Environment

Rhode Island
2:15 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

RI Gov. Raimondo: Travel Ban Lifts At 8PM Tuesday

A skier heading down college hill in Providence Tuesday afternoon
Catherine Welch RIPR

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 5:41 pm

A blizzard raked across Rhode Island Tuesday.  The National Weather Service reports Providnece broke its daily maximum snowfall record with 14.2 falling on Tuesday. Gov. Gina Raimondo is lifting the state’s travel ban at 8:00pm Tuesday, but urging residents to stay off the roads. The governor rode a snow plow Tuesday morning and reports that the roads and interstates are not safe for travel.

The Rhode Island DOT has more than 400 vehicles plowing the roads. Raimondo said there have been six to eight accidents including a DOT vehicle that flipped over.

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Blizzard Conditions
2:02 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Storm Comes to Gradual End; Gov. Malloy Lifts Statewide Travel Ban

Snow-covered cars in a Vernon parking lot Tuesday morning.
Tucker Ives WNPR

Blizzard warnings eased early Tuesday for parts of Connecticut, but central and eastern parts of the state saw continuing snowfall and strong winds through midday. By noon, most counties were downgraded to a winter storm warning as a powerful nor'easter made its way across the state.

A statewide travel ban lifted in Connecticut at 2:00 pm. Local roads were opened in Litchfield and Fairfield Counties early Tuesday morning, but Governor Dannel Malloy asked residents to wait before getting on the roads if possible. State bus service will resume Wednesday, and state employees return to work in the morning.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Checking In On Blizzard 2015

Sharon Mollerus Creative Commons

If you’ve been watching the news the last few days, you’d know our region was bracing for what could be an “historic” storm. But can anything really be historic when we’ve seen so many similar events over the past few years?

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Snowstorm
6:53 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Winter Blizzard Skirts New York City, But Still Walloping Northeast

A woman cross country skis on snow-covered roads during a winter blizzard in Boston, Mass. Tuesday.
Brian Snyder Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 4:04 pm

First the good news: Forecasts of a historic winter storm for the country's most populous city have failed to materialize.

Forecasters had called for up to 30 inches of snow in New York City, but as a new day dawned, meteorologists had downgraded the system to a winter storm from a blizzard and tempered their forecasts, saying when it was all done, the city would have about 12 inches of snow on the ground.

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Blizzard Conditions
5:20 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Gov. Malloy Declares State of Emergency, Statewide Travel Ban

Gov. Dannel Malloy meets with officials in the state Emergency Operations Center Monday morning.
Office of Dannel Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy is asking residents to prepare for a significant snowstorm impacting Connecticut Monday evening through Tuesday. He declared a state of emergency, opened the Emergency Operations Center, and issued a travel ban on state highways as of 9:00 pm Monday.

Malloy said Bradley International Airport is closing to passengers at 7:00 pm Monday night. He said the last Metro-North train would leave Grand Central Station in New York City at 9:00 pm.

"Although storms can be unpredictable, this storm has the potential to have a significant impact on the state and we need to be prepared," Malloy said. "Just as the state is monitoring and preparing, the public should do the same."

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Look to the Sky
4:20 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

An Asteroid Is Passing Very Close To Earth Today. Here's How To See It

Asteroid 2004 BL86 will be visible in parts of the sky tonight. Visibility is expected to peak around 9 p.m. ET, as shown in this NASA graphic.
Sky & Telescope

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 5:46 pm

By the time you read this post, asteroid 2004 BL86 will already have come as close to us as it's going to get as it flies by Earth. At about 11:19 a.m. ET today, it was nearly 745,000 miles away from our planet. That's only about three times the distance from the Earth to the moon.

But don't worry, you may still be able to catch a glimpse of the huge hunk of rock tonight.

When and how can I see the asteroid?

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Drive My Car
9:13 am
Mon January 26, 2015

For Tesla, a Fight in Connecticut to Open Stores and Sell Cars

A Tesla Motors Store in Toronto, Canada. Currently, Tesla is not allowed to sell its product directly to consumers from storefronts in Connecticut.
Wikimedia Commons

When Art Linares wanted to buy a Tesla, it wasn't as easy as walking into a store and taking a test drive. Instead, he had to go to New York -- because in Connecticut, it's illegal for a car manufacturer to sell directly to a customer.

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Blizzard Conditions
8:30 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Southern New England Prepares for Major Winter Storm

Most likely storm totals for parts of Connecticut and New York.
National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for southern Connecticut beginning midday Monday, and blizzard watches remain in effect for eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island ahead of a storm with heavy snow and high winds.

Winter storm warnings are in effect for northwestern Massachusetts, where winds will be lower.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said Sunday it is preparing for a "potentially historic and destructive winter storm."

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Infrastructure
2:32 pm
Sat January 24, 2015

Four Connecticut Transportation Proposals From Gov. Malloy

An elevated portion of I-84 in Hartford.
Ryan King WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy announced Thursday he’d like to widen Interstate 84 in Danbury, one of many initiatives he's proposed this month.

Already in place in the state’s transportation overhaul is an expansion of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail -- slated for completion in 2016 -- as well as the opening of CTfastrak, a Hartford-New Britain rapid busway that will launch in March.

Meanwhile, Connecticut Department of Transportation research and public discussion surrounding the eventual replacement of the I-84 viaduct in Hartford is underway.

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Coastal Planning
9:45 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Battle With The Sea: Rhode Island Develops State-of-the-Art Planning Tools

The head of the EPA Northeast Region, Curt Spalding, took a guided walking tour of Wickford Village in North Kingstown to learn about a climate change adaptation pilot project there. He also visited Westerly, South Kingstown, and Warwick.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 9:31 am

Just this week, the U.S. Senate went on the record that climate change exists. Local and state officials in Rhode Island haven’t been waiting around to take the lead from Washington. They not only know climate change is real, but they’re also planning for its impacts. As part of our Battle With The Sea series, Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza went on a tour with the Environmental Protection Agency’s northeast director to see how plans are in place.

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New York
9:44 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Canadian Pair Rescued After Frosty Night In Adirondacks

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 8:20 pm

Two Canadian hikers lost in the Adirondack High Peaks spent a frigid night in the snowy wilderness before being rescued by rangers.

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Energy
2:45 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Regional Power Operator Provides Brief on State of Grid

ISO-New England's control room.
ISO-New England

New England's electricity grid operator said natural gas pipeline bottlenecks and retirement of aging power plants could put pressure on the price of energy.

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Environment Research
9:40 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Bard Professor Leads Study On Flooding And Biodiversity

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 1:54 am

A new study published this week and led by a Bard College biology professor shows catastrophic flooding can be mitigated by protecting biodiversity.  WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with the lead author, who says though the flooding was studied in Germany, there could be comparisons to the Hudson Valley.

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Plum Island
11:32 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Conservationists Vow to Fight Sale of Plum Island

Plum Island hosted an animal testing center for years. Now, the government wants to sell it.
Wikimedia Commons

Plum Island, an 840-acre land mass in Long Island Sound, is becoming a focal point for environmentalists. That's because of government plans to sell the island to fund the construction of a new USDA animal-testing center. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Sizzling Space Spectacular

Meredith Hughes is an assistant professor of Astronomy at Wesleyan University.
Chion Wolf WNPR

When it comes to space, there’s a lot to be excited about. Telescopes are scanning the farthest reaches of our galaxy and we’re learning more than ever before about the origins of planets.

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Environment
11:01 am
Mon January 19, 2015

New Justice Department Environment Chief Takes Helm Of Gulf Spill Case

Cruden ranks the Gulf oil spill as one of the most significant environmental disasters of our time. It "deserves ... all of our energy to make sure nothing like this ever happens again," he says.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 7:37 am

John Cruden served with U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, taking his law school aptitude test in Saigon and eventually becoming a government lawyer.

Earlier this month, he started a new job running the environment and natural resources division at the Justice Department. For Cruden, 68, the new role means coming home to a place where he worked as a career lawyer for about 20 years.

Cruden has been around long enough to have supervised the Exxon Valdeez spill case, a record-setter. That is, until the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

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Massachusetts
1:26 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Boston Releases Plan For Action On Climate Change

Rising tide floods Christopher Columbus Park next to Boston's Longwharf on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014.

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 11:09 am

Standing on Boston’s Long Wharf, John Barros, the city’s chief of economic development, recalled what the site looked like in January 2014, when a nor’easter brought record high tides.

“We’re at ground zero here,” said Barros, who was part of a steering committee that spent the past year working on a plan to prepare for storms like that one, as well as the effects of climate change and rising sea levels.

“When we think about what 2-to-5 feet means, which is some of the conservative estimates of sea rise, 2 feet, this place would probably be underwater every day,” he said.

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Spacecraft
8:11 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Long-Lost European Spacecraft Spotted On Mars By NASA Probe

An image sent by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Scientists have concluded that it shows the Beagle 2 Mars lander, which went missing in 2003.
NASA

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 10:30 am

More than a decade after it went missing, British scientists say they have found a small spacecraft on the surface of Mars.

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California Climbers
7:49 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Free-Climbers Make It To Summit Of Yosemite's El Capitan

Tommy Caldwell (top) climbs what is known as Pitch 17 and Kevin Jorgeson handles the line as they free-climb the Dawn Wall of Yosemite's El Capitan.
Tom Evans AP

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 2:02 pm

Update at 6:46pm ET:

On their 19th day of climbing, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson reached the top of El Capitan in California's Yosemite National Park at 3:25 p.m. PT. The Los Angeles Times reports the climbers' families were waiting for them at the summit. From The New York Times:

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Connecticut Business Briefs
1:17 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Aetna Raises Company Minimum Wage

Health insurer Aetna is raising its minimum wage. The Hartford-based company announced that from April of this year, its lowest paid workers will receive $16.00 an hour. 

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Quakin' in CT
10:55 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Earthquake Rattles Eastern Connecticut for Third Day in a Row

The U.S. Geological Service confirmed a 2.0-magnitude earthquake at about 6:30 am Wednesday in Plainfield.
Weston Observatory Twitter

Have you been feeling the earth move?

In what's becoming a daily event, a minor earthquake has shaken parts of eastern Connecticut.

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Nuclear Energy
10:37 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Federal Inspectors Cite Millstone for Unspecified Safety Problems

The Millstone Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut.
Credit Northeast Utilities

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has notified the Millstone Power Station of possible enforcement action following a November 24 inspection that found problems related to unspecified safety issues. 

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Massachusetts
9:22 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Northampton Moving Ahead With Landfill Solar Project

Solar panels on a capped landfill in Holyoke, MA

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 6:20 pm

The city of Northampton, Massachusetts is planning a number of solar power projects that would further reduce the city’s carbon footprint, while providing a new source of revenue.

As soon as this summer, Northampton is likely to join dozens of other municipalities in the state that have turned old landfills into solar farms. And, in what appears to be a first in western Massachusetts at least, solar arrays may pop up at some municipal parking lots, according to Chris Mason, the city’s energy officer.

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White Nose Syndrome
3:33 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Good News For Bats! Things Are Looking Up For Stemming Disease Spread

This October 2008 photo, provided by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, shows a brown bat with its nose crusted in fungus.
Ryan von Linden AP

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 8:01 am

The bat disease known as white-nose syndrome has been spreading fast, killing millions of animals. But for the first time, scientists are seeing hopeful signs that some bat colonies are recovering and new breakthroughs could help researchers develop better strategies for helping bats survive.

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Quakin'
1:14 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Five Small Earthquakes Recorded Within Five Hours in Connecticut

The U.S. Geological Survey's "Did you feel it?" map, showing the results of 263 responses from the region in 71 ZIP codes.
U.S. Geological Survey

Scientists on Monday recorded five small earthquakes within five hours in the same area of eastern Connecticut, including a 3.1-magnitude tremor felt more than 60 miles away in Massachusetts. 

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Resupply Mission
7:32 pm
Sat January 10, 2015

SpaceX Launch Successful; Recovery Attempt 'Close, But No Cigar'

The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Saturday.
John Raoux AP

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 6:46 pm

SpaceX has successfully launched another resupply mission to the International Space Station months after a competitor in the private space-launch business suffered a catastrophic lift-off that resulted in the unmanned rocket's destruction.

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Hospital Consolidation
4:39 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

State Senate Leaders Raise Hopes for Tenet Deal

The Connecticut State Capitol.
Credit Mamata.mulay / Wikimedia Commons

Leaders in the state senate say there may be hope of reviving the Tenet Healthcare deal to buy five Connecticut hospitals.

The Texas-based hospital company pulled out of the partnerships after the state’s Office of Healthcare Access specified unacceptable conditions for a deal involving Waterbury Hospital. 

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How Cold Is It?
11:40 am
Thu January 8, 2015

NASA Map Shows Just How Cold It Is In Eastern U.S.

NOAA's GOES-East satellite provided a look at the frigid eastern two-thirds of the U.S. on Wednesday that shows a blanket of northern snow, lake-effect snow from the Great Lakes and clouds behind the Arctic cold front.
NASA

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 11:24 am

There's a cold front across much of the U.S. – with temperatures in places like New Orleans at around 29 degrees and Houston about 34 degrees. This map from NASA tells us just how cold it was on Wednesday.

The image was captured at 11 a.m. EST. Here's NASA's explanation:

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu January 8, 2015

"Toxic Communities" and the Fight for Environmental Justice

Dorceta Taylor.
University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment Creative Commons

Dorceta Taylor’s most recent book, Toxic Communities, takes a magnifying glass to the modern environmental justice movement. In it, she provides an in-depth analysis of some of the biggest environmental issues facing low-income and minority communities across the U.S. 

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Marketing Energy
4:40 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Northeast Utilities Renames Itself Eversource Energy

The outgoing Northeast Utilities name and logo.
Credit Northeast Utilities

Northeast Utilities is adopting a new name as part of a rebranding effort. 

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