FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:PG&E Corp. plans to replace three natural gas-fired power plants in California with battery-storage systems as the state continues its push to squeeze fossil fuels out of the electricity mix.The California Public Utilities Commission approved Thursday four PG&E energy-storage contracts to support Northern California’s electric grid, including a project by Tesla Inc. The commission in January ordered the state’s biggest utility to find a way to replace the power it gets from three Calpine Corp. gas plants that are at risk of retirement, and to consider battery systems.California has mandated that utilities add about 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage to the grid by 2020 to help integrate the increasing amount of intermittent wind and solar power. Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation in September requiring the state to get all of its power from carbon-free sources by 2045.Commissioner Liane Randolph called Thursday’s 4-1 vote “only one step in the broader challenge we face in managing the state’s fossil fuel fleet.” Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen was the lone opposing vote. California relies on gas for about 34 percent of its electricity, according to the California Energy Commission.The four battery projects include a 183-megawatt facility south of San Jose, California, that will be designed and built by Tesla and owned by PG&E. Vistra Energy Corp. is planning a 300-megawatt installation; Hummingbird Energy Storage LLC is developing a 75-megawatt project; and Micronoc Inc. plans to install 10 megawatts of capacity at customer locations.More: California moves to replace gas plants with batteries from Tesla California regulators approve utility plans to replace natural gas with battery storage
Customer demand driving growth of utility clean energy spin-off, executive says FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Duluth News Tribune:Allete Clean Energy is growing.Standing in front of a TV in the lobby of the company’s Downtown Duluth headquarters, Allete Clean Energy President Allan S. Rudeck Jr. pointed on a map to the six operational wind farms acquired since 2011. With turbines already spinning in Minnesota, Iowa, Oregon and Pennsylvania, projects in North Dakota and Montana will be added to that map as they come online in 2019.The company, founded by its parent company Allete in 2011, has expanded so dramatically, in part, because of a rising demand for emission-free, renewable energy. “The customer wants clean energy,” Rudeck saidIt helps that the cost of wind energy continues to fall too. According to the Department of Energy’s 2017 Wind Market Reports, wind turbines are becoming larger and more powerful while technology costs continue to decrease. A report in November by investment firm Lazard said energy from wind farms is cheaper than energy from traditional coal plants.With those factors working in its favor, the company has grown from four to 82 employees in under eight years, and can currently provide 540 megawatts of wind generation to its customers but expects that to jump to 720 megawatts when its next two wind farms are operational later this year.The company’s business model combines buying, then refurbishing, existing wind farms while selling power to other companies; building and operating new wind farms, selling the power to other companies; and building new wind farms that will then, as a whole, be sold to another company.More: As demand for wind grows, so does Duluth-based Allete Clean Energy
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The Washington Senate passed a bill to require utilities to stop using coal-generated power by the end of 2025 and make all retail sales of electricity greenhouse gas-neutral by 2030.The bill would impact Puget Sound Energy Inc., the state’s largest utility, as well as Avista Corp. and Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary PacifiCorp. The bill would only impact out-of-state coal-fired power plants, such as Colstrip in Montana, because all three utility companies have ownership interests in the plant.Washington has only one coal-fired plant in the state, TransAlta Corp.’s 1,376-MW Centralia plant in Lewis County, which is due to be retired by 2025, the same year as the deadline set in the bill. Centralia is already subject to a state law passed in 2011 that required the plant to close. A portion of the plant’s output is sold under contract to Puget Sound Energy, or PSE.Senate Bill 5116, sponsored by Sen. Reuven Carlyle, a Democrat, passed on a 28-19 party line vote March 1, the same day Gov. Jay Inslee announced he is running for U.S. president on a platform to address climate change. Inslee sought the legislation in his State of the State speech in December 2018, when he called for a carbon-free electric grid by 2045.The Colstrip plant is operated by Talen Generation LLC. PSE owns the largest single share, with a 50% ownership interest in units 1 and 2 and a 25% interest in units 3 and 4. Avista owns a 15% interest in units 3 and 4, and PacifiCorp owns a 10% interest in units 3 and 4.PSE settled with the Sierra Club in July 2016 to retire units 1 and 2, the older and smaller of the units, dating from the mid-1970s, by July 1, 2022, according to the utility’s Form 10-K filing. Also, PSE will accelerate depreciation of units 3 and 4 to conclude at the end of 2027 under terms of a rate case settlement. This bill would require the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission to accelerate depreciation for any coal-fired resource owned by an investor-owned utility to no later than the end of 2025.More ($): Wash. Senate passes bill to stop utilities from using coal plants Washington legislators push plan to force state’s utilities to be carbon-neutral by 2030
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ReNews.biz:Duke Energy has filed locations of three new solar power plants it is developing in Florida, totaling 232MW. All three plants are expected to be finished in late 2021.The Duette solar power plant will be built in Manatee County. Once operational, the 74.5MW facility will consist of approximately 227,000 single-axis tracking solar panels, producing electricity at an estimated cost of $0.42 (€0.38) per 1000 kilowatt-hours (kWh).The Charlie Creek solar power plant will be built in Hardee County. The 74.9MW facility will consist of approximately 235,000 single-axis tracking solar panels, producing electricity at an estimated cost of $0.39 per 1000kWh.The 79.9MW Archer solar power plant will consist of approximately 220,000 single-axis tracking solar panels and will produce electricity at an estimated cost of $0.32 per 1000kWh.Duke Energy Florida currently has more than 500MW of solar generation under construction or in operation, excluding Duette, Charlie Creek and Archer.The company is investing an estimated $1bn to construct or acquire a total of 700MW of solar power facilities from 2018 through 2022 in Florida and is planning to reach a total of almost 1700 MW of solar generation over the next 10 years.More: Duke Energy commits to 232MW Florida solar Duke Energy says new projects will push company’s solar capacity in Florida above 700MW
EarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: I’ve heard of Eco-Tourism, but what on Earth is “Geo-Tourism? — Sally Kardaman, Sumter, SC“Geotourism” describes tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a given place, including its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of local residents. The idea is that tourism can be a positive force that benefits both travelers and local environments and economies.National Geographic Senior Editor Jonathan Tourtellot coined the term in 1997 to distinguish it from “ecotourism” or “sustainable tourism,” both which more narrowly focus on travel’s ecological impacts. In addition to a “do-no-harm” ethic, geotourism seeks to enhance prospects for sustainable development based on the specific character of a given place rather than on standardized international branding, generic architecture and food, etc. In other words, a geotourism tour won’t involve sending you to an exotic locale only to put you up at a Hilton or Marriot and give you discount coupons to Taco Bell and McDonald’s.“Today the world’s great destinations are under assault as visitor numbers rise exponentially every year,” reports the non-profit National Geographic Society, publisher of National Geographic. “The result is damage to the sites, overcrowding and erosion of the local culture and environment.” The Society hopes to reverse these trends with geotourism. Its Center for Sustainable Destinations (CSD) helps local communities, governments, tourism bureaus and private businesses enhance and sustain their distinct character while harnessing the power of tourism for positive impact: “Residents discover their own heritage by learning that things they take for granted may be interesting to outsiders,” reports CSD. “As local people develop pride and skill in showing off their locale, tourists get more out of their visit.”The Society’s “Geotourism Charter” lists 13 principles that qualifying sites must adhere to in order to earn a geotourism distinction. The main current running through the Charter is appreciation for the distinctive aspects of a given place and culture, and an eagerness to showcase them to curious and supportive visitors.The term geotourism is fairly new, but several places have offered “geotourism”-worthy travel for years. Costa Rica’s Rio Tropicales Lodge takes visitors white water rafting, horseback riding, hiking and on other rainforest excursions. It hires and trains locals to manage operations and teach guests about local cultures first-hand—and has launched several reforestation efforts and an education program that teaches elementary students across Costa Rica about the importance of protecting the rainforest in their backyards.Another organization is 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking in Nepal, which trains local women to be tourism professionals and trekking guides. In just a few short years the group, which promotes low-impact treks in the Himalaya region, has trained 600 women as ambassadors to the outdoors across Nepal and beyond.Apiring geotourism professionals can learn about their future profession by focusing on it as part of a new concentration within the geography department of Missouri State University.CONTACTS: CSD, http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable; Rio Tropicales, www.riostropicales.com; 3 Sisters, www.3sistersadventure.com; Missouri State University Geotourism Concentration, www.missouristate.edu/academics/details.aspx?id=81642.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.
For me, the takeaway was clear: In terms of immersion, convenience, skill-building and sheer downhill fun-factor, park riding is hard to beat. But parks streamline the process: A day pass brings all the gravity-fueled bliss my legs can stand. This small family-owned ski resort delivers an unexpected punch with its compact but powerhouse bike park. Situated around 35 miles northwest of Harrisonburg in the Alleghany Mountains, the park’s seven trails—which can be combined to form routes more than 2 miles long—are the result of a partnership between Trek and Gravity Logic. They are serviced by a quad lift and offer 500 feet of vertical drop. Trails were custom-designed to promote skill-building and progression. They are punctuated by an array of fantastic wooden bridges and features, tabletops, gaps, drops, and berms. If you’re looking for more smooth-riding flow than rooty, rocky, and technical, this is your jam. Day passes from $38. Pass with bike rental from $95. This northern Pa. ski resort has been recognized by mountain biking website MTB Parks as one of the East Coast’s top-five resort bike parks for four of the past five years. Despite a diminutive summit height of 1,540 feet, Blue Mountain compensates for its lack of elevation with 25 top-notch trails that drop 1,100 vertical feet and make the most of the mountain. Beginner-friendly green runs segue progressive-style into steep, twisty, and rocky intermediate and advanced routes like Formula, Jambalaya, Moto, Miles of Smiles, and OCS that showcase the natural terrain. In addition to dual slalom runs and tons of wooden features, Ewok Village and the newly added El Camino bring jumps, berms and drops. Tip: The resort offers cheap campsites close to the lift. Day passes, $40. Bike rentals from $99. Bike trips with my 13-year-old son had atrophied to an average of zero per month. Desperate for a solution, I turned to Bryce. bryceresort.com Bryce Resort, Va. Blue Mountain, Pa. skibluemt.com By the end of the day he’d put in at least 25 miles of (comparatively) hardcore gravity riding. Better still, he said he couldn’t wait to come back and “work on getting better.” snowshoemtn.com With thousands of miles of killer MTB trails crisscrossing the mountains of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, paying $35-plus to shred in a resort bike park can be perplexing for old school riders and neophytes alike. I was formerly of this camp. But a trip to Virginia’s Bryce Resort last year led to a conversion: I now consider myself an Apostle of Park Riding. How did it happen? Bryce Bike Park’s summer race series welcomes riders of all ages and skill levels the second Saturday of each month throughout the season. / photo by Andrew DeVier-Scott “It’ll be just like snowboarding,” I promised, confronted by his reluctance and suspicion. “We’ll take the lift up the mountain to the trailhead, drop in, ride a professionally manicured route with giant bank curves and more than 50 jumps to the bottom, then hit repeat.” Snowshoe Resort, W.Va. The Beast of the East boasts more than 100 miles of world-class biking trails and will host the 2019 UCI Mountain Biking World Championships this September. The park offers a whopping 1,500 vertical feet of descent. Its 40 routes were designed by trail-building titan Gravity Logic and cater to everyone from first time riders to U.S. national downhill champions like Neko Mulally. High-speed quad lifts bring swift rides to trailheads. Try the smooth and flowy Skyline, which is 2.9 miles long and features massive berms and more than 50 jumps. Take note: Snowshoe is located in a very rural area, so those traveling from any distance will likely want to stay. Plenty of lodging is available atop the mountain or at the nearby Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. Day passes, $45. Bike rentals from $40. Lift-assisted MTB parks bring convenient, immersive thrills for riders of all ability levels. Here are five of the region’s best. Following the Bryce visit I looked for more great regional rides. What follows are five of the best the Blue Ridge and surrounding mountain ranges have to offer. beechmountainresort.com He remained dubious going into the first run. Then came a chute into a give-or-take 10-foot-high berm, followed by a tabletop that sent his Specialized gliding about two feet through the air and into a butter-smooth downhill landing. The raw joy of what could only have been an inadvertent “Yee-ha!” made my heart sing. The bottom found him pedaling hard to the lift. Trails range in difficulty from beginner to pro-level hard, tend to be crafted by world-class professionals, and appear almost neurotically well-maintained. Amenities are close at hand. Jumps and nifty wooden features abound. Trails begin atop high peaks and typically deliver 1-2 miles of pedal-free riding. While a cross-country day at my go-to spot—i.e. Massanutten’s Western Slope—usually brings about 18-20 miles of riding, I spend 70 percent of my time pedaling up hills. Billed as the highest lift-assisted bike park east of the Mississippi, this northwestern N.C. ride center brings 5,500-foot summits and some of the best downhill runs in the Southeast. Accordingly, it hosted USA Cycling National Championships in 2011 and 2012. Ten trails of varying ability levels wind through forests alongside the resort’s ski slopes—the longest of which is about 1.5 miles. Routes offer everything from ultra-advanced technical sections with loads of rocks, drops and multiple lines, to a terrain park and buttery beginner course. Cross-country and enduro fans will enjoy the adjacent Emerald Outback area. Hosting collegiate national mountain biking championships in 2013 and 2014, Beech is home to a 7-mile loop of exquisite single- and double-track. Day passes from $38. Bike rentals from $135. Windrock Bike Park, Tenn. Beech Mountain Resort, N.C. The only park on the list that doesn’t have a lift gets the nod for being one of the most interesting new operations on the East Coast. Co-owned by Neko Mulally, Windrock was purpose-built for enthusiasts by enthusiasts—and subsequently brings 16 of the rawest and gnarliest cross-country and downhill trails in the region. Made infamous by opening with difficulty levels that started at advanced and continued to extreme, the 550-acre park now offers two flowy, machine-built beginner routes, with another three for intermediates. Vertical drop clocks in at an impressive 2,150 feet from a 3,200-foot summit. Weekend van shuttles carry riders to mountaintop trailheads. Camping is available onsite. Weekend passes with unlimited shuttle: $35. Bike rentals: $130. windrockbikepark.com More Biking in the Blue Ridge from our September Bike Issue Here
National and state parks close facilities due to coronavirus concerns As of March 18, Virginia State Parks remain open. Visitor centers are closed, but overnight facilities, including camping and cabins, and outdoor spaces remain open. As always, social distancing is highly recommend on hiking trails. Stay six feet away from all other hikers, even while outdoors. North Carolina State Parks have shut down all state park visitor centers and campgrounds. At this time, trails and restrooms remain open. Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive are open, including entrance stations, trails and restrooms. All other facilities are closed. South Carolina State Parks are open. Cabins and campground are open, though visitor centers, nature centers and retail locations are closed. West Virginia State Parks and forests are open at this time. Alabama State Parks, including all facilities, are open at this time. Tennessee State Parks are open, though some facilities may be closed. All park-hosted events are cancelled through the end of March. In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, state and national parks are closing visitor centers and other facilities. In Asheville, the Blue Ridge Parkway shuttered its year-round visitor center on Tuesday, though other year-round facilities on the parkway will remain open, the Citizen-Times reports. The parkway is still open to cars and hiking trails are still open to those that want to explore on foot. Decisions about spring openings for campgrounds and other seasonally closed facilities will be made at a later date. Great Smoky Mountains National Park also shut their visitor centers on Tuesday, effective until further notice. Campgrounds, picnic areas, roads, trails and bathroom facilities remain open. All facilities in Pennsylvania State Parks are closed for two weeks as of March 17, though hiking trails, lakes, roads and forests remain open. Maryland State Parks are open, though all state park buildings are closed to the public, except for restrooms and full-service cabins. Georgia State Parks are open, though some Ranger programs have been modified in accordance with public health recommendations. Kentucky State Parks and facilities are currently open to the public. Food service in the parks is limited to carry-out and group events are cancelled through the end of April.
Photo courtesy of Lexington & Rockbridge County. EVENING Stop at the Pink Cadillac, a 50s diner, for lunch. You can’t miss the pink exterior from the road. Finish the afternoon with a visit to Natural Bridge State Park, a 215-foot natural wonder once owned by Thomas Jefferson. While there, visit the Monacan Indian Village and Children’s Discovery Area to learn more about the area’s history, flora, and fauna. Take a stroll through the apple orchard labyrinth at Halcyon Days Cider Co. for sweeping views of the mountains. DAY ONE Photo courtesy of Lexington & Rockbridge County. Kick back and relax with dinner at Devils Backbone Outpost Brewery & Tap Room, a family-friendly stop on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. Enjoy a double feature under the stars at Hull’s Drive-In, the nation’s only non-profit and community-owned drive-in theater. MORNING Start your morning off at Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden, a 15-acre arboretum filled with a variety of ecosystems and wildlife. Kids of all ages will enjoy exploring nature through the Kid’s Play Trail and Fairy Forest. Go for a walk on the Chessie Nature Trail. This seven-mile rail trail connects the towns of Lexington and Buena Vista along the Maury River. The kids will enjoy feeding the animals directly from your car at the Virginia Safari Park. Walk through the Safari Village with interactive animal exhibits such as the Kangaroo Walkabout, Budgie Adventure Aviary, and a giraffe feeding station. Or, reimagine the Civil War at Dinosaur Kingdom II where you will encounter life-sized dinosaurs engaged in battle. EVENING Enjoy lunch in Lexington at Salerno Wood Fired Pizza & Tap House. They have more than 30 beer choices on tap with their “self-pouring wall.” Grab a scoop or two of homemade ice cream at Sweet Things Ice Cream before heading out on the water. Paddle or tube the Upper James River Water Trail for views of the wildlife and a new perspective on the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Wilderness Canoe Company can hook you up with boats and suggestions for on the river. Did You Know? Animal lovers will enjoy two animal parks, shows at the Virginia Horse Center, and tours with Lexington Carriage Company. Photo courtesy of Lexington & Rockbridge County. A WEEKEND IN… Photo by Steve Shire. Photo courtesy of Lexington & Rockbridge County. Photo courtesy of Lexington & Rockbridge County. As the southern gateway to the Shenandoah Valley, Rockbridge County, Va. is easily accessible to 100,000 acres of public forests, parks, and rivers where outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels can hike, bike, paddle, and camp. In the college towns of Lexington and Buena Vista, visitors can enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, food and spirits scene, and historic sites.As the southern gateway to the Shenandoah Valley, Rockbridge County, VA is easily accessible to 100,000 acres of public forests, parks, and rivers where outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels can hike, bike, paddle, and camp. In the college towns of Lexington and Buena Vista, visitors can enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, food and spirits scene, and historic sites. Feature Image: Along the 64 miles of the Upper James River and 10 miles of the Maury River, a 59-mile stretch of the James River was recently designated a Virginia Scenic River. After a day on the river, enjoy a refreshing craft brew at one of the breweries along the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. Photo by Sam Dean. AFTERNOON DAY TWO Facebook: LEXINGTONVA | Instagram: VISITLEXINGTONLEXINGTONVIRGINIA.COM | ROCKBRIDGEOUTDOORS.COM AFTERNOON MORNING Choose from several local eateries for dinner, serving up everything from barbecue and burgers to seasonal dishes at farm-to-table restaurants. Continue the fun at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort. Choose from cabins perfect for the whole family or seasonal campsites. Enjoy roasting marshmallows around the campfire and themed weekends, such as Chocolate Paradise and Mad Scientist Weekend. Lexington & Rockbridge County, Virginia
Why keep an eye on Yellowstone’s earthquakes? The park is home to a supervolcano that, if it should erupt, would bring with it the force of 1,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs. Though the supervolcano is not expected to erupt in our lifetime, when it does it will bring massive destruction to the U.S. Throughout the week, American Hiking Society will also host interactive Facebook Live sessions on their Facebook Page. This Saturday, June 6, is National Trails Day. On this national day of celebrating our trails, hikers are encouraged to harness the advocacy power of the millions-strong outdoor community to take action, while social distancing, to preserve trails and fight for equitable access for all to natural spaces. Nearly a dozen earthquakes in 24 hours shake Yellowstone National Park The way 2020 is going, would we even be surprised? Do you love the Great Smoky Mountains? Then check out the new podcast series Smoky Mountain Air, by the Great Smoky Mountains Association. The podcast features interviews with authors, scientists and park experts, who each shed new light on life in the Smokies past and present. Lower Falls, the biggest waterfall in Yellowstone, is the most famous in the Park at 308 feet and lies in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone – Photo from Getty Images “I believe that Smoky Mountain Air will give members and park supporters another great way to connect to GSMA, the region and Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” park archivist Mike Aday told onefeather.com. The podcast can be found on all podcast-hosting platforms. Give to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and your gift will be matched Celebrate National Trails Day this Saturday The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has received a generous donation in the form of a $300,000 challenge grant. The grant is an “all or nothing” challenge, which means the foundation must raise $300,000 by Sept. 30, 2020, or forfeit the money completely. The National park Service is facing an astounding price tag to tackle repairs and care for trails, campgrounds, overlooks and more. Your gift will help. Click here to donate to the foundation. Your gift will help to rehabilitate Parkway trails, restore iconic Parkway views, repair campgrounds and picnic areas, engage volunteers, and enhance signage and educational opportunities. Boston Marathon is cancelled but will be held as a virtual event Last Friday an area near Yellowstone National Park experienced 11 earthquakes—the strongest quake measuring at a magnitude of 3.1. In the past month, the area has been hit with an additional 34 quakes. Yellowstone is one of the most seismically active places in the continental U.S. and experiences between 700 and 3,000 earthquakes a year. New podcast launched by Great Smoky Mountains Association Qualifying for—and running—the Boston Marathon is a major achievement in the running world. But runners that were planning to head to Beantown this year for the event will be lacing up their shoes a little closer to home instead. This year, for the first time in its 124-year history, the Boston Marathon is cancelled. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) announced last week that, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the marathon will not take place in 2020. Instead, the event will be held virtually and “will be complemented” by several other virtual events during the second week of September. Participants who were registered to run the initial April 20 date will be offered a full refund. Hikers are asked to take the #NationalTrailsDayPledge to preserve trails and advocate for equitable access to green space. Everyone who takes the pledge will be entered to win outdoor gear. Hikers are also encouraged to post a photo or video from one of your favorite trail adventures and tag #NationalTrailsDay and @AmericanHiking for a chance to win a gear prize package. Bald Eagle nesting remains strong in Georgia but declines in northern part of the state New data out of Georgia shows that bald eagle nesting is strong in the state, though successful nests and young fledged in the northern part of Georgia declined this year compared to long-term averages. Heavy rainfall from January through March is likely to blame for the lower nest productivity, said Dr. Bob Sargent of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Sargent estimates that the state likely had 200 or more eagle nests for the sixth straight year and says he isn’t concerned about the poor success rate for eagles in north Georgia. “Populations of many wildlife species exhibit fluctuations in reproductive success from year to year, sometimes wildly so, and these fluctuations are often related to bad timing of unusually cold or rainy spells,” he said.
By Dialogo August 20, 2010 In a joint anti-drug operation by the Honduran National Police, prosecutors and the air force on August 17, police seized 500 kilograms of cocaine found in a dump truck that had dodged police checkpoints. According to Deputy Security Minister Armando Calidonio in a report by EFE, a small twin-engine plane, three other vehicles and two M-16 assault rifles were also seized during the operation in the northern city of Choloma. Five armed suspects were taken into custody. Calidonio said investigators are trying to find out the origin of the plane, but suspect that it came from South America and dropped the load of cocaine on August 15 near Choloma. Honduras has become a transit country for South American drug traffickers, who tend to use small planes to smuggle goods, reported EFE. Some of the planes come from Colombia and Venezuela, and while some are intercepted, others land and are later burned to destroy the evidence, officials said.