Notre-Dame-des-Landes: a future agricultural project still uncertain

The development of the agricultural project on the former ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, two months after the abandonment of the airport project, will take "time", acknowledged Thursday the prefect of the region Pays de la Loire, many questions have not been raised, including the identity of future land owners.

The regional prefect, Nicole Klein, elected on March 19, agricultural unions and associations for the first steering committee to build the agricultural project on the 1,650 hectares of the former airport hold, with contours still very vague.

Who will remain, who will leave, who will regain ownership of the lands and who will assume the management? Three weeks after the expiration of the ultimatum set by the executive to 150 to 200 occupants of the ZAD, the prefect reaffirmed that all those who "refuse to enroll in the rule of law will be expelled." 19659002] Possible expulsions will only occur after 31 March, the date on which the winter break ends.

For the occupants who would be "in agreement on the rules to be respected", by paying in particular "the gas, the electricity, a renting" or contributing to the social security agricultural, the MSA, everything will depend on the arbitration decided after the land surrender process, of which the State is currently the sole owner.

On the distribution of land, which the state wants to yield, "there are simple subjects and complicated subjects," acknowledged Ms. Klein.

"The simple subjects are the historic farmers, who are four, who have been expropriated, who have remained on the spot and who wish to recover their lands, either in the form of property or in the form of renting", explained the State representative.

"We will leave a priori, and all agricultural unions agree, the historical where they are," she assured the AFP.

– 'Step by step' –

"After, there is the very complex subject of the county council", which asked the State retrocession of 895 hectares of plots on the former airport hold, said Ms. Klein. The department of Loire-Atlantique had begun to acquire these lands in 1974, before selling them in 2012 to the State and the concessionaire of the airport platform, Aéroports du Grand Ouest, a subsidiary of the BTP Vinci group.

On this point, nothing is decided because "half of the jurists think that the request is legitimate and half think it is not," said the prefect.

The president (PS) of the departmental council, Philippe Grosvalet, fervent defender of the transfer of Nantes airport to Notre-Dame-des-Landes, signed on February 22 a memorandum of understanding with the Chamber of Agriculture so that it manages the land acquired by the department, "with a view to a return to a sustainable agricultural and natural occupation and appeased".

The position of the department "does not simplify things because the chairman of the county council wants to entrust the management to the chamber of agriculture," points the prefers region. "That makes I think the position of some farmers very difficult (…) Is it a factor of appeasement?"

The approach of the Chamber of Agriculture is supported by the FNSEA, Youth farmers and Rural Coordination. The peasant Confederation, a member of a group of agricultural organizations opposed to the former airport project, defends the taking over of land use by the anti-NDDL movement.

A first point of consensus between the various agricultural unions could be found as early as March 19th, all asking for a temporary freeze on the allocation of land, through the maintenance of annual occupation agreements.

"While the positions on the bottom are quite different, everyone agrees that it will take time.I must not forget that the situation has been frozen for years," recalled the prefects Nicole Klein, who wants to go "step by step" on this issue, and in a desire to "appease".

Gabon: Concern for the future of iboga, a psychotropic plant

A plant with psychotropic effects used in traditional rites in Gabon, iboga seems to be the victim of its growing popularity abroad and could disappear, worries environmentalists.

Absorbed in powder form Iboga, a shrub endemic to the equatorial forest of Central Africa, gives "visions" and allows one to "connect with one's ancestors", explains the Gabonese healer "Maman Dje Dje". 19659002] In Gabon, it is inseparable from the "bwiti" ceremonies, a traditional rite of initiation, but the plant has been out of its purely traditional use for about fifty years.

Patents have been filed because of medicinal properties of ibogaine, one of the active ingredients of iboga.

Ibogaine "could be used against diseases such as Parkinson's disease, or Alzheimer's," says Natacha Nssi Begone, director of valorization forest products at the Gabonese Ministry of Water and Forests

 A man photographed on February 25, 2018 during a traditional initiation ceremony based on iboga in Libreville. (AFP - STEVE JORDAN)

A man photographed on February 25, 2018 during a traditional initiation ceremony based on iboga in Libreville. (AFP – STEVE JORDAN)

But above all, this molecule of the alkaloid family has, according to several studies, therapeutic virtues to cure addictions, in particular to opiates whose hard drugs such as heroin.

, iboga has become over the years an attractive plant internationally and Gabon, like the Amazon with ayawaska, welcomes more and more Westerners who have come to "learn".

The plant begins to export and his business has become "ultra lucrative", said Yann Guignon, founder of the NGO "Blessings of the forest" ..

– Commerce forbidden –

 iboga fruits photographed February 17, 2018 in Libreville. (AFP - STEVE JORDAN)

Iboga fruits photographed on February 17, 2018 in Libreville. (AFP – STEVE JORDAN)

However, iboga can not be marketed or promoted in countries such as the United States, France, Belgium and Switzerland, where ibogaine is considered a "staggering".

And the lack of control is a danger because iboga can be mixed with other potentially very harmful substances, warns Mrs Nssi Begone

The illegal but juicy sale of iboga is done a lot via the " dark web ", the part of the Internet not indexed by the main search engines.

Yann Guignon has also identified" iboga specialists "more or less serious who flourish outside Gabon where they briefly came "To learn" before returning home

"Back in their countries, they appropriate some traditional codes and open their business.It takes at least ten years in Gabon to be master initiator. see Western initiating masters in two mo is shocking, "he rebels.

 A woman plays the drum during an initiation ceremony on February 25, 2018 in Libreville. (AFP - STEVE JORDAN)

A woman plays the drum during an initiation ceremony on February 25, 2018 in Libreville. (AFP – STEVE JORDAN)

"There are at least 150 people who say they treat with iboga abroad", according to Mr. Guignon who closely follows the opening of "clinics" specialized in iboga. On average, two health centers open every month in the world, according to him.

A draft decree is under way in Libreville to protect the plant, set the conditions and modalities of its use, but also frame its sale to "develop a Gabonese commercial sector".

Gabon similarly ratified in 2012 the "Nagoya Protocol" which provides for a "sustainable" trade in biodiversity resources.

 A man holds up a torch during a traditional initiation ceremony based on d'iboga, February 25, 2018 in Libreville. (AFP - STEVE JORDAN)

A man holds up a torch during a traditional initiation ceremony based on iboga, February 25, 2018 in Libreville. (AFP – STEVE JORDAN)

In the absence of a precise count, no one can today measure the rarefaction of iboga, which is for the most part gathered without being replanted.

A census mission on the The whole of the Congo Basin is being discussed with the Kew Garden Botanical Garden in London.

Meanwhile, Yann Guignon is touring Gabon and is based on indicators such as the scarcity and degradation of the quality of the plant in the markets, or the "100 percent increase in plant prices in 25 years."

Iboga is fragile, he notes. The plant likes the undergrowth and needs a ferrallitic and clay soil as well as a certain moisture content. Beyond 37/40 degrees and below some hydrometry, iboga dies.

Small resorts enjoy snow but keep an eye on the future

The small resorts of the Massif Central, like the others, do not miss snow this year. But all winters are not alike and in the face of global warming, they rely on artificial snow and a diversification of their activities.

Chalmazel (Loire), nestled in the regional park Livradois-Forez, will engage a vast reorganization, by 2021, to strengthen its ski area over the next 15 years.

The first phase of the project, estimated at 5.2 million euros, will replace its snow cannons with latest generation models , less energy-consuming, and enlarge the reservoir of water necessary for their operation, from 3,000 to more than 15,000 cubic meters.

"This winter is a good season, but without snow of culture, we do not We should be able to quickly guarantee quality snow at the bottom of the slopes, "explains Jean-François Gibert, Director of the Loire Tourism Development Agency.

Because if the ski This family resort, at an altitude of 1,640 meters, is now enjoying natural snow, the flakes have been sorely missed over the past three years.

At the foot of Mont Mézenc, the Estables resort (Haute-Loire) also believes that "snowmakers" have "saved" installed in 2013 with private capital, mainly from traders. "So, we did not make zero euros of revenue at the end of the season and that allowed us to keep our jobs," said the president of the Investment Company for Estables station, Philippe Michel, who rents ski equipment.

"To prepare for the future and invest, it is often necessary to consolidate the snow resource because it is part of the fundamental elements of the economic equilibrium", abounds Jean-Philippe Bosse, associate consultant of the cabinet of Protourism studies

  (AFP - Thierry Zoccolan)

(AFP – Thierry Zoccolan)

A race with shallots criticized by the Court of Auditors, however, which looked at the strategy of stations facing the global warming. For her, "it does not allow, at best and at a high cost, the preservation of minimal snow," which does not deter skiers from moving to snow-covered areas.

– Cheapest packages – [19659002] But the small areas of the Massif Central believe they still have a "playing card" and highlight the fallout of such equipment. "We must think in terms of economy induced, they are economic lungs in winter," said Hervé Pounau, director of the Lioran station and regional delegate of Domaines Skiables de France, the professional chamber of the sector.

"On can not condemn a whole local economy on the hypothesis of warming.It must be adapted ", judge Philippe Michel.

At a time when only 8% of French people go skiing for at least a year on two, these resorts also want to be "stepping stones" for those who can not afford the packages of major estates in the Northern Alps. "Despite their small differences in height, they are very interesting tools to discover skiing, especially for children," confirms Mr. Bosse.

The general trend is also to install "reversible" activities, winter (dogs sledding, snowkiting, fatbike …) as summer (tree climbing, ATV electric assistance …).

Chalmazel plans to install "sledging tubing" equipment (such as a bobsleigh bobsleigh) and sled rail, as well as a fun route with zip lines.

In Aveyron, the Brameloup area has joined four other small resorts in the Aubrac highlands in a Pole of outdoor activities, and hopes to become a site labeled for mountain biking.

"We play on the complementarity because we do not have the financial means to go to the arms race", recognizes the chief of exploitation, Gonzalo Diaz.

This new scale of territory and the diversification of the activities , which recommends the Court of Auditors, "this is the last chance for the stations.They wanted to give up but here it remakes, especially when the snow is back," says Mylène Gras, future Park Regional Nature of Aubrac.

Terrestrial wind: net decrease in tariffs for future installations

The price of electricity generated by future onshore wind turbine installations will be "significantly lower" than the previous purchase price, according to the first results of a call for tenders issued by the government on Wednesday, illustrating competitiveness growing renewable energies.

"The results are unambiguous: the maturity and competitiveness of onshore wind and more widely renewable energies are a reality," said the Minister of ecological transition and solidarity Nicolas Hulot, quoted

Twenty-two winners were selected to install onshore wind turbines with a total capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) and a weighted average price of 65.40 euros per megawatt hour. The last purchase tariff, set in 2017, was set by order at 72 euros / MWh and only applies to installations of less than 18 MW.

For Marion Lettry, Deputy Delegate General of the Renewable Energy Union (SER ), these results show that wind energy "can take an important place in the French energy mix", at a time when the government is working on the Multiannual Energy Program (PEE), roadmap of energy ambitions for the years to coming in.

The 500 MW awarded on Wednesday is only the first wave of a global tender of 3 GW to be spread out over three years

 Aeoliennes in Radenac (Morbihan), October 3, 2017 (AFP / Archives - DAMIEN MEYER)

Aeoliennes at Radenac (Morbihan), October 3rd, 2017 (AFP / Archives – DAMIEN MEYER)

This procedure is a first for the sector since the modification of the support mechanism to the wind power in France, occurred last year

Previously, the electricity thus produced was bought by EDF at a rate defined by the public authorities. Now, it will be sold at the market price, to which will be added a guaranteed remuneration supplement for twenty years, the candidates claiming the lowest complement being privileged.

A third of the projects will benefit in addition to a bonus to have participatory financing.

– "Need for stability" –

These results "will lead the government to favor this procedure (tender) for future projects by redefining the scope projects eligible for support in the form of a call for tenders and purchase price "(the former less competitive system Ed.).

For the SER as for France wind energy, the association which groups the industrialists of the sector, this announcement is a "bad signal" sent to the sector.

 Aeolian in Radenac (Morbihan), October 3, 2017 (AFP - DAMIEN MEYER)

Aeolian in Radenac (Morbihan), October 3, 2017 ( AFP – DAMIEN MEYER) [19659008] "We want things to be done in a progressive manner and in consultation with the sector," said Ms. Lettry, deeming "important to maintain these two devices to ensure a harmonious development of wind power throughout the territory", and not confined to the windiest or most accessible regions.

"The actors need stability," added France's wind energy, adding that the current regulations were just a year old. According to the association, extending the tendering system to smaller facilities risks "jeopardizing a number of projects."

These criticisms follow the more favorable reactions of mid-January, when M Hulot had unveiled measures to lift the brakes on onshore wind power.

Among the ten measures then presented included changing the distribution of tax benefits, increasing the share that municipalities receive for wind turbines, and removal of a level of jurisdiction for appeals, which will be dealt with directly by administrative courts of appeal

In 2017, 1,797 MW of wind turbines were connected to the grid according to the "Panorama of renewable electricity" broadcast at the beginning of February. "This is the best year ever," reacted to AFP Jean-Louis Bal, president of SER.

Near-term Future, Immigration Is Not Going Up

In his first state speech, President Donald Trump told Congress, now is the time to bring US immigration policy into the 21st century. But his four pillar plans, which include funding the border wall and the path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal young immigrants, have drawn criticism from both Democrats and Republican camps. VOA reporter Katherine Gypson reports on Trump's chances of reaching an agreement when the Congress returns to work next week.

The frontier wall, once the biggest issue breaking the Democratic and Republican factions is now the least worrying for legislators when they negotiate changes- significant changes to the US legal immigration system.

The President is clear on his priorities. "My duty, the sacred duty of every member of Congress, is to defend the American people: to protect their security, their families, their communities, their right to realize the American dream. Because the American people are also dreamers, "he explained.

When saying dreamer or dreamer, Trump refers to the term used to describe illegal immigrants who came to the United States as a child. The Democrat faction itself clearly affirms, they want to fight for the dreamers' wishes or the Dreamers .

When delivering a Democratic Party's response speech, House member Joe Kennedy said, "To the Dreamers who witnessed my speech the night this, I say this: You are part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not ignore you. "
The Democratic Faction denounces the Trump plan to permanently stop the green card lottery and chain immigration or family-based immigration programs.

" The United States has become the most powerful and influential nation in the world for enforcing policies the immigration. And part of the reason we allow people to petition to bring their family members is because family members are close to them allowing them to be more successful in life and less likely to rely on government aid, "said a Member of Parliament from Democratic Faction Joacquin Castro.

Cuitan-cuitan Trump and his unpredictable outlook make it difficult for Democrats who want to make a deal.

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin reveals, "Again we see what we hear from him one night somewhat differently what was revealed in his Twitter on the following day.Kalu alone president let us work properly in the US Senate, I am sure we will produce a bipartisan idea. "

In the Republican camp, its more conservative members do not want to grant citizenship the Dreamers.

Member of Parliament from Fra Republican, Steve King, said, "The rule of law is not to be negotiated. We can not grant pardons to immigration offenders, let alone give them the rewards that are the target of their crimes. "

The attitude was rejected by members of the moderate Republican faction who wanted to solve the problems concerning the Dreamers.

Senators Republican Jeff Flake stated, "The path to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants, that's a positive thing. Border security is necessary. About the green card lottery, just delete it. About serial immigration, it will broaden talks and complicate the achievement of the agreement. "

President Donald Trump himself admits there will be difficulties in reaching an agreement. "A fair compromise is achieved when not all parties get everything they want, when our country embodies important necessary reforms," ​​he added.

Legislators hope the effort to realize the reforms will progress toward the next government funding deadline. [ab/lt]