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Passenger Train Derails In Vermont

Oct 5, 2015

UPDATED AT 3:27 p.m.

An Amtrak train headed from Vermont to Washington, D.C., derailed in central Vermont on Monday after apparently striking rocks that were on the tracks. No life-threatening injuries were reported.

An Amtrak passenger train carrying 102 people derailed Monday morning in Northfield after pieces of rock ledge fell onto the tracks. Seven people were injured in the accident, including one who was airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, but emergency officials say it could have been much worse.

Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking / Creative Commons

Coventry has become the second town in Connecticut to pass an ordinance banning fracking waste from natural gas or oil drilling and extraction. The town of Washington passed a ban earlier this year.

Updated at 1:10 a.m. ET Monday:

A powerful rainstorm continues to soak South Carolina. At least five deaths have been reported across the state. Several sections of interstate highways have been closed including a 70-mile portion of I-95. In the state's capital Columbia, rescue operations will continue through at least Monday. Many schools and universities have canceled Monday classes and some businesses will also be closed. Forecasters predict it could be Tuesday before the rain stops.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Updated at 9:03 p.m. ET

Hurricane Joaquin is moving rapidly away from the Bahamas as a Category 4 storm, with sustained winds of 155 mph. Although forecasters say it will stay well offshore from the U.S. East Coast, Bermuda could be in the storm's crosshairs.

Even without a direct hit on the Eastern Seaboard, severe flooding, partly from hurricane-generated rain, was is a big concern in the Carolinas. The White House has declared a state of emergency in South Carolina, which is getting historic levels of rainfall.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET

A powerful Hurricane Joaquin was pummeling the Bahamas as it stayed put over the islands with sustained winds of 130 mph.

The storm is expected to begin a gradual march north, but most forecast models now place it firmly on a trajectory that stays well offshore from the U.S. East Coast, alleviating some concern over its potential impact.

Updated, 1:20 a.m. ET

The National Hurricane Center's projections for Hurricane Joaquin in the past two days have incrementally moved the storm east. Now the government agency is saying the storm is likely to miss the United States altogether.

Some coastal flooding is still likely from the storm's surge, the hurricane center says, and unrelated rains could cause flooding in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Each weekday morning at the bank of the Connecticut River, a short line of cars begins to form. A part of Route 148 is closed off — the river runs through it. But at 7:00 am, a gate swings open, and the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry reconnects the route. 


Connecticut's Department of Economic and Community Development is inviting municipalities and economic development agencies to apply for $7.5 million in state grants to clean up former industrial sites.

The cost of getting into some national parks increases on Thursday.

The rates will go up despite the fact that visitation at parks is up, which means bigger crowds, congested traffic and busier visitor centers. But more people aren't translating into a big boost for park budgets. For example, visitation at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is up 20 percent so far this year and Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion are also seeing double-digit increases. The parks are also seeing the strain. About 100 parks are planning an entrance fee hike.

Updated 6:05 p.m. ET

Joaquin, the fourth hurricane of the Atlantic Season, is forecast to churn off the coast of Florida for the next couple of days before potentially heading north and posing a threat to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

With maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, Joaquin became a hurricane today. The storm's long-term path is still uncertain, but forecasters predict the tropical cyclone could pose a threat to the Mid-Atlantic or New England states.

Do You Know Where Your Cheese Comes From?

Sep 30, 2015

Americans love cheese. According to the USDA, we ate about 34 pounds of cheese per person last year. But how often do we think about who makes our cheese, or about its journey from France or Vermont to our crackers?

Well, some local cheese mongers are waging a campaign to raise awareness about cheese origins, cheese integrity and cheese abuse.

A Subterranean Education

kyselak / Creative Commons

Environmentalists and elected officials appear united in their desire to keep commercial development off New York's Plum Island.

mckaysavage / Creative Commons

Agricultural developments in the mid-20th century catapulted the farming industry to new levels of production. But that "green revolution" also fostered a population boom that's once again forcing farmers to innovate. 

After five weeks, Banksy's "bemusement park" art exhibit, Dismaland, is closing permanently. What's more, the anonymous artist announced on Dismaland's website that the structures and material from the park will be sent to a refugee camp in France.

The short announcement read, "All the timber and fixtures from Dismaland are being sent to the 'jungle' refugee camp near Calais to build shelters. No online tickets will be available."

The U.N. knows what it needs to do. But can it do it all?

Scientists have caught Mars crying salty tears.

Photos from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show dark streaks flowing down Martian slopes. The streaks appear in sunny spots or when the weather is warm, and they fade when the temperature drops.

A last- ditch court fight will be waged by opponents of a proposed wood-burning power plant in western Massachusetts.

The  Springfield City Council, with the bare minimum of seven councilors present to be able to conduct business, voted unanimously at a special meeting Friday morning to appeal to the state’s highest court the decisions of lower courts that directed the city to issue a building permit to Palmer Renewable Energy.

United States Geological Survey / Creative Commons

State officials said they're concerned about the discovery of a highly invasive aquatic plant in Coventry Lake in Coventry.

Maybe you've become inured to all the superlatives that get attached to sky-watching events. But the one on Sunday really is worth a look — it's the first total eclipse that's also a supermoon and a blood moon in more than three decades.

You may be familiar with hoarders (not the TV show, but same idea).  In nature, a hoarder will hide food in one place.  Everything it gathers will be stored in a single tree or den.  But for some animals one food cache isn't enough.  We call them scatter hoarders.

Apple growers say good growing weather means they are expecting a bumper crop this year, but when the pick-your-own customers get to the orchards they may notice some changes.

Dan Perkins flickr.com/photos/31110281@N08 / Creative Commons

Everyone is talking about native shrubs these days as we try to wean ourselves away from invasives, such as burning bush and Japanese barberry, which have been used for years as landscape plants. But it’s not enough to simply plant a native and hope for the best. 

Deepwater Wind is still on schedule to complete the first construction phase of the Block Island Wind Farm, despite issues related to equipment reliability and worker safety. Contractors have about one more month of construction to go, according to Grover Fugate, the executive director of the Coastal Resources Management Council.

Fugate said Deepwater Wind has gotten its contractors to implement safety recommendations and replace inadequate equipment for choppy ocean conditions.

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

The Adirondack Council has released its annual report assessing actions by governmental leaders and agencies toward the Adirondack Park. 

cogdogblog / Creative Commons

In an ambitious goal, the EPA said it would like to reduce the amount of food tossed into trash bins 50 percent by 2030. It's looking like one big byproduct of that goal will be a growing market for methane in Connecticut. 

Parker Knight / Creative Commons

The Green Revolution of the mid-twentieth century revolutionized the way the world fed itself.  It introduced new fertilizers, pesticides, and hybrid seeds. At the same time, it also placed an enormous burden on the world’s environmental and ecological systems.

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. 

The software that allegedly causes Volkswagen cars to cheat official emissions tests exists in only one type of diesel engine, according to the carmaker — and it has sold 11 million of them around the world. The company says it's setting aside 6.5 billion euros (around $7.25 billion) to fix the cars.

Providing an update to a scandal that began Friday, when the EPA said it found wide variations in emissions from VW cars that use a "defeat device" to fool emissions tests, the German company said that it's "working at full speed" to investigate the problematic software.