US approves oil and gas leasing plan for Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

first_imgThe leasing programme will determine where the leasing will occur in the 1.56 million-acre Coastal Plain within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge US has signed decision to implement the oil and gas leasing programme in Alaska. (Credit: U.S. Department of the Interior) The US Department of Interior (DOI) has approved the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska.The oil and gas leasing programme will determine where the leasing will occur in the 1.56 million-acre Coastal Plain within the 19.3 million-acre ANWR. It will also include terms and conditions of leasing.US Department of the Interior secretary David Bernhardt said: “Congress directed us to hold lease sales in the ANWR Coastal Plain, and we have taken a significant step in meeting our obligations by determining where and under what conditions the oil and gas development program will occur.“Our program meets the legal mandate that Coastal Plain leaseholders get the necessary rights-of-way, easements and land areas for production and support facilities they need to find and develop these important Arctic oil and gas resources.”DOI’s decision makes available 1,563,500 acres for oil and gas leasingThe DOI’s record of decision makes available approximately 1,563,500 acres for oil and gas leasing, and subsequently for potential future exploration, development and transportation.Alaska Governor Michael Dunleavy said: “The Record of Decision is a definitive step in the right direction to developing this area’s energy potential – between 4.3 and 11.8 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil reserves.”As per the approved plan, a majority of the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program area will be conditional no surface occupancy restrictions (359,400 acres) and operational timing limitations (585,400 acres) in order to protect habitat and wildlife.The latest move, however, is being opposed by environmental groups who argue that it would damage the sensitive area, reported IANS.last_img read more

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Cristiano Ronaldo sets the tone as Real Madrid edge clear of Celta Vigo

first_imgReal Madrid pulled three points clear of second-placed Celta Vigo after holding off the valiant 10-man Galicians to secure a nervy victory in Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash in La Liga.Cristiano Ronaldo and the Brazilian full-back Danilo struck early to put Real in control at Celta’s Balaídos stadium and Real’s goalkeeper, the Costa Rica international Keylor Navas, ensured they went into the break 2-0 ahead with a string of outstanding saves.Real were missing the injured regulars Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and James Rodríguez. But with Luka Modric back in the starting lineup after recovering from injury, Real went ahead in the eighth minute when Lucas Vázquez squared for Ronaldo to finish past Sergio Álvarez in the home goal.Danilo doubled Madrid’s lead 15 minutes later when he found space on the right and had time to pick his spot.Navas, who has only conceded three goals in Spain’s top flight this term, was on scintillating form in the first half and his saves from efforts by Fabián Orellana, Iago Aspas and Pablo Hernández were out of the top draw.Celta, who thumped Barcelona at the Balaídos 4-1 last month, battled hard to get back into the game after the break, but their hopes were dealt a blow in the 57th minute when the centre back Gustavo Cabral protested a decision too energetically and was shown a second yellow card, earning a dismissal. Real failed to make their numerical superiority count, however, and Marcelo had to clear a Nolito effort off the line in the 72nd minute before the Spain winger pulled a goal back with a stunning drive into the top corner five minutes from time.The Celta substitute John Guidetti fired narrowly wide moments later but Real held firm and Marcelo scored with the last kick of the match in the 96th minute to make it 3-1.Real have 21 points from nine matches, while Celta are level with the champions Barcelona on 18. Barcelona play their game in hand at home to Eibar on Sunday.Atletico Madrid are fourth on 16 points going into Sunday’s match at home to Valencia. Villarreal, who also have 16 points and are fifth in the league table, play at promoted Las Palmas.– All La Liga games and highlights can be seen live on SuperSport, your world of champions. Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySports.last_img read more

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Florida Court Reverses Judge’s Decision on Abortion Waiting Period

first_imgA Florida appeals court stepped into the ongoing abortion debate on Thursday by reversing a circuit judge’s ruling on a waiting period.The 1st District Court of Appeal announced Thursday that Circuit Judge Terry Lewis made an error when he declared in 2018 that a 24-hour waiting period for abortions was unconstitutional.The reversal ruling means the issue over the waiting period goes back to the circuit court.Judge Lewis’ previous ruling came after the Florida Supreme Court temporarily blocked the law.The appeals court voted 2-1, and explained that the state presented a “feeble” case to the Supreme Court when it tried to stop the judge’s injunction, but it strengthened its case since then. To that end, the court believes the case should proceed to trial.Former Governor Rick Scott signed the waiting period into law in four years ago. The ACLU challenged it on behalf of a Gainesville abortion clinic.last_img read more

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Commissioners Approve Big Changes to 2017 Gopher Review Process

first_imgFacebook100Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Thurston County Board of CommissionersLast week, Thurston County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the 2017 gopher review process for permit applicants. This year’s process is different from previous years in several significant ways. In order to meet Federal Requirements associated with the Endangered Species Act, this process is the result of a collaborative effort between the Commissioners and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), with the objective of benefiting Thurston County residents by streamlining the review process.These significant updates include:Reducing the maximum number of on-property visits from three to two. In past years, projects on habitat more likely to sustain gophers were subject to three visits.Adding more flexibility to the timing of visits. In previous years, final visits were required in September or October. This year, the final visit can occur as early as August, and in some cases even sooner.Expanding the list of project types and site conditions that may no longer be subject to multiple site visits. The County considers these conditions to be less likely to impact gopher habitat.Adding more biologists to conduct on-site reviews. USFWS agreed to send more of their biologists to help the County keep up with demand and reduce the backlog.Eliminating the third site-visit. Instead, if there is no evidence of gophers, applicants on more-preferred soils will be asked to sign an affidavit before the County issues an approval. Landowners will also be responsible for informing USFWS if they find the federally protected species prior to or during project construction. This will be required because the County’s site review process has changed but federal Endangered Species Act regulations have not.Other changes include prioritizing project-related permit applications over non-project reviews when scheduling site visits. In 2015, the County began offering low-cost gopher-only reviews of full properties to curious land owners, even if they did not apply for a building permit. The County will no longer offer that option, but County officials say anyone with a non-project application already in the queue can convert to a project application by Friday, June 30, 2017.County officials also noted that land-owners who want to know if they have gophers on their property can hire private biologists for a review. However, reviews by private consultants do not meet USFWS requirements.The rest of the 2017 process is similar to last year’s with site visits from County staff and USFWS biologists between June 1 and October 31. The County is asking permit applicants scheduled for gopher reviews to mow Scotch broom and heavy grasses right away, or immediately after they submit an application that is flagged for gopher review. Overgrowth slows review teams and creates a need for additional visits.The Gopher Review Process is only for those who submit an application to Thurston County’s Permit Assistance Center (PAC). The County does not perform gopher reviews on properties that do not have an active application or that are not on mapped gopher habitat.The purpose of County gopher reviewThe County conducts on-site reviews of properties before issuing building permits to help residents comply with state and federal endangered species laws, and to protect the County and its permit holders from liability under those laws. The Mazama pocket gopher – a species found in parts of Thurston County, was listed under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2014.Only about 10 percent of permit applicants get gopher reviewsGopher reviews are only required for projects proposed within mapped gopher soils. That means the County only reviews a fraction of the roughly 4,000 construction permit applications received in a typical year. Most applications for projects like interior remodels and projects outside of the mapped gopher soil areas do not require review. You can check your Thurston County property on a County soils map online to see if your property is within mapped gopher soils.Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)County officials say the seasonal gopher review could be a thing of the past if the County adopts a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) that would lead to an Incidental Take Permit from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. With an HCP, the County could issue permits year round without requiring gopher reviews. Implementing such a plan could speed up the permit process and help permit applicants comply with state and federal species protection laws.The plan isn’t final yet, but County Commissioners are working closely with federal officials to negotiate the best options for the community. A draft of the plan could be available for public review early next year.To learn more, visit the Thurston County website and select ‘Gopher Review Process, ’Habitat Conservation Plan’, or subscribe to the County’s Long Range Planning department email list.last_img read more

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Shandon Hotel opens the marvelous new Marbles Restaurant

first_imgShandon Hotel & Spa have officially opened a new luxury restaurant to bring fine dining to the Dunfanaghy resort.Marbles Restaurant opens to the public on Saturday 17th March 2018, exactly two years since the hotel celebrated their opening celebration which was on the 17th March 2016.The 17th March is a special day not only for the hotel but for the McCarthy Family, the Managing Director & Proprietor Warren McCarthy chose the opening celebration date in honour of his father, Michael McCarthy who celebrates his birthday on St Patrick’s day. Located above the popular Shandon Hotel Bar, Marbles will offer fine dining in intimate and stylish surroundings. Many windows looking out to Sheephaven Bay allows guests to admire the stunning sea views as they dine.Marbles Restaurant opens at the Shandon HotelMarbles Restaurant, offering fine dining at the Shandon HotelDonegal Daily had a sneak peek at the venue this week to discover the exquisite cuisine the restaurant will provide. Mouth-watering seafood, impressive presentation and uniquely delicious desserts are all part of the experience.Marbles Tasting MenuPan seared fillet of turbot at Marbles RestaurantDesserts at Marbles Restaurant Marbles is set to be a top foodie destination this year, whether guests are staying at the hotel or visiting for some quality dining. Executive Chef Anthony Finn said he is excited to allow restaurant Head Chef Josie Gallagher creative freedom when it comes to each dish in Marbles.Anthony confirmed that the final ‘tweaks’ have been done to the menu and he is very proud to say that each dish tastes as good as it is presented.The opening on Wednesday March 14th was a celebration of food and special moments for the Shandon team and the McCarthy family.Guests enjoyed welcome drinks in the warm and sparkling new JonJo’s lounge, with music by Jamie Brown. Having a new restaurant and lounge bar on the one level above the main bar and reception area means that the hotel can host events, weddings and leisure guests simultaneously with supreme comfort and ambience for each market segment.Carolynne Harrison General Manager made a point of welcoming each guest warmly and ensuring that everyone was enjoying their evening.She said she is very proud of how far the Shandon Hotel & Spa has come over the last two years and she credits her fantastic team for the success they have enjoyed. Carolynne said: “Opening Marbles Restaurant was essential to meet the demand in terms of fine dining with the most spectacular views over the bay, with the launch of this new restaurant we are now in a position to cater for both weddings and leisure guests simultaneously with comfort and ease.”This summer, an additional 18 newly constructed bedrooms will be on sale at the Shandon Hotel, bringing the total bedrooms to 68.Carolynne said: “With occupancy levels of almost 90% for the entire year, it was clear that we needed to build more rooms to meet the demand through all seasons.”Warren Mc Carthy Managing Director said he is pleased with how the business has progressed, which is why he had no hesitation in investing further with the introduction of the new feature staircase to the front of the building to provide access to the new restaurant and the newly constructed top floor. New facade and staircase of the Shandon Hotel & Spa, DonegalWarren confirmed that their strategy going forward will involve targeting leisure, corporate and wedding business. A new Honeymoon Suite has been incorporated into Warren’s plans, which will boast a roof top bath overlooking the Sheephaven Bay which will be the best view in the house.Marbles Restaurant is named after Marble Hill Beach which is visible from the new restaurant. Marble Hill Beach is a short stroll from the hotel and is renowned for its beauty and boasts excellent waves making it a perfect beach to enjoy surfing or various water sports.Konrad Palys Restaurant Manager confirmed he is very encouraged to see that the first two weekends are already fully booked in Marbles Restaurant, he advised of early booking for both residents and nonresidents to avoid disappointment. To book, call 0749136137 or email [email protected] Hotel opens the marvelous new Marbles Restaurant was last modified: March 16th, 2018 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:diningfoodmarbles restaurantOPENINGshandon hotellast_img read more

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