pollution

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:

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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.

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.

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Water-quality data about beaches on Long Island Sound has been publicly available for a while, but understanding it can be tricky. Now, a new online tool could help make that process easier.

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Oysters, lobsters, and bass were once the Long Island Sound’s  largest exports. But in recent years, changes in water temperature and pollution have triggered  a “dead zone” in the Sound --  an area where fish and other wildlife are unable to flourish. The Long Island Sound Blue Plan was passed by the state legislature this past spring to combat this challenge, among others.

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The EPA has issued new guidelines for underground gasoline tanks, changes the agency hopes will beef up safety standards for containers underneath gas stations and convenience stores in Connecticut.

From May 30 into June 1, more than a million gallons of sewage and stormwater from the Vergennes sewer system flowed untreated from a pump station into Otter Creek.

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In a major environmental statement, Pope Francis said cap and trade programs aren't effective at solving global climate change. But New England has made cap and trade a big part of its environmental policy. 

A transformer fire Saturday at the Indian Point nuclear power plant resulted in an oil spill into the Hudson River. There is differing information at this early stage about just how much material -- and what type -- seeped into the river. Meanwhile, investigations into both the fire and spill continue.

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Connecticut has begun the first mattress recycling program in the country, which means a $9.00 charge will now be added to any new mattress purchase in the state. 

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Greenhouse gas emissions have risen slightly from last year, according to a new analysis from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but the emissions are still down nine percent since 2005.

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Ask an environmental regulator what they do -- and they're likely to say this: making sure people don't break the law and don't pollute. But as a WNPR investigation found out, getting people to obey environmental rules can be tricky.

The Vermont Health Department says for the first time it has found the radioactive isotope Strontium-90 in ground water at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon.

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The state is proposing changes to how towns and cities deal with storm water that runs into rivers and streams. The rules would change requirements for some towns around things like street sweeping and catch basin cleanups.

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Connecticut's Department of Public Health is providing free private well testing for a limited number of homeowners.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration announced on Wednesday that it will ban hydraulic fracturing in the state, following a long-awaited health impact study.

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Should state regulators be more aggressive in punishing first time violators of environmental law? That's a question the Council on Environmental Quality hopes lawmakers wrestle with in the upcoming legislative session. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new rules today to reduce emission levels for smog-causing ozone, which is linked to asthma and other health problems.

The draft measure calls for lowering the threshold for ozone from 75 parts per billion to between 65 ppb and 70 ppb. The agency said it would take comments on an ozone level as low as 60 ppb.

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Federal health and safety officials have fined Stamford about $2,700 for asbestos and water contamination at the city's police headquarters. 

It's a hot summer day outside Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He's wading in to rotting vegetables, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Lots of tater tots.

"You can get a lot of tater tots out of schools," Chappelle says. "It doesn't matter if it's elementary, middle school or high school. Tater tots. Bar none."

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A new agreement between China and the United States to reduce carbon emissions will send strong signals to the global community, according to a Wesleyan professor who has studied climate change for the Obama administration.

President Obama says the U.S. will sharply cut its emissions of greenhouse gases, announcing a new approach to climate change alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping. The plan also includes China's agreement to cap its emissions.

The two leaders' pledges are being called dramatic and ambitious — for the U.S., because Obama's earlier plans had called for a smaller cut in emissions, and for China, because the country had previously resisted calls for it to consider capping its emissions as it grows and modernizes.

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Paul Bogard, the author of the paperback, The End of Night, went on a journey in search of something rare in America and Europe—true darkness. He wanted to have the jaw-dropping experience of looking up at the night sky to see uncountable stars and planets that we seldom see due to light pollution.

Americans alone, on average, throw out about 20 pounds of food a month, most of it hauled away with the trash.

In October, Massachusetts began telling any institution — like businesses, colleges and hospitals — that produces large amounts of food waste: Not in our landfill. Massachusetts law now says that if you throw out more than a ton of food waste a month, it can't go to a landfill.

A new United Nations report is warning that fossil fuels must be entirely phased out by the end of the century in order to avoid dangerous and irreversible damage to the Earth's climate.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says the world faces "severe, pervasive and irreversible" consequences if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut to zero by 2100.

Examples of "irreversible" change include a runaway melt of the Greenland ice cap that would trigger devastating sea-level rise and could swamp coastal cities and disrupt agriculturally critical monsoons.

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Paul Bogard, the author of the paperback, The End of Night, went on a journey in search of something rare in America and Europe—true darkness. He wanted to have the jaw-dropping experience of looking up at the night sky to see uncountable stars and planets that we seldom see due to light pollution.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given people until this Monday to comment on a $613 million plan to finish a toxic waste cleanup of the Housatonic River.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

A proposed rule change seeks to better define what waters are protected by the Clean Water Act, the law regulating pollution discharges into American water.

As written, the Clean Water Act currently applies to waters with a "significant nexus" to "navigable waters," a bit of legalese that's made it tough for regulators to crack down on pollution in some small tributaries.

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Last weekend's climate change march brought thousands of protesters to New York City. A new bill now making its way through the U.S. Senate is also aiming to reduce the impact of so-called atmospheric "super pollutants."

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Paul Bogard, the author of the paperback, The End of Night, went on a journey in search of something rare in America and Europe—true darkness. He wanted to have the jaw-dropping experience of looking up at the night sky to see uncountable stars and planets that we seldom see due to light pollution.

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