environment

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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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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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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WAMC News
12:35 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Fight Against Biomass Plant To Continue

Dozens of opponents of the biomass plant proposed by Palmer Renewable Energy in Springfield, MA urged the city council during a special meeting Wednesday night to appeal a court ruling reinstating the project's building permit.

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 9:41 am

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts has green-lighted an appeal to try to block construction of a wood-burning power plant. 

   The council authorized the filing of a notice of appeal of last month’s Massachusetts Land Court ruling that reinstated the building permit for the biomass project.  Dozens of project opponents urged the council to act prior to a September 15th deadline.   City Councilor Tim Allen said a lawyer advised the council the appeal has a 25 percent chance of success.

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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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Wildlife
10:14 am
Tue September 9, 2014

More Than Half Of U.S. Bird Species Threatened By Climate Change

A Baltimore oriole perches near apple blossoms in Mendota Heights, Minn.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 8:33 am

People in Maryland love their Baltimore orioles — so much so that their Major League Baseball team bears the name of the migrating bird. Yet, by 2080, there may not be any orioles left in Maryland. They migrate each year and, according to a new report, could soon be forced to nest well north of the Mid-Atlantic state.

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WAMC News
10:21 am
Mon September 8, 2014

City Councilors To Meet On Biomass Permit Appeal

Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 12:26 pm

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts will hold a special meeting on whether to continue the fight over a wood-burning power plant.

Facing a Sept. 15th deadline to file an appeal to the court ruling that restored the building permit for the controversial plant, city council meeting notices have been posted for both Sept. 10 and 11.   City Councilor Tim Allen opposes the biomass plant, but is uncertain if he’ll vote to appeal last month’s decision by the Massachusetts Land Court.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Diverse, Durable, and Edible: Bamboo

Bamboo is one of the most versatile plants in the world.
Héctor García Creative Commons

Bamboo is a lot of things: fast growing, durable, edible, and attractive. Coming up, we take a look at this increasingly popular wood with bamboo experts and enthusiasts. What makes bamboo special?

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WAMC News
3:00 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Councilors Weigh Court Challenge To Proposed Biomass Plant

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 1:31 pm

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts is considering whether to appeal a court ruling that reinstated the building permit for a wood-burning power plant.

Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton said he will poll the council members to determine if they want to hold a special meeting to vote on whether to appeal last months’ ruling by the Massachusetts Land Court.  Fenton said councilors met privately with an attorney this week to discuss the pros and cons of a possible appeal.

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Extinction
2:23 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

The Flight Of The Passenger Pigeon, Now 100 Years Extinct

Martha (right), an extinct passenger pigeon, at the Smithsonian's Natural history Museum in Washington. The passenger pigeon was once the world's most plentiful bird. Sept. 1 is the centenary of the bird's extinction.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Mon September 1, 2014 2:56 pm

The Cincinnati Zoo held a commemorative event; the London Zoo stopped the clock outside its bird house at noon. The object of their memorials: Martha, the last passenger pigeon, who died exactly a century ago at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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Brownfields
8:17 am
Mon September 1, 2014

State Announces $27 Million in Redevelopment Money

Included in the grants and loans is money for several housing development projects in the state.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / kylewbrown

The state has announced a total of $27 million in grants and loans for 20 environmental remediation and redevelopment projects in Connecticut.

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Juno the Whale
2:25 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Watch: Charismatic Beluga in Mystic Entertains Kids, Highlights Research

Juno, a 12-year-old beluga at Mystic Aquarium, is drawing attention to the aquarium's field research.
Mystic Aquarium

A new viral video depicting a juvenile beluga whale playing peek-a-boo with a child is drawing attention to Mystic Aquarium's arctic animals.

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UConn Research
4:01 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

What's the Best Way to Manage a Pesticide-Free Athletic Field?

Julie Campbell and Jason Henderson stand in front of 24 managed grass plots. They're comparing how grass responds to different organic and non-organic treatments.
Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Researchers at UConn are investigating the feasibility of managing grade school athletic fields without pesticides. It's science that could one day inform state law. 

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California
8:30 pm
Sun August 24, 2014

State Of Emergency Declared After Quake Rocks Northern Calif.

A photo provided by Lyall Davenport shows damage to a building in Napa, Calif., early Sunday.
Lyall Davenport AP

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 7:50 am

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown has made an emergency declaration after a strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake rocked northern California, causing dozens of injuries, damaged buildings and power outages. The quake struck at 3:20 a.m. PT, the U.S. Geological Survey says.

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Eruption
12:17 pm
Sat August 23, 2014

Iceland Ups Aviation Warning As Volcano Rumbles

A warning sign blocks the road to Bardarbunga volcano, some 12 miles away, in the northwest region of Iceland's Vatnajokull glacier, on Tuesday.
Reuters/Landov

Iceland today raised an aviation alert level to reflect growing concern over underground rumblings at its Bardarbunga volcano in the central part of the island nation.

A sub-glacial eruption caused Icelandic authorities to raise the aviation alert level to red, indicating "significant emission of ash into the atmosphere," The Associated Press reports.

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Huge Piles of Compost
10:11 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Citizen Science Project at Trinity College Taps Trained Eyes of Veterans

A coyote checks out a compost pile in this infrared shot from Smedley's remote camera.
Scott Smedley Trinity College

Researchers at Trinity College are snapping pictures of animals at compost piles as part of an ongoing biology project. They've been getting lots of pictures, and they're now hoping a new group can help analyze them: veterans. 

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Earthquake
9:54 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Expert Says There's Nothing Shocking About Deep River Earthquake

UConn geophysics professor Vernon Cormier said seismic activity in and around Deep River has been reported since colonial times. Here he demonstrates how the sway of buildings in an earthquake is like an upside-down pendulum motion.
University of Connecticut

Residents of Deep River were awakened by an earthquake this week. The 2.7 magnitude earthquake was recorded at about 3:09 am Thursday morning. Residents said they heard a loud boom, and their houses briefly shook. No injuries or damage were reported.

According to the U.S. Geological survey, the earthquake's epicenter was located in the southwest section of Deep River, in an part of the state known for frequent seismic activity.

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Air Quality
9:25 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Can More Money Solve Connecticut's Outdoor Wood Furnance Problem?

DEEP has allocated $345,000 for the removal or replacement of older, less-efficient outdoor wood burning furnaces.
Credit University of New Hampshire

Residents using outdoor wood burning furnaces to heat their homes and businesses could now be eligible for state money. A new program offers cash for the removal or replacement of old heating units.

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Deep River
8:05 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Good Morning! Small Earthquake Hits Connecticut

Tomislav Zivkovic/iStock Thinkstock

Some residents in southern Connecticut say they were awoken by their homes shaking, and the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed a minor earthquake.

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Herpetology
8:38 am
Tue August 12, 2014

An Atlas to Track Connecticut Critters That Slither, Hop, and Crawl

Spotted salamanders are common throughout Connecticut in deciduous forest.
Dennis Quinn Connecticut Herpetology

If you’ve found yourself out hiking Connecticut’s trails this summer, you may have encountered a snake or two. Would you be able to tell the difference, though, between a non-poisonous water snake and a poisonous northern Copperhead?

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Where Does All Our Trash Go?

Credit Vuilnis bij Essent Milieu / Wikimedia Commons

Ever wonder what happens to all the stuff you throw away?

Chances are, you've watched it get hurled into the back of a garbage or recycling truck. But what happens after it leaves the curb? Well, the story of trash is a lot more fascinating and complex than you probably think. 

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Space
4:45 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

In Quest To Harpoon A Comet, A Spacecraft Stalks Its Prey

The Rosetta spacecraft took this image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 4 August 2014 from a distance of just 145 miles.
ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 9:47 am

Tomorrow morning, a European space probe will arrive at a comet with a tongue-twister of a name: Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Getting there has been proven even trickier than pronouncing it.

The Rosetta spacecraft began its journey way back in March of 2004.

First it swung past Earth to gather speed. Then it catapulted out to Mars, for a boost from that planet's gravity field. Then in 2007, it came back to Earth for another push — then back out to an asteroid, and back to Earth.

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Firefighting
10:28 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Connecticut Crews Head to California to Help Fight Wildfires

The U.S. Army battled a wildfire over Yosemite National Park last summer.
U.S. Army

A 20-person crew of firefighters from Connecticut is heading to California to help fight wildfires in the northern part of the state.

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Rhode Island
1:30 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

State Officials Hold Ceremonial Signing Of Climate Change Bill

The ceremonial signing of the "A Resilient Rhode Island Act" took place in North Kingstown, one of many places state officials consider vulnerable to damages caused by climate change.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 1:06 pm

State officials hosted a ceremonial signing this afternoon in North Kingstown Town Beach for Rhode Island’s first comprehensive climate change bill. Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law last month.

The governor noted Wickford Cove experienced a little tsunami last year. He said that’s just one reason why the General Assembly passed this bill into law: to better prepare the state for future extreme weather events.

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Vision Quest
8:57 am
Mon August 4, 2014

How Do You Give an Eye Exam to a Fossil?

The fossil of Acutiramus cummingsi was remarkably well preserved, allowing scientists to gauge the vision of a creature that lived hundreds of millions of years ago.
Yale University

How do you give an eye exam to a creature that's been extinct for hundreds of millions of years? First, you need a fossil -- a really well-preserved fossil.

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