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Federal officials in the US have raised concerns about the type of tanker car that erupted in Lac Megantic since at least 1991.  Photo: Brian Mann
Federal officials in the US have raised concerns about the type of tanker car that erupted in Lac Megantic since at least 1991. Photo: Brian Mann

Train tanker cars that exploded in Lac Megantic "inadequate"

It's been nearly three months since an American-operated tanker train derailed and exploded in the town of Lac Megantic in eastern Quebec. The Montreal-Maine and Atlantic train was carrying a cargo of crude oil and other chemicals from oil fields in North Dakota. The massive explosions that followed killed forty-seven people.

In the weeks after the disaster, it has become clear that the clean-up and recovery effort in Lac-Megantic will be far more costly and challenging than once believed. Also, investigators in the US and Canada now acknowledge that there were deep concerns about the safety of the tanker cars used by the railroad.

Those fears first surfaced decades before this deadly accident occurred. Brian Mann has our special report.  Go to full article
David Sommerstein holds (and interviews a loon chick. Photo: Nancie Battaglia
David Sommerstein holds (and interviews a loon chick. Photo: Nancie Battaglia

Loons sound alarm on mercury pollution

Loons have enjoyed unprecedented population growth over the last 30 years. They outlived DDT and a time when people used to shoot loons for sport.

In the new issue of Adirondack Life on newsstands now, David Sommerstein has an article on how a study of loons finds that things could have been even better. The culprit is mercury pollution. Last summer, David joined researchers banding loons in the middle of the night near Old Forge and filed this story.  Go to full article
Photo: International Joint Commission
Photo: International Joint Commission

House committee restores Great Lakes cleanup funding

A federal program dedicated to environmental restoration and cleanup of the Great Lakes has escaped a massive budget cut.

A committee in the House of Representatives voted to amend a bill that would have slashed the program's funding. The move partially restores the fund to $210 million for fiscal year 2014.  Go to full article
The New York Air Brake industrial site has been the subject of resurgent concern for north side residents in Watertown. Photo: Joanna Richards
The New York Air Brake industrial site has been the subject of resurgent concern for north side residents in Watertown. Photo: Joanna Richards

DEC: We'll keep talking with Air Brake neighbors

At a packed public meeting November 7 in Watertown, state environmental and health officials spoke with members of the public concerned about pollution on the city's north side with the New York Air Brake plant at the center of concern.

Now, DEC officials say they're working with the information they got at the meeting and figuring out what might come next.  Go to full article
Photo: Nora Flaherty
Photo: Nora Flaherty

Cuomo eases dairy regulations to help grow yogurt industry

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to ease a key environmental regulation so that smaller dairy farmers can keep more cows, more easily. The governor says he'll also seek ways to help farms get lower cost energy, and help farmers sell energy back to the electrical grid.

The news that the threshold requiring farms to follow strict Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) rules will be raised came at the "yogurt summit" convened by the governor Wednesday at the State Capitol.  Go to full article
Archival photograph of blue green algae from the Vermont Department of Health
Archival photograph of blue green algae from the Vermont Department of Health

Toxic blue green algae plagues Lake Champlain

Health officials in New York and Vermont say there have already been at least two outbreaks of toxic blue-green algae on Lake Champlain. The first was reported last week near the Crown Point bridge. The second, reported Tuesday, forced closure of the public beaches in Port Henry. There have also been reports of outbreaks near Burlington and Missisquoi Bay. Brian Mann has details.  Go to full article
Robert Howrigan Junior on his Fairfax, VT dairy farm. The field behind him is prone to runoff.
Robert Howrigan Junior on his Fairfax, VT dairy farm. The field behind him is prone to runoff.

New USDA program to help VT farmers reduce phosphorus loading

Lake Champlain's Missisquoi Bay is plagued by phosphorus pollution. When hot weather comes, the pollution feeds potentially dangerous blue-green algae blooms.

Phosphorus is a common fertilizer, and the excess causing the local problems comes primarily from agricultural runoff. An international study has helped pinpoint the sources around the big bay, which spans the Vermont-Quebec border in the northeast corner of the lake.

Sarah Harris reports on a new USDA program that uses the targeted information to help farmers in the surrounding watershed change their methods and reduce pollution.  Go to full article
Climate change activists gather at Paul's Bakery in Upper Jay on Saturday. Photo: Chris Morris, courtesy Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Climate change activists gather at Paul's Bakery in Upper Jay on Saturday. Photo: Chris Morris, courtesy Adirondack Daily Enterprise

A personal connection to climate change

Nearly 40 people gathered at Paul Johnson's home in Upper Jay on Saturday to draw attention to the ways climate change has affected peoples' lives.

The event, called Connect the Dots, was part of Climate Impacts Day, which featured hundreds of similar gatherings worldwide. It was organized by local members of the international climate action organization 350.org, started by former Adirondack writer Bill McKibben. Chris Morris was there and has this report.  Go to full article
There was no vote so there was no representation.

Suit would block NY cap and trade carbon auctions

A political activist from western New York is suing the state over its involvement in a 10-state carbon-trading program.

Lisa Thrun heads up the grassroots campaign for the New York chapter of Americans for Prosperity. She's also the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the state's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Thrun's lawsuit alleges that cap-and-trade policies in New York are placing an undue burden on taxpayers. The suit also claims that lawmakers didn't get a chance to properly vet the state's commitment to the program.  Go to full article

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