environment

Rick In Space
6:53 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Space Station Repairs Are Made Following Issues With Space Suit

Waterbury native Rick Mastracchio holds the degraded pump module while the International Space Station's robotic arm guides the module to a grapple fixture.
Credit NASA TV

Rick Mastracchio will continue repairs to a damaged cooling system on the International Space Station on Tuesday morning.

The Waterbury native was originally scheduled to conduct his second space walk Monday, but the mission was pushed back following a minor issue with the astronaut's space suit.

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Magic Carpet Ride
6:36 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Connecticut Weighs Feasibility of Carpet Recycling Law

Credit Flickr Creative Commons, stevendepolo

Earlier this year, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to pass a law requiring manufacturers to recycle unwanted mattresses generated in the state. Now, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is reviewing similar rules for things like carpet and batteries. 

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Photography
6:34 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Wadsworth Atheneum Highlights "An Artificial Wilderness"

Edward Burtynsky's "Oxford Tire Pile #1," taken in Westley, Calif. in 1999, is one of the centerpieces of "An Artificial Wilderness," which runs through Feb. 23 at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford.
Edward Burtynsky / Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

It might seem odd for a museum boasting one of the nation's largest collections of the Hudson River School, a 19th-century art movement celebrating the beauty of America's outdoors, to document parking lots and discarded rubber tires. 

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Insects
1:49 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

From 'Death Jars' To Wasps: A Quest To Stamp Out The Stink Bug

The invasive brown marmorated stink bug has become an expensive nuisance for U.S. farmers. It has spread to 40 states and eats about 100 different crops.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:26 am

The brown marmorated stink bug doesn't just smell bad. It's also been causing trouble for homeowners and farmers from New Hampshire to California for the past three years.

No predators are eating the invasive species fast enough to keep it under control, but researchers think they may have found a solution to the stink-bug menace.

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O Rly?
5:41 am
Tue December 17, 2013

In Search of the Majestic Snowy Owl on the Connecticut Coast

A Snowy Owl spotted at Stratford Point.
Anthony Zemba Connecticut Audubon Society

Birders in Connecticut are enjoying a rare spectacle this holiday season: the Snowy Owl. I teamed up with Milan Bull from the Connecticut Audubon Society and went searching for this arctic bird, which is capturing the imagination of bird lovers across the state.

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Pollutants
11:42 am
Fri December 13, 2013

How Plastic In The Ocean Is Contaminating Your Seafood

"A lot of people are eating seafood all the time, and fish are eating plastic all the time, so I think that's a problem," says a marine toxicologist.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 10:38 am

We've long known that the fish we eat are exposed to toxic chemicals in the rivers, bays and oceans they inhabit. The substance that's gotten the most attention — because it has shown up at disturbingly high levels in some fish — is mercury.

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Ice Missiles
12:04 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Clean Snow Off Your Car, Or Face Fines

Credit Flickr Creative Commons, imrambi

Motorists who fail to remove ice or snow from their vehicles will face possible fines beginning Dec. 31.

The so-called "ice-missile" legislation requires drivers to remove any "threatening" ice or snow from the hood, trunk, and roof of their car or face a $75 fine. Fines will be even higher if the ice or snow causes property damage. Non-commercial motorists could face a $200 to $1000 penalty for each offense. Commercial violators could be fined between $500 and $1200.

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Blame It On The Wind
5:00 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Connecticut Asks Upwind States to Clean Up Their Air

An ozone transport map illustrates how out-of-state pollution moves into Connecticut. Red is westerly transported air, which moves hundreds of miles. Yellow is a southerly, nocturnal, low-level jet. Green is short-range pollution, which moves at ground level and city-to-city in the mid-Atlantic and northeast.
Credit CT DEEP

Blame it on the wind patterns, which are responsible for moving most of America's air from west to east. Often, that air carries pollution from out-of-state coal plants into Connecticut, which contributes to the formation of ozone. Now, Governor Dannel Malloy and environmental leaders from around the northeast have filed a formal petition with the Environmental Protection Agency saying they've had enough. 

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Environment
9:42 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Council on Environmental Quality Gets An Earful About Bamboo

Credit CT-N

The Council on Environmental Quality met Thursday to hear public opinion on how the state's environmental laws might be improved. 

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Environment
7:00 am
Thu December 5, 2013

CRRA Proposes Freezing Worker Salaries

CRRA says it plans to freeze salaries for its workers beginning in 2014.
Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, also known as CRRA, announced plans this week to freeze worker salaries. The agency handles waste for more than 50 towns. CRRA says the salary freeze would save the agency $1.5 million and help close a projected budget gap of $12.6 million for the next five years.

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Earthquakes
3:22 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Loud Booms Caused By Microearthquakes, Seismologist Says

This chart represents ground motion as recorded by the Weston Observatory. Highlighted are the seismic waveforms indicated Friday's two earthquakes in sotheastern Connecticut.
Weston Observatory / Town of Groton: Office of Emergency Management

The U.S. Geological Survey says it recorded a 2.1 magnitude earthquake in Connecticut last Friday. According to Groton's Office of Emergency Management, that explains the mysterious loud booms that perplexed several residents over the weekend.

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Native Plants
11:45 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Woodbury Couple Uses Native Plants To Rebuild Forests, Backyards

Lisa and Kyle Turoczi are co-owners of Earth Tones Native Plant Nursery in Woodbury. Lisa is a landscape architect. Kyle is a soil scientist. (Their four dogs love the property.)
Patrick Skahill / WNPR

When you buy plants at a big box store, a lot of the plants aren't from Connecticut. Some are even invasive. Lisa and Kyle Turoczi are working to change that. As co-owners of Earth Tones Native Plant Nursery in Woodbury, they've even been contracted to rebuild a forest. 

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Fracking
11:40 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Connecticut's Complicated Relationship With Natural Gas

A fracking site in Warren Center, Pennsylvania.
Credit Fracking Lawyer / Creative Commons

More than half of Americans surveyed by a new Yale study reported knowing little to nothing about hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as "fracking." Minimal shale deposits mean fracking wells aren't likely to come to Connecticut, but the state is facing another concern: what to do with fracking waste.

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Wetlands
5:11 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Rate Of Coastal Wetlands Loss Has Sped Up, U.S. Study Says

Saltwater wetlands that include marshes and shoals on Virginia's Atlantic coast. U.S. coastal wetlands losses were 25 percent greater from 2004-2009, according to a recent federal study.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 7:47 pm

The U.S. lost an average of 80,000 acres of coastal wetlands from 2004 to 2009, according to the latest data published by federal agencies. More than 70 percent of the estimated loss came in the Gulf of Mexico; nationwide, most of the loss was blamed on development that incurred on freshwater wetlands.

"The losses of these vital wetlands were 25 percent greater than during the previous six years," NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports for our Newscast unit. She also notes that the loss equals "about seven football fields every hour."

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Why Not Just Charge It?
3:42 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

New Round of Incentives Aims to Bring More Electric Vehicle Charging Stations to Connecticut

Governor Dannel Malloy addresses reporters outside the 2013 Connecticut International Auto Show in Hartford. He announced a new round of incentives for building additional electric vehicle charging stations around the state.
Credit Patrick Skahill / WNPR

When you drive an electric car, you have to charge it, but sometimes finding those charging stations can be hard. Drivers call that "range anxiety" and it's stopped some consumers from going electric. Now, the state is looking to change that. Earlier this month, it announced more than $135,000 in grants to assist in the construction of 56 new, publicly available charging stations. 

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Environment
9:29 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

CRRA Claims Multimillion-Dollar Deficit

CRRA said it's facing a revenue gap of $7.6 million over the next three years, but a state audit said that number was a lot higher - 23 million. CRRA management met with state officials on Tuesday to discuss the agency's plans moving forward.
Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

Representatives from the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA), a trash agency responsible for waste management in more than 50 Connecticut municipalities, said they're facing a $7.6 million budget gap for the next three fiscal years. The gap was revealed to members of a state task force on Tuesday. The reveal comes on the heels of a state-sponsored audit of CRRA released earlier this month that projects a much bigger shortfall: around $23 million. 

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Drillin' Holes
11:30 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Geothermal Projects Expand Across Connecticut

Workers drill a hole into the ground in advance of installing geothermal piping. Geothermal technology uses ambient ground temperatures to heat and cool buildings.
Patrick Skahill / WNPR

The town of Tolland said two of its schools will switch to geothermal technology in the coming months. According to the Connecticut Geothermal Association, that project will join a list of nearly 60 active projects in Connecticut.

One of those projects is in South Windham, at Horizons, a camp for developmentally disabled children and adults. I met up with Guy Wanegar, President of the Connecticut Geothermal Association, as a crew dug a hole for geothermal piping outside a new dining hall. The ground was muddy, and gallons of water spewed up as the drill worked its way vertically through hundreds of feet of dirt and bedrock.

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Pull The Plug
3:11 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Drill Simulates Crippling Blow to Power Grid

Connecticut Light and Power will participate in a two-day drill simulating attacks on the power grid. The exercise is being staged by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and will include hundreds of utilities from across North America.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons, angeloangelo

As concerns over the security of America's electrical infrastructure continue to grow, Connecticut Light & Power and the United Illuminating Company said they will both take part in a multi-national security exercise this week. The drill will be run by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (also known as NERC) and will include Homeland Security, FBI officials, and hundreds of utilities. 

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Buggin'
7:00 am
Tue November 12, 2013

New Species of 17-Year Cicada Discovered in Connecticut

A new species of 17-year cicada, dubbed "magicicada septendecula" was discovered in North Branford this summer.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A new species of 17-year cicada has been discovered in Connecticut. According to a report in The Hartford Courant, credit for the discovery goes to Chris Maier of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

The bug, dubbed magicicada septendecula, was found in North Branford. It's smaller than Connecticut's other 17-year cicada species, magicicada septendecim, which gained fame this summer for its emergence (or lack of emergence) around the state.

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Environment
1:35 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Faith Drives Discussion of Environment in Day-Long Summit

Participants in a "Climate Stewardship Summit" wave flags during an interfaith worship service at Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford.
Credit Patrick Skahill / WNPR

What can religion say about climate change? It turns out a lot. Take for example, the Old Testament story of Noah and the flood. You remember how it goes: people behaving badly, Noah building an ark, God sending a flood, and, eventually, a Rainbow covenant formed between God and man. Except, said Terri Eickel, the covenant was larger than that. 

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You're Welcome, New York
9:40 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Is Connecticut Born and Raised

The 2007 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree also came from Shelton, Conn.
Credit Luke Redmond / Creative Commons

If you visit Rockefeller Center this holiday season, you can look up in awe at a New York transplant from Connecticut. The iconic Christmas tree will be cut down in Shelton later today, and shipped to New York City by tractor-trailer, according to the Associated Press. 

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Wildlife
4:56 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Thanks To Parasites, Moose Are Looking More Like Ghosts

A large bull moose is inspected by a hunter at a weigh station in Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 6:48 pm

The news for moose is not good across the country's northern tier and in some parts of Canada. A recent and rapid decline of moose populations in many states may be linked to climate change, and to the parasites that benefit from it.

In Minnesota, moose populations have dropped from a high of more than 12,000 two decades ago to fewer than 3,000 now. Moose in some parts of Manitoba have declined by 50 percent and more.

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Nice Carotenoids, Bro
7:00 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Why Do Leaves Change Color and Fall Off Trees?

New England's red and yellow leaves are a great opportunity to talk about carotenoids, anthocyanins, and the chemistry in your backyard.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons, jerry mercier

If you're driving through Connecticut, you've probably noticed a lot of colors on your commute. Fall foliage has been on full display these last few weeks, with reds, oranges, and yellows covering trees all over New England. You may even have spent your weekend raking leaves up. But have you ever stopped to consider why leaves change color? Or how they fall off trees? 

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Coastal Resilience
10:24 am
Wed October 30, 2013

What We've Learned From Superstorm Sandy

Sandy slammed into Connecticut this week in 2012.
Credit Jan Ellen Spiegel / WNPR

This week marks one year since Superstorm Sandy slammed into the northeast, causing deaths, destroying homes and businesses, and reshaping Connecticut’s shoreline. The storm also caused leaders to rethink our response to major environmental events.

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Oil Drilling Protest
4:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Russia Charges Greenpeace Activists With Piracy

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 7:56 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Russian prosecutors have filed charges of piracy against 14 people who were aboard a Greenpeace boat during a protest last month in the Russian Arctic. Under Russian law, piracy is punishable by as much as 15 years in prison. Greenpeace says it was peacefully protesting the dangers of oil drilling in the Arctic and that the Russian government is violating international law.

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Moscow.

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Arctic Thaw
5:28 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Forum Discusses Arctic Oil And Gas Searches

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 2:52 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On the first Monday of the rest of your life, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Climate change is melting ice in the Arctic. And that is opening up the top of the world to drilling, shipping traffic, and also concerns about the environment. Earlier this month, Greenpeace activists were arrested trying to board an oil platform that's owned by Russia's state gas company.

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Birds of Prey
1:56 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Falconers Among Us

A Falconer and Red-Tail
Credit Courtesy of CT Falconers Association

The popular "Saturday Night Live" skit performed by Will Forte introduced us to falconers but hunters in Connecticut actually practice this centuries-old sport. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has federal guidelines for states which then set up their own regulations. Connecticut legalized falconry in 2005.

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Oil Drilling Protest
4:25 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Greenpeace Vessel Is Boarded By Russian Coast Guard

Greenpeace's ship the "Arctic Sunrise" in 2005.
Samuel Aranda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 3:14 am

Greenpeace reports that its vessel, the Arctic Sunrise, has been boarded by the Russian Coast Guard after a protest against oil and gas drilling in the Russian Arctic.

The crew of the vessel tweeted throughout the drama. A tweet by Greenpeace HQ indicated that everyone was safe but that the crew was not "in control of the ship at this point."

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Where We Live
11:11 am
Thu August 29, 2013

The War on Lyme...and About Lyme

We often don't feel a tick on us because they secrete chemicals that numb us to their presence. While they can stay on us for up to one week, the threat of infection is low if we remove them within 36 hours.
Credit John Tann on Flickr Creative Commons

Lyme disease gets its name from the Connecticut town, and it’s always been a problem here...but it’s spreading, as far North as Maine and south down to Virginia. Dr. Paul Mead of the CDC says that due in part to the “reforestation” of the Northeast.

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Environment
9:28 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Saving Plum Island From Development

Looking Toward the Eastern Tip of Plum Island
Save the Sound

The town of Southold New York has approved new zoning measures that will protect much of Plum Island from development.

For years, the 840 acre island in Long Island Sound has been home to a government laboratory that studies animal diseases. It's also served as an unofficial wildlife sanctuary for dozens of species, some of them endangered.

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