pollution

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. 

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.

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