On the Blogs: Bankrupt Coal Companies Don’t Always Stop Mining Coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Daniel Cohan for TheHill.com:The largest pillar of the coal industry has now fallen. In filing for bankruptcy last week, Peabody Energy joined Arch Coal, Patriot Coal, Walter Energy and Alpha Natural Resources among the largest coal mining companies recently facing this fate.Coal emits more air pollutants and climate warming gases than any other fossil fuel, and its mining can devastate local ecosystems and watersheds. Curtailing the amounts of coal mined and burned would thus yield a myriad of benefits for the environment and health.However, the road to bankruptcy court doesn’t necessarily mark the path to a sustainable energy future. It is time to think afresh about how the environment and health can be considered in coal bankruptcies.Like most of its peers, Peabody chose Chapter 11 for its bankruptcy filing. Unlike a Chapter 7 liquidation, Chapter 11 allows a company to continue operating while it manages its debts and seeks to emerge as a viable corporation. Peabody’s statement said it intends to continue operating its mines uninterrupted as the bankruptcy process proceeds.Thus, while bankruptcy can crimp the finances of creditors and investors, it won’t necessarily cut coal mine output. In fact, coal companies seeking to pay off creditors may face pressure to maintain revenues from coal.The challenge of maintaining revenue has grown as coal prices have fallen. Coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, widely used for its low sulfur content, has fallen to $9.35 per ton. I’d call it dirt cheap if I knew anywhere selling dirt for less than half a penny per pound.With coal so cheap, its sales likely generate far less revenue than its damage to health and the environment. Since coal is composed primarily of carbon atoms, each of which combines with two oxygen atoms to form carbon dioxide, burning coal generates about 1.87 times its own weight in carbon dioxide.In other words, Powder River Basin coal mines are receiving only about $5 per ton of carbon dioxide that their coal generates when burned. The revenue per ton of pollution would be even lower if we consider life cycle impacts such as the diesel emissions needed to mine and transport the coal and the methane released from the mine.Virtually all estimates of the social cost of carbon to climate change are many times higher than $5 per ton. That’s even before considering environmental impacts beyond climate such as damage to air quality, water and wildlife.In other words, society as a whole pays a very high price as coal mining companies seek to pay off their creditors in bankruptcy. It could even be argued that a domino effect of coal mining bankruptcies has taken hold, as the urgency of already-bankrupt companies to pay off creditors has kept coal mine output from falling sufficiently. Though coal mining is down sharply, unusually large stockpiles of coal show that mining has not fallen fast enough to offset the effects of cheap natural gas and growing deployments of renewables.Bankrupt coal companies create an additional burden if they do not cover the environmental damages they have caused. Communities near coal mines have reason to be concerned about whether adequate steps will be taken to remediate coal mines owned by bankrupt companies.All of these factors receive insufficient attention in bankruptcy proceedings, as repayment of creditors and restructuring of debts dominates deliberations. How best to give the environment and public health seats at the table in bankruptcy court requires legal expertise far beyond my training as an environmental engineer. Nevertheless, the prices and emissions calculations provided here demonstrate that the coal assets owned by these bankrupt companies may be far more valuable to society if left in the ground rather than mined to pay off creditors.Cohan is associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University.When coal companies go bankrupt, the mining doesn’t always stop
Moon Taxi is helping to cultivate a new scene in Music City.It’s no secret that Nashville is a lot more country than rock ‘n’ roll. But Moon Taxi is helping to cultivate a new scene in Music City, where the guitars have more reverb than twang. For the past five years, the dynamic quintet has built a loyal grassroots following behind an expansive live show that finds balance between rock’s experimental outskirts and tuneful center.The band formed in 2007 when they were students at Belmont University. Soon after, they started building crowds around the Southeast with a steady touring regimen.“We used Nashville as a good springboard and then cut our chops on the road,” says lead singer and main lyricist Trevor Terndrup.While country hit makers on Music Row may dominate Nashville’s music landscape, Moon Taxi has won over sizable crowds at longstanding clubs like the Exit/In with irresistibly energetic live gigs that blend high-minded jam-band bombast with fist-pumping sing-alongs.“In Nashville it’s not easily handed to you with this type of music,” adds Terndrup, who’s flanked on stage by bandmates Tom Putnam (bass), Spencer Thomson (lead guitar), Tyler Ritter (drums), and Wes Bailey (keys). “It’s not easy in a town that’s dominated by country, but a good rock scene has definitely developed. We carved it out through hard work and years of playing in town.”A few weeks ago, the band released a new album, Cabaret, which is ripe for a national breakout. While the group’s sound lands squarely between the worlds of jam and indie rock, the new effort leans toward the latter. The record was made at Alex the Great Studios in Nashville with help from producer Hank Sullivant, whose resume includes work with the Whigs and MGMT. As a result, the songs on Cabaret are concise and catchy, while drenched in experimental studio effect.The huge soaring chorus of the opening track, “Mercury,” is enhanced with distorted synth walls, while “Radio” sparkles with an infectious garage pop stomp. On the gritty hip-hop flavored “Hideaway,” Thompson added samples of a chant he recorded on his laptop at an anti-war protest in New York City.“It’s the first time we’ve tried to think about a good studio record on the whole,” Terndrup explains. “We wanted to challenge ourselves with this record to make something cohesive and concise. We’re listening to more current popular music, and that found its way into how we wanted to make the record. We wanted to find unique sounds that we’d never experimented with before.”Even with a wash of hipster edge in the sonic mix, lyrically, Terndrup leans more toward the soul of the South. “Whiskey Sunsets” romanticizes adventurous long nights with a buzz in front of anthemic arena rock riffs, while the intoxication in “Southern Trance” comes just as much from being “naked, lit up by moonshine” as it does from “Georgia jasmine blooms.” Terndrup says his songwriting is influenced by the literary work of Tom Robbins, Kurt Vonnegut, and authors “that stretch your imagination and put together wacky metaphors that you wouldn’t think about in a normal state of mind.”With a broad arsenal of appealing sonic characteristics, the band is poised to infiltrate a diverse range of music scenes. The group already has firm footing in the jam band world—sharing the stage with the likes of Gov’t Mule, Umphrey’s McGee, and Perpetual Groove—and they don’t want to alienate that supportive crowd. But with the new album, the band members believe they can reach new audiences, like they did when they opened for Hasidic reggae star Matisyahu, who delivers a rhyme on the track “Square Circles.”“He’s a really great performer that I’ve always looked up to,” Terndrup says. “Even though he’s coming from a very different genre of music, he gets off on the very same thing that we do, which is the live performance and being there in the moment.“With our live shows we have catered to the jam crowd, and there’s an expectation when people come to our shows for over the top guitar solos and a crazy light show. That’s not something we’re going to aim to change in the future.”Moon Taxi’s Mercury is featured in our March 2012 Trail Mix. Listen or download for free here.
A study by the Environmental Working Group assessed the climate impacts of 20 popular types of meat, fish, dairy and vegetable proteins and concluded that beef has more than twice the emissions of pork, nearly four times more than chicken and more than 13 times as much as vegetable proteins such as beans, lentils and tofu. Photo cred: iStockPhotoEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: We’ve been hearing for years how producing red meat is bad for the environment while consuming it is bad for our health. How do other types of meat, fish, dairy and vegetable proteins stack up in terms of environmental and health impacts? –– Julia Saperstein, via e-mailNot all forms of protein are created equal as to the environmental and health implications of raising and consuming them. A 2011 assessment by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that “different meats and different production systems have varying health, climate and other environmental impacts.”The quantity of chemical fertilizers, fuel and other “production inputs” used, the differences in soil conditions and production systems and the extent to which best practices such as cover cropping, intensive grazing or manure management are implemented all affect the amount of greenhouse gas emissions a meat product is responsible for generating. To wit, lamb, beef, cheese, pork and farmed salmon raised “conventionally” (e.g. with inputs including hormones and antibiotics and feed derived from crops grown with chemical pesticides and fertilizers) were determined by EWG to generate the most greenhouse gases.EWG partnered with the environmental analysis firm CleanMetrics to assess the climate impacts via lifecycle assessments of 20 popular types of meat, fish, dairy and vegetable proteins. EWG’s assessment calculated the full “cradle-to-grave” carbon footprint of each food item based on the greenhouse gas emissions generated before and after it left the farm—from the pesticides and fertilizer used to grow animal feed all the way through the grazing, animal raising, processing, transportation, cooking and even disposal of unused food (since some 20 percent of edible meat gets thrown away by Americans).According to EWG, conventionally raised lamb, beef, cheese and pork also generate more polluting waste, pound for pound. Of these, lamb has the greatest impact, followed by beef and then by cheese—so vegetarians who eat dairy aren’t off the hook. “Beef has more than twice the emissions of pork, nearly four times more than chicken and more than 13 times as much as vegetable proteins such as beans, lentils and tofu,” summarizes EWG.On the health front, EWG reports that “eating too much of these greenhouse gas-intensive meats boosts exposure to toxins and increases the risk of a wide variety of serious health problems, including heart disease, certain cancers, obesity and, in some studies, diabetes.”Besides cutting out animal-derived proteins altogether, the best thing we can do for our health and the environment is to cut down on our meat consumption and choose only organic, humane and/or grass-fed meat, eggs and dairy. “Overall, these products are the least harmful, most ethical choices,” says EWG, adding that grass-fed and pasture-raised products are typically more nutritious and carry less risk of bacterial contamination. “While best management practices can demonstrably reduce overall emissions and environmental harm, the most effective and efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts from livestock is simply to eat, waste and produce less meat and dairy.” For more information, check out EWG’s free online “Meat Eater’s Guide.”CONTACTS: EWG Meat Eater’s Guide, www.ewg.org/meateatersguide.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.
This contest has ended, but how about 4 nights lodging and 2 days of guided fly fishing in the Natural Retreats Luxury Fly Fishing Giveaway?
Dear Mountain Mama,I live in a small mountain town where “buying local” is all the rage. And I get it when it comes to buying produce and supporting area farms. But I can’t get my head around spending more money to buy outdoor gear from a store instead of purchasing it from Amazon or other online vendors. The product itself is exactly the same.Why should I buy outdoor gear locally?Yours,Frugal-MindedDear Frugal-Minded,Simply put, supporting your local economy translates into community building.Outdoor stores employ well-informed, cool, like-minded people who can help you select the most appropriate gear for you outdoor hobbies. Hanging out in these stores is fun and staff can often provide advice or anecdotal tips about your next outdoor adventure.Buying from local outdoor stores can sometimes mean spending a few more dollars on a camp stove or tent. But according to Sustainable Connections — a group devoted to tracking the benefits of buying locally — non-profit organizations receive an average of 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.Think about it – does Amazon sponsor your local 5k? Look on the back of a recent race t-shirt. The businesses listed invest in you, so it makes sense to invest in them. And hey, buying something in a store is instant gratification, with guaranteed fit. Sales numbers are actually showing a return by consumers to brick-and-mortar stores, for exactly these reasons.I’d like to give a shout out to a local business near and dear to my heart right now – Asheville Adventure Rentals. Brennan and Derek, the owners, lent us sea kayaks for a salt water voyage this past weekend. The full article about our paddle along the Georgia coastline will be in a print edition of BRO soon. Without the support and generosity of Asheville Adventure Rentals, the trip wouldn’t have happened.Frugal-minded, support the businesses that support you – buy your gear from a local outfitter. In the long run, the benefits far outweigh the few bucks you might save shopping online.Cheers!Mountain Mama
by John NestlerI knew nothing about racing 100 miles as I stepped into my kayak, but in hindsight, there was nothing to know except this: simply keep paddling.I practiced using my rudder for the first time as I glided to the starting line. Fellow river enthusiasts surrounded me, and I cringed as I saw a long, sleek boat slicing through the water. Most of the course was flatwater, and a longer boat would have an advantage. I overheard other racers talking of having done the Missouri 340. Who was I, going against veterans of a 340-mile race? I hurriedly put those worries aside as I focused on the announcer, who nonchalantly called out:“Are you ready to paddle 100 miles? Get set, go!”Racers took off at a breakneck pace. My strategy was to take it easy at the start to conserve energy for the end of the race, while always keeping the leaders in my vision. Soon, the seven-mile mark appeared. My breathing came naturally, and my arms remained fresh. I realized I would be able to sustain a much faster pace than I had thought, and I took off, chasing the leaders who appeared as tiny specks on the river ahead, shrouded in early morning mist.My mind was focused as I paddled. The sun peeked out from the treetops, and birds spiraled upward on thermal currents, yet nothing could crack the mental barrier I had set up. Absence of thought meant no pain, and the last thing I needed to contemplate was why I would ever willfully subject myself to this. As time passed, however, a feeling of dull, throbbing pain took hold. My bare hands had obvious hotspots, and I could feel discomfort with each paddle stroke. Gloves. I didn’t have them. I imagined myself begging a fellow racer or pit crew to borrow gloves, but that was not an option. Many miles remained, however, and my hands needed care.Stress set in as I lost sight of the leading racers. My confidence fell as I realized that I wasn’t nearly as fast as the other competitors in the flatwater. Excuses floated through my head: lack of sleep, no training, a slower boat. I knew I came out to paddle as fast as I could, but it was demoralizing to be so far behind. I promised myself to just hang on, and maybe the tables would turn in my favor.Every second spent fiddling inside my boat cost me valuable speed, and after a lengthy internal debate, I began peeing inside my boat. I yearned to protect my hands with strips of duct tape, but couldn’t bring myself to fall even further behind while I fetched the tape.The first horizon line appeared, and the course became more dynamic as rapids came into view. Two racers flipped. I surged ahead through the rocky maze, and used the slight lead to tightly bind my hands with tape, hoping to ward off the inevitable blisters. Hands wrapped, I paddled again with a renewed intensity and set my eyes on catching the 2nd place boat.Many rapids interspersed in the course handed me the competitive edge. The leaders were in fragile composite canoes, no match for the abusive sections of river. Meanwhile, my whitewater instincts took over, and I slid over rocks without a care in the world. Roughly seven hours into the race, a particularly long rock garden appeared. The second-place boat disappeared around a small island rapid. Much to my surprise, bobbing supplies and a swamped canoe came into view. Finally, a chance to pull ahead. I set out down the river, knowing I needed to utilize this lead as 60 miles of flatwater remained.I looked back at every turn, expecting to see a canoe in pursuit. None appeared. A mantra ran back and forth through my head: “Paddle harder; they’re hurting too.” I pushed, and pushed, and pushed, hoping to retain my lead. Thirteen hours into the race, light began to fade, and I had only my ritual snack breaks every 20 minutes to distract me from five more hours of paddling.As the blackness of night enveloped the river, the moon lit up a small corridor, guiding me towards the end. Raindrops plunked the water as a storm raged in the distance. A few short stops, punctuated by silent displays of lightning, allowed me to take in the beauty of the night around me, and to momentarily forget about my aching muscles. Slowly, the outline of the State Route 288 bridge rose in the distance, and I found myself at the finish line 17 hours and 13 minutes after starting. I was happy to have won, but even more fulfilled by pushing past my limits on my home river.–John Nestler grew up in Richmond and won the solo race of the 100-mile James River Rundown, which ran ran from James River State Park to Robious Landing.
If you’ve asked me about the Charleston Marathon next week and my face clouds with guilt or you haven’t seen me out on the trail, it’s because I got sick and won’t be running the full marathon. First it was the flu over Thanksgiving that felt like mono, leaving my weakened immune system ripe for a bout of bronchitis followed by a virus. Life’s been a haze of medicines, an effort to hydrate, and lots of sleep. I’ve focused my energy on the basics – taking care of my three-year-old son and preserving my ability to support us, i.e. work. In short, it’s been a bleak existence.The holidays meant ten days with my parents, who encouraged sleeping and book reading by the fire, while they wore my son out on the farm cleaning out stalls and bailing hay. Once I felt better, I ventured out for a run. The cold air pierced my lungs. The wind whipped through my layers of lycra. My legs felt heavy. I wanted to turn around and settle by the fire with a hot toddy. I wanted to feel cozy and comfortable. Why run anyway? I’ll never regain enough fitness between now and the marathon – why not simply enjoy the day.Instead of turning around, I focused on how solid the ground felt under my feet, how the earth held me up and reminded me of my own strength. My thoughts turned to dirt and I thought about my relationship to it. I thought that one day I’ll be buried in that ground or my ashes sprinkled over it, that I’ll blend with the earth, but today I’ll let the earth hold me up and propel me forward.The running didn’t feel any easier. My lungs burned, my muscles quivered, and my mind labored over how hard running was. Again I thought about quitting. If running wasn’t fun, why was I bothering to do it anyway? There’s a lot of things I do that aren’t fun, but I keep doing them over again – instilling manners into my son and forcing him to brush his teeth, staying home to rewrite the book I started two years ago when friends invite me to go out, and grinding away in an office during the majority of my weekday-waking hours.If someone asked, I would tell them running is fun, but that’s not really honest. The running itself is mostly miserable, for me, at least most of the time. There are miles of light, there are transcendental glimpses of flying, but for the most part it’s me versus my brain, forcing myself forward. It’s high-fiving my running partners after the run that’s fun, it’s the buzz of endorphins, it’s the way my body feels worked out and sore and ready to rest, it’s all the thoughts and emotions that moved through me during the run and the ones I left behind on the trail.The late afternoon sun cast a shadow bigger than me. I ran side-by-side, sharing space with my own darkness. My shadow matched me stride-for-stride. There would be no outrunning it, no pulling ahead. I blinked back tears of frustration, that even after all that training, my fitness level had plummeted after being sick for so long. I had no energy left to stifle anything and so I cried. I ran and cried, cried and ran, because sometimes it seems that no matter how hard I try, the reality of life creeps up, the call from day care right before I was about to sneak in a lunchtime run, my own mortal body with what seems to be a fragile immune system these days, the pull of so many errands that need to get done right now.I plodded along, knowing the only way to get back into a running groove was by running. I ignored the nagging voice asking me to turn around, to give up, and to get comfortable. I told myself that the only way through was forward, and that turning around was going backwards, a direction I refused to go.Somewhere between mile ten and eleven I accepted that I could do my best, but my best was no guarantee against failure. Between miles eleven and twelve my feet felt like twenty pound weights were attached and I stumbled over my shoes. I conceded that I was in no shape to be contemplating a marathon so soon after being sick. I’d have to readjust my goals, set my sights on the half instead. Settling for the half seems like such a defeat. Six months before and I was sure I could get through the full, one way or another, but I couldn’t risk another bout of getting sick, not with my heavy workload and solo parenting.As my parents’ house came into sight, I felt a flood of relief. It hadn’t been a glorious run, but I had put in the miles, laid down so many emotions of frustration and failure along the way, and even glimpsed my own mortality. I’d run next to my own shadow, but realized that spending time in darkness didn’t mean I’d dwell there forever.With all that angst behind me, gratitude overcame me. I might not be running the full marathon, but I was still running the half. A wave of endorphins swelled within me. I had the things that really matter – love, health, joy. I might never get to my destination of 26.2 miles, but the journey has been oh so sweet.The training schedule, the twisted trails, the pre-dawn runs by headlamp, the lunchtime drills of skipping and running backward along sidewalks, and meeting new running partners have been planks in the bridge of willpower and strength, a solid platform over waters of despair. The journey has allowed me to touch the divine within myself, the sacred will to take one more step.
Presenting our latest film in our Mountain Films series: Mountain Rule #11:This year, Snowshoe is letting us in on a few of their tried and true mountain rules that help us get the most out of our winter. Here are a just a few of them. Mountain Rules No. 7: Always Finish Your Day on Top of the MountainFew decisions after a day on the mountain are as easy as deciding where to head next. Our buzzing mountaintop village has everything you need. Relax by an outdoor fire. Hit an apres spot that perfectly fits your mood. Shop for all of your Mountain-ing needs. Unwind at our luxurious Spa. Or catch an early dinner at sunset. Visit the Village. To check out some other rules that may help you this winter, head here. Mountain Rule No. 15: Practice Makes Rodeo 720SWe believe the safest, most fun way to learn freestyle is gradually. That’s why our six terrain parks come in progressively larger sizes. From the smallest with mini rolls and rails to get your feet wet, to our largest with huge kickers and table tops to help you earn loads of frequent flyer miles. Shred On.Mountain Rule No. 12: Never Mountain on an Empty Stomach.The Mountain understands the importance of proper nourishment. You’ll find great restaurants spread around the Mountain with enough variety to satisfy everyone’s tastes. For something truly unique, venture out in a Polaris RZR to our Sunrise Backcountry Hut for a special chef-prepared meal. Tour our Kitchen & Taps
Photo by: Leslie Restivo While we’re all staying home, we can still celebrate what we love about the Blue Ridge. We’d like you to join us by sharing some of your favorite photos from past adventures. Let’s inspire each other with images highlighting our scenic destinations and moments made in our mountains, while looking forward to returning to these places in the not too distant future. With each pic, please include a brief caption telling us about your adventure. We’ll share them all in an online gallery and select a few favorites to be published in an upcoming print issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors. [contest-menu id=”2″][contest-page id=”2″]
Containment of insurgent groups and the ability to carry out humanitarian missions can go hand in hand with modern military equipment. States can also fend off other criminal entities. NIGERIA: Seeking to protect its natural resources, Nigeria strengthened its naval capabilities by acquiring four 54.86-meter buoy tenders from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in the early 2000s. These vessels are used to patrol the Niger Delta and protect against oil theft. An additional 15 response boats were acquired to patrol the oil rigs off the coast. Most recently, the Nigerian Navy acquired Thunder, a 115.21-meter high-endurance cutter complete with a helicopter flight deck. The Nigerian Sailors received U.S.-based training prior to sailing the cutter back to Nigeria. By Dialogo January 01, 2012 Beyond the Middle East battlegrounds, William J. McKeever, deputy chief for the Americas division, U.S. Air Force international affairs, also sees the use of similar equipment as a key component to military collaboration. “It is a very strong link from pilot to pilot and technician to technician, very important to security cooperation,” McKeever told Diálogo. “Without common factors, how would we know their tactics, how would they know ours?” The use of the same equipment during operations also leads to a common logistics capability. If a need arises during an operation, spare parts are easily accessible to borrow or buy from partner nations. “Equipment commonality is the cornerstone of cooperation,” said McKeever. While McKeever underscored the importance of having common equipment, he also stressed the value of military-to-military interactions, such as military exercises and exchanges where the equipment is put into practice and relationships are fostered. STATE SOVEREIGNTY AND DISASTER RELIEF Militaries worldwide face a challenging array of responsibilities. Fighting insurgencies, securing national resources, protecting borders and carrying out humanitarian missions are some of the tasks they are charged with. When trusted allies use the same tools, military gains can be magnified exponentially. A COMMON FRONT In the fights in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, key coalition partners have found success by using the same equipment, often made available by grants from the United States: CANADA: Modernized its lift capability with U.S. Army Chinook (CH-47D) helicopters. The purchase included training and support to help transition from Iraq to Afghanistan alongside other coalition forces. UNITED KINGDOM and AUSTRALIA: Enhanced their aviation programs with unmanned aerial vehicles purchased from the U.S. as well as night vision capabilities. Australia’s forces also boosted its ground capability to protect its troops by using U.S. Army M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks. “This capability will be increasingly important as widespread proliferation of cheap, high-tech and lethal anti-armor, anti-personnel weapons could pose an increasing threat in any future conflict,” said Australia’s former Defence Minister Brendan Nelson. One of the biggest advantages to using similar equipment among partner nations is the exchange of knowledge between armed forces. “There is a common knowledge on the battlefield,” said Keith Webster, deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Army for defense exports and cooperation, during an interview with Diálogo. “Military-to-military engagement leads to discussions about common operating tactics in the battlefield.” SAUDI ARABIA: The Military modernized its helicopter fleet with an investment in three helicopters from the U.S. Army. This will give its Military and National Guard a modern helicopter capability, with U.S. programs support, until the program is retired in the next 30 years. SINGAPORE: Its current Military capability serves as a stabilizing force to support the autonomy of the state and for humanitarian purposes. A long-standing partnership and military base agreements between Singapore and the U.S. allow for a portion of Singapore’s CH-47 fleet to be stored in the state of Texas. After Hurricane Katrina in the U.S., Singapore assisted with evacuations in New Orleans by deploying its Chinook (CH-47) helicopters to the area. SRI LANKA: In 2004, the Military acquired a 64-meter medium-endurance cutter, the Samudura. The ship’s size enabled the Sri Lankan Navy to extend its reach off the coast and stop the influx of weapons that the terrorist organization, the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam, was bringing ashore. The ship also has been able to help stranded fishermen. m UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: The country expanded its air missile defense capability through the Patriot Missile Program. The multibillion dollar program includes training, maintenance and assistance from U.S. forces in setting up the capability in a long-term military-to-military relationship. YEMEN: Its Coast Guard fleet was modernized to better patrol territorial waters. The USCG has supported the Yemen Coast Guard in advising, training and providing assets during the past decade. In 2011, the USCG transferred two 26.52-meter patrol boats to Yemen. Yemen Coast Guard crews received U.S.-based training on specific systems on the patrol boats and general training and sea trials in the state of Louisiana, where the newly acquired boats were built. Sources: U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard, www.news.com.au, Sri Lanka Navy The Tools to Combat Maritime Threats Diálogo spoke with Rear Admiral Joseph W. Rixey, director of the U.S. Navy International Programs Office (IPO), about how his office supports the region against the common maritime threats in the Americas. Diálogo: What are the shared maritime threats in the Americas and how does the Navy IPO help address some of those? Rear Admiral Joseph W. Rixey: Most of them are obvious, counternarcotics and counterterrorism, freedom of the seas, counterpiracy, counter illicit activity, protection of the economic activity zone, and the fifth, which we like to highlight, is the humanitarian crisis and natural disaster. We assist them [partner nations] in acquiring whatever equipment and training and capabilities they need to address these threats; we facilitate partner capacity. We coordinate with the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard acquisition commands to meet our ally requirements. Diálogo: What are the most important factors of maritime partnerships? Rear Adm. Rixey: The first thing you start with is trust, and mutual respect for each other’s capabilities. We know the threats, and we identify common objectives. What ends up happening is that you come to a design or a capability that meets that, and of course, what is important about maritime partnerships is interoperability. So that when a threat emerges, any emergent situation, they can expect assistance right away, and that assistance would be seamless and coordinated. Diálogo: How are aircraft and ship transfers facilitating interoperability with Latin American and Caribbean partners? Rear Adm. Rixey: The mechanism is that if you trade like products, if you use similar communications data links, interoperability can occur with common military equipment. Mostly, interoperability is associated with the ability to communicate and develop joint interoperable tactics, techniques and procedures in coalition operations. One such example is in humanitarian relief that we saw in Haiti, the ability to establish communications; that is an interoperability mechanism. Diálogo: Can you explain what “cooperative development” looks like in the Americas? Rear Adm. Rixey: We use a mechanism called a master information exchange agreement between the countries, and what these master information exchange information agreements permit is a reciprocal, or bilateral, exchange of research and development information. So, what we do is exchange information, engineers and scientists exchange programs, and basic discussions which lead sometimes to cooperative development of products. We have been doing a lot of information exchanges. [For example,] a cooperative program with Brazil, with green energy, the way that they do green energy, the way they use their biofuels and manufacture their biofuels and we want to learn from that.