Environmental Reporting Initiative

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Connecticut Legislature
3:03 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Legislative Committee Approves Wind Power Siting Regulations

'|'||'| '|'[]||{ Creative Commons

New wind energy projects can now move forward in Connecticut. Tuesday's announcement ends a three-year moratorium on wind turbines. 

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Rick In Space
4:10 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

For Waterbury's Rick Mastracchio, Again a Walk in Space

In December Rick Mastracchio, above, completed two spacewalks to repair the ISS.
NASA

Astronaut Rick Mastracchio is scheduled to make his ninth spacewalk. The Waterbury native will repair a failed computer outside the International Space Station. 

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O Mycelium!
8:43 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Connecticut's Growing Role in Mushroom Cultivation

Logs drilled, plugged with mushroom spawn, and coated with wax.
Patrick Skahill WNPR

Last month, Governor Dannel Malloy announced more than $880,327 in state grants for dozens of Connecticut farms. Among the recipients is a farmer in Higganum looking to fill 1,000 logs with many more mushrooms.

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Dinosaurs
3:43 am
Wed April 16, 2014

A T. Rex Treks To Washington For A Shot At Fame

Pat Leiggi (right) of the Museum of the Rockies prepares to move a leg bone of the T. rex at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 4:33 pm

This week, scientists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History will start unpacking some rare and precious cargo. It's something the Smithsonian has never had before — a nearly complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

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Lunar Eclipse
6:44 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Did You See It? If Not, Here's The 'Blood Moon'

The "blood moon" as seen from Koreatown, west of Los Angeles, early Tuesday. The next total eclipse of the moon comes on Oct. 8.
Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 9:34 am

There were "whistles, cheers and howls" early Tuesday on the grounds of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles as the moon turned red during a total lunar eclipse.

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Blood Moon
11:20 am
Mon April 14, 2014

There's A 'Blood Moon' Eclipse Tonight, But Will You Be Able To See It?

This combination of 10 separate images shows the moon during a total lunar eclipse in 2011 from the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife.
Desiree Martin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 4:30 pm

It's looking like clouds will obscure Monday night's lunar eclipse for nearly all of the U.S. East Coast, but much of the West and Midwest should be able to see it.

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Eelevate
12:07 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

How Does a Four-Inch Eel Hurdle a 40-Foot Greenwich Dam?

Joe Cassone stands in front of a 40-foot-tall dam at the base of the Byram River in Greenwich, Conn. Cassone and his volunteers trap eels, releasing them upstream beyond the dam barrier.
Patrick Skahill WNPR

Baby eels are making their annual migration from Long Island Sound to rivers across Connecticut, but along the way, they're encountering one persistent obstacle: river dams. Now, one man in Greenwich is working to make the eels' journey a little easier.

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Hybrids
10:01 am
Fri April 4, 2014

So You Think It's a Wolfdog: What Can DNA Tests Tell Us?

DNA tests can't determine how much "wolf" and how much "dog" is in a hybrid.
wwmike Creative Commons

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has ordered genetic testing for seven hybrid “wolfdogs” found in the state. But if all dogs come from wolves, can a DNA test actually tell us how much “wolf” and how much “dog” is in a hybrid?

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Where We Live
8:25 am
Thu April 3, 2014

How Clean Is Our Air?

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution exposure was responsible for seven million deaths in 2012.
Credit eutrophication&hypoxia / Creative Commons

A report released by the World Health Organization last week found that some 7 million people died from air pollution exposure in 2012. In other words, one in eight of all global deaths that year resulted from breathing bad air. 

Today, the WHO considers air pollution to be the single greatest environmental health risk, linking it to cases of asthma, heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.

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Agriculture
1:16 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Report: New England Should Develop Locally-Grown Food System

Buttonwoods Farm in Griswold from above.
Chion Wolf WNPR

A new report on sustainable agriculture policy recommends that New England build its own regional food system with locally-grown products. Cris Coffin, New England director of the American Farmland Trust, a co-author of the study, said consumers in the region want to buy local. 

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Climate Change
7:15 am
Mon March 31, 2014

U.N. Report Raises Climate Change Warning, Points To Opportunities

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report.
ipcc.ch

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 10:07 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Geoff Brumfiel on the U.N. panel's report

"The effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans," and the world is mostly "ill-prepared" for the risks that the sweeping changes present, a new report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes.

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Amber Robust
12:32 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

By Any Other Name, Does Vermont's Maple Syrup Taste As Sweet?

Vermont has dropped the old system of grading of maple syrup in favor of a new plan that names both color and flavor.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 5:59 pm

At Green's Sugarhouse in Poultney, Vt., visitors are gathered around four squeeze bottles of maple syrup, sampling the each under brand-new labels.

Vermont recently replaced its syrup grading system and now uses new names that make different syrups sound more like wine or expensive coffee.

Gone is the former system, with names like "Fancy," "Grade A Dark Amber" and "Grade B." The new labels give both the color — "Golden," "Amber" or "Dark" — and a flavor description: "Delicate," "Rich," "Robust" or "Strong."

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The Grey
6:50 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Mysterious "Wolfdogs" Roaming Southeastern Connecticut Will Be Genetically Tested

An Arctic wolf/Alaskan malamute hybrid from Lobo Park, Antequera.
Creative Commons

State officials said DNA tests will be conducted on seven animals to determine if they are hybrid "wolfdogs." The animals, which are illegal to own in Connecticut, have allegedly threatened several people in the southeastern part of the state.

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Horses Are Pretty, But Vicious?
12:23 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Horses Can Bite; Connecticut Justices Send "Scuppy" Case Back to Lower Court

Credit Courtesy of Flickr CC by Doug Wheller

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that owners of horses or other domestic animals must prevent the animal from causing injuries, siding with a family whose child was bitten by a horse. The court on Wednesday upheld an Appellate Court ruling that said a horse belongs to "a species naturally inclined to do mischief or be vicious."

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:00 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Secrets of the Sea

Credit Jagadhatri / Wikimedia Commons

   I get way too much of my information from movies and  this year large container ships played a role in two major films.

The first was Captain Phillips, an account of piracy in the Indian Ocean. The problem with that movie is that it didn't ask any fundamental questions about the method of moving stuff around.

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Energy
10:59 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Environmental Group Challenges New England's Energy Policy Coordination

Credit Daniel Oines / Creative Commons

An environmental advocacy group is challenging how energy policy is coordinated by New England's six governors. The Conservation Law Foundation has submitted public records requests to the region's six states.

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Gone Solar
11:59 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Bridgeport Town Council Gives OK to Solar Project

After the solar project works its way through PURA, construction should begin. Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch estimates the project will bring about $7 million to the city over the next 20 years.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons

With a 15-5 vote, Bridgeport's City Council approved a massive solar energy project this week that could bring thousands of solar panels to a former city landfill. Since dumps are no longer allowed in Connecticut, that's left a lot of city leaders wondering what to do with that old space. 

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Wildlife
5:43 am
Tue March 18, 2014

For Connecticut Deer, Sunday May No Longer Be a Day of Rest

A new proposal is floating the idea of bow hunting on Sundays.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / jonnnnnn

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection hasn't done a statewide estimate for about five years, but at last count, there were around 120,000 deer in Connecticut, with the largest concentrations in Fairfield County.

DEEP officials said the numbers are getting out of control, and voiced their support for a legislative proposal that would expand deer hunting in Connecticut. 

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Tree Trimming
2:10 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Despite PURA Request, Utilities Want to Keep Trimming

A resident holds up a "Trees Please" sign during a public hearing on "enhanced tree-trimming" earlier this month.
Credit Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Last week, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority called for a "voluntary suspension" of so-called "enhanced tree-trimming" around the state. United Illuminating and CL&P quickly filed formal responses and -- surprise -- they both want to keep trimming.

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Chemicals and Kids
4:37 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

A Call for Pesticide-Free Town Greens

A new bill could extend the state's pesticide ban to public parks, playgrounds, and town greens.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / jetsandzeppelins

Connecticut lawmakers are once again eyeing restrictions on pesticides. A new proposal would ban their use at public parks and town greens.

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Tree Trimming
4:30 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

For Tree-Trimming Opponents, a Victory, at Least for Now

A well-loved tree in Hamden, Conn.
Credit Contributed Photo

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority is calling for a suspension of "enhanced tree trimming" around the state. It's a decision following months of public outcry.

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Spring Forward
2:47 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Hate Daylight Saving Time? Blame the Man From Filene's Basement

If you think about why you fiddle with your clock twice a year, there are probably two things that spring to mind: farmers and energy savings. Neither are the reasons why we have Daylight Saving Time, so I called Michael Downing, the author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, and asked him why these myths persist.

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Wildlife
3:36 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Trapping And Tracking The Mysterious Snowy Owl

Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 11:02 am

This is Hungerford, a large female snowy owl. Last summer she was just a hatchling — a gray ball of fuzz in the middle of the Arctic tundra. In the fall, newly equipped with adult plumage, she flew thousands of miles south until she reached the coast of Maryland. And this winter, she became an important part of an unprecedented research project.

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Resilient Bugs
3:23 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Invasive Bugs in Connecticut May Be Adapting to Extreme Winters

A live hemlock woolly adelgid in the spring. This winter's extreme cold has reduced population numbers statewide, but there is evidence that bugs in the northwest corner of the state are becoming more cold-weather resistant.
Credit Carole Cheah / Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Scientists say this winter's extreme cold is having a limited impact on the state's invasive bugs, and it may even be making one insect stronger. It's called the hemlock woolly adelgid, and it was first identified in Connecticut in 1985.

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Clean Water
4:35 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick

Current water-filtering technology is costly, but MIT scientists are testing a simpler and cheaper method that uses wood from white pine trees.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 10:28 am

Removing all the dangerous bacteria from drinking water would have enormous health benefits for people around the world.

The technologies exist for doing that, but there's a problem: cost.

Now a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he's on to a much less expensive way to clean up water.

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Natural Gas
6:23 am
Tue March 4, 2014

A Fracking Conundrum in Connecticut: What to Do With All That Waste

A well head after fracking equipment has been taken off location.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

As America witnesses a record boom in gas production, Connecticut lawmakers are once again trying to figure out what to do with fracking waste.

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Chemicals At School
8:45 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Is Connecticut's Pesticide Ban on School Grounds Too Restrictive?

Legislators are considering adding an exception to Connecticut's 2010 ban on pesticide use at schools.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / Valley_Photographs

Legislators are considering a change to a statewide ban of pesticide use on school grounds. It's the first of several proposed challenges to a law that's been in effect since 2010.

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Courts
3:28 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Industry Challenges EPA's Greenhouse Gas Rules In High Court

Not all energy producers find fault with the EPA's rules. Calpine, which helped build the Delta Energy Center in Pittsburg, Calif., says the permitting regulations aren't overly cumbersome.
JAKUB MOSUR AP

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 10:35 am

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday about the Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever greenhouse gas regulations for the biggest polluting facilities.

The case focuses on a 3-year-old requirement that companies get permits anytime they construct new plants or modify existing ones that will emit a lot of greenhouse gases.

EPA's supporters and most of its challengers agree this case is narrow in scope; the court's ruling is not expected to threaten EPA's broader strategy to fight global warming.

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Farming Data
7:25 am
Sun February 23, 2014

Connecticut Farm Numbers Increase, Bucking National Trend

Connecticut saw its number of farms jump over five years from 4,916 to 5,977, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The number of farms in Connecticut is growing. That's according to a new census report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 2012, nearly 6,000 farms were operating in Connecticut -- that's up from about 4,900 just five years ago.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:02 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

The Scramble "Likes" Douglas Rushkoff

Credit Picture Youth / Creative Commons

We're starting out today with a segment about "Generation-Like," the media term media theorist Douglas Rushkoff uses for the generation of Millennials  who live huge chunks of their lives on social media where they subsist on a form of metered approval.  

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