Environment

Elon Musk, the co-founder of Tesla motors and SpaceX, has announced a new line of attractive roofing tiles that can capture energy from the sun.

Along with a home battery, called the Power Wall, and a Tesla electric car, the new roofing tiles could form a complete personal solar power system for an individual residential home.

To achieve his vision, Musk is pushing for a merger of two companies in which he's the largest shareholder: Tesla and the home solar company, SolarCity.

Nuclear power plant sale approved

Nov 18, 2016
Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The New York Public Service Commission voted unanimously Thursday to approve the sale of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant on Lake Ontario, an essential component to its completion.

Nuclear plant sale faces critical deadline

Nov 17, 2016
Nuclaer Regulatory Commission

The New York State Public Service Commission is meeting today to approve the sale of the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant on the shore of Lake Ontario. It is one of two deadlines New York state must meet this week in order to ensure the nuclear plant does not close.

America is a nation of cat lovers. In the US, house cats outnumber dogs three to one. But the reality is that cats don’t always bother to love us back — nor do they need to, since we provide for them anyway. How did cats get such a sweet deal?

Abigail Tucker tries to answer that question in her new book, "The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World."

Wildlife trafficking is on the ballot in Oregon

Nov 7, 2016

When Oregon voters go to the polls this week, they will decide whether to ban the buying and selling of illegal animal products, such as ivory and jaguar skins.

The 12 species covered by ballot Measure 100 are being poached internationally at high rates and many are threatened with extinction. Supporters say Oregonians should do their part in the fight against animal trafficking with a “yes” vote.

Last summer, I stood with my wife on the edge of a sheer cliff in Glacier National Park. We stared down toward the massive Grinnell Glacier. In that moment, we decided to move to Montana.

I can work anywhere with internet, and my wife had multiple job offers at hospitals across the country. We could have picked anywhere, but we decided to make this remote region our home, the center of our universe.

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Darron Birgenheier/Flickr

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson has said there is “no compromise when it comes to clean air, clean land or clean water.” His vice presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, echoes this view.

But they don't go as far as you might think. 

If you’re like most people, you probably have a fridge and cupboard with too many half-used packages. You need only a cup or two of some ingredient, but you have to buy a pound or a quart, and what’s left often goes stale and ends up in the garbage.

That waste is part of the reason Sarah Metz decided to launch a new store called the Fillery.

Blanding’s turtles have about a 1 in 80 chance of living to be adults. So, a nonprofit in Boston is working to shift those odds and give baby Blanding’s turtles a better start. They're being helped by some Massachusetts students.

Sending these baby turtles to schools, where young humans can care for them and raise them for a year, can give a big lift to this regionally threatened species, says Bryan Windmiller, executive director of Grassroots Wildlife Conservation.

Chris Caya/wbfo

Environmental groups are calling on big oil companies to "come clean"about climate change.

Seth Wenig/AP

Several natural gas and coal-fired power plant owners sued New York State energy regulators Wednesday over the state's approval of billions of dollars in subsidies for aging nuclear plants.

New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Campers flocked to New York State Parks in record numbers for the fifth year in a row this year.

WBFO File Photo

Pipeline companies are not having a lot of success in New York so far in 2016. Opponents say they are dirty and continue New York’s over reliance on fossil fuels. Two projects have already been canceled.  A pipeline company representative says the projects are not as harmful as opponents say and, in fact, essential  for the state’s current electric needs.

Fall flower bulbs shine brightly come spring

Oct 13, 2016
Elizabeth Licata

This is a key time of year for gardeners who are already looking ahead to next spring. The planting of bulbs now can reap big rewards when winter comes to an end. Buffalo Spree editor Elizabeth Licata, a WBFO contributor, spoke with fellow garden writer Sally Cunningham about bulbs, and why they're a must for any serious gardener.


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A Lockport company has been fined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating chemical safety rules for handling the potentially deadly gas phosgene.

by Angelica A. Morrison / Seneca Bluff Buffalo

Efforts toward Great Lakes habitat restoration continue, as a ground breaking ceremony took place for a new local project Friday in South Buffalo.

Grape harvest coming up short in drought-ridden areas

Oct 6, 2016

Grape harvests are underway at vineyards in the Northeast where unusually dry warm weather this summer was ideal for growing grapes. But in parts of New York and southern New England, where drought struck, some growers are seeing decreasing yields.

How much will wind, solar energy cost NYers?

Oct 3, 2016

A new report from the conservative fiscal watchdog group finds that New York State's plan to boost renewable sources of energy and support struggling nuclear plants could cost more than the state estimates. The Empire Center says that could mean higher energy bills for consumers who are paying for the initiative that aims to cut harmful carbon dioxide emissions.

WBFO News photo

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins say there needs to be further review before more liquid radioactive waste is transported over the Peace Bridge into New York State by tractor trailer.

WBFO's Angelica Morrison

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has notified local officials confirming the presence of a harmful algae bloom in Hoyt Lake at Delaware Park.

Twelve images that capture the beauty and character of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor have been selected as winners of the 11th Annual Erie Canalway Photo Contest. Winning images will be featured in the 2017 Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Calendar, to be available for free in December.

Photo from the St. Mary's School for the Deaf music video

September marks National Deaf Awareness Month and we bring you a story about students at St. Mary's School for the Deaf in Buffalo. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says they recently created an American Sign Language music video.  

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How Hwee Young/Reuters

The United State and China, the two nations with the most global warming emissions, have now ratified the landmark Paris Agreement, with other countries expected to follow suit.

US President Obama and Chinese President Xi formally ratified the Paris climate agreement as heads of state gathered at the G20 meeting in China earlier this month.

Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists, says this is a huge step toward implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Fracking companies in Pennsylvania want to expand their network of pipelines for the export of liquid by-products of natural gas, such as ethane and butane, which are used to make plastics — and to achieve this they are using the legal principle of eminent domain to seize private land.

The worst smallpox epidemic in Boston history was a turning point for control of the ferocious disease in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It also helped launch America's first independent newspaper and set the stage for the American Revolution.

That's according to a new book called "The Fever of 1721," by Stephen Coss. 

The Future of the Ecological Landscape

Sep 20, 2016

Host Jeff Young looks at the next decade of our planet. Jared Diamond, author of "Collapse," says our "present consumption rates just can't be sustained." But urban farmer Will Allen suggests that mounting food demands can be met by growing food everywhere  ? in vacant buildings, on rooftops, asphalt, and on concrete. And Camille Parmesan, biology professor at University of Texas-Austin, suggests that the survival of wildlife may depend on our willingness to transport creatures out of the path of climate disruption.


Highly polluted air is bad for your health — and that's particularly true when it's air full of small particles from coal-fired power plants, as studies going back for years have shown.

But just how bad? For the first time, there's a study that actually quantifies how many years of life expectancy are lost based on a given amount of particulate exposure.

The typically brilliant colors of fall may soon become the latest casualty of the severe drought affecting Rochester and other parts of Western and Central New York.

Plants cool when water evaporates from their leaves. When there is little or no rain, that process shuts down.

This is your brain on parasites

Sep 18, 2016

Parasites. They range from microscopic bacteria and viruses to 50-foot long tapeworms. They've been living on and in their host organisms for millions of years. They are rather disgusting to think about, but the world would be a drastically different place without them.

Writer Kathleen McAuliffe’s recent book, "This Is Your Brain On Parasites," describes some of the many ways these creatures manipulate their hosts’ behavior to ensure their survival and successful reproduction.

A band of protesters in New Orleans recently tried to block the government auction of oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico. They failed to stop the event, but it turned out the auction was a flop anyway.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management refused to cancel the sale of leases, but only 24 out of 4,400 leases were actually taken up and a record low $18 million in revenue was offered.

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