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pollution

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Plastic today is everywhere: in our bottles and cell phones, our grocery bags, and our trash. Some plastic garbage is so small, it's impossible to see with the naked eye: tiny microbeads, which have been banned from some products because of their environmental impact. WNPR went looking for them in the waters off Connecticut's coast.

A federal judge has approved Volkswagen's $14.7 billion settlement over the carmaker's vehicle emissions scandal. The process of compensating affected U.S. car owners is beginning now, with the first buybacks expected to happen within the next few weeks.

Under the terms of the deal, Volkswagen agrees to either buy back or repair vehicles involved in the scandal. That means paying as much as $10.033 billion to owners. In addition, the carmaker has come to an agreement with the United States under which it will pay nearly $5 billion in environmental remediation.

grongar / Creative Commons

A settlement has been reached in a complaint filed against a Glastonbury, Connecticut metals-treatment company. The lawsuit, which was filed under the Clean Water Act, means Connecticut Galvanizing will have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and penalties.

Wikimedia Commons

A chemical spill in Southington has mobilized cleanup crews and resulted in a warning for nearby residents to avoid a section of the Quinnipiac River.

Frank Cordeira / Flickr

From Brazil's political unrest to its water pollution to the viral pandemic plaguing its streets, this year's Olympics in Rio De Janeiro are off to a rough start -- and they haven't even begun yet!

Citing "a culture of deeply-rooted corporate arrogance," New York, Massachusetts and Maryland have filed civil lawsuits against Volkswagen, accusing the automaker of violating those states' environmental laws when it sold cars under the "clean diesel" label that were actually rigged to trick emissions tests.

Daniel Orth / Creative Commons

Michigan is not the only state with a water crisis on its hands. Right now, communities in New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont are grappling with their own water contamination challenges. It’s just that for these states, the problem does not stem from corrosive water or aging lead pipes, but from a toxic chemical known as PFOA. 

Can Curbing Car Use Ease Pollution On L.I.?

Jun 17, 2016

Earlier this year, the American Lung Association gave Suffolk County an ‘F’ in air quality. Michael Seilback, vice president of public policy and communications with the American Lung Association of the Northeast, says it’s mostly due to the amount of cars on the road.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are known as one of the 12 most harmful organic chemicals in the world. But the material has been used in building construction for decades, and has become a complex problem affecting cities, schools, and individuals in many states.

Opponents of a proposed wood-burning power plant in Springfield, Massachusetts have won support for a last-ditch bid to block the project.

Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the state’s largest environmental group, says runoff from a sewage treatment plant in Springfield, Massachusetts, could hurt Connecticut rivers and Long Island Sound. This week the organization asked the EPA to hold the plant to higher scrutiny.

According to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2016 report, Suffolk County, Long Island, and Fairfield County, Connecticut, have the highest levels of ozone pollution in their respective states.

Courtesy Clearwater

The sloop Clearwater is being readied for a return to the Hudson River after a winter of restoration work. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

As Schuyler Thomson lead a group of paddlers down the Housatonic River in northwest Connecticut, he squinted through the morning sunlight on the water. 

"I will not rest, and I'm going to make sure that the leaders at every level of government don't rest until every drop of water that flows to your homes is safe to drink, and safe to cook with, and safe to bathe in," President Obama told an energetic audience in Flint, Mich. "Because that's part of the basic responsibilities of a government in the United States of America."

Nuclear Regulatory Commission / Flickr Creative Commons

New York's Indian Point nuclear facility has faced a number of recent incidents including fires, blown transformers, and most recently detection of radioactive water near the facility. This hour, an update on the situation there and in Florida where the Turkey Point nuclear facility is under scrutiny.

We also hear from WNPR’s David DesRoches, who has been following the story of PCBs in Connecticut schools and in Alabama.

Randy Wick / Creative Commons

A bill that would gradually phase out single-use plastic and paper bags at supermarkets and grocery stores in Connecticut has passed out of the state Senate and is awaiting action in the House. 

A buyback of emissions-cheating cars was one solution Volkswagen offered in federal court Thursday, outlining an agreement between the carmaker and the Justice Department over hundreds of thousands of diesel vehicles that were sold in the U.S. despite not meeting pollution standards.

Car owners would be able to choose between having their vehicle fixed or accepting a buyback; financial details weren't revealed about the plan, which both the government and VW are calling an "agreement in principle."

Randy Wick / Creative Commons

A bill to phase out plastic bags at grocery stores is moving forward and it's got the support of one prominent garbage man. 

Dean Hochman / Creative Commons

Money set aside for energy-efficiency projects could soon get slashed as state legislators work to close a large budget deficit.

Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The CEO of General Electric has broken his silence over the company’s dispute with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. 

gromgull / Creative Commons

As the lead-contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, continues, Connecticut's Department of Public Health said lead contamination levels in public water systems in the Nutmeg State are extremely low. 

Nuclear Regulatory Commission / Creative Commons

New York City and Westchester County both get power from the Indian Point nuclear plant on the banks of the Hudson River. But the plant's age, and a series of problems at the facility, have led to questions about its future. 

Nuclear Regulatory Commission / Creative Commons

New York's Indian Point nuclear facility has faced a number of recent incidents including fires, blown transformers, and most recently detection of radioactive water near the facility. This hour, an update on the situation there and in Florida where the Turkey Point nuclear facility is under scrutiny.

We also hear from WNPR’s David DesRoches, who has been following the story of PCBs in Connecticut schools and in Alabama.

Eric IE

The idea would require larger grocery stores to ensure half of their carryout bags are recyclable by the year 2018. By 2020, it would require one hundred percent of the bags to be recyclable. 

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