Environment

WBFO file photo/Angelica Morrison

New York State is putting forth millions of dollars to assist municipalities affected by rising water levels along the Lake Ontario shoreline. If a bill passes the State Senate this week, private property owners may see some relief, too.


Scientists have discovered about 200 new mineral compounds, created accidentally as a result of human activity.

The new minerals were identified by research scientist Robert Hazen and a team from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC. Their study is published in the journal American Mineralogist.

Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide rallied for the People’s Climate March on April 29, but the mood was bleaker than the First People’s Climate March in New York City in 2014.

In September 2014, nearly half a million people crammed the avenues of New York for the first march to urge nations of the world to take bold action on global warming. It was the eve of the UN Climate Summit and PRI’s Living on Earth team was there. At the intersection of 46th Street and Sixth Avenue the atmosphere was joyful, almost like a carnival parade.

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Gage Skidmore/Flickr 

Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, is already under fire from both sides of the aisle, especially regarding carbon pollution and climate change.

Progressives and environmental groups are horrified that Pruitt has denied the human link to climate change, and conservatives are already saying that Pruitt hasn’t done enough to undo the EPA’s “regulatory overreach.”

WNED-TV

A local state senator wants New York's constitution amended to guarantee the rights of residents to hunt and fish, joining 21 other states to enshrine those outdoor rights in their state charters.

WRVO's Payne Horning

As water levels on Lake Ontario continue to rise, state lawmakers are working on financial assistance to homeowners still assessing flood damage.

Environment New York Research & Policy Center

A new study finds there is still plenty of dirty air around Western New York.


The Goldman Environmental Prize, given out annually, honors an activist from each of the six inhabited continents. The North American Goldman Prize this year has been awarded to 32-year-old mark! Lopez, who helped end decades of environmental abuses by Exide, a company that operated a lead-acid battery smelter in East Los Angeles.

Lopez says he was reminded about the environmental problems Exide had inflicted upon his community after he graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz and went to visit his grandmother.

EPA budget cuts threaten programs to reduce kids' exposure to lead paint

May 9, 2017

Childhood lead poisoning remains a great threat to young children in the US. Nevertheless, the Trump administration proposes to cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s lead programs and leave lead-reduction initiatives to the states.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than a fifth of American homes contain enough lead-based paint to create a hazard to young children, whose developing brains can be harmed by even low levels of the toxic heavy metal.

WBFO's Mike Desmond

For the fishing and tourism Village of Olcott on the Lake Ontario shore, Sunday was an opportunity to recover from the terrible weather of recent weeks.

The death and life of the Great Lakes

May 7, 2017

When the St. Lawrence Seaway opened on April 24, 1959, it created a link from the Great Lakes to the sea along the US-Canadian border — the fulfillment of a dream for the heartland of the continent. It also created an ecological nightmare no one anticipated.

Environmental journalist Dan Egan details the history of the Seaway and the modern problems it created in his new book, "The Death and Life of the Great Lakes."

The present partisan divide in America seems more bitter than at any time in recent memory. To try to better understand it, liberal sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild spent five years conducting what she calls an “empathic study” of her political opposites in Louisiana.

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Linda Tanner/Flickr 

The Yurok Tribe, which lives in Northern California near the Oregon border, is losing its way of life, as the annual run of Chinook salmon from the Pacific into the Klamath River is on the verge of collapse.

“The Klamath River is our lifeline,” says tribal chairman Thomas O’Rourke. “We have depended on this river since time immemorial. ... I grew up, born and raised, here on the Klamath River, and as a child there was a lot of salmon. We had runs, when I was a child, that don't exist here anymore.”

Though it may be a worst-case scenario, residents living near a Wheatfield landfill may be unwitting victims of Love Canal. On WBFO's Press Pass, Dan Telvock of Investigative Post discusses the history of the landfill, which at one time contained hazardous material from Love Canal. Now, there are concerns that some of the waste may have migrated onto nearby residential properties.


Russian scientists Sergey Zimov and Nikita Zimov — they're a father-son duo — believe they can slow the thawing of the Siberian permafrost by bringing back grazing animals to a swath of land called Pleistocene Park.

Siberia’s melting permafrost has enormous implications for the Earth’s climate.

Advocates for rebuilding America’s decrepit infrastructure are beginning to worry that the Trump administration will not follow through on its promise to invest $1 trillion in upgrading the nation’s rails, roads, bridges and transit.

Lake Ontario's rising water is furthering Congressman Chris Collins' push for the repeal of an environmental plan adopted late in President Barack Obama's administration.

Will El Niño return in 2017?

Apr 23, 2017

Just months after a powerful El Niño ended its 2015-2016 rampage through global weather systems, meteorologists see indications of another one forming in 2017.

El Niño began affecting the world’s weather in 2015 and ended barely a year ago. Typically, El Niños occur three to seven years apart, but dramatic winter flooding in California followed by unprecedented rains that buried Peru in deadly mudslides may be a signal that El Niño is returning.

Karen DeWitt

Environmental advocates say that New York State officials could do a better job of cleaning up pollution sites caused by the fossil fuels industry that they say in some cases, have dragged on for decades. Cuomo’s environmental aides defend their record.


Even though Western New York is showing big improvement in this year’s ‘State of the Air’ report from the American Lung Association, the region still ranks poorly in nationwide assessments of air pollution.

What kind of interior secretary will Ryan Zinke be?

Apr 16, 2017

When it comes to the federal government’s stewardship of the environment, there is perhaps no more important official than the secretary of the interior. Ryan Zinke, a former Montana Republican congressman, recently took on the job, and he is being watched closely by organizations on both sides of the political divide.

Animal Adventure Park Facebook page

On Saturday, April's long-awaited baby calf entered the world.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the new US energy secretary. It’s an ironic choice: During his 2012 presidential bid, Perry said the Energy Department could easily be abolished — and some observers have suggested Perry didn’t actually understand the job he was taking when it was offered to him.

Labor anxiety brings challenges to family farms

Apr 12, 2017

Spring is here and fruit farmers throughout Western New York are preparing for crops of everything from apples to Japanese plums. With the new season come job opportunities and new challenges for farmers. WBFO contributor Rich Kellman takes a closer look.


A team of scientists from the US and Mexico is studying the ocean floor near the site of the Ixtoc oil well blowout, in the hope of predicting the future health of marine life in the waters surrounding the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

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Steven Melkisethian/Flickr 

A study in the journal Global Challenges suggests that attitudes among climate change deniers are not immutable, even among the most skeptical. The way information is presented can change people's opinions, under certain circumstances.

The new study builds upon a larger body of research that has examined what happens when researchers inform people about the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real.

Decades ago, London suffocated under poisonous smogs. Now, deadly air is back.

Diesel-burning vehicles are causing record levels of pollution linked to thousands of deaths in the UK, and the British government could face fines from the European Court of Justice if the smog is not controlled.

Conditions in London have become so bad that London Lord Mayor Sadiq Khan now suggests children should be given gas masks to protect their lungs.

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

It is that time of year when mother bears kick their young male cubs out of the family cave. Western New Yorkers are being warned, you may see one looking for new territory to claim as his own.

John Morocco

The ash tree is one of the most impressive trees in a forest, park or along a city street. They also have been an essential part of the American sports scene, as the wood in most baseball bats. Now, the trees are known for their stumps.

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Jason Lee/Reuters 

New research suggests that when it comes to air pollution, what goes around comes around.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — toxic air pollutants produced by fuel combustion — are typically treated as a local issue in places with smog and bad air quality. A recent study suggests, however, that these pollutants may actually travel long distances and affect people across the globe.

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