Environment

WNPR's Environmental Reporting Initiative is made possible by United Technologies Corporation.

Ben Byrne / Creative Commons

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would like to acquire more than 160,000 acres of land in 22 locations in the four states along the Connecticut River.

The head of Massachusetts’ Department of Transportation spent Wednesday learning about and celebrating projects in the Berkshires.

Cindy See / Creative Commons

This fall flower is a native of Central America, but the Aztec grew them for food and medicine. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that Europeans starting hybridizing this plant for its flowers and now there are over 50,000 named varieties of dahlias.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

The death toll from an industrial accident has risen to 50 in Tianjin, a port city in northeast China. Emergency crews are still working to locate missing people; 12 firefighters are among the dead, and more remain unaccounted for.

Updated 1:45 a.m. ET Thursday:

The death toll from the Tianjin warehouse explosions has risen to 44, according to China's official Xinhau News Agency.

Updated 10:50 p.m. ET

Huge explosions have rocked the port city of Tianjin in northeast China. Media reports say at least 17 people were killed and hundreds are injured. Two firefighters are missing.

Set your alarm clocks. The Perseid meteor shower, the annual celestial lightshow that Space.com com calls the most widely observed and dependable meteor display of the year, will peak tonight and early tomorrow morning.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Interstate fishery managers on the Atlantic coast are signing off on a management plan for a species of crab that is growing in value and volume of catch.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The walls of Bradley Airport’s Terminal B have begun to come down, and the Connecticut Airport Authority is setting its sights on building a new transportation center in the old terminal’s place.

DEEP

Connecticut officials will be unveiling plans to make wide-ranging improvements to the Silver Sands State Park in Milford.

In an event that has led to health warnings and turned a river orange, the Environmental Protection Agency says one of its safety teams accidentally released contaminated water from a mine into the Animas River in southwest Colorado.

The spill, which sent heavy metals, arsenic and other contaminants into a waterway that flows into the San Juan National Forest, occurred Wednesday. The EPA initially said 1 million gallons of wastewater had been released, but that figure has risen sharply.

From member station KUNC, Stephanie Paige Ogburn reports for our Newscast unit:

Take a close look at a house cat's eyes and you'll see pupils that look like vertical slits. But a tiger has round pupils — like humans do. And the eyes of other animals, like goats and horses, have slits that are horizontal.

Scientists have now done the first comprehensive study of these three kinds of pupils. The shape of the animal's pupil, it turns out, is closely related to the animal's size and whether it's a predator or prey.

Sanofi Pasteur / Creative Commons

Officials say mosquitoes in six Connecticut towns have tested positive for West Nile virus.

Sonny Abesamis / Creative Commons

This time of year, there’s a bevy of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, beans, and other veggies to eat and share. Even giving them away is a challenge, as I see my neighbor cringe when I walk up their driveway with yet another gift of zucchini. 

James Gathany / Creative Commons

Connecticut health officials have found West Nile virus in mosquitoes in three towns.

Natalia Rivera / Creative Commons

It's summer and 90 degrees -- so why am I freezing at the office?

A recent New York Times article on air conditioning has sparked a debate on whether air conditioning is a necessity or an indulgence.

Some say air conditioning has been a part of our lives for less than a century, yet we increasingly rely on it as soon as the weather makes us feel the slightest bit uncomfortable. We're not only losing our ability to adapt, the resulting green-house gas emissions are contributing to climate change. And public buildings are way colder than they need to be for comfort.

In a span of minutes, two passenger trains traveling in opposite directions derailed in central India on Tuesday night, sending them into the mud along a riverbank. At least 24 people died; officials say that tracks near the river had been flooded by monsoon rains.

Images from the scene show the trains' cars and engines resting at odd angles near the bridge, with the tracks lying twisted and curved in the mud. More than 300 people survived the crashes, according to multiple reports.

State of Connecticut

Governor Dannel Malloy announced on Tuesday the state's plans to invest in its first "road diet" in East Hartford, improving bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure along a major corridor.

Jan-Mallander / Creative Commons

About 100,000 customers lost power in Rhode Island on Tuesday following severe early-morning thunderstorms. In Connecticut, Eversource reported about 5,000 outages as of mid-day.

Erdenebayar / Pixabay

The commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said he's confident the state can comply with President Barack Obama's plan to impose stricter carbon dioxide limits on states.

Milkyoreo / Creative Commons

Construction of a second track has begun for the expanded New Haven-to-Springfield, Massachusetts, rail line, with commuters being bused along the route for the next year.

An epic legal battle is about to begin over President Obama's plan to address climate change, in which the Environmental Protection Agency is putting in place new limits on greenhouse gases from power plants. Critics argue the plan is on shaky legal ground, but the administration says it's prepared to defend the regulations in court.

In announcing the "Clean Power Plan" on Monday, Obama predicted some of the arguments his critics would make.

Bill Dickinson / Creative Commons

Some passengers riding Amtrak between New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts, may soon need to switch to a bus for part of their trip.

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

Jul 31, 2015

Chert Hollow Farm sits nestled between rows of tall trees and a nearby stream in central Missouri. Eric and Joanna Reuter have been running the organic farm since 2006. That means they don't plant genetically modified crops and can only use a few approved kinds of chemicals and fertilizers.

"We've traditionally raised about an acre and a half of pretty intensively managed produce, so it's a very productive acre and a half," Eric Reuter says.

CT Herp Consultants, LLC

An initial draft of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's (DEEP) updated ten-year action plan to protect wildlife, released last week, includes plans to look closely at wildlife road mortality, especially that of amphibians and reptiles. 

Jimmy_Joe / Creative Commons

This iridescent, copper-colored beetle hails from Japan, has been around since 1916, and is not a picky eater. Japanese beetles feast on grapes, cherries, raspberries, cannas, basil, roses, and lots of other plants. They often feed en masse, devastating plants. 

Wikimedia Commons

On a recent visit to Kenya, President Obama proposed changes to U.S. laws governing the sale of ivory. 

The measure is largely in response to a poaching crisis that's pushing elephants, rhinos, and other species to the brink of extinction.

Connecticut was once a hub for the global ivory trade, so musicians and museums are wondering what the future holds for their ivory-containing instruments, art, and antiques.

Ed Yourdon / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s the middle of summer and for those lucky enough to live in a coastal state, like us here in Connecticut, that means it's beach time! Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive outing with the family, to catch a tan, or simply to get away from the daily grind, beaches offer it all.

Across Connecticut, abandoned sites are being built back up. It’s complicated and expensive work, but in recent years, the state has put millions of dollars towards breathing new life into the long-forgotten spaces of the industrial era.

LOLren / Creative Commons

White House officials hosted 13 of the largest companies from across the American economy on Monday to discuss ways business can help reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent over the next ten years. 

The state of Vermont and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission don't always see eye to eye. The state and the feds disagreed over the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant when the Vernon reactor was operating. And now that the plant is shut down, the state has challenged the federal agency over emergency planning and decommissioning.

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