Environment

Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Two Years After Hurricane Sandy, What Have We Learned?

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Wavian Creative Commons

It’s been almost two years since Hurricane Sandy tore her way through the Northeast -- leaving behind a trail of destruction throughout much of our region. 

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Transportation
8:59 am
Fri October 24, 2014

An Answer to "Are We There Yet?" on Connecticut Highways

Some state highway signs now give travel time to motorists.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

If you're driving on one of the state's major highways and you see one of those electronic message boards overhead, it may now offer you something new: real-time information about how long a trip will take. 

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Green Green Money
8:33 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Connecticut Joins Growing List of States Issuing Green Bonds

Credit Adam Gault/Photodisc / Thinkstock

When you think of ways to combat climate change, a few things probably jump to mind. Clean energy. Recycling. But investments?

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Science
9:29 am
Wed October 22, 2014

How One Connecticut Professor Is Finding Relatives of the Tomato

One flower discovered by CCSU's Thomas Mione collects nectar in unusual tiny pools.
Thomas Mione

A biology professor in Connecticut has spent 20 years traveling in South America to discover plants.

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Massachusetts
4:11 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Gov. Patrick Announces State Contract To Build Subway Cars In Springfield

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 6:11 pm

The administration of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is recommending a Chinese company be awarded a contract to build new subway cars for the MBTA.  The railcars will be assembled at a new factory that is to be built in Springfield.

Gov. Patrick made the announcement Tuesday standing in front of an empty 40- acre lot on Springfield’s east side,  where the CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles Co. has said it will build a $50 million factory creating over 250 new construction and manufacturing jobs.

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Conservation
10:01 am
Tue October 21, 2014

A Plan to Prioritize and Manage Troubled State Wildlife

The Northern long-eared bat is one of several threatened species in the state that has not yet qualified for federal EDA protection.
Steven Thomas / NPS

The state's wildlife action plan aims to provide management options for animals and plants that don't quite qualify for federal protection. Take for instance the Northern Long-eared bat or New England Cottontail rabbit. They're not listed on federal endangered species lists, but their numbers have dropped in recent years due to things like disease and habitat loss.

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Cities
9:12 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Millennials Continue Urbanization Of America, Leaving Small Towns

The Washington, D.C., suburb of Arlington, Va., was dubbed a top destination for millennials this year.
Arpad Benedek iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 6:38 am

"Most of the young people that go to college go away, and then they don't come back," says Lee Bianchi, a retired engineer who lived in Clinton, Iowa (pop. 26,647), from 1961 to 2008.

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Food
4:24 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Do We Need A New 'Environmental Impact' Label For Beef?

Researchers say there's plenty the beef industry can do to use less land and water and emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions. But producers may need to charge a premium to make those changes.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 4:49 pm

If you've got decisions to make at the meat counter (or at a burger joint) and want to do right by the environment, you have a couple of options.

You could skip the beef entirely, which is what some environmental groups say you should do. Or you could go for meat with a "grass-fed" or "organic" label.

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Energy
1:10 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

As Oil Prices Fall, Who Wins And Who Loses?

Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, shown in Kuwait last month, has played down the drop in oil prices. The country continues to pump oil at high levels, saying it wants to preserve its market share. But this has also contributed to a 25 percent drop in oil prices since June.
Yasser Al-Zayyat AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 2:47 pm

With oil around $85 a barrel and tumbling to its lowest levels in several years, here's the upside: Gasoline prices are down, the U.S. is feeling less dependent on foreign crude, and serious economic pressure is growing on oil producers such as Iran and Russia.

Here's the downside: The low demand for oil reflects a fragile global economy that's vulnerable to additional shocks, like falling stock markets around the world.

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Ocean Science
4:22 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Oceanographer Ballard Exits Mystic Aquarium After 15 Years

Robert Ballard.
Inst. for Exploration and Inst. for Archaeological Oceanography

Oceanographer Robert Ballard has ended his 15-year relationship with Mystic Aquarium that exhibited his discoveries of wrecks including John F. Kennedy's PT-109 and the Titanic.

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Himalayan Mountains
10:56 am
Wed October 15, 2014

At Least 20 Trekkers Die In Blizzard, Avalanche In Nepal's Himalayas

A view of Machhapuchhre (center) and the Annapurna Himalaya from Gulmi, Nepal.
Sunil Sharma Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 12:47 am

At least a dozen trekkers have been killed in unseasonable blizzards and an avalanche in the foothills of Nepal's Himalayan mountain range.

NPR's Julie McCarthy, reporting from New Delhi, says locals and international tourists are among the dead. Rescuers say those killed include four Canadians, two Poles, an Israeli, an Indian and a Nepali.

The Wall Street Journal says:

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Homecoming
4:56 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

EPA Head Gina McCarthy Tours Connecticut

Gina McCarthy, at left, visiting the Sound School in New Haven with Rep. Rosa DeLauro.
Patrick Skahill WNPR

Gina McCarthy, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, visited Connecticut on Tuesday.

It was a homecoming of sorts for McCarthy, who was commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection from 2004 to 2009. 

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Parakeets
3:04 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

An Unusual, Non-Lethal Idea to Deal With Connecticut's Pesky Monk Parakeets

Monk Parakeets get their name from the distinctive cowl over their heads. They're also known as "Quaker Parrots."
Kevin Burgio

Kevin Burgio remembered the first time he saw monk parakeets. He was out bird watching "and I ran across this puddle that had like five or six monk parakeets drinking from it," he said. "I'm like, what the hell is that? Did someone lose, like, five parrots? I didn't know there were parrots here."

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Mass Transit
3:55 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Is Connecticut Ready for a Streetcar Revival?

Portland, Oregon has a working streetcar system.
Sam Churchill Creative Commons

Many cities across the country are bringing back the streetcar. Providence, Rhode Island just received $13 million in federal TIGER grant funding to build a streetcar system. Could a Connecticut city be far behind?

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Metro-North
12:43 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Metro-North Workers Were on Job for Seven Days Straight

MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast at a press conference in July.
Patrick Cashin Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority told federal safety officials that traffic control staff at the Metro-North Railroad worked seven days straight for weeks when several accidents, including one fatal, disrupted commutes in Connecticut and New York last year. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Connecticut Summit Promotes Climate Stewardship; a Taste of Iceland in Litchfield County

Kenneth Lu Creative Commons

Last month, hundreds of thousands showed up for the People’s Climate March in New York City, the largest climate march ever seen in U.S. history. There, climate activists worked their way through the busy streets of New York, calling on Americans to act on global climate change. Today, we talk to someone who was at the march. We’ll also preview today’s Climate Stewardship Summit at the University of St. Joseph.

Also, radio personality Gerri Griswold and Icelandic singer-songwriter Lay Low join us to talk about the upcoming Iceland Affair and Fire and Ice Music Festival.

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Natural Gas
4:32 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Connecticut Oil Dealers Sue DEEP Over Energy Policy

Flickr Creative Commons / kennymatic

The Connecticut Energy Marketers Association is a trade group representing about 600 heating oil and propane dealers. In a complaint, it alleges the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection didn't adequately assess the environmental impact of Governor Dannel Malloy's Comprehensive Energy Strategy, which plans to add 900 miles of natural gas pipelines in the state.

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WAMC News
8:59 am
Thu October 9, 2014

NYC Council Considers Car Ban For Central Park

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 6:40 am

New York City’s Central Park may soon be free of cars.

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New York
3:45 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Large Crane Arrives To Help New NY Bridge Project As Toll Question Remains

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 12:54 pm

New York state officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, welcomed the one of the world’s largest floating cranes to the construction site of the replacement Tappan Zee Bridge Monday. At the same time, the governor’s opponent in the November election called for details on the new bridge’s expected tolls. 

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Springfield
5:40 am
Wed October 8, 2014

City Removes Tornado Damaged Trees

A tree damaged during the June 2011 tornado is removed from the yard of a home in Springfield,MA. The city launched a "Right of Entry" program to remove trees from private property after FEMA rejected numerous appeals to pay for it.

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 3:56 pm

More than 3 years after a tornado tore through the East Forest Park neighborhood of Springfield, Massachusetts the city is removing damaged trees from private property.

Michelle David watched Tuesday morning as a crew hired by the city cut down the tall oak tree that teetered dangerously close to her house.

"It is a relief. It has been a long time. The street was a mess, but it looks beautiful now. We are grateful to the mayor and everyone in the city who helped get this done."

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Trees, Please
1:36 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Think Cutting Back Forests for Power Lines in Connecticut Is Always Bad? Think Again.

Ken Metzler, left, with David Wagner at a power line corridor in South Windsor. The pair co-authored a paper on how power lines impact plant and animal life.
Patrick Skahill / WNPR

When you think of environmentally beneficial landscapes, the land beneath power lines might not be at the top of your list, but new research is highlighting this habitat's importance in conserving a wide array of plant and insect life.

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Night Sky
11:13 am
Tue October 7, 2014

'Blood Moon' Eclipse To Be Visible Throughout U.S.

A "blood moon" captured on the night of Jan. 20, 2000.
Fred Espenak NASA

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 12:59 pm

If you missed the total eclipse of the moon in April, you might have another chance: On Wednesday morning, the second of four lunar eclipses this year and next will occur.

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Blue Ribbon
6:38 am
Tue October 7, 2014

3 Scientists Win Nobel In Physics For Development Of Blue LED

A screen shows the laureates of the Nobel Prize in physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Tuesday.
Bertil Ericson EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 12:49 pm

A trio of scientists, two from Japan and one from the U.S., will share the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which led to a new, environmentally friendly light source.

Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and U.S. scientist Shuji Nakamura were selected by the committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to share the 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million) prize.

Nobelprize.org says:

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Stockin' Trout
12:09 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

A Good Year for Connecticut's Fishermen, Thanks to "Survivor Strain" Trout

From left, Rob Castrogiovanni, Brian Eltz, Alan Rousseau, and Bob, a volunteer from Trout Unlimited, worked to stock about 3,300 trout into the Housatonic River.
Patrick Skahill / WNPR

It's the fall trout-stocking season for Connecticut's rivers and streams. I met up with a team of scientists and volunteers to learn more about the journey trout take from hatchery to stream.

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Animals
6:32 pm
Sun October 5, 2014

Dolphins: Adorable, Playful, Not As Smart As You Might Think

Some researchers have begun to question the notion that dolphins are the super-intelligent creatures they've been made out to be.
Pavel Golovkin AP

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 9:26 am

Everyone loves dolphins. They're adorable, playful and super-intelligent, often called the geniuses of the ocean.

But recently some researchers have begun to question that last notion. When it comes to brainpower, dolphins might not be as special as you might think.

In a recent piece for New Scientist, Caroline Williams rounds up some of the dissenting opinions.

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Science
10:02 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Soil Doctors Hit Pay Dirt In Manhattan's Central Park

The Bronx may be up and the Battery down, but Central Park is where an amazing wealth of different sorts of microbes play.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 9:14 am

Manhattan's Central Park is surrounded by one of the densest cities on the planet. It's green enough, yet hardly the first place most people would think of as biologically rich.

But a team of scientists got a big surprise when they recently started digging there.

They were 10 soil ecologists — aka dirt doctors. Kelly Ramirez from Colorado State University was among them. "We met on the steps of the natural history museum at 7 a.m. with our collection gear, coolers and sunblock," she recalls.

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The Pollinators
8:10 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Should Neonicotinoids Be Banned to Protect Honeybees?

Neonicotinoids, a class of pesticide, thought to be linked to decling bee numbers, have been temporarily banned in Europe.
d o w n s t r e a m Flickr Creative Commons

Members of Congress, including three from Connecticut, have signed a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency to better regulate a controversial class of pesticide called neonicotinoids.

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Historic Sites
9:41 am
Wed October 1, 2014

State Establishes Shoreline Park in Southeast Connecticut

Seaside in Waterford closed in the 1960s, according to state library records.
Artondra Hall Creative Commons

Connecticut is establishing its first shoreline state park in 50 years.

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Clean Water Act
2:33 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Clearing Up Murkiness in the Clean Water Act

Curt Spalding, regional administrator for EPA in New England, right, accepts a box full of comments on the proposed update to the Clean Water Act.
Credit Patrick Skahill / WNPR

A proposed rule change seeks to better define what waters are protected by the Clean Water Act, the law regulating pollution discharges into American water.

As written, the Clean Water Act currently applies to waters with a "significant nexus" to "navigable waters," a bit of legalese that's made it tough for regulators to crack down on pollution in some small tributaries.

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Thermal Plume
9:56 am
Mon September 29, 2014

State Probing Millstone Water Dumped Into Long Island Sound

Millstone Power Plant.
Credit Northeast Utilities

State environmental officials are taking a closer look at the impact of more than two billion gallons of water discharged into Long Island Sound from Connecticut's nuclear plant.

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