractures and head trauma simultaneously could expect to be bedridden for months before seeing any signs of progress. But Howell is not the average person, nor is quitting climbing an option.Just one month after the accident, he was top-roping 5.6 in the gym. Now, only a few months shy of the year anniversary, Howell is stronger than ever. Though the injuries initially set him back physically, he credits the incident to a much-needed change in attitude toward climbing, and toward his answer to the question Why?“I once was completely obsessed with hard routes, chasing the next number and progressively seeking out harder and harder climbs to test myself and project them into submission,” he writes, whereas now, he understands that, “[i]t’s not about climbing hard, trad, sport, boulder, multi-pitch, big wall, this grade, or that. It’s about having the absolute most fun you can have. [T]hat’s how you know you’re doing it right.”You likely won’t see Howell on the next climbing-centric “60 Minutes” feature. He’s too busy having fun to worry about the fame—unless, that is, it involves first natural ascents (as in naked free solos). Just last spring, EpicTV featured a video of Howell going balls to the wall on Dopey Duck, a 350-foot, three-pitch, 5.9 route in the Linville Gorge. True to his mantra, Howell admits that naked climbing is “a jackass stunt, but at least it’s a fun one.”last_img read more

Weekend Picks South: Hike to the Summit of Pinnacle Mountain

first_imgAt an elevation of 3,415 feet above sea level, Pinnacle Mountain is the tallest mountain completely contained within the borders of South Carolina. Situated amidst the beautiful scenery of the South Carolina Upstate, this hike is fairly popular, but the balds at the top offer unrivaled views of the iconic Table Rock Mountain.To get to the top start at the eastern terminus of the Foothills Trail inside Table Rock State Park. A fairly strenuous uphill hike of about 2.5 miles will take you to the balds where you’ll soak in views of nearby Table Rock Mountain and the surrounding forests. If you’re looking for an overnight treck bypass the spur trail that leads to the true summit of Pinnacle and continue on the Foothills Trails beyond the boundary of Table Rock State Park to a few stellar backcountry campsites.For more ideas about hikes in the South Carolina Upstate click here.For more detailed weekend trip adventure plans like this one subscribe to our Weekend Picks Enews letter![divider]More from BlueRidgeOutdoors.com[/divider]last_img read more

French Patrol Seizes 3-Ton Cocaine Haul off Costa Rica

first_img A French warship seized close to three tons of cocaine and arrested several passengers on a boat in international waters off Costa Rica, the French embassy in San Jose said on 23 March. The operation took place at dawn Monday when the speedboat was intercepted by the French frigate, the Ventose, according to the embassy. The Ventose patrols the zone as part of a Caribbean anti-drugs agreement signed by France, the United States, the Netherlands, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic. The French embassy said “close to three tons of cocaine” were seized. Two Hondurans and two Colombians on board were arrested and transferred to the French island of Martinique. U.S. officials estimate that 250 tons of cocaine arrive in the United States from Central America, a transit route from South America, where cocaine is produced. By Dialogo March 25, 2011last_img read more