Environment

Environment
4:19 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

New Renewable Energy Rules Face an Uphill Battle

Concord Steam has been in operation since 1938. Originally it was the heat plant for the State Hospital, but now it heats and powers parts of the downtown.
Sam Evans-Brown

 

The New Hampshire legislature is considering a bill that would expand the state’s renewable portfolio standards. That means more money to subsidize renewable energy.

Supporters say the measure is a real boost to the state’s wood industries, but critics doubt whether the new subsidies are worth the price.

There’s a little something for everyone in the new Renewable Portfolio Standards.

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Environment
3:03 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Great Bay Area Communities Sue State Over Water Quality Issues

Amy Quinton, NHPR

A coalition of Great Bay area communities is suing the state and the Department of Environmental Services, claiming DES failed to follow proper rules when determining water quality standards in the Great Bay.

Dover, Portsmouth, Rochester, Exeter and Newmarket claim DES violated state and federal law by not conducting a formal public process when determining water quality standards in the Great Bay.

As a result, the communities say they face unnecessary multi-million dollar wastewater treatment upgrades.

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Environment
2:20 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Anti-Nuclear Groups Excluded From Seabrook Re-licensing Process

Jim Richmond

Anti-Nuclear groups are angered by a decision of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to exclude them from the re-licensing process for the Seabrook Nuclear Plant. 

A number of groups filed for intervener status so that they could file objections to the plant's extension of its operation to 2050. The coalition of environmental organizations planned to argue that renewable energy resources, such as wind power, could ultimately replace nuclear power. But the NRC ruled that their argument lacked merit, because that replacement power isn't available now.

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Looking Up: Pockets of Economic Strength
12:01 am
Tue March 13, 2012

Record-High Food Prices Boost Farmers' Bottom Lines

An Illinois farmer checks the blades on his combine while harvesting corn last October. The value of the 2011 U.S. corn crop was more than $76 billion.
Seth Perlman AP

Part of a series

Thanks to high commodity prices and surging productivity, U.S. farmers earned a net income of nearly $98 billion last year — a record, according to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

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Planet Money
12:01 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Meet Claudia, The High-Tech Cow

Technology at rest.
Adam Davidson NPR

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

Here's the secret of the modern dairy farm: The essential high-tech advances aren't in machinery. They're inside the cow.

Take a cow like Claudia. She lives at Fulper Farms, a dairy farm in upstate New Jersey. Claudia is to a cow from the 1930s as a modern Ferrari is to a Model T.

In the 1930s, dairy farmers could get 30 pounds of milk per day from a cow. Claudia produces 75 pounds a day.

To appreciate a cow like Claudia, you have to know where to look.

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Rebuilding Japan
12:01 am
Thu March 8, 2012

With Radiation, Doubt Grows In Fukushima Farms

A woman picks carrots on her farm as she explains her fears that no one will buy them since the radiation fallout in March 2011 in Fukushima, Japan. A year later, challenges persist for farmers in the region.
Wally Santana AP

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 4:00 pm

The mountain village of Kawauchi lies partly inside the area deemed unsafe because of high levels of radiation in Japan's Fukushima prefecture. Chiharu Kubota uses a high-pressure water gun to hose down buildings there.

Radiation is still leaking from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns immediately after last year's earthquake and tsunami.

'Nothing Is Better'

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Around the Nation
4:24 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

Settlement Only The First Step In BP's Legal Woes

A cross with the words "Promises Made"-- referring to statements from BP and government officials — stands in front of a pile of crosses symbolizing things that were impacted by the spill, in a front yard in Grand Isle, La.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Sat March 3, 2012 5:09 pm

Oil giant BP has agreed to settle thousands of lawsuits stemming from its well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

The deal was announced late Friday and prompted a federal judge in New Orleans to postpone a Monday trial, but the proposed settlement solves only one piece of BP's legal exposure from the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

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Environment
4:32 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Westinghouse Faces Fines for Alleged Worker Safety Violations

WBUR Flickr

A Westinghouse plant in Newington New Hampshire is facing $82,000 in fines for workplace safety violations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Westinghouse Electric for allegedly exposing workers to hexavalent chromium at its stainless steel component manufacturing facility in Newington.

In response to a complaint, an OSHA inspection found that employees performing welding work were exposed to airborne concentrations of the carcinogen in excess of permissible limits.

Hexavalent chromium can cause damage to eyes and skin upon contact.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:44 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Expert Panel To Give Controversial Bird Flu Research A Second Look

An health official wearing protective gear culls a bird at a poultry farm after a naturally occurring bird flu virus was detected near Agartala, India, in January.
Sushanta Das AP

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 8:34 pm

Two controversial studies on bird flu will once again be reviewed by an expert committee that advises the government on what to do with biological research that could pose potential dangers.

The move is just the latest development in a fierce ongoing debate about genetically altered flu viruses created in laboratories at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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U.S.
3:57 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

What Happens If The Keystone XL Pipeline Isn't Built?

A mock oil pipeline near Cushing, Okla.
Brent Baughman/NPR

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:56 am

Part two of a two-part series on the Keystone XL pipeline

Gas isn't like a rare bottle of wine that fetches a high price just because it's rare. But at the same time, no one can agree what drives gas prices. Demand for gasoline in the U.S. is at its lowest point in more than a decade; domestic oil production is at an eight-year high.

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Science
5:01 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Climate Scientist Admits To Lying, Leaking Documents

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 10:30 pm

Peter Gleick is not just any scientist. He got his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley and won a MacArthur "genius" award. He is also an outspoken proponent of scientific evidence that humans are responsible for climate change.

And earlier this week, he confessed that he had lied to obtain internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a group that questions to what extent climate change is caused by humans.

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Around the Nation
8:31 am
Thu February 16, 2012

BP's Oil Slick Set To Spill Into Courtroom

Docks on the Bon Secour River sit idle nearly two years after the BP oil spill. The small fishing village of Bon Secour, Ala., is still suffering the lingering effects of the spill, despite government monitoring and assurances that Gulf seafood is not contaminated.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 10:53 am

A federal court in New Orleans is preparing for one of the largest and most complex environmental lawsuits ever to come to court. It stems from the worst oil disaster in U.S. history: the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig nearly two years ago and the resulting oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.

Testimony is scheduled to begin at the end of the month. The case combines more than 500 lawsuits in one proceeding designed to determine who's responsible for what went wrong.

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Environment
6:00 am
Sat February 4, 2012

Rise

photo: Rise

RISE takes listeners on a journey of the San Francisco Bay: underneath the surface to swim with harbor seals and phytoplankton, overhead to soar with a million migratory birds, and along the coast to explore marshlands and skyscrapers that ring the Bay. On the way, this program addresses the impact of climate change. Projected sea level rise, snow pack melt and increased storm surges threaten to flood the Bay’s coastlines, including roads and airports, shoreline cities, the Financial District and Delta farmlands.

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Environment
12:01 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Cleaner Air In L.A. Ports Comes At A Cost To Truckers

A truck passes shipping containers at China Shipping at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, the busiest port complex in the U.S., near Long Beach, Calif. Stricter emissions standards have cut down on air pollution from the trucks, which has been one of the most significant sources of air pollution in California for many years.
David McNew Getty Images

The twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the busiest in the nation. They also have some of the dirtiest air, thanks to thousands of cargo trucks that pass through each day.

But this month marks the beginning of a new era, as tighter emissions standards go into effect.

'100 Percent Clean Energy'

A common trope in environmental stories is to put things in terms of jobs vs. the environment. But that's not what happened in the case of the ports.

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Energy
5:53 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

Pro-Pipeline Canada To Americans: Butt Out, Eh?

OurDecision.ca campaign, which calls on Canadians to write to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver asking him to ban foreigners and "their local puppet groups" from appearing before ongoing public hearings for a new pipeline project. " href="/post/pro-pipeline-canada-americans-butt-out-eh" class="noexit lightbox">
A screen shot from Ethical Oil's OurDecision.ca campaign, which calls on Canadians to write to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver asking him to ban foreigners and "their local puppet groups" from appearing before ongoing public hearings for a new pipeline project.
OurDecision.ca

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 10:28 pm

Yet another foreign government has accused Americans of meddling in its internal affairs. It says U.S. donors are bankrolling local political activists, and it may be time for a crackdown on the political influence of outsiders.

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