pollution

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. 

John Narewski / U.S. Navy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun reviewing cleanups at nine Superfund sites in New England.

A plume of toxic chemicals has been spreading slowly underground near the former Northrop Grumman plant in Bethpage, N.Y., for 60 years. It was formed by a chemical that the defense contractor used to build fighter jets for the U.S. Navy.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that the state began testing ground water in Massapequa, which sits in the plume’s path between the old plant and the ocean, to see if and when the plume might pose a danger to people who live nearby.

Roger Smith / Clean Water Action

The last coal-fired power plant in Connecticut will soon close. The announcement is being hailed as a "win" in the environmental justice community.

The heart of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan is now on hold, after the Supreme Court granted a stay request that blocks the EPA from moving ahead with rules that would lower carbon emissions from the nation's power plants.

The case is scheduled to be argued in June, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. But a decision could be long in coming, particularly if the case winds up in the Supreme Court — meaning that the rules' fate might not be determined before a new presidential administration comes into power in 2017.

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.


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