Coalition of Conservatives and Progressives Join to Battle Utilities’ Curbs on Florida Solar

first_imgCoalition of Conservatives and Progressives Join to Battle Utilities’ Curbs on Florida Solar FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Sam Ross-Brown for The American Prospect:An unlikely alliance of Tea Party conservatives and progressive climate advocates has come together to fight a controversial solar energy ballot initiative in Florida. Launched in 2015, the so-called “green tea” coalition that includes the Nature Conservancy, the Christian Coalition, the Sierra Club, are standing firm against a measure that would enshrine Florida’s anti-solar policies in the state constitution. The coalition views the amendment as a power grab by the state’s largest utility companies that could cripple the state’s nascent solar industry and undermine consumers’ ability to tap into Florida’s vast solar energy potential.The Florida Right to Solar Energy Choice Initiative, which heads to voters in November, would give residents “the right to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use.” The measure, known as “Amendment 1,” also mandates that “consumers who do not choose to install solar are not required to subsidize” those that do.While Amendment 1 supporters frame the initiative as a pro-solar consumer-protection measure, opponents say the language is intentionally misleading:Despite its wording, the amendment does not actually allow consumers to lease home solar systems from a solar-power installer or developer. This financing model, also known as third-party leasing, has made solar systems more affordable for residents in many other states. Similarly, Florida residents already have the right to buy and use rooftop solar panels, and protections for energy consumers are strong.Instead, opponents stress that the measure is designed to enshrine the existing leasing ban in the Florida Constitution in tandem with a specific prohibition against “subsidies” for solar customers. Depending on how that language is interpreted and enforced, these changes could make solar power prohibitively expensive for the average Florida consumer and more difficult in the future to change policy.With the rapid growth of rooftop solar in recent years, major power companies in many states want to roll back the tax incentives that have played a critical role in making small-scale solar-power installations affordable for homeowners, apartment dwellers, and small businesses. But conservative Republicans and environmental advocates have joined forces against what they view as unfair market practices by large utility companies and their industry allies that have balked at the competition from small-scale solar systems.Boasting vast and largely untapped solar energy resources, the Sunshine State’s battle over rooftop solar systems has brought conservatives and progressives together in a joint effort to promote small-scale green energy. “This is about choice and freedom,” says Debbie Dooley, a co-founder of the Tea Party movement who recently joined the pro-solar policy fight in Florida. “I think Ronald Reagan said it best: Being good stewards of the environment that God gave us should not be a partisan issue.”In 2014, Dooley helped establish Conservatives for Energy Freedom, a national group that serves as a counterweight to the large, investor-owned utilities that have opposed the growth of residential solar-energy systems. These companies operate, generate, transmit, and distribute energy with almost no competition in Florida and elsewhere. “That government-created monopoly model really conflicts with conservative values,” says Dooley. “It’s about stifling competition.”The solution, Dooley realized, involved empowering consumers to generate their own electricity, particularly through rooftop solar systems. The group waged and won its first political battle in 2015 when Georgia passed a law that permits third-party leasing. Under the new law, consumers can now lease home sola- energy systems from installation companies and purchase the power generated by those systems at a discounted rate. This financing model allows Georgians to avoid the high upfront costs of buying a home solar system and has increased rooftop solar installations statewide.After the Georgia battle, the group turned its attention to Florida, where utility companies had recently won a fight to gut the state’s energy efficiency and solar rebate programs. These types of changes, Dooley says, “essentially block out the sun.” The power companies’ attempts to enshrine anti-solar policies in the state constitution could cripple Florida’s solar industry, she warns.The proposed amendment would ban “subsidies” for solar customers. Those subsides could include programs like net metering, which allows solar consumers to sell their excess power back to utilities at market rates. A net metering rate cut would make a home solar-power energy systems more expensive for most Florida homeowners.Florida largest power companies and conservative business groups are bankrolling a well-funded and coordinated pro–Amendment 1 effort. The Consumers for Smart Solar campaign emphasizes the need to “protect Floridians from scams and rip-offs” and “promote solar in the Sunshine State.” Since last summer, Consumers for Smart Solar has raised and spent more than $7.6 million, $2 million more than Governor Rick Scott’s re-election PAC, Let’s Get to Work, has pulled in.According to Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action Fund, that rhetoric is designed to confuse voters, since Florida consumers currently have the right to own and use solar panels and third-party leasing is already banned. In fact, Florida is one of just four states that outlaw third-party leasing. Moreover, the initiative does not contain any new consumer protections. “They’re trying to undermine the economics of rooftop solar,” says Smith whose group is a “green tea” ally of Conservatives for Energy Freedom. “You can see them dancing around that.”But Kallinger says solar customers should share the costs of operating the power grid. “If you choose to use solar, and you use the grid, you have to pay for the maintenance of that grid,” he says, echoing language utility company officials have used in Michigan, Nevada, and a few other states. In the coming months, Consumers for Smart Solar plans to step up its anti-solar campaign with “Yes on 1 for the Sun” TV ads, direct mailings, and a social media push.Yet there may be some dark clouds on the horizon for Amendment 1. A March Mason-Dixon Polling and Research survey of 625 registered Florida voters found that 64 percent of those polled supported the measure, while 18 percent opposed it and another 18 percent were ‘not sure.’ Support for the measure has dropped nearly 10 percentage points since a Hill Research Associates February survey commissioned by the proponents, Consumers for Smart Solar.Under Florida law, constitutional amendments must obtain 60 percent of the vote to pass. In recent weeks, the Tampa Bay Times, Sun Sentinel, and a handful of other Florida newspapers have expressed deep skepticism about Amendment 1, calling its language “deceptive” and “manipulative.”The Florida solar campaign demonstrates how that conservatives and progressives can find common ground on energy policy.Full article: Tea Partiers and Progressives Unite Against ‘Deceptive’ Florida Ballot Initiativelast_img read more

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Germany’s RWE has global plans for renewable energy business

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The newly formed RWE AG will mainly invest the billions it plans to spend annually on renewables outside of its home market of Germany after its asset swap with rival E.ON SE and subsidiary Innogy SE is completed later this year, the company’s chief executive said.“You look where you earn the most money. At the moment, that is certainly not Germany,” Rolf Martin Schmitz, who has led the company since 2016, told an audience at the E-world power industry conference in Essen, Germany, on Feb. 4. “We will continue to invest globally.”Under a €40 billion asset swap announced last year, RWE is set to become the third-largest renewable energy generator in Europe and second-largest player in the offshore wind sector by taking over all the renewables assets of E.ON and Innogy. In its new incarnation, the company plans to spend €1.5 billion per year to grow its portfolio by between 2 GW and 3 GW of new wind and solar photovoltaic capacity.But Germany, where RWE operates the largest fleet of coal-fired power plants, won’t receive a majority of the planned investments, according to Schmitz. “There is just no space or market for it,” he said.Although solar PV additions totaled approximately 3 GW in Germany last year, the onshore wind sector has collapsed around the introduction of competitive auctions and a slowdown in approvals. The most recent tender in October 2018 saw prices tick up as interest from developers waned, although the government has also introduced special auctions for 8 GW of extra renewables capacity to be tendered between 2019 and 2021.More ($): RWE renewables focus will lie outside Germany after asset swap, CEO says Germany’s RWE has global plans for renewable energy businesslast_img read more

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North Carolina may take up securitization idea to speed coal plant closures

first_imgNorth Carolina may take up securitization idea to speed coal plant closures FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy News Network:A controversial ratemaking bill in North Carolina contains a little-discussed section that — if amended — could offer a financing model to help Duke Energy close its coal-fired power plants sooner rather than later.Senate Bill 559 includes language authorizing the utility to recoup storm repair costs with bonds secured by ratepayers, a mechanism called securitization. The Duke-backed bill cleared the state Senate this month, but its pace has slowed in the House, primarily because of another provision that would allow upfront, annual rate hikes over multi-year periods.Clean energy advocates say lawmakers should sideline the bill’s ratemaking section and explore broadening the securitization tool to allow Duke to refinance the debt on its aging coal fleet.Duke Energy spent an estimated $571 million last year responding to hurricanes Florence and Michael, and Winter Storm Diego, according to nonpartisan legislative staff. Securitization would allow the utility to recover those expenses right away, rather than waiting for its next rate case.While clean energy advocates oppose the bill’s ratemaking section, they haven’t protested its securitization language. But, said Cassie Gavin, the lobbyist for the North Carolina Sierra Club, “we don’t see why it should be so limited.” Gavin and other advocates say Duke could use securitized bonds for other uses, including paying off the debt on its fleet of decades-old coal-fired power plants, allowing the utility to shut them down years ahead of schedule.The company has closed or converted half of its coal-fired power plant fleet since 2011 and plans to close five more units in the next five years. But its latest long-range plans show it will keep 15 units running until they have fully depreciated, in many cases past 2033. One 844-megawatt facility west of Charlotte, called Cliffside 6, is slated to operate until 2048. Advocates argue keeping these plants open until their value has fully depreciated is uneconomical, with their ongoing costs increasingly more expensive than building new renewable generation or other sources of power.More: In controversial N.C. ratemaking bill, a tool to help retire Duke coal plantslast_img read more

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Almost Spring Gear Guide

first_imgSpring weather can be tricky in Southern Appalachia. Sunny skies can quickly turn into a snowy whiteout. Hikers need to be prepared for anything that Ma Nature might throw at them. Here are some ideal gear for adventures on the cusp of spring. SCARPA Neutron, $129 LS Shirt_Matagorda_CrustaceanHowler Brothers, Matagorda Tech ShirtTechnical shirts are a dime a dozen these days, but Howler Brothers has outdone themselves with the Matagorda Tech Shirt, the newest in an apparel lineup that is being heralded by industry pros and weekend warriors alike. The key to the Matagorda’s functionality is its streamlined simplicity. The design is clean and focused and the breathable nylon fabric is engineered for extreme flexibility. SonicNemo Sonic Sleeping bag, $499At, $500, this bag ain’t cheap, but if you’re looking for a toasty warm, durable sleeping bag that will last a lifetime, it’s worth the investment. The 850-fill duck down ensures balmy comfort down to it s zero-degree temperature rating. In warmer temperatures, two long gills on top of the bag unzip to vent heat. And for restless sleepers—or folks wanting to snuggle—the stretch stitching allows ample mobility inside the bag. $500. nemoequipment.com Heavyweight FleeceRefrigiWear Heavyweight Fleece, $85Looking for an affordable, durable fleece that looks snazzy on the trails or in the taproom? The RefrigiWear Fleece is soft, stretchy, and super-warm, but it’s also tough enough to handle the worst and most unexpected wintry weather. refrigiwear.com neutron-slide-1This is our pick for the best dual-purpose training and racing shoe of early 2016. The featherweight 9.7-ounce Neutron allows you to rack up the miles in comfort. A lugged sole and just enough toe protection give you the freedom to push the pace on rocky, uneven terrain and make it home with happy feet. Breathable mesh and synthetic uppers keep your feet cool in summer, while resisting wear in high-abrasion areas. This is a race-inspired but training-worthy trail shoe. Avex FreeFlow AUTOSEAL Water Bottle, $16The one-liter FreeFlow is the perfect water bottle for outdoor adventurers. It’s easy to drink out of the high-flow-rate drinkng lid, and it fits easily into the side pocket of any backpack. Our tester dropped the BPA-free plastic bottle several times on rocks and roots, and the bottle barely registered a scratch. And the cross-bolt lock prevents accidental spillage or leaking. This is our tester’s new go-to water bottle for trail adventures. FREEFLOW_1000ML_PURPLE_72614_5 TCU 2Trail Crampon Ultras, $67Most Southern Appalachian summits are still icy and slick in spring. These 18 stainless-steel spikes offer aggressive traction on any icy surface, with welded double-sided chains built to endure repeated torque and wear. The heel plate and velcro strap over the top helped ensure a snug secure fit. unnamedLeki Instructor Lite Hiking Poles, $110Leki is the industry standard for hiking poles, and the Instructor Lites don’t disappoint. With rubber fitness tips, adjustable trigger straps, an innovative patented Shark Grip releasable strap system, and 100% carbon shafts, the poles are lightweight yet durable.  The poles are easily adjustable, too, allowing multiple users to size the poles to their needs. SoftScience Terrain Cracked PU_1SoftScience Terrain UltraLyte Boot, $80Don’t want a big, clunky boot but still want ankle support and watwerproof protection? The SoftScience Terrain UltraLyte is your new favorite boot. It has all of the benefits of boots—like more high-cut protection and durability—but without the heavy, cumbersome drawbacks of traditional boots. This is the lightest, most agile, and most comfortable boot we’ve tested.Wave Catalyst PhotoMizuno Wave Catalyst, $110Aiming for a spring marathon? Hoping to notch a PR? The lightweight Catalyst is an ideal shoe for training and racing. Runner’s World named it best spring debut of 2016, and for good reason: the 9.4-ounce shoe is versatile and agile, able to handle long training runs as well as 5K races. For spring training, this shoe will deliver miles of glide. AllTerrain openmyCharge All-Terrain, $25It’s the first waterproof, temperature proof, drop proof and dust proof portable battery pack. Charge your phone or devices on big backcountry adventures without worrying about the elements.The All-Terrain is waterproof up to two meters for one hour and can withstand extreme heat and cold without losing charging capabilities. Avex Freeflow Tritan Water Bottle, $17This 34-ounce bottle is perfect for day hikes or multi-day trips in the backwoods. It’s shatterproof and BPA free, and best of all, it doesn’t leak. Toss it in your pack and never worry about leaks. 105922 Sport Headphones RedAltec Lansing Sport EarBuds, $60These waterproof buds stay securely in your ear even when you’re dripping with sweat or covered in mud. They can even go under water for lake swims or laps in the pool. With 20 hours of battery life, these Bluetooth buds are comfy and snug, and they deliver top-notch sound to power you through your next workout.last_img read more

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Smoky Mountains National Park to Demolish 29 Historic Cabins; Preserve 19 Others

first_imgElkmont is a historic portion of Great Smoky Mountains National Park once home to a resort and logging community.Residents of the community have been gone for decades, but the cabins built to house them still remain as visible reminders of a bygone era.The National Park Service allowed the families who owned these cabins to retain them until the early 1990s. Since then, the cabins have sat vacant, slowly deteriorating.Now, big changes are in store for the historic structures as NPS has announced its intention to demolish 29 of the cabins and restore and preserve 19 others.“They are stabilizing those structures, and by the end of this year we hope that they will be open for public access,” said park spokeswoman Dana Soehn.Of the cabins slated for razing, Soehn said, “we hope to have the contractor selected by early March and then start that demolition process.”According to Soehn, park officials are taking special precautions to preserve hardware within the cabins, things like window seals, lighting fixtures and door knobs that are unique to the era in which they were built, before the demolition takes place.Once the project is underway a few popular trails in the areas of Jake’s Creek and Little River will be temporarily shut down.last_img read more

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Camping Safety: How to Avoid Wild Animal Encounters

first_imgAll it takes is one wrong move in the woods and you could have an unwanted guest at your campsite. Here’s a list of 10 things you can do to keep your family camping trip safe and secure from potentially dangerous animals.1. Eliminate odors from food and suppliesBlack bears roam all over the Blue Ridge Mountains with a population of 300,000 in the U.S. alone, making them a common concern amongst campers. Many established campgrounds throughout the Blue Ridge feature bear resistant trash receptacles to reduce the chances of bears smelling any types of food odors. It’s not only trash that will attract a bear; toiletry items such as toothpaste, soap, lotions, deodorant or bug sprays (especially citronella) should be secured from bears as well. To keep your food, supplies and gear away from bears, there are several different ways to keep them out of a bears reach. You could keep them in a hard-sided vehicle, a certified food storage container, or put it all in a bag and hang it between two trees at least 10 feet from the ground.2.  Stop by the store and grab the basicsStock up your packs with flashlights and bear spray to keep in the tent at night. Flashlights can always be useful to help find things and point you in the right direction when walking at night. The bear spray, on the other hand, is a purchase that you most likely and hopefully will never use but is something worth having for that extra piece of mind when you hear rustling in the woods.3. Get loud!It might seem strange, but being loud will keep many of the furry creatures out of sight. With that said, if you have close-by neighbors, don’t cause a full out ruckus. The sounds of the campfire crackling, voices, and other man-made sounds like car engines usually do the trick in scaring off wildlife.4. Keep pets on leash… alwaysAs much as you may love and trust your pets to stay close by, it’s not worth the risk of letting them roam off on their own. An alternative to always holding the other end of the leash is buying a spiral stake to put in the ground to keep the pup close by while granting him or her a little freedom to roam.5. Be ready for the non-furry threatsWhen it comes to snakes, be particularly careful if  you move logs or brush as most snakes get to moving when their environment is tampered with. If snakes are a high concern of yours in a particular area, consider wearing sturdy boots and gloves when moving such things.6. Keep your distanceMost animals will scare off easily from a far distance. However, in the instance of getting a bit too close to a bear or other animal, you should brush up on what to do in the event that you are in a face-to-face situation. While these circumstances are extraordinarily rare, it is better to be prepared than to make a wrong move.7. Wear different clothes cooking and to bedHave you ever gone to a restaurant and can distinctly smell the food even hours after you’ve left? The same happens in the wilderness. Cooking smells cling to fabric and can attract bears, making the clothes you wore while making dinner not the best pajamas. Store your “cooking clothes” in an airtight bag or container to reduce the risk of any wildlife catching a whiff.8. Keep it cleanYour campsite, that is. Continuously making an effort to scrub pots and pans and picking up trash throughout the day’s adventures will work wonders in making it less of a task to keep your site pest free.9. Consider a bear proof cooler, especially for car campingDefinitely not necessary, but it is a precaution that might be suitable for some. If your cooler is on its last leg and you are looking for an upgrade, there are always certified bear tested coolers that are sure to keep your food and beverages cold and the bears locked out.10. Know the area you are inOne of the sharpest tools you can have up against wildlife is knowledge and familiarity with the woods you will be setting up camp in. For information on the wildlife in the area, you can seek out tips from the local park ranger or wildlife official.Getting outdoors for a camping adventure is an enjoyable, freeing experience that is almost never dangerous, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to be prepared in the event of an unlikely guest.last_img read more

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LOCKN’ 2019 VIP Giveaway

first_imgThis contest is over. VIP Pass Package Elements:Festival AdmissionAccess to VIP Lounge with on-site concierge hostsAccess to VIP viewing areaVIP/ SVIP Entrance into the campgrounds with dedicated, hassle-free check-inVIP campground (On-site lodging accommodations including tent-only camping, car camping, and RV parking must be purchased in addition)Ample air-conditioned bathrooms with flushable toilets and showersInvitation to the Thursday Welcome BBQ**Fully catered brunch on Sunday**VIP cash bars with complimentary water and soft drinksComplimentary late night munchiesExclusive 2019 Lockn’ Festival Merchandise Items*Thursday Welcome BBQ is available with 4-Day VIP Festival Pass Only**Sunday catered brunch is exclusive to 4-Day VIP, 3-Day VIP, or 1-Day VIP on Sunday***1-Day VIP ticket holders will not have access to the VIP campground center_img Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. Entries must be received by mail or through the www.blueridgeoutdoors.com contest sign-up page by 12:00 Midnight EST on March 30, 2019 – date subject to change. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mis-transcribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and their promotional partners reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors office on or before March 30, 2019 – date and time subject to change. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received. One entry per person.last_img read more

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Wild Virginia is Ready for the 10th Year of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival

first_imgWednesday, May 1st, The Violet Crown, Charlottesville. 6:30pm “If you’re an adrenaline junkie, environmental advocate, avid hiker, a laid-back recreationist, or wildlife identifier, these nights you won’t want to miss,” says Publicity & Outreach Chair, Katie Keller. “There is nothing like discovering beautiful images and visuals of our world, and finding out ways you can become an advocate yourself.” Wild Virginia is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is protecting and connecting your favorite wild places. We educate citizens, landowners, and other stakeholders about threats to our forests through hikes, outings, and events. We advocate for the connectivity and integrity of Virginia’s forests and waters. We influence decision makers by mobilizing citizens. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival takes place at the following locations: Local business support for the Wild & Scenic Film Fest plays a huge role in the life of the Festival; we feel privileged to partner with some of Virginia’s organizations whose contributions enhance the festival experience. Sunday, April 28th, The Visulite Cinema, Staunton, 6:30pm The festival introduces attendees to wild and special places and to the courageous individuals who are working to protect and preserve them. The film festival not only highlights environmental concerns, but also provides solutions, reaching people through beautiful imagery.  The festival is HERE, and it is just as exciting as our first film circuit ten years ago! Wild Virginia is excited to announce our film selections, locations, and information on how you can be a part of the environmental community.  This year, we will be putting on an extra show here in Charlottesville! Thursday, May 2nd, Vinegar Hill (Lighthouse Studios), Charlottesville, 6:30pm ———- We are extremely grateful to our community relationships and are excited to raffle off items from Ducard Vineyards, Bring Your Own LLC, Rebecca’s, Hot Cakes , Redwood and Co. , Shenandoah Pizza and Taphouse, Yelping Dog, Latitudes,Smooth Sailing Ballroom, American Shakespeare Center, Blue Ridge Bucha , Sigora Solar, and Shenandoah Mountain Guides.  A special sponsor thanks to the Violet Crown, Vinegar Hill Theatre, & the Visulite Cinema for hosting our festival over three nights this spring. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival started with the South Yuba River Citizen League (SYRCL), a hub of community activism to protect, restore, and celebrate the Yuba River watershed in California. This annual celebration of the environment brings together recreation / outdoor enthusiasts, filmmakers and activists to discover the best in the wild places of our planet. So come learn about Mountain Yellow-Legged Frogs, our National Parks, Mexican Fishing Bats, and fragile wilderness. You’ll even see a film about a musician that travels to wilderness areas around the West creating music from the natural sounds she finds. For tickets, please visit: http://wildvirginia.org/our-programs/recreation/film-festival/.  last_img read more

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Chief Of U.S. Southern Command Describes Terrorism And Drug Trafficking As Innovators

first_imgBy Dialogo April 06, 2009 The head of the U.S. Southern Command, Admiral James G. Stavridis, considers drug traffickers and terrorists to be innovators and congratulated the Colombian government for “Operation Checkmate,” by which fifteen people were rescued from the hands of the FARC. “The people we are fighting are innovative. They think and do things to improve their work,” said Stavridis, who will shortly leave his position to assume command of NATO in Europe. The U.S. Admiral participated in the conference “Contemporary Antiterrorism, the Colombian Experience” in Bogotá, which approximately 150 experts from five continents also attended. Stavridis said that one of the key points in the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism is monitoring the economic resources these organizations handle. “On many occasions, the trail leading to the criminals is indicated by money,” said Stavridis, who highlighted Colombia’s achievements in its fight against these evils, which intend to spread throughout the world. According to their findings, those who purchase illegal drugs set off car bombs, and that has to be considered, “not only in Colombia, but also in countries such as Afghanistan and others in which there are insurgents.” He added that drug traffickers are increasingly using technology, and mentioned submarines (submersible) which carry cocaine destined for countries in Europe and Central America. He explained that the United States provides, not only Colombia but also other countries, with elements of technology to combat drug trafficking and terrorism; however, “people are more important.” He emphasized the work of the Colombian government and President Álvaro Uribe, who has achieved significant success against the guerrillas and drug trafficking, he said. Also, he congratulated the Colombian authorities for “Operation Checkmate,” which rescued former Presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt from the southern jungle on July 2nd, 2008, along with Americans Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell, and Marc Gonsalves, and 11 soldiers and police officers, all of whom were prisoners of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). “I must say from the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you for rescuing our citizens,” stated the official.last_img read more

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FARC And Drug Traffickers Use Brazilian Territory (Colombian Minister)

first_imgBy Dialogo May 20, 2010 Drug-trafficking networks and the FARC guerrilla group’s logistical operations use Brazilian border territory for their activities, the Colombian defense minister, Gabriel Silva, said Wednesday, while nonetheless emphasizing the collaboration between Brazil and Colombia. “Yes, we have information that Brazilian territory is used by drug-trafficking networks and FARC logistical operations, just as the territory of many other countries is used,” Silva declared to the Caracol radio station in Bogotá. The official specified that illegal groups have a presence “on the Amazonas River and in a free-trade-zone city like Manaus, to conduct operations and facilitate the movement of drugs and of supplies for the FARC.” Fortunately, he emphasized, “we have an increasingly close dialogue with Brazil.” “I’ve met with the Brazilian authorities on the border. They are starting a difficult process, which is to understand through intelligence work what the presence of the FARC and the drug traffickers is” on the border “and to share that information with us,” he added. Nonetheless, he said that “not everyone collaborates with the same conviction, and if there isn’t help from everyone, it’s not possible to make progress.” Silva made these declarations in response to a report published in the Brazilian press over the weekend, based on a police report, warning that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a leftist guerrilla group, maintain camps in the Brazilian jungle.last_img read more

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