pollution

In Flint, Mich., families are using bottled water to do everything — from cooking to bathing.

The tap water is still unsafe to drink after government officials allowed corroded lead pipes to poison the water.

People in Flint have lots of questions for those officials. Perhaps the biggest is the one Hattie Collins has.

"When are you gonna fix it? And I mean fix it right," she says.

slack12 / Creative Commons

Millions of tons of sediment and sand could be dumped into the open waters of Long Island Sound in the coming decades. That’s according to a recently-unveiled federal plan outlining what to do with materials dredged from the bottoms of coastal ports and harbors.

Water contamination in Flint, Mich, — where the city switched water sources, causing pipe corrosion and ultimately filling the city's water supply with high levels of lead — has prompted President Obama to declare a state of emergency.

The move, which was requested by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, means FEMA is authorized to provide equipment and resources to the people affected. Federal funding will help cover the cost of providing water, water filters and other items.

Citing concerns over pricing and pollution, the Obama administration on Friday unveiled a moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands. The change won't affect existing leases, which generated nearly $1.3 billion for the government last year.

The Department of the Interior says it wants to make sure the money it's charging for coal leases takes into account both market prices and what's often called the "social costs" of coal — its impact on climate change and public health.

The agency says federal lands account for roughly 40 percent of all U.S. coal production.

5Gyres, Oregon State University / Creative Commons

A federal ban on tiny synthetic plastic spheres known as "microbeads" passed through Congress this week, following the lead of legislative action in several states including Connecticut.

Local concern over large deposits of silt in two Deerfield Valley rivers has forced Mount Snow to call a public hearing on the issue.

The highest court in Massachusetts may have dealt a fatal blow to opponents of a proposed wood-burning power plant in Springfield.

The state’s Supreme Judicial Court has refused to consider an appeal of two lower court rulings that directed the city to issue a building permit for the controversial project.

A spokesman for Palmer Renewable Energy said they looked forward to bringing the $150 million biomass energy project to fruition after  nearly 8 years of legal challenges. 

Jill Stewart flickr.com/photos/nobodyneedstoknow/3972438599 / Creative Commons

A bipartisan working group met for the first time Tuesday to look at the danger presented to children who are exposed to second-hand smoke while riding in a car. 

Volkswagen admitted it intentionally cheated on federal emissions tests. The German automaker now faces billions of dollars in fines and litigation, plus the cost of fixing some 11 million diesel cars worldwide.

That's just the company. The scandal is costing owners, too — at least those who are trying to sell their VW diesels. Not surprisingly, resale prices for the affected cars have been falling.

The Environmental Protection Agency has updated its cleanup plan for the Housatonic River, which was contaminated by chemicals from Pittsfield’s General Electric facility.

General Electric says it has completed its sixth and final year of dredging sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls from the upper Hudson River.

A schoolteacher is believed to be the first person in Connecticut to sue Volkswagen over its admission that it rigged its diesel cars to cheat emissions tests. 

Under fire for misleading governments and customers about its diesel cars' emissions, Volkswagen has a plan to recall millions of vehicles so it can fix the problem. The company has said it sold 11 million cars worldwide that use software to limit emissions only during official testing.

The news comes from a large internal meeting at the company led by Matthias Mueller, who took over as VW's leader last week after Martin Winterkorn's resignation.

Embattled carmaker Volkswagen has named Matthias Mueller to take the wheel after CEO Martin Winterkorn stepped down earlier this week in the wake of a growing scandal involving some 11 million diesel vehicles equipped with software that cheated emissions testing.

Gerry Lauzon / Creative Commons

Volkswagen is having a moment. Not a good moment, but it's certainly a moment. VW owners are glaring at their vehicles with suspicion after it was revealed the automaker's diesel vehicles were designed to cheat on emissions tests.

Hopefully, VW is not capturing its moment with a selfie because that could be deadly. Plus, selfies are so easy to take, a monkey can do it and maybe even make some money from it.

One day after Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn announced his resignation over the German automaker's use of software to dupe emissions control tests, European countries are conducting new tests — and the Auto Bild site says a BMW diesel model also failed to meet European standards.

A New York Supreme Court judge has overturned New York City's ban on plastic foam containers.


jojomelons flickr.com/photos/jojomelons/4911395182 / Creative Commons

Americans could be throwing away a lot more trash than government officials estimate according to a new study out of Yale University. 

One of the challenges to stemming the flow of pollution into Lake Champlain is that so much of runoff comes from disparate sources across the vast watershed. And one source of water pollution is hidden-in-plain-sight: roads.

A crowd of more than 30 people gathered at the town hall in Cabot this week to discuss the way Cabot Creamery gets rid of wastewater leftover from cleaning its plant. The cheese maker is asking the state to renew its permit to spray the liquid on land. The crowd was there for a hearing called by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to take public comment on a draft permit issued in June.

At a festival on the Danish island of Fyn, Claus Holm, a fast-talking Danish celebrity chef, is sniffing and mixing into a pot of stew an ingredient he calls "totally forbidden." It's cream, and it expires today.

Danes' increasing willingness to buy and consume items like just-expired dairy products has helped make them, arguably, the world champions in the fight against food waste. According to a recent report from the Danish government, Danes now throw away 25 percent less food than they did five years ago.

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:

Erdenebayar / Pixabay

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.

slack12 / Creative Commons

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.

NASA

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.

Daily Joe / Creative Commons

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.

The Environmental Blog on Flickr Creative Commons

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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