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Rural kids, parents angry about Labor Dept. rule banning farm chores

GUTHRIE, TX - OCTOBER 24: Cole Hatfield tends to his show steers on the 6666 Ranch October 24, 2007 in Guthrie, Texas on October 24, 2007. (Photo by Rick Gershon/Getty Images)

By Patrick Richardson Journalis

A proposal from the Obama administration to prevent children from doing farm chores has drawn plenty of criticism from rural-district members of Congress. But now it’s attracting barbs from farm kids themselves.

The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.

Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”

“Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”

The new regulations, first proposed August 31 by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, would also revoke the government’s approval of safety training and certification taught by independent groups like 4-H and FFA, replacing them instead with a 90-hour federal government training course.

Rossie Blinson, a 21-year-old college student from Buis Creek, N.C., told The Daily Caller that the federal government’s plan will do far more harm than good.

“The main concern I have is that it would prevent kids from doing 4-H and FFA projects if they’re not at their parents’ house,” said Blinson.

“I started showing sheep when I was four years old. I started with cattle around 8. It’s been very important. I learned a lot of responsibility being a farm kid.”

In Kansas, Cherokee County Farm Bureau president Jeff Clark was out in the field — literally on a tractor — when TheDC reached him. He said if Solis’s regulations are implemented, farming families’ labor losses from their children will only be part of the problem.

“What would be more of a blow,” he said, “is not teaching our kids the values of working on a farm.”

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average age of the American farmer is now over 50.

“Losing that work-ethic — it’s so hard to pick this up later in life,” Clark said. “There’s other ways to learn how to farm, but it’s so hard. You can learn so much more working on the farm when you’re 12, 13, 14 years old.”

John Weber, 19, understands this. The Minneapolis native grew up in suburbia and learned the livestock business working summers on his relatives’ farm.

He’s now a college Agriculture major.

“I started working on my grandparent’s and uncle’s farms for a couple of weeks in the summer when I was 12,” Weber told TheDC. “I started spending full summers there when I was 13.”

“The work ethic is a huge part of it. It gave me a lot of direction and opportunity in my life. If they do this it will prevent a lot of interest in agriculture. It’s harder to get a 16 year-old interested in farming than a 12 year old.”

Weber is also a small businessman. In high school, he said, he took out a loan and bought a few steers to raise for income. “Under these regulations,” he explained, “I wouldn’t be allowed to do that.”

Child Labor Laws | Farming | Department of Labor | The Daily Caller.

UK: Trump Demands Public Inquiry into Proposed Offshore Wind Farm

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DONALD Trump has asked the Scottish Government to hold a public inquiry into plans for a windfarm off the coast from his £750million golf resort.

The property tycoon claims 11 giant turbines erected at a European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in the North Sea, would be visible from his controversial links course at Balmedie, Aberdeenshire.

Trump has already heavily criticised the plans and wrote to First Minister Alex Salmond saying that the proposal was “environmentally irresponsible”.

And now his lawyers have contacted Energy Minister Fergus Ewing requesting a hearing into the plans.

A letter, sent by Ann Faulds of legal team Dundas and Wilson, read: “A public inquiry into the proposed development is necessary to explore all material considerations, and to ensure a proper evidential base to inform Scottish ministers’ determination of the application.

“In particular, the potential economic impact of the proposed development on my client’s development, and by extension the regional and Scottish economy, has not been addressed in the environmental statement submitted in respect of the application.”

Trump’s son, Donald Jnr said he feared the public had not fully understood the impact the turbines could have and added: “I don’t think the public realise how close to the shore they are going to be, so I think there needs to be a hearing.”

But the windfarm, one-and-a-half miles from the course, and a £150million joint venture between utility company Vattenfall, engineering firm Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, has generated hundreds of letters of support.

By Stephen Wilkie (express)

Source

USA: 7 Companies Beside Deepwater Wind Plan to Build Wind Farm off RI

7 Companies Beside Deepwater Wind Plan to Build Wind Farm off RI (USA)

Seven companies in addition to Deepwater Wind have registered interest in developing offshore energy projects in an area of federal waters between Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Providence-based Deepwater announced its application to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management last week for a longstanding plan for a 1,000-megawatt wind farm, but no other companies made public their proposals at the time.

The bureau released a list this week of companies interested in generating energy in waters east of Block Island and southwest of Martha’s Vineyard.

No information was provided on their applications or the scope of their projects.

The applicants include Energy Management Inc., the company behind the 130-turbine Cape Wind proposal in Nantucket Sound; Fishermen’s Energy, a company with plans for a wind farm off the New Jersey coast; and Neptune Wind, which announced in August a plan for a 500-megawatt wind farm in the area between Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Also on the list are enXco, a San Diego, Calif.-based company that says it has developed 3,000 megawatts of wind power and 68 megawatts of solar power in the United States, Mexico and Canada; Iberdrola Renewables, the U.S. division of a Spanish company that describes itself as the second-largest developer of wind power in the United States, with 4,800 megawatts of onshore projects; Mainstream Renewable Power, a company that says it is developing 5,500 megawatts of offshore wind power in England, Scotland and Germany; and US Wind, which has also submitted applications to lease waters in another part of Massachusetts and off New Jersey.

The bureau will review the applications before deciding whether to lease areas for development.

By Alex Kuffner (projo)

Original Article

USA: LI-NYC Wind Farm Collaborative Plans to Build Wind Farm off Rockaways

The Long IslandNew York City Offshore Wind Collaborative has filed an offshore land lease application with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, taking a big step in bringing wind energy to New York City and Long Island.

The New York Power Authority, Long Island Power Authority and Con Edison have all come together to propose an offshore windmill farm in the Atlantic Ocean 15 miles off the Rockaway Peninsula.

With help from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is backing the initiative, the project has finally moved on to the approval process.

“We are massive supporters of this project,” said Dan Hendrick, communications director of the New York League of Conservative Voters. “This is great news for the region.”

Michael Clendenin of Con Edison said “It’s something people have been talking about for a while.”

It is hoped that the offshore windmill farm, though costly, can provide efficient energy for the entire region without further depleting the Earth’s ozone layer.

If the application passes and the project gets running, having a reliable source of energy could even obviate the need to bring in energy from upstate New York.

“New York has fantastic wind resources,” Hendrick said. “It is in the top 10 for wind resources in the country.”

The collaboration is taking advantage of the vast amounts of wind energy, but it comes with a steep price.

The expected cost of a 350-megawatt project, which would power roughly 112,000 homes, is $415 million, while an upgrade to 700 megawatts would cost an additional $406 million.

The offshore wind project, designed for 350 MW, with the possibility of expanding to 700 MW, would become the largest offshore wind farm in the country.

Not all are certain the project would be beneficial, however.

Recently elected Rep. Bob Turner (R-Queens and Brooklyn) said the “efficacy of wind farms might need more study.”

Turner said he wants to see further research on the wind farms off the coast of Europe before the United States puts a great deal of money into funding one here.

Studies have shown that the implementation of the wind farm would displace roughly 540,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to removing 120,000 cars from local roads, according to the collaborative’s website.

An earlier proposal for offshore wind farms in August 2007 off the coast of Jones Beach on Long Island was terminated due to concerns from local groups protesting the close vicinity of the windmills to the shore, coupled with rising technological costs at the time. But the agencies in the collaborative say this one would bring another benefit of greater concern today.

“The project is expected to boost the job market,” said Clendenin. “It is worthwhile and will create quite a few jobs.”

In fact, the collaborative estimates 2,300 to 4,700 job openings once the plan is enacted and the wind farm is set to be built.

As for the danger to birds, another concern with wind turbines, Hendrick said he does not see a problem, as the facility would be far enough off the coast that fly zones for migrating birds would not be disrupted. One major avian flyway goes right through Jamaica Bay.

“They tend to hug the shoreline,” Hendrick said.

If the lease is approved, the project could start as early as 2017, , Hendrick said, adding, “With everyone using cell phones and other forms of technology these days, we’re going to need more energy.”

by Fen Yi Chen (qchron)

Original Article

Deepwater Wind Submits Plans for Nation’s First Offshore Wind Farm

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Deepwater Wind this week officially submitted its plan to develop a utility-scale offshore wind farm off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, in response to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE)’s Call for Information and Nominations for offshore wind energy projects in the federal ocean waters off southern New England.

Deepwater Wind’s project – the Deepwater Wind Energy Center (DWEC) – will be the first of the “second generation” of offshore wind farms in the United States. With a capacity of approximately 1,000 megawatts, DWEC will serve as a regional offshore wind energy center serving multiple states on the East Coast.

“The Deepwater Wind Energy Center is poised to be the first regional offshore wind energy center in the United States with a wind farm and a transmission system serving multiple markets,” said William M. Moore, Deepwater Wind CEO.

DWEC will be sited in the deep ocean waters of southern Rhode Island Sound, where it will be barely visible from the shore. Construction is planned to begin in 2014 or 2015, with the first wind turbines in operation by the end of 2016 or 2017.

With as many as 200 wind turbines, DWEC will be the largest offshore wind farm ever planned in the United States. Because of the economies of scale gained by building a large facility and because of the continuing maturity of the offshore wind industry, DWEC’s power price will also be lower than earlier offshore wind projects proposed in the U.S. DWEC will demonstrate that as the offshore wind industry continues to mature, its energy prices will become increasingly competitive with plants that burn fossil fuels – but without the environmental problems that plague fossil fuel plants.

“This ‘second generation’ of offshore wind farms will be larger and farther from shore, and will produce lower priced power, using more advanced technology than any of the offshore projects announced to date,” Moore said.

Deepwater Wind previously filed an unsolicited nomination to BOEMRE to lease the ocean site where it plans to locate DWEC. Since then, Deepwater Wind, after consultations with area fishing groups and other stakeholders, has refined the ocean lease blocks it has nominated in order to accommodate multiple different project designs. At this early stage of project development, Deepwater Wind believes that additional input from key stakeholders, such as commercial fishers, should be considered before final project siting is determined. Deepwater Wind’s lease block nomination creates this flexibility by including enough area for different project configurations.

Deepwater Wind is also developing a regional offshore transmission network, the New England-Long Island Interconnector (NELI), connecting DWEC to southern New England and eastern Long Island. NELI will allow the wind farm to send power to multiple states in the region. Deepwater Wind plans to market power from DWEC to several states, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and Connecticut.

Most of the turbines will be located 20 – 25 miles from shore. No turbine will be located any closer than 13.8 miles from inhabited land, with only a few turbines located at that distance. At these distances, the wind farm will be barely visible from the shore and the project site can take advantage of the stronger winds found in the open ocean.

Deepwater Wind’s proposal sites DWEC in the “Area of Mutual Interest” between the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. As a result of a competitive bid process held by the State of Rhode Island in 2008, Deepwater Wind is the state’s preferred developer in this Area of Mutual Interest. The utility-scale project is also outlined in the Joint Development Agreement between Deepwater Wind and Rhode Island.

Deepwater Wind will base its manufacturing and construction operations at Quonset Point, in Rhode Island, where the company has over 100 acres under lease option. Deepwater Wind is also exploring port and other facilities in Massachusetts to compliment its Quonset base.

As a 1,000 MW regional offshore wind energy center, DWEC is a first-of-its-kind project in several ways and serves as a model for future Deepwater Wind projects. First, it is the largest renewable energy project ever proposed for the northeast United States.

“Energy independence for our nation is possible only by taking bold steps to wean ourselves off of our addiction to fossil fuels,” Moore said. “Second generation utility-scale wind farms like DWEC can significantly reduce our need to burn fossil fuels, improve local air quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – problems that are especially acute in the densely-populated Northeast.”

Second, the projected pricing of the power from DWEC is expected to be lower than that proposed for any offshore wind farm ever planned in the United States. The wholesale price of power depends on the final size of the project, the final configuration of the transmission system, and the continued availability of federal tax incentives, however Deepwater Wind expects the pricing on a kilowatt-hour basis to be in the mid-teens (measured in cents). DWEC will demonstrate that offshore wind is becoming increasingly competitive with fossil fuel plants.

Third, at 1,000 MWs, DWEC may entice both domestic and foreign suppliers to seriously consider establishing significant parts of their fabrication, manufacturing, assembly, and support services in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. According to the Memorandum of Understanding between those two states, they will coordinate economic development to maximize job creation in the region. Before DWEC, the United States market was seen as underdeveloped and not large enough to justify a new manufacturing base for suppliers of components such as turbines and blades.

BOEMRE will review Deepwater Wind’s lease request in consultation with taskforces organized at the state level in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Original Article

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