Environment

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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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Fri September 26, 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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Zoning the Morning Star
5:38 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Developer Withdraws Request to Rezone "Satan's Kingdom"

A plan to turn a 60 acre plot in "Satan's Kingdom" into an industrial park hit a snag on Thursday, when the developer pulled the plug.
Wikimedia Commons

Allan Borghesi wanted to rezone about 60 acres in New Hartford and Canton from "residential" to "industrial" and, earlier this summer, it looked like the deal was a sure bet. New Hartford signed off on the proposal in June, but opposition in Canton grew in the interim -- organizing itself on Facebook and through petitions. Now, Borghesi has withdrawn his request.

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Cleaning Up the Sound
12:13 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

New Plan Makes Climate Change Essential Factor in Long Island Sound Conservation

Long Island Sound.
GNY Creative Commons

Twenty years ago, public perceptions of Long Island Sound weren't good. Mark Tedesco is director of the EPA's LIS office, and during a recent public hearing, he recapped some editorial cartoons from that time.

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Transportation
3:44 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

More Trains for Metro-North's Busy New Haven Line

Credit Jim Maurer / Creative Commons

Commuters on Metro-North's New Haven Line can expect more trains during the off-peak hours and on weekends. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue September 23, 2014

One for the Birds of Connecticut (Again)

Connecticut's state bird: the American robin.
Credit Ken Douglas / Creative Commons

It’s an hour for the birds! We are joined by bird lovers and experts to discuss the state of the bird population in our state and to answer your burning bird questions. We also check in with our environmental reporter Patrick Skahill about his recent bird-related reporting.

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Capping Gas
8:11 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Senate Bill Looks to Regulate Atmospheric "Super Pollutants"

A new U.S. Senate bill is looking to establish more regulations for non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions.
why 137 Creative Commons

Last weekend's climate change march brought thousands of protesters to New York City. A new bill now making its way through the U.S. Senate is also aiming to reduce the impact of so-called atmospheric "super pollutants."

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Bardarbunga!
1:39 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Massive Volcanic Eruption Is Making Iceland Grow

A plane flies over the Bardarbunga volcano as it spews lava and smoke in southeast Iceland on Sept. 14. The Bardarbunga volcano system has been rocked by hundreds of tremors a day since mid-August, prompting fears the volcano could explode.
Bernard Meric AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 1:29 pm

The tiny, island nation of Iceland is in the middle of a growth spurt. For the past month, the country's Bardarbunga volcano has been churning out lava at a prodigious rate. And the eruption shows no signs of abating.

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Bridgeport
9:40 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Disclosure of Chemicals Sought After Bridgeport Factory Fire

The smoldering remains of the Rowayton Trading Company factory warehouse building at 2201-2215 Seaview Avenue in Bridgeport on September 12.
Ebong Udoma WSHU

Bridgeport officials are calling for more disclosure of industrial chemicals following the release of chemicals in a factory fire. 

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Space
8:43 am
Mon September 22, 2014

NASA: MAVEN Spacecraft Safely Circling Mars

Artist concept of MAVEN spacecraft in orbit around Mars.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 10:44 am

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft conducted a 33-minute burn of its six main engines to ease into an orbit around Mars after a nearly yearlong, 442 million-mile voyage from Earth. The probe's mission is to study the red planet's atmosphere.

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Space
8:02 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Mission To Study Mars' Climate Enters Red Planet's Orbit

In this artist concept provided by NASA, the MAVEN spacecraft approaches Mars on a mission to study its upper atmosphere.
AP

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 10:41 pm

This Sunday night, we headed back to Mars: NASA's MAVEN spacecraft fired its six main engines, slowing down enough so it could be captured by the gravity of the red planet and go into orbit.

MAVEN, which stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, is a distinctly un-sexy name for a project as cool as a sojourn to Mars. But whatever it's called, the probe is on a mission that should be of interest to everyone who likes living on Earth.

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Climate March
8:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Large Protests In Hundreds Of Cities Vent Ire Over Climate Change

Demonstrators gather near Columbus Circle before the start of the People's Climate March in New York Sunday. Organizers are hoping 100,000 people worldwide might participate in the rally.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 8:07 am

Streets in New York City and other towns were taken over by marchers Sunday in what organizers called the largest climate change protest in history. The People's Climate March was timed to draw the notice of world leaders gathering for this week's U.N. Climate Summit.

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Climate March
4:24 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Climate Marchers Hope to Pressure World Leaders to Combat Global Warming

Organizers say Sunday's People's Climate March in NYC will be the largest climate change protest in history.
peoplesclimate.org

Connecticut is expected to be well-represented at Sunday's People's Climate March in New York City.

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Massachusetts
12:11 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Report Urges National Limits On Power Plant Emissions

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 9:36 pm

On the eve of the United Nations Climate Summit next week in New York, a Massachusetts environmental group called for aggressive limits on power plant emissions.

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Space Travel
4:37 am
Fri September 19, 2014

How NASA's New Spaceships Stack Up

The new capsules are being built by Boeing and SpaceX. They look similar, but there are differences.
SpaceX, The Boeing Company

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 10:24 pm

Earlier this week NASA announced that two private companies will build spaceships to take astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA hopes that both models will eventually be used by space tourists to get into orbit. Which got us wondering, which one would we rather fly in?

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Cities
4:13 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Some On Staten Island Opt For Buyout Of 'Houses That Don't Belong'

New York state is buying homes like this one in Staten Island's Fox Beach neighborhood as part of a Hurricane Sandy recovery project in the hopes that demolishing them will help nature return and provide a barrier to future storm surges.
Matthew Schuerman WNYC

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 8:30 am

Staten Island's Fox Beach neighborhood used to be a working-class area with about 180 homes, mostly small bungalows. Fox Beach is — or rather was — a few hundred feet from the Atlantic Ocean, and after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, homeowners decided their neighborhood was dangerous in terms of natural disasters and too expensive because of the rising cost of flood insurance.

So the state has been tearing down the homes.

Bill Bye's home at 16 Kissam Ave. was a recent one to go.

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Cities
6:38 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

A Coastal Paradise Confronts Its Watery Future

Half the land in the city of Satellite Beach is only 6 feet above the waterline.
Jon Hamilton NPR

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 6:59 pm

Dan Reiter, 37, is a long-board surfer and contractor who used to live in Tampa, Fla. Then he discovered the surf breaks along a stretch of coast south of Cape Canaveral. "It's one of the most beautiful places in the world to live and surf and raise your kids," says Reiter, 37, as we watch head-high waves roll into Hightower Beach.

But there's trouble in this coastal paradise. It's on a low-lying barrier island that's getting lower as sea level rises. So the cities here are looking for ways to keep the water at bay or retreat from it.

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Springfield
6:43 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Climate Action Planners Confront Biomass Project

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:16 pm

Activists who have been working for months on a climate change plan for Springfield, Massachusetts say they must factor in an unwanted development — the possible construction of a wood-burning power plant in the city.

Neighborhood representatives, community organizers, and people from health-focused organizations have been brainstorming ways to improve the environment and reduce greenhouse gases with a goal to present a plan to the Springfield City Council by the end of the year.

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Zoning the Morning Star
1:15 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Environmental Worries Pepper Zoning Debate in "Satan's Kingdom"

A proposed industrial development could rezone nearly 60 acres in Canton and New Hartford's Satan's Kingdom.
Wikimedia Commons

A proposed industrial development on 60 acres near the Farmington River is generating pushback from residents in New Hartford and Canton.

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Springfield
6:27 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Mayor Blocks Appeal Against Biomass Plant

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 1:26 pm

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts won’t authorize an appeal to block construction of a wood-burning power plant.

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Warehouse Fire
2:56 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Bridgeport Fire Leads to Environmental Damage

No serious injuries have been reported in the fire at a Bridgeport industrial building.
Titus YouTube

A fishing ban has been imposed on all commercial and recreational fishing from Norwalk to Milford until the environmental impact of a massive overnight fire in Bridgeport can be evaluated. The fire has also forced evacuation of residents and cut electrical power.

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Space Weather
12:15 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Solar Flare Could Trigger Auroras Tonight For Northern U.S.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captures Wednesday's solar flare eruption.
NASA/SDO

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 1:19 pm

Earth is in the line of fire of a powerful solar flare that has already begun hitting us, but most of the energy from the Coronal Mass Ejection, or CME, will skirt safely by, scientists say, with major disruptions to the electric grid, satellites and communications unlikely.

But if you're lucky — and far enough north — you might see a nice display of aurora borealis.

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Killer Whales
6:47 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

SeaWorld Hopes New Orca Habitats Will Stem A Tide Of Criticism

Visitors watch an orca performance at SeaWorld in San Diego this year. The company has seen attendance slip in the year since the release of a documentary film critical of the company's captive whale program.
Mike Blake Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 9:00 am

It's been a strong business year for the nation's theme parks, with a notable exception: SeaWorld.

The company, which has parks in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando, Fla., saw its attendance drop in recent months. The company blames that, in part, on fallout from Blackfish, a documentary film that's critical of SeaWorld's treatment of its captive killer whales.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Response, Relief, and Rebuilding in the Wake of Disaster

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Wavian Creative Commons

September 11, 2001 changed a lot about America, including many changes that, by now, you barely notice. So did the Hurricanes and tropical storms --Katrina, Irene, and Sandy -- all of which reshaped how and where we live.

The shooting spree that left 26 dead at Sandy Hook Elementary school was the most focused of tragedies, but we’re still adapting and coming to terms with what that disaster means to us.

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Asia
5:55 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Nepal Struggles To Help Villages Washed Away In Floods

Families carry their belongings while moving to higher ground in the Bardia region of Nepal during the flooding on Aug. 15.
Bhabuk Yogi AP

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 8:26 am

In August, monsoon rains brought flooding and landslides to Nepal on a massive scale.

Three days of constant rains inundated valleys and huge swaths of land came tumbling down mountainsides in the western part of the country.

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LOBSTAH
10:37 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Connecticut Lobstermen See End to Catches in Long Island Sound

Lobster traps in Mystic.
Richard Taylor Creative Commons

Fishermen in Long Island Sound won't be allowed to catch lobster for the next three months because of a fishing ban aimed at increasing population numbers.

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