Environment

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

Christine Olson / Creative Commons

An oceanographer who helped solve the mystery of last summer’s explosion on a crowded Rhode Island beach said there’s a very low risk of the same type of explosion occurring again.

MGM has announced major demolition work will begin next week as it prepares the site in downtown Springfield where a $950 million resort casino is planned.

Almost a year after the former Zanetti school building served as the backdrop for the MGM Springfield groundbreaking, it will be demolished beginning Tuesday, according to a press release from MGM. 

The much anticipated major construction work follows state environmental and city zoning approvals. 

MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis said the casino remains on track to open in the fall of 2018.

Britain's most iconic steam engine roared back to life Friday, after more than a decade of renovation work.

The Flying Scotsman — the first train to reach 100 miles per hour, back in 1934 — was pulled out of service in 1963. Now it's coming back, Reuters reports:

"The venerable engine, which has toured both the United States and Australia since it was retired from service, made a series of short test runs on Friday, ahead of a programme of heritage journeys this year on Britain's main lines.

Christine Olson / Creative Commons

The cable that caused an explosion at a crowded Rhode Island beach last summer, injuring a woman, may have counterparts lying under beaches, harbors and waterways at dozens of sites nationwide.

At the end of every year, U.S. meteorologists look back at what the nation's weather was like, and what they saw in 2015 was weird. The year was hot and beset with all manner of extreme weather events that did a lot of expensive damage.

December, in fact, was a fitting end.

NatureNerd / Creative Commons

It's the new year, and time for all good gardeners to spend a little time perusing seed and plant catalogs for new varieties. 

FuelCell Energy

Pfizer will install a fuel cell power plant at its Groton research and development facility. The aim is both to move to a greener form of energy, and to have the potential for off-grid reliability.

For now, they're known by working names, like ununseptium and ununtrium — two of the four new chemical elements whose discovery has been officially verified. The elements with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118 will get permanent names soon, according to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

A hotel in downtown Dubai erupted in flames on Thursday evening, just two hours before the city was due to celebrate New Year's Eve with a massive fireworks display.

At midnight local time, the celebration proceeded as planned — resulting in a jarring double display of light and smoke, as firefighters continued to battle the blaze at one skyscraper while fireworks were sent off from the nearby Burj Khalifa.

Sonny Abesamis flickr.com/photos/enerva / Creative Commons

With the holidays behind us, gardeners are often looking for ways to keep their hands in the dirt. One old-fashioned growing technique is making a comeback and is worth trying, especially with kids.

New Bedford Whaling Museum

A new project is using log books from historic whaling vessels to get a broader look at climate change in the Arctic. The project, called Old Weather: Whaling, is getting help from citizen scientists.

City of New Haven

New Haven’s downtown streets are soon changing direction. Some streets that have been one-way for decades are now going to be two-way streets.

Mr.TinDC / Creative Commons

A $19 million line item in the new federal budget that's dedicated to much-needed improvements and modernization along the Northeast Rail Corridor is being hailed as a "foot in the door" for possibly more federal funding.

pedrik / Creative Commons

A conservation goal set more than a decade ago points to an ambitious target: preserving 21 percent of Connecticut's land as open space by 2023. Funding has now lagged, the state said, and it won't reach that goal. 

Bikes Abandoned at UConn Find New Homes in Hartford

Dec 24, 2015
BiCi Co. / Facebook

Dozens of bicycles found abandoned at the University of Connecticut or impounded by the school are finding new homes in Hartford.

Patrizia / Creative Commons

“I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..." Yes, dreaming seems like the best we'll be able to do this Christmas.

A white Christmas in Connecticut normally has about a 50/50 chance of occurring, with less chance along the shore and more a likely chance in the Northwest hills. But this winter the chance is nil, and it won't even be cold! 

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.

Charles Fulton / Creative Commons

Amtrak said the entire Northeast Corridor now has Positive Train Control.

Like amaranth and quinoa before it, millet – a hardy, gluten-free ancient seed – has become an "it" grain in recent years.

It's the solstice again, which is an astronomer's favorite time of year. That's because it's one of the few occasions where we have anything semi-practical to say to anyone.

"Hey, Adam, you're an astronomer. What's this whole solstice thing about?"

Well, I'm glad you asked.

Almond Butterscotch / Creative Commons

Connecticut needs to conserve more land -- and do it much faster -- if the state hopes to meet a conservation goal set for the year 2023, which seems increasingly out of reach.

It is without a doubt a spectacular moment for the space industry: Just months after the setback of a launch explosion, a SpaceX rocket managed to launch satellites into space, then tumble back to Earth, use rockets to stabilize itself and stick the landing on a small pad in Florida.

The lack of snow is disappointing for skiers, but it’s also a problem for the several thousand people who depend on Vermont ski resorts for seasonal work; many resorts are reducing hours or delaying the start of those employees, while other resorts are having to get creative in the way they put staff to work.

Block Island has been dubbed one of “the last great places” in the western hemisphere. It has a shoreline largely untouched by development. But on the northwest corner of island, storms have been washing away at the bluffs, unearthing what used to be the island’s landfill.

In a finding that suggests "considerable water activity" on Mars, NASA says its Curiosity rover has found very high concentrations of silica on the red planet. The agency says it also found "a mineral named tridymite, rare on Earth and never seen before on Mars."

scrappy annie flickr.com/photos/14903992@N08/15723002693 / Creative Commons

Ho, ho, ho, it's time for holiday gift buying. Yes, let's talk about special gifts you can give the gardener in your family. If you're stuck for ideas, I've got a few to share. Are you listening, Santa?

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

When Metro-North trains run through the East Side neighborhood of Bridgeport, passengers don’t see much beyond a jungle of abandoned factories.

But on the site of an old ammunition factory, the state plans to build a second rail station for the city. It’s a part of Bridgeport that needs development the most, some say.

Time is running out for New York residents opposed to erecting high-voltage power towers across the scenic Hudson Valley to weigh in.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The state announced transportation improvements on Tuesday, including changes to Heroes Tunnel in New Haven. The state plans to dig a third tunnel to do necessary repair work so it doesn’t tie up traffic.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Alternatives for rail lines in the northeast got a public hearing on Monday night in New Haven. The meeting was the second in a series meant to elicit feedback on proposed improvements to the Northeast Corridor.

Pages