Commentary: Boondoggle outrages Albertans, but many Californians shrug off much worse scandal
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden blocked construction of the Keystone XL pipeline linking Canadian crude oil fields with distribution centers and refineries in the United States. It was an enormous victory for American environmentalists who want to leave fossil fuels on the ash heap of history. But it also triggered a huge political scandal in Canada, with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney being roasted for spending $1.5 billion in public funds on a now-doomed project. "Kenney's crazy bet has to be near the top of the most irresponsible things ever done in Alberta's history," conclud...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
The weekly geography quiz
GEOQUIZ: In which state is Rocky Mountain National Park? Answer: Colorado. Among the highlights of the park, which is adjacent to the town of Estes Park, is Trail Ridge Road. It peaks out at more than 12,000 feet and is closed during the winter when it’s snowed in. ———
Raphael Wicky — a former ‘water carrier’ with a ‘California vibe’ — is tasked with getting the Chicago Fire back to the playoffs. But despite a 1st season filled with struggles, he’s optimistic entering 2021.
When the Chicago Fire unveiled Raphael Wicky as their new coach ahead of the 2020 season, he cautioned that rebuilding the team and establishing a new culture would take time. “Building a team is really exciting, but building a team also takes time,” he said. “It’s not going to be done overnight.” What no one could have predicted was how much patience would be required during a season defined by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fire played two games in March, then stopped as Major League Soccer halted its season. Fast forward to July and the Fire played three matches in the MLS Is Back Tournament be...
New exotic invasive snake is captured in Everglades National Park. It’s likely a released pet
MIAMI — Visitors hiking the Mahogany Hammock Trail in Everglades National Park earlier this month spotted an unfamiliar snake. It turned out to be a brand new invasive species. The hikers alerted park staff of the sighting. Park staff and biologists from the United States Geological Survey’s Fort Collins Science Center captured the snake, which was identified as a non-native Central American milk snake. It appears to be a solo snake, good news for a park and Everglades ecosystem overrun by exotic invasive reptiles. “This individual is thought to be a released pet because of its docile behavior...
Yosemite National Park announces end to online reservations needed to enter the park
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Yosemite National Park will not require day-use reservations to enter the popular park in March. “Starting March 1, reservations will not be required to enter Yosemite,” park officials recently announced. Day-use reservations – $2 via recreation.gov, in addition to normal park entrance fees – were again required in February, in part to manage and reduce crowds that come to the see the park’s “firefall” phenomenon in February. Yosemite first implemented a day-use reservation system last summer to reduce visitation and help stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s not yet known whe...
The Sacramento Bee
Past efforts to reform the Texas power grid stalled. Lawmakers say this year is different.
When Texas lawmakers convene Thursday for a series of hearings aimed at examining power outages that left millions of people in the cold and dark amid a winter storm, it won’t be the first time they've talked about the issue. The question is: Will they do anything about it this time? Past legislative efforts to make changes to the state’s electric grid and at the Public Utility Commission stalled, including after winter storms in 2011 that prompted rolling blackouts. But lawmakers say the catastrophic impact of this year’s storm, the spotlight on past inaction and early pledges from state lead...
‘We were trapped’: Texans facing $10,000-plus electricity bills are desperate for relief
FORT WORTH, Texas — The offer seemed almost too good to be true: Sign up for a low Costco-like membership fee, pay market prices for electricity and potentially save big on utility bills. That’s what drove Roland Whitaker, a Decatur rancher and oil worker, to enroll with electricity provider Griddy after hearing an advertisement on radio station WBAP. For Whitaker, who cares for about 175 head of cattle along with horses and goats, the savings were significant: at least a few thousand dollars per year. He didn’t quite understand how it all worked, but his family was thrilled to have the extra ...
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Large privately owned redwood forest is preserved in $24.7 million deal
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A vast redwood forest located 80 miles north of San Francisco and sprawling nearly as large as Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains has received permanent protection under a deal between a Bay Area environmental group and the property’s longtime owners. Under the agreement, Save the Redwoods League, based in San Francisco, paid $24.7 million to buy a conservation easement over the sweeping Mailliard Ranch, located in southern Mendocino County near the Sonoma County line. The 14,838-acre property, roughly half the size of the city of San Francisco, is bel...
The Mercury News
Texas power grid back to normal operations, but 180,000 still without power
AUSTIN, Texas — Five days into a statewide winter storm that left millions without power and water, more than 180,000 Texans remained without power as of Friday afternoon. But officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the nonprofit that manages the power grid for the state, said the remaining outages are not because of power reduction. As of Friday morning, the grid is no longer in emergency operations and has returned to normal. “There is enough generation on the electric system to allow us to begin to return to more normal operating conditions,” said senior director of system...
Power back on for more than 90% of Austin; focus shifts to water, food access
More than 90% of Austin Energy customers had power as of Thursday afternoon, a warming development in the city's continued fight against the winter storm – a fight that now shifts to getting water and food to people without access to necessities. A total of 40,969 Austin Energy customers were still without power as of 2 p.m. Thursday, down from 220,000 earlier in the week – the peak when less than 60% of the city had power. "Our crews, our teams, will not stop until every customer has power," Austin Energy general manager Jacqueline Sargent said Thursday. Sargent said she could not say when po...