Brownfields can be redeveloped into community assets in Appalachia. Insisting this was even possible to industry insiders just a decade ago would have likely invoked raised eyebrows – at a minimum – followed by hefty doses of skepticism. Without hesitation, experts well-versed in economic development and real estate could rattle off in quick order a laundry list of the challenges to redeveloping brownfields in Appalachia: legally-complicated and environmentally-decrepit sites left wasting away for too long; no available funding resources or deep pockets interested in paying for cleanup; a skilled workforce that moved away long ago in search of opportunities elsewhere; a lack of dedicated local or regional investment to support such a huge undertaking; crumbling infrastructure in desperate need of replacement; and the poverty – the unimaginable rates of community poverty. And a list of possible solutions to addressing brownfields in Appalachia? Even more difficult to come by.
Although the change in attitude has been many years coming, a new focus on brownfields is now slowly beginning to emerge across Appalachian communities. Local leaders and economic development officials are banding together with residents and business owners to begin developing regional best practices and “smart growth” approaches to redeveloping brownfields, including applying for funding assistance from federal agencies like U.S. EPA, EDA, and HUD. Communities are establishing local advisory committees focused on identifying brownfields and infrastructure challenges, and coming up with ways to address those issues one checklist item at a time. Appalachian communities are no longer looking at their brownfields as tarnished local liabilities, but rather are finding new ways to market these properties to national site selectors as future redevelopment assets. Helping to spur some of this new activity: the growth of the oil and gas industry in states like Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The shale boom is putting a new spotlight on long-overlooked communities in Appalachia and their available properties, and the investment is beginning to pay off in the form of new jobs, infrastructure improvements, and long-range community planning.
And others in the redevelopment world are taking notice, too. In fact, the Brownfields 2015 Conference, scheduled for September 2-4 in Chicago, will feature a planning session aimed specifically at Appalachian communities. “Tackling Brownfields in Appalachia: A Planning Roundtable” is set for September 3, 2015, at 12:45 p.m. in the Stevens Salon A-4 at the Hilton Chicago. This roundtable discussion will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing Appalachian communities when it comes to redeveloping brownfield properties, including community planning, infrastructure, re-use of long-idled facilities, workforce development, and social issues. Designed as an informational planning forum, the session will assist Appalachian and other small communities in defining the issues surrounding brownfield redevelopment in economically-challenged areas of the country, while sharing tips, techniques, and case studies that will inspire creative ideas and collective sharing among the participants. The session also includes ideas for sustainable approaches to planning, assessment, and redevelopment that can be the spark to revitalizing Appalachian communities and help support economic market planning for new job growth. Featured experts in the session include Huntington, WV Mayor Steve Williams and Southern Ohio Port Authority Executive Director Jason Kester.
For more information about the Brownfields 2015 Conference, visit: http://www.brownfieldsconference.org. Information about the “Tackling Brownfields in Appalachia” planning session at the conference can be found at: http://www.brownfieldsconference.org/en/Session/2168?returnurl=%2fen%2feducation%2feducational_sessions.
A Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system can heat your facility, heat your pool and save you money. Sounds impossible doesn’t it?
So just what is this system and why can it do so many things? A CHP system is an engine that uses clean natural gas to produce electricity – just like many other engines but is also designed to capture the waste heat and create useful thermal energy. The thermal energy can then be used to heat water for swimming pools and domestic use. By using both the electrical and thermal energy the system efficiency if over 80%, far more efficient that standard electric generation. Waste not, want not.
With a CHP system you can generate electricity for your recreational facility while using the captured waste heat to heat water and reduce your boiler usage. For example a 248 kW system will average over 8000 operational hours annually, and will produce 2,000,000 kilowatt hours per year, and produce over 1.4 million BTUs and hour of useful thermal energy. These systems also have the availability to operate independently during grid outages. When grid power is interrupted, CHP systems are designed to operate independently and provide power to the critical systems in a facility. As an example, the system can be designed to run HVAC units when sources of grid electricity are unavailable making a facility available for use as a community shelter during extended outages.
CHP systems are nearly twice as efficient as a traditional power generator, delivers backup power during outages and reduces the capital costs associated with traditional boiler replacement. In addition, financing options also exist that allow you to have a system installed with no up-front costs so you can begin saving money immediately.
We spray and slather on insect repellent with the best of intentions. While repellents are both necessary and helpful…they are not 100% effective. Nothing can substitute for frequent and thorough tick checks. They are necessary to keep you safe, regardless of the repellents you may be using or any other precautions you take.
So, while you may be using Permethrin, lemon-eucalyptus or Deep Woods Off...you can still find yourself with a tick.
If you are unfamiliar with this biological hazard and would like more information you can link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page HERE
Risk is defined as the chance of suffering harm. Scientists would say that risks are real when there is a measurable probability of harm. Under this view, the necessary conditions for risks to be real are:
Risk assessment specialists attempt to quantify risk by using data and models linking sources, exposure pathways, and mechanisms of harm to develop quantitative measures of risk, based on probability and level of consequence. Some take the position that this technical analysis of risk ought to be the authoritative basis for regulatory decision making.
But there are other views of when risks are real. No less of a technical geek that Nikola Tesla said “Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.”
From a purist perspective, so long as there is uncertainty, there is risk. There are, thus, no cases in which risk is not real. And yes, the evaluation of relative likelihood and seriousness of harm is important. But there is an important and sometimes subtle relationship between our common sense notions of risk and values, on the one hand, and statistically measured relative frequencies and quantification of harm, on the other.
From a humanistic perspective, risk is simply the potential of losing something of value. In this view, whether or not a risk is real is, as Plato described beauty, “in the eye of the beholder”. This is why attempts to communicate risk in technical terms can be frustrating, and why understanding how people perceive risks and determine the acceptability of risk is crucial. Risks are real to a person when they have sufficient reason to suspect the presence of a cause that may result in harm to something that they value. To meaningfully discuss risk with this person, it is necessary to understand the reasons for their suspicion, the harm they fear, and what it is that they value.
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