Environment

Infrastructure
2:32 pm
Sat January 24, 2015

Gov. Malloy’s Connecticut Transportation Tour 2015: A Brief Rundown

An elevated portion of I-84 in Hartford.
Ryan King WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy announced Thursday he’d like to widen Interstate 84 in Danbury, one of many initiatives he's proposed this month.

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Coastal Planning
9:45 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Battle With The Sea: Rhode Island Develops State-of-the-Art Planning Tools

The head of the EPA Northeast Region, Curt Spalding, took a guided walking tour of Wickford Village in North Kingstown to learn about a climate change adaptation pilot project there. He also visited Westerly, South Kingstown, and Warwick.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 9:31 am

Just this week, the U.S. Senate went on the record that climate change exists. Local and state officials in Rhode Island haven’t been waiting around to take the lead from Washington. They not only know climate change is real, but they’re also planning for its impacts. As part of our Battle With The Sea series, Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza went on a tour with the Environmental Protection Agency’s northeast director to see how plans are in place.

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New York
9:44 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Canadian Pair Rescued After Frosty Night In Adirondacks

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 8:20 pm

Two Canadian hikers lost in the Adirondack High Peaks spent a frigid night in the snowy wilderness before being rescued by rangers.

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Energy
2:45 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Regional Power Operator Provides Brief on State of Grid

ISO-New England's control room.
ISO-New England

New England's electricity grid operator said natural gas pipeline bottlenecks and retirement of aging power plants could put pressure on the price of energy.

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Environment Research
9:40 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Bard Professor Leads Study On Flooding And Biodiversity

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 1:54 am

A new study published this week and led by a Bard College biology professor shows catastrophic flooding can be mitigated by protecting biodiversity.  WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with the lead author, who says though the flooding was studied in Germany, there could be comparisons to the Hudson Valley.

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Plum Island
11:32 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Conservationists Vow to Fight Sale of Plum Island

Plum Island hosted an animal testing center for years. Now, the government wants to sell it.
Wikimedia Commons

Plum Island, an 840-acre land mass in Long Island Sound, is becoming a focal point for environmentalists. That's because of government plans to sell the island to fund the construction of a new USDA animal-testing center. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Sizzling Space Spectacular

Meredith Hughes is an assistant professor of Astronomy at Wesleyan University.
Chion Wolf WNPR

When it comes to space, there’s a lot to be excited about. Telescopes are scanning the farthest reaches of our galaxy and we’re learning more than ever before about the origins of planets.

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Environment
11:01 am
Mon January 19, 2015

New Justice Department Environment Chief Takes Helm Of Gulf Spill Case

Cruden ranks the Gulf oil spill as one of the most significant environmental disasters of our time. It "deserves ... all of our energy to make sure nothing like this ever happens again," he says.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 7:37 am

John Cruden served with U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, taking his law school aptitude test in Saigon and eventually becoming a government lawyer.

Earlier this month, he started a new job running the environment and natural resources division at the Justice Department. For Cruden, 68, the new role means coming home to a place where he worked as a career lawyer for about 20 years.

Cruden has been around long enough to have supervised the Exxon Valdeez spill case, a record-setter. That is, until the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

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Massachusetts
1:26 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Boston Releases Plan For Action On Climate Change

Rising tide floods Christopher Columbus Park next to Boston's Longwharf on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014.

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 11:09 am

Standing on Boston’s Long Wharf, John Barros, the city’s chief of economic development, recalled what the site looked like in January 2014, when a nor’easter brought record high tides.

“We’re at ground zero here,” said Barros, who was part of a steering committee that spent the past year working on a plan to prepare for storms like that one, as well as the effects of climate change and rising sea levels.

“When we think about what 2-to-5 feet means, which is some of the conservative estimates of sea rise, 2 feet, this place would probably be underwater every day,” he said.

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Spacecraft
8:11 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Long-Lost European Spacecraft Spotted On Mars By NASA Probe

An image sent by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Scientists have concluded that it shows the Beagle 2 Mars lander, which went missing in 2003.
NASA

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 10:30 am

More than a decade after it went missing, British scientists say they have found a small spacecraft on the surface of Mars.

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California Climbers
7:49 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Free-Climbers Make It To Summit Of Yosemite's El Capitan

Tommy Caldwell (top) climbs what is known as Pitch 17 and Kevin Jorgeson handles the line as they free-climb the Dawn Wall of Yosemite's El Capitan.
Tom Evans AP

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 2:02 pm

Update at 6:46pm ET:

On their 19th day of climbing, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson reached the top of El Capitan in California's Yosemite National Park at 3:25 p.m. PT. The Los Angeles Times reports the climbers' families were waiting for them at the summit. From The New York Times:

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Connecticut Business Briefs
1:17 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Aetna Raises Company Minimum Wage

Health insurer Aetna is raising its minimum wage. The Hartford-based company announced that from April of this year, its lowest paid workers will receive $16.00 an hour. 

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Quakin' in CT
10:55 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Earthquake Rattles Eastern Connecticut for Third Day in a Row

The U.S. Geological Service confirmed a 2.0-magnitude earthquake at about 6:30 am Wednesday in Plainfield.
Weston Observatory Twitter

Have you been feeling the earth move?

In what's becoming a daily event, a minor earthquake has shaken parts of eastern Connecticut.

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Nuclear Energy
10:37 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Federal Inspectors Cite Millstone for Unspecified Safety Problems

The Millstone Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut.
Credit Northeast Utilities

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has notified the Millstone Power Station of possible enforcement action following a November 24 inspection that found problems related to unspecified safety issues. 

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Massachusetts
9:22 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Northampton Moving Ahead With Landfill Solar Project

Solar panels on a capped landfill in Holyoke, MA

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 6:20 pm

The city of Northampton, Massachusetts is planning a number of solar power projects that would further reduce the city’s carbon footprint, while providing a new source of revenue.

As soon as this summer, Northampton is likely to join dozens of other municipalities in the state that have turned old landfills into solar farms. And, in what appears to be a first in western Massachusetts at least, solar arrays may pop up at some municipal parking lots, according to Chris Mason, the city’s energy officer.

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White Nose Syndrome
3:33 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Good News For Bats! Things Are Looking Up For Stemming Disease Spread

This October 2008 photo, provided by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, shows a brown bat with its nose crusted in fungus.
Ryan von Linden AP

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 8:01 am

The bat disease known as white-nose syndrome has been spreading fast, killing millions of animals. But for the first time, scientists are seeing hopeful signs that some bat colonies are recovering and new breakthroughs could help researchers develop better strategies for helping bats survive.

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Quakin'
1:14 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Five Small Earthquakes Recorded Within Five Hours in Connecticut

The U.S. Geological Survey's "Did you feel it?" map, showing the results of 263 responses from the region in 71 ZIP codes.
U.S. Geological Survey

Scientists on Monday recorded five small earthquakes within five hours in the same area of eastern Connecticut, including a 3.1-magnitude tremor felt more than 60 miles away in Massachusetts. 

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Resupply Mission
7:32 pm
Sat January 10, 2015

SpaceX Launch Successful; Recovery Attempt 'Close, But No Cigar'

The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Saturday.
John Raoux AP

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 6:46 pm

SpaceX has successfully launched another resupply mission to the International Space Station months after a competitor in the private space-launch business suffered a catastrophic lift-off that resulted in the unmanned rocket's destruction.

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Hospital Consolidation
4:39 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

State Senate Leaders Raise Hopes for Tenet Deal

The Connecticut State Capitol.
Credit Mamata.mulay / Wikimedia Commons

Leaders in the state senate say there may be hope of reviving the Tenet Healthcare deal to buy five Connecticut hospitals.

The Texas-based hospital company pulled out of the partnerships after the state’s Office of Healthcare Access specified unacceptable conditions for a deal involving Waterbury Hospital. 

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How Cold Is It?
11:40 am
Thu January 8, 2015

NASA Map Shows Just How Cold It Is In Eastern U.S.

NOAA's GOES-East satellite provided a look at the frigid eastern two-thirds of the U.S. on Wednesday that shows a blanket of northern snow, lake-effect snow from the Great Lakes and clouds behind the Arctic cold front.
NASA

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 11:24 am

There's a cold front across much of the U.S. – with temperatures in places like New Orleans at around 29 degrees and Houston about 34 degrees. This map from NASA tells us just how cold it was on Wednesday.

The image was captured at 11 a.m. EST. Here's NASA's explanation:

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu January 8, 2015

"Toxic Communities" and the Fight for Environmental Justice

Dorceta Taylor.
University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment Creative Commons

Dorceta Taylor’s most recent book, Toxic Communities, takes a magnifying glass to the modern environmental justice movement. In it, she provides an in-depth analysis of some of the biggest environmental issues facing low-income and minority communities across the U.S. 

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Marketing Energy
4:40 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Northeast Utilities Renames Itself Eversource Energy

The outgoing Northeast Utilities name and logo.
Credit Northeast Utilities

Northeast Utilities is adopting a new name as part of a rebranding effort. 

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Alternative Energy
2:38 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Big Ambitions for Alternative Fuel Pellet Business in Norwich

Dr. Michael Curtis of Frog City Fuels in Norwich, Connecticut.
Harriet Jones WNPR

These days of falling oil prices may be causing alternative fuel suppliers a few sleepless nights. But one tiny company in Eastern Connecticut is forging ahead with plans to break into the fuel pellet market with a surprising new ingredient. 

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Deep Sea Fishing
3:52 am
Tue January 6, 2015

How Anglers Are Learning To Save Fish That Get 'The Bends'

Barotrauma can cause a fish's eyes to pop out of its head and its stomach to be pushed out of its mouth, according to Chris Lowe, a marine scientist at California State, Long Beach.
Jon Hamilton NPR

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 11:35 am

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Electric Cars
2:20 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Wisconsin Is Latest State To Consider Fees On Electric, Hybrid Vehicles

Chris and Ellie Eichman purchased a Nissan Leaf electric car in 2012 -- the first sold in Wisconsin. Chris says a fee for his Leaf is reasonable, but he's irked by the fee he'd pay for his second car, a Prius, given that he already pays a gas tax when he fills up. (Susan Bence/WUWM)

Keeping up with road repair — and finding funds to pay for it — is a struggle for many states, particularly in places where winter weather takes a toll on highways and streets. Wisconsin’s transportation department faces a deficit and is looking for ways to raise $750 million over the next two years.

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New Hampshire Dam
4:12 pm
Sat January 3, 2015

The Man Who Shut The Connecticut River Off

Murphy Dam Operator Alan Williams before the Boom Gate House on Lake Francis
Sean Hurley

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 3:48 pm

There are 4,800 dams in New Hampshire but only two where a full time dam operator is required to live on site.  There's Moore Dam in Littleton and Murphy Dam in Pittsburg.  NHPR's Sean Hurley recently visited with Murphy Dam Operator Alan Williams to learn more about life on a dam. 

Near sunrise, nearly every morning, coffee in hand, Alan Williams leaves the dam house and walks up the dam road and heads out across the half mile bunker of piled earth that is the Murphy Dam.  

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Nuclear Power
10:50 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Vermont Yankee Shuts Down

Dan Jefferies, a VY trainer, explains shut-down activities in the control room using a projector screen that shows each of the 89 control rods in Vermont Yankee's reactor.
Susan Keese VPR

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 10:44 am

The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant entered its final shutdown Monday at 1:03 p.m. The 620-megawatt reactor has been generating electricity for more than 42 years.

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Conservation
8:26 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Working to Preserve 1,000 Shoreline Acres

The Preserve is 1,000 acres along the shoreline in Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook.
preserve1000acres.com

A fundraising effort to buy 1,000 acres of shoreline land is nearly complete.  The land is called The Preserve, and it spreads across Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook.  

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Transportation
9:48 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Condition of State Roads, Bridges Evaluated in Research Group's Report

A flooded road in Granby, Connecticut.
Dave Ginsberg Creative Commons

A national transportation research group says Connecticut’s deteriorating roads are costing state drivers more than $4 billion a year. 

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Space Telescope
4:21 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Could Glitter Help Solve NASA's Giant Telescope Problem?

Larkin Carey, an optical engineer with Ball Aerospace, examines two test mirror segments designed for the James Webb Space Telescope. The mirror for the scope is extremely powerful, but heavy and pricey.
NASA

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 3:05 pm

NASA is building a new space telescope with astounding capabilities. The James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2018, will replace the aging Hubble Space Telescope and will provide unprecedented views of the first galaxies to form in the early universe. It might even offer the first clear glimpse of an Earth-like planet orbiting a distant star.

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