Environment

03/22/17: Why wastewater is actually a commodity

Mar 22, 2017
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Marketplace

Stock index futures are down again this morning. What could be giving investors pause? Economist Jeffrey Cleveland from Payden and Rygel stopped by to explain the economic data that shows how optimistic Americans are really feeling. Next, we'll explore the tough market for reused water, and then report on the difficulties foreign men and women have in trying to obtain H-1B visas. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Nearly 70 locally elected officials in New York are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to halt a tax subsidy program that would allow three aging nuclear power plants to remain open upstate.

Despite the Trump administration’s push for coal and other fossil energy, Nevada just went dramatically in the other way. On the day after it pulled the plug on a coal-fired power plant, it cut the ribbon on a new solar energy farm.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The mild winter weather in New England is bad news for the region's moose.

In northern New England, moose number about 70,000, but changing weather seems to be throwing the balance of nature off-kilter, giving an edge to one of the animal's most dangerous enemies — bloodsucking ticks.

The US military sees climate change as a national security threat. So, it’s finding ways to adapt to global warming, to make the armed forces stronger and more flexible. 

For starters, green technologies such as solar "blankets" and hybrid vehicles have improved operations within the Marine Corps and the Navy, according to Capt. Jim Goudreau, who served as a deputy assistant secretary of the Navy. He spent over two decades in the supply corps and is now the head of climate at Novartis.

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Chris Yakimov/Flickr 

When President Donald Trump came into office in January, staff at several government agencies were told not to send out news releases or to communicate by social media, and most mentions of climate change disappeared from government websites.

Changing the message on issues that could affect policy is standard procedure with a change of administration, but many saw this as censorship of government scientists — akin to moves taken in Canada under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Allegany State Park

As concerns about changes in federal environmental policies continue to garner headlines, advocates sponsored an “Earth Rally” Saturday at Allegany State Park.

Signs of spring's early arrival can be seen across Western New York, with some flowers and trees starting to bloom. But what impact will the mild winter weather have on the local growing season?


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

An Erie County Legislator and local advocates for Great Lakes cleanup say the Trump Administration's proposed cuts to such efforts would prove harmful not only to the water and wildlife in it but also the local economy.


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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalmemorialforthemountains/4534741523">ILoveMountains.org/</a>CC BY 2.0 (image cropped)

In one of its first acts, the Republican-controlled Congress overturned the Department of the Interior’s recent Stream Protection Rule. Coal companies are thrilled about the change, but some mining communities aren't quite so sure about it.  

President Donald Trump's repeal of an anti-corruption rule that required extractive industries — like mining, oil drilling and quarrying — to disclose payments to foreign governments has caused dismay among people who advocate for the poor and for transparency in government.

Scott Pruitt, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has sued the agency more than a dozen times. What does that mean for the future of the EPA and for environmental protections in the US?

As the attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt chaired an organization of Republican attorneys general who opposed many EPA rules and regulations. Perhaps most famously, Pruitt led a group of states and companies in the continuing court fight against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan — a plan crafted by the agency he now runs.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Converting from fossil fuel heating systems to electric will help meet New York state’s climate goals and make home heating more affordable, according to a new study. The initial cost of installing electric systems is steep, but the report says there are ways the state could help.

WBFO File Photo

Not only did Trico ship its iconic windshield wipers to customers from its plant on Washington Street, it also left behind some serious environmental problems. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is studying a cleanup plan from developer Krog.

A group of conservative elder statesman has proposed an ambitious carbon dividend plan that could entice bipartisan support, pay families $2,000 a month and cut greenhouse gas emissions more than Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

President Donald Trump has already taken bold steps to undo the climate agenda of his predecessor. He has announced gag orders and contract holds on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department, as well as executive orders to expedite completion of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

Ever wondered how long evolution actually takes?

We tend to think of it as an achingly slow process, spanning hundreds, even thousands of years. But scientists studying crested anoles — little lizards native to the forests of Puerto Rico — say that urban-dwelling anoles are adapting to their built environments much more quickly than that.

Opposition is brewing on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border about plans to move dozens of shipments of nuclear waste from a plant in Chalk River, Ontario, to a plant in South Carolina.

President Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court has sparked widespread speculation about how the appellate judge might rule on upcoming cases in the court’s docket, including high-stakes cases on environmental issues.

Gorsuch's narrow interpretations of agency powers, as well as his lifelong experience as an outdoorsman, could inform his findings if he is confirmed, but “it’s hard to read him because he has not written that many major environmental cases,” says Vermont Law School Professor Patrick Parenteau.

Only a few dozen grizzly bears with bright yellow coats live in the forbidding Gobi Desert in Mongolia. In a new book, wildlife biologist Doug Chadwick writes about how these unique animals survive and what can be done to better protect them.

Chadwick first found out about the Gobi grizzly (called the mazaalai in Mongolian) almost by accident. He was tracking snow leopards in the mountains of Mongolia, near the border between Russia and Kazakhstan.

On Jan. 18, the US Environmental Protection Agency released its first nationwide biological evaluation of three commonly used pesticides. The report found that all three were harmful to virtually all endangered species in the US.

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US Army Corps of Engineers/CC BY 2.0 (image cropped)

The disaster of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 made clear how vulnerable New Orleans and the low-lying communities along the Gulf Coast are to fierce storms and surging seas. So, a master plan was devised to shore up defenses and repair the sinking coastline that protects the city. Now, authorities have released an updated $50 billion, 50-year plan that rethinks and bolsters those defenses.

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&nbsp;Omar Vidal/NOAA Fisheries West Coast/Flickr

The vaquita, the world’s smallest porpoise, lives only in Mexico’s Gulf of California and is critically endangered, due to illegal fishing. Now, the Center for Biological Diversity plans legal action against the US government for its failure to sanction Mexico for not stopping the poaching of vaquitas.

A report from some of the top minds in environmental policy and economics is recommending a new way of evaluating the "social costs" of carbon pollution to keep up with the best available science.

Obama's hidden, and surprising, fossil fuel legacy

Feb 4, 2017

Investigative reporting by a joint team from The Guardian and the Columbia University School of Journalism reveals that the US Export-Import Bank financed around 70 coal-fired power plants and other fossil fuel energy projects in foreign countries during President Barack Obama's terms in office.

These foreign fossil fuel plants are projected to release about as many tons of global-warming gases as the Obama Clean Power Plan would have saved.

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fruchtzwerg&#39;s world/Flickr&nbsp;

A new analysis of sea surface temperatures from an independent source corroborates updated global warming data released in 2015 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The results contradict allegations from some Republicans on Capitol Hill that NOAA manipulated its 2015 data to show continuous global warming, since earlier NOAA research had suggested the Earth was experiencing a warming "pause" or hiatus.

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Rachel Ignotofsky via Facebook&nbsp;

For writer and illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky, the idea to profile 50 pioneering female scientists in her recent book, “Women in Science,” was spurred by conversations with educator friends. As they talked about the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math fields, Ignotofsky realized women aren’t just underrepresented in STEM, itself — the stories about their contributions don't get much play, either.

When heavy rains hit Toronto, it’s common for flooding to hit the Port Lands district east of downtown, especially along the Don Valley Parkway. And that can carry untreated waste into Lake Ontario.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning to go ahead with cleaning up Eighteen Mile Creek in Lockport, but it will not be soon. It also is not clear the money to pay for the cleanup will be there.


NEW YORK POWER AUTHORITY PHOTO /Ice boom installation 2015.

The New York Power Authority is looking to use drones instead of helicopters or boats to inspect the ice boom between Lake Erie and the Niagara River.

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