Environment

Associated Press

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed state regulators to investigate wastewater discharges that turned the water near the base of Niagara Falls black last weekend.

Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

Time is of the essence for re-designing parts of Delaware Park. That is according to civic leader Kevin Gaughan, who is asking the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy to meet and move forward his plan to have legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus improve the golf course.

New research from Duke University finds that typical amounts of household dust spurred the growth of mouse fat cells in a lab dish.

While this news may have you running for the vacuum, Chris Kassotis, a postdoctoral fellow at Duke’s Nicholas School for the Environment who conducted the research, cautions against overreacting.

In a setback to the Trump administration’s push to roll back environmental regulations, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency can’t suspend rules meant to control leaks of methane and other pollutants from new oil and gas wells.

The oil and gas industry took advantage of having a friend in the Trump administration to press for a suspension of methane rules, says David Doniger, director of the Climate and Clean Air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

A new book examines 'The Book that Changed America'

Jul 24, 2017

No single book influenced US history more than Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species,” according to a new book by Randall Fuller, professor of English at the University of Tulsa.

A new study estimates that southern areas of the US, many of which are already poor, could face a 20 percent decline in economic activity if carbon emissions continue unabated through the 21st century.

The study was issued by economists with the Climate Impact Lab, a consortium of experts from the Universities of California, Chicago and Rutgers and the Rhodium Group.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Led by Mayor Paul Dyster, City of Niagara Falls officials released 2,500 young Channel Catfish into Hyde park lake. While news of a restocked waterway will excite local fishing enthusiasts, the fish will also play a role in improving the lake's ecosystem.

Much of the Netherlands is below sea level and major floods have occurred every generation or so for hundreds of years. In a warming world with increased rainfall and sea level rise, the threat from floods is increasing worldwide, and the Dutch are leading the way in water management engineering.  

America’s air carriers have signed on to an international agreement for carbon offsets and reduction, arguing it will prevent unilateral charges over their emissions at foreign airports. But the Trump administration, after pulling out of the Paris Agreement, is reviewing that decision, despite vocal support for it from US airlines.

The Carbon Offsets and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA, was signed on Oct. 6, 2016, at the UN. It currently has the voluntary support of more than 70 nations, representing nearly 90 percent of international airline activity.

In “New York 2140,” the latest novel from award-winning science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, melting ice sheets and wild storms have added 50 feet to sea level and submerged coastal areas, yet New York City is still a vibrant hub of global capital, with express boats zooming up the avenues and skybridges linking the skyscrapers that still stand.

A survey by a Pittsburgh pediatrician of 1,200 children living near some of the biggest polluters in the area shows that children who live near sources of pollution run the same risk of developing asthma as those exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke.

US Steel’s Edgar Thompson Works in Braddock, just outside of Pittsburgh, has been making steel for almost 150 years. Nearby residents, including the children of the Woodland Hills School District, have been breathing in the pollution the plant spews from its stacks, and researchers are finding that it's impacting their health.

Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

It is going to be a long road to restore Frederick Law Olmsted's Arboretum in Buffalo's South Park - perhaps 20 years - but plans are moving forward.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reports soil samples taken show no contamination from the Niagara Sanitation Landfill in Wheatfield leaking to nearby properties.

The Seasteading Institute in California has an audacious mission: to establish floating societies that will “restore the environment, enrich the poor, cure the sick, and liberate humanity from politicians.”

Like in the 19th century, when many people left the cities of the Eastern US to gain independence by claiming a patch of land and working it — which was known as "homesteading" — "seasteaders" hope to create a new social, economic and political frontier on the ocean.

Houston, America’s fourth-largest city, with a metro population of more than 6 million, is at risk of major devastation and massive loss of life from storm surges if a big hurricane were to hit, according to an investigation by reporters from The Texas Tribune and ProPublica.

The Trump administration has fired another shot in the long-smoldering Sagebrush Rebellion: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has issued a preliminary recommendation to shrink Bears Ears National Monument, which spans over 1.3 million acres. 

No one quite knows how this will play out. The Antiquities Act allows presidents to create national monuments but has no mechanism for presidents to reduce or undo them.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

New York State officials say that bald eagles are thriving in historic numbers across the state.

Army Corps project will reshape Unity Island

Jun 30, 2017
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Unity Island in the Niagara River is going to look a little different, as the Army Corps of Engineers does major bottom dredging in the Buffalo River and the city Ship Canal. The plan calls for 200,000 cubic yards of material to be taken out of the waterways.


WXXI's Randy Gorbman

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not signing a bill the New York State Legislature passed last week that would provide grants for flood victims along Lake Ontario.

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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/johndonaghy/">John Donaghy</a>/<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/johndonaghy/6947280852/in/photolist-bzUCym-bNPoD2">CC BY 2.0 (image cropped)</a>

Research by the US Fish and Wildlife Service has found that laundered profits from the illegal drug trade contribute to deforestation along smuggling routes in Central America.

Steven Sesnie, an ecologist and the lead author of the research, says the drug economy is threatening some of the most remote, biodiverse forests in Central America — and the people who have lived there for thousands of years.

In an ancient forest in Poland, environmental activists are chaining themselves to logging machines to protect the trees from being cut down.

The Białowieża Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site that straddles the border of Poland and Belarus. It is perhaps the largest remaining primeval forest in Europe.

Great Lakes Today's Veronica Volk

Two area state lawmakers say they have reached agreement on bipartisan legislation to provide $90 million in financial relief for people living along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River seaway.

The current drought devastating sub-Saharan Africa is not only increasing hunger and disease, it is also creating more opportunities for violence against women.

Across the continent, it is solely the responsibility of women to collect water and bring it home for drinking, cooking, and cleaning.

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Global Landscapes Forum/Flickr&nbsp;

A new report from a group called the Energy Transitions Commission shows that countries could cut global carbon emissions in half by 2040 and stay well below the 2-degree warming mark agreed to at the Paris Climate Conference.

The Energy Transitions Commission includes the chairman of Shell Oil, former US Vice President Al Gore, British economist Nicholas Stern and former US senator, and UN Foundation chief, Tim Wirth. The new report is titled, "Better Energy, Greater Prosperity." 

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Minale Tattersfield/<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/minaletattersfield/8426506439/in/photostream/">Flickr</a>

In what’s been called a “historic” decision, 62 percent of Exxon Mobil shareholders have called on the world’s largest oil company to report the impacts of climate change and international climate policies on its business.

India's renewable energy revolution is racing ahead

Jun 14, 2017
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Asian Development Bank/Flickr

In 2015, at the climate talks in Paris, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheaded the launch of an international solar alliance to raise $1 trillion to light up the developing world. Eighteen months later, Modi has turned promise into action.

India, a country of 1.3 billion people, is becoming perhaps the world’s best example of the revolution in green energy.

Governor Cuomo stopped in shoreline communities in Greece and Sodus Point to unveil some new technology designed to save homes and businesses from further damage from high water levels on Lake Ontario. 

Damage he says is due in part to a late response from the board that regulates water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, the International Joint Commission.

Cuomo says the state is testing two "Aqua Dams," water filled synthetic device that, when it works, acts like a portable dam.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

The future of public transportation could be on its way to Buffalo. The Sierra Club Niagara Group is asking the NFTA to purchase 10 Zero Emission Buses.

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Nicholas A. Tonelli/Flickr

As the planet warms, many tree species in the eastern US are migrating.

Pines and spruce are heading north, while oaks and maples are heading west of their historical ranges, according to a recent study. In all, the newly published research confirms, 86 tree species in the eastern US are moving into new areas.

Trees don't just pick up and move, of course. Their seeds tend to spread in one direction or another, depending on local conditions, and saplings will have more success in places best suited to their natural traits.

A team of Belgian researchers has developed a device that will remove pollutants from the air and convert them into simple hydrogen — using sunlight, nanoparticles and a photoelectric chemical membrane.

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