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THEM ON US: Riding for the Brand
Not even coal for Christmas
China may not get their Wyoming coal after all. Shipping difficulties stand in the way of a proposed deal to sell coal mined in Wyoming to markets in Asia. With domestic demand for Wyoming coal waning, deals were struck to ship coal by rail from the Powder River Basin to Coos Bay in Oregon where it would travel by ship to the Far East.
Now it seems the deal may be dead in the water as two of the three investors have pulled out, according to sources at Mitsui & Co., the U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese trading company, and Korean Electric Power Corp., the potential buyer of the coal, who claim they are no longer part of the project. That leaves the proposed shipper – Metropolitan Stevedore Company of Wilmington, Calif., known as Metro Ports – as the only player still technically on board.
“They are going to have a lot of difficulty moving forward because of the infrastructure upgrades necessary both to the rail lines and the bridges and overpasses they are asking the partner investors to foot the bill on,” Sierra Club spokeswoman Krista Collard said.
Sierra Club and other environmentalists have strongly opposed the arrangement, arguing that burning coal in Asia will contribute to global warming and acidification of the oceans. We read the news in the Bellingham Herald (Washington).
Riding for the brand
Our good friend Jayme Feary just penned a piece for Western Horseman. He dropped in on the working hands who ride for the Upper Green River Cattle Association tending to cows on one of the vastest and remotest grazing allotments in the country.
Camp #5 is the summer home to a 70-year-old cowboy who spends most of his days keeping grizzlies and wolves off his stock.
Look for the story in the April issue.
Hi-tech road kill reducer
The LA Times ran a fascinating story about a new high-tech system designed to reduce vehicle-wildlife collisions. The concept involves highway reflectors that turn oncoming headlights into infrared flashes that create a sense of movement so deer and other wildlife might be discouraged from bounding into the roadway. The light would be undetectable to the human eye.
Morgan Graham, with the Conservation Research Center of Teton Science Schools, heads the study in partnership with the Wyoming Department of Transportation. A pilot program was put into place this winter on a nine-mile stretch north of Thermopolis, a deadly zone that saw 100 deer-vehicle crashes last year.
“The light flashes diagonally 30 feet or so on either side of the road,” Graham said. “They’re designed to catch the attention of the animal so they stop and notice the car, as opposed to being confused and walking into the road.”