Environment

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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.

President Trump signed a sweeping executive order Tuesday that takes aim at a number of his predecessor's climate policies.

The wide-ranging order seeks to undo the centerpiece of former President Obama's environmental legacy and national efforts to address climate change.

It could also jeopardize America's current role in international efforts to confront climate change.

In a symbolic gesture, Trump signed the document at the headquarters of Environmental Protection Agency.

WBFO file photo

The fate of the Northern Access Pipeline Project could be decided within a couple weeks. On Monday, people from across the state who oppose National Fuel’s natural gas pipeline converged on Albany to express their concerns.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters 

Shortly after Scott Pruitt was sworn in as the new EPA administrator, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers sent him a letter requesting that the agency re-examine new fuel economy standards set to go into effect in 2025. The letter alleges the rules would lead to extreme layoffs and added expenses in the domestic auto industry.

Dan Becker of the Safe Climate Campaign disagrees. He believes the ambitious mileage requirements are key for US goals under the Paris climate agreement and that weakening them would cost American consumers, while boosting short-term industry profits.

WBFO News photo by Chris Caya

A Climate Change Justice rally was staged in downtown Buffalo Friday and targeted two area business leaders. 

California’s had one of the wettest winters on record — more than twice as much rain and snow as in an average year. That's especially wild since we're six years into a historic drought. But California doesn't have enough dams, reservoirs or other storage. So instead of using it, all that precipitation just joins the Pacific Ocean.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Wastewater: our most overlooked water source?

Mar 22, 2017

March 22 is World Water Day, and this year’s theme is wastewater. The United Nations is hoping to shed light on the value of all the water we literally flush down the toilet. Other countries use wastewater, but the idea hasn’t taken hold in the U.S.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

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.

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