Environment

Environment
6:15 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Plastics Don't Disappear, But They Do End Up In Seabirds' Bellies

Plastic floats ashore in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Bay Ismoyo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 8:33 pm

The vast majority of debris in the ocean — about 75 percent of it — is made of plastic. It can consist of anything from plastic bottles to packaging materials, but whatever form it takes, it doesn't go away easily.

While plastic may break down into smaller and smaller pieces, some as small as grains of sand, these pieces are never truly biodegradable. The plastic bits, some small enough that they're called microplastics, threaten marine life like fish and birds, explains Richard Thompson, a professor of marine biology at Plymouth University in the U.K.

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Spineless Wonders
11:04 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Mating Season in Long Island Sound Is Prime Time for Horseshoe Crab Researchers

Every May and June, horseshoe crabs wash up on eastern shorelines to spawn.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

It’s mating season for Long Island Sound’s horseshoe crabs. Every year, a group of biologists from Sacred Heart University scour Connecticut’s beaches to track and tag these ancient creatures. I met up with one group in Milford, under a full moon at midnight, to learn more.

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Oceans
10:58 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Obama Proposes Creation Of World's Largest Ocean Sanctuary

This photo released by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows pink corals on the Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific. Parts of three remote and uninhabited Pacific island chains were set aside by President George W. Bush as national monuments to protect them from oil and gas extraction and commercial fishing.
Jim Maragos AP

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 2:53 pm

President Obama unveiled a proposal on Tuesday that would create the world's largest ocean sanctuary south and west of Hawaii, The Washington Post and The Associated Press are reporting.

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Natural Gas
7:15 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Fracking Waste Moratorium Signed Into Law

The new law, effective July 1st, will temporarily ban the importation of fracking waste to Connecticut until the DEEP drafts regulations.
Tar Sands Blockade Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has signed a bill imposing a moratorium on bringing fracking waste into Connecticut. The moratorium will extend to at least to July 2017. In the meantime, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will draft regulations about what, if any, fracking waste can come to Connecticut.

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We Be Jammin'
2:55 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Could Tolls End the I-95 Traffic Nightmare Through Connecticut?

A picture of the high-speed tolling system on CityLink, a network of tolled urban Freeways in Melbourne, Australia.
Contributed Photo Connecticut Department of Transporation

Highway tolls are again being discussed in Connecticut as part of an 18-month study conducted by the state Department of Transportation. It's got road planners asking an interesting question, can one type of toll actually reduce traffic?

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History
6:54 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Anchor Recovered In Puget Sound May Have Been Lost In 1792

A screen grab from The Seattle Times shows the anchor beofre it was hoisted from the bottom of Puget Sound.
The Seattle Times

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 7:52 pm

More than two centuries after one of the ships in British Capt. George Vancouver's flotilla lost an anchor in Puget Sound, a group of amateur divers are convinced the object they've brought to the surface is the very same.

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Magicicada
12:20 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

The Fate of Connecticut Cicadas, One Year Later

In 2013, Connecticut played host to a patchy emergence of 17-year periodical cicadas. The bugs are now holed up underground as nymphs.
Creative Commons

Last June, Connecticut played host to an emergence of periodical 17-year cicadas. For many, promises of bug swarms covering neighborhoods never came to pass.

For others, in places like Meriden and North Branford, millions of cicadas did take over, lining roads, trees, and mailboxes. One year later, I met up with an entomologist to see what those bugs have left behind.

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Transportation
3:13 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Malloy Pledges Bridge Operations Review to Address Metro-North Disruptions

The Walk Bridge in Norwalk has gotten stuck twice in recent days.
WalkingGeek Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy, Senator Richard Blumenthal and other leaders met in New York City on Monday to discuss the latest problem for Connecticut rail travel. The 118-year-old Walk Bridge in Norwalk has gotten stuck in the open position twice in recent days, leading to major Metro-North and Amtrak delays.

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The Great Outdoors
11:25 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Connecticut Trails Day Weekend Events Offer Something For Everyone

With 258 events happening Saturday and Sunday throughout the state, Connecticut Trails Day Weekend has something for everyone. The goal is simple: get and enjoy the outdoors!
Park Ranger Creative Commons

With sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s and 80s expected this weekend, the Connecticut Forest and Park Association is encouraging everyone to get outdoors and participate in one of the 258 Connecticut Trails Day Weekend events happening Saturday and Sunday throughout the state. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Walking Into the Flames: Discussion With Connecticut Firefighters

After thousands of years, the best tool to fight fire is still water.
Jessica Whittle Creative Commons

One of the most basic functions of local government is to protect its citizens. We talk with a panel of local firefighters who do just that.

When a fire breaks out, many Connecticut towns have volunteer forces that go to the rescue. What draws firefighters to this profession that includes a lot more than just fighting fires? Some Connecticut firefighters are even taking it a step further, and are going out west to help fight forest fires.

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Downtown Campus
2:13 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

UConn, City of Hartford Mark Development Agreement

The former Hartford Times building on Prospect Street will be refurbished and incorporated into a UConn Hartford campus.
Peter Morenus UConn

UConn officials and the city of Hartford marked a development agreement milestone on Tuesday. The university is capping an effort to move its West Hartford campus to a new location called UConn Hartford.

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What's in a Name?
5:36 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Study: Americans Less Fearful Of Storms Named After Women

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed more than 25,000 homes in Florida. But its death toll was far less than "female" storms such as Audrey, Camille and Katrina.
Lynn Sladky AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 5:59 pm

A study published Monday suggests Americans are less afraid of hurricanes with female names.

This is a real study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — not The Onion.

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State looked at deaths caused by hurricanes between 1950 — when storms were first named — and 2012.

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Underwater Lab
1:28 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Jacques Cousteau's Grandson Plans To Spend A Month Underwater

Fabien Cousteau sits inside Aquarius Reef Base in 2012. If he is able to remain under water for 31 days, he will have lasted one day longer than his grandfather, Jacques Cousteau.
Mark Widick AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 2:43 pm

Fabien Cousteau has been following in his grandfather Jacques Cousteau's flipper-steps for years — scuba diving around the world and making underwater documentaries of his own. Now he's seeking to break the elder oceanographer's record for the longest period of time spent underwater.

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Carbon Emissions
11:53 am
Mon June 2, 2014

EPA Unveils New Proposal Targeting Greenhouse Gases

The EPA is proposing rules that would govern carbon dioxide gas emissions by U.S. power plants. Here, coal is transported via conveyor belt to the coal-fired Jim Bridger Power Plant outside Point of the Rocks, Wyo., in March.
Jim Urquhart Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 11:52 am

New federal regulations announced Monday aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

The draft proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency has sparked opposition from industry groups who say the changes would be prohibitively expensive. But the proposal's backers say the rules are needed to cut carbon pollution that scientists say contributes to climate change.

Update at 10:45 a.m. ET: Proposed Rule Published

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Hurricanes
12:59 pm
Sun June 1, 2014

In The Midst Of A Historic Lull, Atlantic Hurricane Season Kicks Off

Barbara Cassidy stands in front of her Davie, Fla., mobile home one month after Hurricane Wilma destroyed her home in 2005. Wilma was the last major storm to make landfall in the U.S.
J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Sun June 1, 2014 1:57 pm

The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season is now officially upon us. And it comes in the midst of a historic lull.

Time explains that it's been 3,142 days since a Category 3 hurricane or stronger made landfall in the United States. The last one was Hurricane Wilma, which at its peak had winds of 185 mph and made landfall in Florida in 2005.

"That's an unprecedented streak, going back to 1900—the longest drought before the current one was nearly 1,000 days shorter," Time goes on.

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Eel of Fortune
5:26 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

How Did Glass Eel Prices Get So High?

Glass eel markets in Maine and South Carolina have reached $40 million in recent years. That number is 20 times greater than the average value for the past eleven years.
Uwe Kils Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has vetoed a bill that could have brought a glass eel fishing season to Connecticut. Glass eels are a juvenile species of American eel that can sell for hundreds of dollars per pound, but how did those prices get so high?

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Environmental Law
3:41 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Can More Environmental Violations Actually Be a Good Thing?

Flickr Creative Commons

The Council on Environmental Quality issued its annual report on state environmental data on Wednesday, and one number seems to be at the center of some questions: 72.

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Global Warming
9:34 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Connecticut Meteorologists (Reluctantly) Talk Climate Science

Bruce Berrien Creative Commons

Earlier this month, the National Climate Assessment was released, and the results are less than stellar. The report says, “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.” The release of the climate assessment report prompted both of our local talk shows to tackle climate change last week, from very different perspectives.

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WAMC News
4:59 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Wind Developer Withdraws Vermont Proposal

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 10:47 pm

A company is withdrawing its plans for a 20-turbine industrial wind project on Vermont's Seneca Mountain in the Northeast Kingdom.

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Satellite View
5:02 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Mars Weathercam Spots Big New Crater

A photograph of the new crater (large, center). Take by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Before and after shots taken by a Mars-orbiting satellite have detected a newly created impact crater half the size of a football field near the planet's equator.

NPR's Joe Palca says that while objects are striking Mars all the time (with big chunks surviving until impact, thanks to the Red Planet's thin atmosphere), this is the first time scientists have been able to determine the exact day a meteor struck – in this case, sometime on March 28, 2012.

But it wasn't noticed until two months ago.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:48 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Meteorologists Talk Climate Change

Ryan Hanrahan is a meteorologist at NBC CT
Chion Wolf

When President Obama introduced the National Climate Assessment a couple of weeks ago, he asked eight special people to help him. They were national and local weather casters including Al Roker.

It was an interesting choice.  

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Climate Change Is Here; How Do We Adapt?

International Space Station view of a winter storm forming in Australia.
NASA

The National Climate Assessment released earlier this month paints a bleak picture of the effects of climate change on not only the world - but right here in the northeast. “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the report says.

We’re teaming up with The Colin McEnroe Show for a big discussion on climate change and how we’re adapting to a changing world.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:21 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Bringing Back the Woolly Mammoth

Credit Funk Monk / Wikimedia Commons

Science writer Carl Zimmer names the Dodo and the Great Auk, the Thylacine and the Chinese River Dolphin, the Passenger Pigeon and the Imperial Woodpecker, the Bucardo and Stellar Sea Cow among the species that humankind has driven into extinction. What's notable about that list is that most of us would recognize maybe three or four of those names.

Think about that. We have obliterated entire species whose names we don't even know.

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Elevated Highways
10:12 am
Wed May 21, 2014

New Plan for I-91 Viaduct In Springfield Said to Address Residents' Concerns

An elevated portion of I-91 through Springfield, Massachusetts.
Rusty Clark Creative Commons

Massachusetts transportation officials said a new construction plan for replacing the Interstate 91 viaduct in Springfield will cause fewer traffic headaches than a previous version. 

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Living Large
3:33 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Look Up In The Sky And Live Big

The Milky Way arches above the European Southern Observatory's facility at Cerro Paranal in Chile's Atacama Desert.
Y. Beletsky ESO

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 10:06 am

We live in a galaxy of 100 billion stars. That's a one-hundred-thousand million suns, joined together by their mutual gravity in the shape of disk, all swirling around a common center.

A 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy and how many have you seen in the last week? How many have you stopped to notice?

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Filling You In On the World of Taxidermy

A taxidermied squirrel at the Institute Library in New Haven.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Taxidermy stops time. Creatures are born, they live they die, they decay into dust. But taxidermy catches the wolf or the woodpecker in the middle of the cycle and keeps it there. That's why there's something unsettling and a little creepy about taxidermy. Never forget, the most memorable taxidermist in cinema history was Norman Bates.

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Crime and Punishment
4:21 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Illegal Dumping Through a "Magic Pipe" Leads to a $1.2 Million Penalty

rabiem22 Flickr Creative Commons

Inspections in New Haven harbor have led to $1.2 million in fines for a Singapore-based shipping company. The penalty was tied to illegal dumping in international waters using something called a "magic pipe."

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Big Ideas (That Didn't Work)

Fire Island Inlet Bridge (part of the Robert Moses Causeway).
Credit tsaiproject / Creative Commons

If you watch "House of Cards," you might have noticed a main storyline about a bridge from Long Island to Connecticut. Sounds crazy, right? Well, here's the thing: it was a real idea!

From bridges, to highways, to malls, Where We Live takes a look at some outlandish project ideas that -- for some reason or another -- just never worked. Why isn’t there a bridge connecting Connecticut and Long Island? And why wasn't the New Haven Galleria mall ever built?

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Spring Migration
8:12 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Dust Off Your Bird-Watching Binoculars

Have you seen this bird? It's a yellow-throated warbler.
Credit Ding Darling / Creative Commons

If you're a birder, now is the time to grab your binoculars. The Connecticut Audubon Society said May is turning out to be a great time to watch birds.

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Turtle Time
1:03 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

WNPR Listeners and Staff Share Their Turtle Photos

Painted turtle hatchlings visit WNPR.
Chion Wolf WNPR

During this morning's Where We Live, "Everything You Want to Know About Turtles," we shared some of our favorite turtle photos and asked listeners to do the same. Below are some of the awesome photos we received. Enjoy!

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