pollution

Extraterrestrial Smog
12:18 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Scientists Searching For Alien Air Pollution

In this artist's conception, the atmosphere of an Earthlike planet displays a brownish haze — the result of widespread pollution.
Christine Pulliam Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 3:18 pm

Air pollution is clogging the skies of our planet. Now one scientist thinks Earth may be just one of many polluted worlds — and that searching for extraterrestrial smog may actually be a good way to search for alien intelligence.

"People refer to 'little green men,' but ETs that are detected by this method should not be labeled as green," says Avi Loeb, an astronomer at Harvard University.

The idea of finding alien polluters may be a bit of a long shot, but Loeb says it's possible.

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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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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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Connecticut River
11:24 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Water Testing in Northern States to Keep Long Island Sound Healthy

The Connecticut River seen from Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation in Massachusetts.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A first-of-its-kind, large-scale, one day water-testing event took place Wednesday along the Connecticut River and its major tributaries. 

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Stacks of Smoke
4:45 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Capping Carbon Emissions Could Provide Economic Benefits, Study Finds

A new study quantifies the potential economic impact of a new federal plan to regulate carbon emissions.
Credit CandiceDawn/iStock / Thinkstock

Federal proposals to cap carbon emissions could actually benefit some states economically, according to a new study released on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

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Pollutants in the Water
12:23 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Nitrogen Pollution in Long Island Sound Continues to Decline

Nearly a week after Hurricane Irene drenched New England with rainfall in late August 2011, the Connecticut River was spewing muddy sediment into Long Island Sound.
NASA Goddard Photo and Video

A new report says nitrogen pollution discharged into Long Island Sound continues an overall decline. That's good news for marine life because too much nitrogen can fuel the growth of algae, which dies, settles on the ocean floor, and decays, using up oxygen in the process.

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Crime and Punishment
9:21 am
Wed July 9, 2014

New London CEO Guilty of Violating Clean Water Act

Credit Flickr Creative Commons / manoftaste.de

The former CEO of a New London company has pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act. According to federal prosecutors, the infractions date back to 1986 and involve toxic discharges into the city's sewer system.

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Clean Water
2:18 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Have You Wondered How Arsenic Enters a Well? You're Not Alone

Undergraduate Laura Markley samples a private well. The water will be tested for arsenic and compiled into a database managed with the help of Meredith Metcalf at ECSU. Testing in Lebanon is being done on a volunteer basis, with all testing costs covered.
Meredith Metcalf Eastern Connecticut State University

A new project at Eastern Connecticut State University is looking at arsenic contamination in privately-owned wells. The question of where that arsenic is coming from has attracted surprisingly little attention, until now. 

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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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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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WAMC News
4:46 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Hudson River PCB Dredging Resumes Wednesday

Workers use excavators with environmental clamshell buckets mounted on flat, anchored platforms to dredge the river. The PCB-contaminated sediment is emptied onto 35-foot-wide, 195-foot-long floating barges.

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 12:32 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that dredging of the upper Hudson River to remove PCB’s will resume Wednesday.

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Legislative Session
9:39 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Connecticut Senate Passes Bill Creating Three-Year Ban On Fracking Waste

Mamata.mulay Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut senators unanimously endorsed a bipartisan compromise on how to handle the possibility of waste coming to the state from hydraulic fracturing operations in other states. 

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Fracking Waste
12:12 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

What Connecticut Stands to Gain (and Lose) From Fracking

Water tanks preparing for a fracking job.
Joshua Doubek Creative Commons

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a ban of waste from “fracking,” the controversial method of obtaining natural gas cheaply. This comes less than a year after the state approved a major expansion of its natural gas infrastructure to capitalize on production in nearby states. Now, some are wondering whether Connecticut can avoid the environmental risks of the fracking boom.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Gambling on the Environment

Earth from 200 miles above ground.
Credit NASA

Biologist Paul Ehrlich became famous in the 1970s with his book The Population Bomb, which outlined a doomsday scenario in which the world’s supply of food and resources couldn't keep up with overpopulation.

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Connecticut First
4:33 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Fracking Protests; High Chances of "Sneeze" This Spring; Metro-North Update

Hundreds of advocates for prohibiting the storage of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” as it’s called, delivered petitions with over 5,600 signatures to lawmakers at a rally on Wednesday at the LOB. Though Connecticut doesn’t have the natural resource deposits to engage in the process of digging for natural gas,  many fear that companies seeking to store the waste created by the process will make their way to into Connecticut from outside the state. They want Governor Dannel Malloy and lawmakers to prohibit it.

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Wildlife
1:42 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Death Of Popular Hawk Highlights Concerns Over Rat Poison

A red-tailed hawk eats a mouse in Cambridge, Mass. (hbp_pix/Flickr)

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 9:03 am

The death of a beloved red-tailed hawk in Cambridge, Mass., has drawn attention to the issue of how rat poison is affecting wildlife.

Veterinarians say the hawk likely died from eating a rodent that consumed rat poison. Local birdwatchers had followed the exploits of the hawk and her mate, which they named Ruby and Buzz, for years.

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Energy
8:50 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Judiciary Committee Approves Ban on Fracking Waste Disposal

A fracking waste container.
Tar Sands Blockade Creative Commons

A bill that would ban the storage or disposal of waste from fracking in Connecticut is moving through the General Assembly. 

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Global Warming
10:24 am
Sun April 13, 2014

Climate Change Adjustments Must Be Fast And Major, U.N. Panel Says

The world must cut its greenhouse gas emissions to meet its goals, climate experts said Sunday. Members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (left to right) Youba Sakona, Ramon Pichs Madruga, Ottmar Edenhofer and Rajendra Pachauri hold copies of their new report in Berlin.
John MacDougall AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 7:33 am

A new report from the United Nations' panel on climate change says major action is needed, and fast, if policymakers want to limit global warming to acceptable levels.

There's an international target to control climate change: keeping the global temperature rise to just 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — that's 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now says it's technically possible to meet that goal. But doing so will require rapid, large-scale shifts in energy production and use.

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What's in the Water?
10:19 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Update on West Virginia's Elk River Chemical Spill

Elk River, Charleston West Virginia
Credit Tim Kiser

In January, West Virginia’s Elk River was contaminated by a chemical spill from a nearby coal processing plant, affecting 300,000 local residents. People were without water for days. Now months later, is the water safe to drink? 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Is Another Water Revolution on the Horizon?

Virginia de Lima, Chief of USGS New England Water Center's Connecticut Office
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Each time you go to turn on the faucet, flush the toilet, or water the lawn, you’re connecting yourself to a complex water system with nearly two and a half thousand years of history. The structure of our modern network of reservoirs, pipes, and drains owes much of its influence to designs dating back to ancient Rome. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu April 3, 2014

How Clean Is Our Air?

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution exposure was responsible for seven million deaths in 2012.
Credit eutrophication&hypoxia / Creative Commons

A report released by the World Health Organization last week found that some 7 million people died from air pollution exposure in 2012. In other words, one in eight of all global deaths that year resulted from breathing bad air. 

Today, the WHO considers air pollution to be the single greatest environmental health risk, linking it to cases of asthma, heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.

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Electric Cars
5:32 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Connecticut Fights Climate Change With Electric Car Selling Contest

Credit Nissan

Connecticut is running a contest to boost sales of electric vehicles: The dealer that sells the most electric cars between now and July gets an award. There's no prize money, but the contest is part of an effort to meet an ambitious quota.

Car salesman Joe Quistorff just sold a plugin hybrid car (a car that can run on either gas or electricity) a few days ago.

"My sales effort was actually fairly simple, fortunately," he said. "These are the kind of people that buy those vehicles."

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Clean Water
4:35 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick

Current water-filtering technology is costly, but MIT scientists are testing a simpler and cheaper method that uses wood from white pine trees.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 3:25 pm

Removing all the dangerous bacteria from drinking water would have enormous health benefits for people around the world.

The technologies exist for doing that, but there's a problem: cost.

Now a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he's on to a much less expensive way to clean up water.

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Natural Gas
6:23 am
Tue March 4, 2014

A Fracking Conundrum in Connecticut: What to Do With All That Waste

A well head after fracking equipment has been taken off location.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

As America witnesses a record boom in gas production, Connecticut lawmakers are once again trying to figure out what to do with fracking waste.

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Courts
3:28 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Industry Challenges EPA's Greenhouse Gas Rules In High Court

Not all energy producers find fault with the EPA's rules. Calpine, which helped build the Delta Energy Center in Pittsburg, Calif., says the permitting regulations aren't overly cumbersome.
JAKUB MOSUR AP

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 10:35 am

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday about the Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever greenhouse gas regulations for the biggest polluting facilities.

The case focuses on a 3-year-old requirement that companies get permits anytime they construct new plants or modify existing ones that will emit a lot of greenhouse gases.

EPA's supporters and most of its challengers agree this case is narrow in scope; the court's ruling is not expected to threaten EPA's broader strategy to fight global warming.

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Rubbish
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

A Compost Professional Explains How It's Done

Composting can be complicated. But you should try it.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

As we began working on a Colin McEnroe Show about composting, Colin made sure we included Susannah Castle, who runs Blue Earth Compost. She provides pails to subscribers in the Hartford area, and for a monthly fee, picks up the pails full of food scraps and other compostable materials from the household once a week. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:04 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Why Compost?

Susannah Castle runs Blue Earth Compost.
Chion Wolf WNPR

You may think that composting all your kitchen waste sounds like a good idea, but you probably don't realize how many things really can be composted, what services are available if you can't get yourself organized to do it, and if you do have a compost pile, which animals visit it at night, and for what purpose?

This hour, a heap of information about compost!

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West Virginia
4:58 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Charleston Mayor: Company Behind Chemical Leak Run By 'Renegades'

Charleston mayor Danny Jones.
Craig Cunningham AP

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 7:08 pm

The mayor of Charleston, W.Va., says the company behind the chemical spill that essentially shut down his city for days was run by "a small of group of renegades," who in his opinion knew there were problems with the tanks that leaked dangerous chemicals into the city's water supply.

"I'm not even sure they cared what happened to the public," Danny Jones told Melissa Block on Tuesday's edition of All Things Considered.

Jones said he knows some of the people in charge of Freedom Industries and he considers them "to be a little edgy."

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West Virginia
11:43 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Thousands Have Water Again In W.Va. As 'All-Clear' Areas Spread

4:45 p.m. ET, Jan. 14: Areas in red still can't use their water. But the blue area is starting to expand.
West Virginia American Water

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 9:23 pm

The map that shows residents of nine counties in West Virginia whether they can start using the water from their taps is slowly starting to change from red to blue.

That's good news because blue means customers in those areas can start flushing their homes' and businesses' pipes — and after that, start using their water again for cooking, cleaning and drinking.

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West Virginia
7:04 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Slowly, Water Is Flowing Again In West Virginia

On Saturday in South Charleston, W.Va., Cathy Mabe was one of many who came to get water from a temporary filling station.
Lisa Hechesky Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 8:20 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': Ashton Marra reports from West Virginia

Relief is finally arriving for the 300,000 or so people in nine West Virginia counties who haven't been able to drink, cook or clean with their tap water for more than four days.

Officials announced at noon Monday that tests show the level of a potentially harmful chemical have fallen to the point where the water can be turned back on. But, they cautioned that the process of bringing customers back on line will take several days and has to be done systematically.

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