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NCPR News Staff: The Environment Report

Stories filed by The Environment Report


A new climate conference

With no legally-binding agreement in Copenhagen, there's now talk of another global warming conference next summer in Mexico City. Lester Graham has more on that.  Go to full article

Hydrofracking spurs natural gas boom

A new drilling method called hydrofracking has opened up previously inaccessible natural gas fields all over the country - including what's known as the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and New York's southern tier.

It's fueling a boom in natural gas production. But the water-dependent technique is generating controversy. Environmentalists are urging the states to adopt stricter regulation of natural gas drilling. That's partly because right now, hydrofracking is exempt from almost all federal regulations.

But as Samara Freemark reports, legislation currently moving through Congress would change that:  Go to full article

On-line guide for smart shopping

There's a new way for consumers to find out more about the products they buy. Samara Freemark has the story of a new online guide that lets you look up how good products are for you and for the environment.  Go to full article

Scavengers in dire straights

For most people, the slow spiral of gathering vultures means that some unlucky animal has died. Others appreciate their beautiful soaring flight, despite their bald, homely faces. Turkey, or black, vultures are seen more regularly in the North Country in the last decade, but in some regions of the world, vulture populations are dying. An American scientist is part of an international effort to save these massive scavengers. Ann Murray has the story.  Go to full article

Clearing up cap-and-trade

Congress is considering restricting carbon emissions causing climate change with a cap-and-trade scheme. But, recent polls show only a handful of people have heard of cap-and-trade. Even fewer understand what it is. Lester Graham reports cap-and-trade is not new.  Go to full article

The status of the smart grid

Your power bill likely will change in the next few years. Lester Graham reports there's a good chance you'll be thinking about how much electricity you use and when you'll use it.  Go to full article

Predicting the next outbreak

A new coalition wants to set up an early warning system for diseases that pass between animals and humans. Samara Freemark reports some research institutions and conservation groups are launching the PREDICT program.  Go to full article

Big companies fight back on river clean-ups

The Environmental Protection Agency was to be in Ft Edward last night for an information session on the dredging of PCB-laden sediment from the Hudson River. The $780 million project is expected to take six years. It's the biggest clean up of a river in the country. The first phase of the cleanup concluded in October.

PCBs are considered probable carcinogens. General Electric plants in Fort Edward and neighboring Hudson Falls dumped PCB-contaminated wastewater into the Hudson for decades before PCBs were banned in 1977. GE has been doing the clean up, supervised by the EPA. They'll review this past summer's work over the winter. The next dredging work is expected in 2011.

GE fought the plan to dredge PCBs for years. Spokesman Mark Behan told the Albany Times Union the company has not committed to continue to pay for the clean up when dredging resumes.

A fight over dioxin pollution from a Dow Chemical plant in central Michigan also dates back over 30 years. It's a local issue that's made national news, like the Hudson River PCBs. And it's still unresolved, despite administration changes, Congressional hearings, and whistle-blower awards. Shawn Allee met the man who first took the issue to Congress and who feels it should make news again.  Go to full article
The pod docked at the Worlds Fair Marina in Queens. Photo: Samara Freemark
The pod docked at the Worlds Fair Marina in Queens. Photo: Samara Freemark

On board the "Waterpod"

So, maybe you think you do good by the environment. Maybe you buy local, maybe you go to the farmers' market, maybe you even walk to work. But you've probably got nothing on the crew aboard the Waterpod, a converted barge anchored in New York City. Samara Freemark went to the Pod to see just how sustainably people can live.  Go to full article

Fewer Americans see evidence of global warming

A new survey indicates fewer people think global warming is a serious problem. Lester Graham reports many still think companies should reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Go to full article

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