Environment

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It's Maple Weekend across New York State. This weekend and next weekend, you can take your family to the country to learn about and sample one of New York's most important agricultural products. WBFO's Howard Riedel spoke with Greg Zimpfer, one of the co-founders of Maple Weekend.


EPA.gov

Buffalo's Common Council is starting to look at some kind of ban on those Styrofoam "clamshell" containers that fast food restaurants and other food outlets use to keep food warm as it is taken away.

A wall along the southern border of the United States will disturb critical wildlife habitats, block migration routes for animals already stressed by climate change and could possibly lead to extinction for some rare and endangered species, according to environmental experts.

WBFO file photo

The New York State Senate began a series of hearings on climate change Tuesday. Democrats who lead the chamber back a measure to eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions in New York by 2050, but that may come into conflict with a program being pushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In the United States, a deed is defined as a binding legal document that grants you ownership over a house or a piece of land until you sell or pass that property on to your heirs. But at any time, the government can use its power of eminent domain to take that property for a project that it considers to be for the greater public good.

The problem is, not everyone agrees on what the public good is, especially when the public good involves government seizure of private property.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The Cuomo administration's top environmental conservation officer isn't resigning after all.

As people from Guatemala and Honduras continue to seek sanctuary in the US for a variety of reasons, including violence and poverty, another factor driving their migration has gotten much less attention: climate disruption.

Many members of the migrant "caravans" that made headlines during the 2018 US midterm elections are fleeing a massive drought that has lasted for five years.

Brian Mann / NCPR

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing controversial changes to the way the state’s Environmental Protection Fund works. For 30 years, the EPF has served as an investment fund for environmental projects, everything from sewer systems in small towns to historic land purchases in the Adirondacks. Now state officials want to divert part of the fund to pay the salaries of employees. Critics hope to block the move.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

There was a large, state long-arm excavator digging away in Buffalo Creek Sunday, as Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and West Seneca Supervisor Sheila Meegan talked to reporters about what was being done to make sure the thawing of snow and shifting of ice didn't create flooding in the town.

Take a dip in the woods: Scientists say ‘forest bathing’ is good for you

Jan 23, 2019

When is the last time you took a walk in the woods? Numerous studies suggest that taking in the peaceful atmosphere of a forest can have significant health benefits. Now, the practice of “forest bathing” is becoming more popular around the world.

When the United States government began a partial shutdown on Dec. 22, 2018, many national parks were left open without adequate personnel.

All across the country, facilities on public lands and at national monuments are critically understaffed when furloughed employees stay home, which leads to a host of problems: overflowing trash cans, illegal off-road driving, poaching of animals and plants, and theft of artifacts, as well as safety risks for park visitors.

Nancy Fischer

More and more women in New York are picking up rifles for the first time, joining a growing population of female hunters.


File Photo / WBFO News

Erie County Legislators voted Thursday to ask the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to seek Washington's much deeper pockets and ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to declare Tonawanda Coke a federal Superfund site and help pay for its cleanup.

Mike Desmond/WBFO

Tonawanda Coke may be closed and bankrupt, but their legacy remains. Scientists are trying to figure out what that legacy is.

Nick Lippa / WBFO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to see single-use plastic bags banned in New York State and is proposing a prohibition on them as part of his upcoming executive budget.

Demand for palm oil is booming. It’s a common ingredient in a wide variety of foods and household products, from cookies, bread and chocolate to soap and shampoo. But, as it turns out, the conversion of tropical forest into land for palm oil plantations has created huge risks for the entire planet.

The Paris agreement set a goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. Climate Action Tracker measures countries’ progress toward meeting this goal and the latest report finds that just two countries, The Gambia and Morocco, currently have policies that meet the 1.5-degree target.

The latest National Climate Assessment, assembled by 13 federal agencies, expressed the most serious warnings yet about the current climate impacts in the US and the likely scenarios in decades to come, yet the administration that created it seems to be doing its utmost to act contrary to its findings.

On Nov. 6, Deb Haaland, from the Pueblo of Laguna tribe in New Mexico, became one of the first two Native American women to be elected to Congress.

Congresswoman-elect Haaland previously chaired New Mexico’s Democratic party. Sharice Davids of the Ho-Chunk Nation in Kansas is also an incoming freshman in the House of Representatives. Both women are Democrats.

Why don't environmentalists vote?

Dec 25, 2018

According to the Environmental Voter Project, 20.1 million US registered voters say the environment or climate change is a top issue. But only a small portion of these "super-environmentalist" voters actually turn up at the ballot box to vote. What’s going on?

America’s throw-away culture has expanded in the last decade from everyday products and food to include consumer electronics — from iPhones to big-screen TVs. In response, a "Right to Repair" movement is now advocating for laws that allow people to fix the things they own.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Erie County is being urged to get into an energy conservation loan program, making loans to businesses and owner-occupied multiple unit housing.

The state’s Drinking Water Quality Council has issued what it considers to be safe levels for exposure to toxic chemicals, including PFOAs and PFOS that have been found in high quantities in some of New York’s drinking water supplies.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released the findings of an air quality study Monday, suggesting that benzene levels in the air dropped sharply in neighborhoods near the Tonawanda Coke site after the plant closed in October.

A  year and a half after President Donald Trump reversed an Obama administration decision to block TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, a federal district judge in Montana has halted the project again, citing an insufficient review of the project's environmental impact. 

In his ruling, Judge Brian Morris said “the Trump administration completely disregarded the climate effects of building the Keystone pipeline,” according to Vermont law professor Pat Parenteau.

File Photo / University at Buffalo

The University at Buffalo and auditors for New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli are in a fight over claimed bad security for hazardous materials, much worse than at Stony Brook and five other SUNY campuses.

When writer Isabella Tree, and her husband, Charlie Burrell, inherited an estate in West Sussex, England, they assumed they would continue to farm, as generations of family had before them. But the intensive agriculture of their predecessors grew increasingly difficult and they decided that farming was no longer a viable option. So they began to mull over another idea: Give the land back to nature and let it take its course.

The Camp and Woolsey fires in November 2018 engulfed hundreds of thousands of acres of land in a matter of hours and so far have claimed a record number of lives. And according to climate change scientists, the fire situation in California is likely only to worsen over time.

Of the 20 largest wildfires in California, 15 of them have occurred since the year 2000. One of the reasons is that temperatures have been rising since the start of the 21st century, says Glen MacDonald, director of the White Mountain Research Center and professor of geography at UCLA.

Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo

Freshwater mussels once filled the Great Lakes and all of its tributaries, only to have the population erode as the water went bad and overseas invasive species became a problem. However, research at the University at Buffalo is suggesting some mussels are recovering, as are the lakes.

On Oct. 18, amidst a host of ethics and corruption investigations, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke made a surprising announcement: Beginning Dec. 13, his department will begin to auction leases for offshore wind power in Massachusetts, with California and Rhode Island soon to follow.

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