Environment

WNPR's Environmental Reporting Initiative is made possible by United Technologies Corporation.

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A compromise has been worked out between the state's automotive dealers and electric-vehicle manufacturer Tesla. That's according to the co-chair of the state's transportation committee. 

Courtesy of Joshua Engelhardt

The remnants of an old depression-era work camp deep in the woods of Madison, Connecticut are being unearthed and preserved by several local groups.

Updated at 8:55 a.m. ET

More than 5,000 people are confirmed dead from Saturday's earthquake just outside Kathmandu, Nepal. Nearly 11,000 more were injured, according to Nepal's National Emergency Operation Center.

From Kathmandu, NPR's Kirk Siegler reports that strong tremors are continuing:

Updated at noon ET.

Nepal's devastating earthquake that hit Saturday is now blamed for at least 4,000 deaths. Reconstruction is estimated to cost billions. International aid efforts are underway, but aftershocks are rattling survivors' nerves and making the recovery even more challenging.

Rescue crews and aid groups are working to reach survivors — but their efforts are being hampered by the stricken areas' remote locations. Roads that are drivable are clogged with traffic.

Updated at 11:10 p.m. ET

The desperate search for survivors continues Sunday in Nepal. Strong aftershocks woke thousands of Nepalese who were forced to spend the cold night outdoors.

NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), and the Westerlund 2 Science Team

The Hubble Space telescope shot into orbit 25 years ago on Friday. I spoke with a Connecticut engineer who worked on the project, which forever changed humanity's view of its place in the cosmos. 

Mike Massimino is one of the last people to ever see the Hubble Space Telescope in person.

From inside his orbiting space shuttle, the telescope first appeared on the horizon as a star, says Massimino, who was an astronaut on the final mission to service the space telescope in 2009.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Five of New England's governors met in Hartford on Thursday to speak about energy issues facing the region. At the top of the agenda was the price of electricity.

Doug Wertman/flickr creative commons

We're itching to be surrounded by gorgeous summer flowers in pots, window boxes and in the garden. That's why we're thrilled to feature the incomparable White Flower Farm of Litchfield, Conn., and an online distributor, to discuss what's new and beautiful. 

Captain Kimo / Creative Commons

Greenhouse gas emissions have risen slightly from last year, according to a new analysis from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but the emissions are still down nine percent since 2005.

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Fishermen can be pretty clever with where they hide their illegally-captured fish.

"We've had people hide them in secret compartments in boats. We've had them hide them in vehicles, rocks, all kinds of places to prevent us from finding them," said Cpt. Ryan Healy of the state environmental conservation police.

Greg Breese/USFWS / Creative Commons

Each year, the red knot shorebird flies thousands of miles from the southernmost tip of South America, to the Arctic, and back. Along the way, it feasts on horseshoe crab eggs, which provide fat and fuel for the long journey ahead. 

Adriana Arango / Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Asian Longhorned Beetles, Emerald Ash Borers, Hemlock Woolly Adelgids: all these bugs pose threats to trees in Connecticut. Now, you can add another bug to that list: the southern pine beetle.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has awarded a contract for a major highway project in western Massachusetts.

JF White-Schiavone of Framingham submitted the lowest bid this week to rebuild the two-mile long elevated portion of Interstate 91 through downtown Springfield. 

The project is expected to cost $183 million and take three years.  There will be detours and ramp closings during the work, which is expected to start this summer.

City of Stamford

Earlier this week, Connecticut DOT officials shut down a state-owned parking garage at the Stamford Transportation Center. A chunk of concrete fell from one of the parking decks to the deck below over the weekend. Fortunately, no one was injured.

The garage is almost 30 years old, and has been part of a redevelopment plan of the state’s for a very long time -- a plan that will probably involve replacing the parking garage. But for now, it’s closed for evaluation, and that’s thrown off about a thousand commuters who rely on the rails to get to work.

It points to a bigger question: what will the state do about developing around transit stations? Are we stuck planning primarily for cars? 

In space, all they have is instant.

"For an instant coffee, it's an excellent instant coffee," says Vickie Kloeris, who manages the space station's food supply for NASA. Astronauts are allotted up to three freeze-dried cups (pouches, actually) a day, and Kloeris says it's "extremely popular."

But, she adds, "Can it compete with brewed espresso? No."

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Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke at Yale University on Tuesday and said he likes how social media is causing a change in the way big-business producers like McDonald's create their food.

Cristian / Creative Commons

State transportation officials shut down a state parking garage at Stamford's downtown train station late Monday. The decision came after chunks of concrete fell over the weekend from the garage's third deck to the second deck below.

Laura Hubers
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

When you think about plants, you probably picture individual trees or your favorite type of flower, but you probably don't think of them in a bigger way: as habitat.

Tintazul / Creative Commons

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's inspector general said Metro-North maintenance crews get little or no supervision and fail to document their work.

Seven named storms, three hurricanes — one of them major.

That's the early prediction for the 2015 Atlantic basin hurricane season by Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Sciences. If the forecast pans out, it would be one of the quietest seasons in decades.

A tornado that hit Illinois on Thursday was so massive and the damage so extensive that in some areas, plows had to push debris off the streets so emergency crews could reach survivors.

At least one person died as a result of twisters that raked the state and other areas Thursday. Numerous injuries were also reported.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut is receiving the federal disaster declaration needed to receive federal aid to help cover costs incurred from the January blizzard.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said Wednesday that financial assistance will be provided to state agencies and municipalities in New London, Windham and Tolland counties. Also, the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes will be eligible for funding to help cover costs incurred from the storm. The reimbursement rate is 75 percent.

Hyland House

Definitively dating an old house can be tricky. Today, we have things like photographs and land records, but how would you figure out a house's age without that kind of stuff? 

Tom Barnes / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Hike through any forest in Connecticut and you're bound to encounter a relic of the state's agricultural past: stone walls. Decades ago, the walls enclosed large tracts of open pasture and farmland, which was ideal habitat for animals like the New England cottontail rabbit.

But as farms were abandoned and that open space turned into mature forest, those rabbits disappeared. Now, federal efforts are underway to recreate some of that open space, and bring the New England cottontail back.

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For the last few decades, lobsters have had to prove that they were healthy enough to ship by having blood drawn.

Now, thanks to a Connecticut native, all they’ll have to do is prove their strength in the most lobster of methods: by squeezing sensors with their claws.

Aundrea Murray / WNPR

The I-84 viaduct in Hartford needs to be replaced, but the state still has to figure out how that’s going to happen -- and it's currently considering options.

DVIDSHUB / Creative Commons

New patterns of extreme weather have insurance companies thinking more seriously about climate change. As storms intensify and damages increase, many are looking at new ways to predict losses from climate related risks. 

The Case Against Owning Exotic Pets

Apr 1, 2015
Steve Jurvetson / Flickr

It's official: owning a dog or a cat is just not as cool as it used to be. Nowadays, anybody who's anybody owns a monkey, or a leopard, or a slow loris... Whatever that is. Indeed in today's age, with the desire to stand out leading us to make ever more questionable decisions, owning a creature everyone else is smart enough (or ethical enough) not to own is a true mark of distinction.

USFWS Headquarters / Creative Commons

The Northern Long-eared bat is now a protected animal under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the move on Wednesday, saying the designation will come with a special interim rule aimed at relieving regulatory burdens on local land owners and government agencies in the bat's range.

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