Environment | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Environment

Matt Henry photos / Creative Commons

The state’s commissioner of energy and environmental protection said Wednesday that Connecticut is being forced to invest in natural gas plants it doesn’t want or need.

NOAA / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A federal appeals court has upheld the creation of the Atlantic Ocean’s first marine national monument. It’s the latest judicial validation for an Obama-era decision, which was praised by environmentalists.

Paddy Abramowicz

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday in support of a bill to aggressively police a family of “forever” chemicals, but the bill faces an uphill battle to become law. 

vladdythephotogeek / Creative Commons

Connecticut and two other states have withdrawn a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency. At issue was pollution from Pennsylvania and Virginia blowing into the Northeast.

These are specially designed wheelchair accessible garden beds.
Irene Scott / AusAID

Many gardeners are tired of bending, kneeling and squatting to garden. If you're looking for a better way to garden that's easier on your back and legs, try elevated raised beds.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The head of a trash-to-energy plant in Hartford says its ability to stay operational is “in doubt.” 

Jarrod Carruthers / Creative Commons

A major U.S. insurer headquartered in Connecticut said it will cut ties with certain fossil fuel companies. The Hartford said in December that it will no longer invest in or provide insurance coverage to companies that generate more than a quarter of their revenues from coal mining or the extraction of oil from tar sands.

As we enter a new year, what new vegetable varieties should you try growing?
julie (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Happy New Year. I'm looking forward to another outstanding gardening year. To kick it off, I make lists of new vegetable varieties to try. Here are a few that caught my eye!

Paddy Abramowicz

Federal officials have earmarked more than $250 million to address concerns related to PFAS chemical contamination. The money was set aside as part of a spending package approved by Congress earlier this month, but it’s unclear what impact the dollars will have locally.

Fungi aficionados can easily grow mushrooms indoors.
Dominick Guzzo (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Collecting wild mushrooms is a great treat, if you go with an experienced veteran who can distinguish good fungi from bad fungi. You can also cultivate your own mushrooms outdoors in beds, but that takes time. To get a quick fix of the taste of wild mushrooms without hunting or cultivating, grow them from kits indoors.

Cathy Malin / RiverQuest

They are one of our most recognizable national symbols, but have you ever seen a bald eagle in the wild? This hour we head out of the studio and into the field to see these birds of prey in their natural habitat--right here in Connecticut! We take you along with us on a Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruise down the Connecticut River to view these majestic birds, who nearly faced extinction in this state just a few decades ago.  

UnconventionalEmma / Creative Commons

Richard Cowles said owning a Christmas tree farm is magical. 

Anthurium, also known as the flamingo flower.
Bernard Spragg. NZ (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Many people are growing houseplants again to create a lush, green oasis in their home or apartment. But it doesn't have to just be green houseplants. There are new varieties of easy-to-grow houseplants that feature colorful leaves and flowers and some even grow in low-light conditions. Here are some of the best.

Diliff / Wikimedia Commons

Amid the constant discussion of Connecticut residents leaving the state, the shoreline may soon be home to five new residents: Beluga whales. 

Mystic Aquarium has petitioned the federal government for permission to import five captive belugas to join its wildlife on display. Mystic says the move would help research to aid conservation efforts. But critics say the proposal is not only hazardous for the whales but also against US law. 

And later: as oceans warm due to climate change, what will the future of marine life conservation look like?

As Conn. Debates, Mass. Sets New Limits On Toxic PFAS Chemicals

Dec 16, 2019
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has released new draft regulations to limit toxic PFAS chemicals in drinking water supplies. The regulations will set the combined limit for six PFAS chemicals at 20 parts per trillion.

Even though red still dominates the poinsettia market, new varieties are coming out.
Debbie R (Flickr) / Creative Commons

In 1828, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, could never have imagined the impact he'd have on the holidays by simply bringing back a local plant to the United States.

kateausburn / Creative Commons

After years of debate, a solar array spread over more than 130 acres in Simsbury is operational and producing power. Representatives for the Tobacco Valley Solar Farm notified the state Siting Council in a letter Tuesday. 

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

When we think about animals that inhabit the cold New England ocean, sharks, seals, or lobsters may spring to mind. But there’s another critter lurking in the deep off our coast, and it’s one that may hold valuable secrets that could help its tropical cousins.

And you may not have even known that it’s actually an animal: coral. 

Terrarium
J E Koonce (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Holiday gift shopping is in full gear. It's always a challenge getting the right gift for gardening friends and family. Some gardening items, such as gloves and hand tools, are very personal. I usually avoid giving those. But here are a few items I think any gardener will appreciate.

On "good" bad days, the shells lie open at the bottom of the river, shimmering in the refracted sunlight. Their insides, pearl white and picked clean of flesh, flicker against the dark riverbed like a beacon, alerting the world above to a problem below.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The city of Bridgeport is the big winner in the state’s latest offshore wind acquisition. “Park City Wind,” a proposal from developer Vineyard Wind, was selected by state officials Thursday and is being billed as the largest purchase of renewable energy in state history. 

Nicole Leonard

The town of Canton said water at Cherry Brook Primary School is safe to drink after a recent scare over chemical contamination.

Schools Superintendent Kevin Case said this week that testing indicates two wells that feed the school are not contaminated with a family of chemicals called per and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

Dave Sizer / Creative Commons

Delegates from almost 200 countries have begun a two-week international climate conference in Madrid that seeks to step up efforts to stop global warming.

The summit attracted country delegations, along with NGOs and nonprofits from around the world. More than a dozen students from UConn are also attending.

A few weeks back, I found myself being pelted with snow, on an unnamed ridge, high above the aptly named Roaring River in central Idaho.

My eyes peeled for elk, I was trudging behind a friend with a rifle in one hand, trying not to trip on the trail-less mountainside.

How did I get here?

PFAS-filled aqueous film forming foam in the brook behind Paddy Abramowicz’s home in Windsor, Connecticut.
Paddy Abramowicz

After a B-17 plane crashed at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, some of the PFAS in the firefighting foam washed out of the airport and into nearby communities.

A few days after the crash, Paddy Abramowicz, who lives a 5-minute drive from the airport, says she was walking by the brook in her backyard when she saw piles of firefighting foam more than 10 feet high.

"It looked like a washing machine had exploded,” says Abramowicz, “and it was coming over both banks of the brook.”

Tony Webster / Creative Commons

The state’s top prosecutor said four so-far unissued reports on fatal police shootings in the Hartford Judicial District are “untimely.” But in a memo to the state’s Criminal Justice Commission, Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane said the delays “may be understandable,” and he doesn’t recommend that Hartford State’s Attorney Gail Hardy be fired.

Growers have figured out a way to get an amaryllis bulb to grow without soil, water or fertilizer.
Gerard Stolk (Flickr) / Creative Commons

As December approaches, it’s time to think about gift giving. One of the flowers of the season is the amaryllis. This bulb is a beautiful holiday symbol adding color and brightness during these dark, short days.

Cruelty to animals is now a federal crime under a new law signed by President Trump on Monday.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) is a bipartisan initiative that bans the intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impalement or other serious harm to "living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians."

The law also bans "animal crush videos," meaning any photograph, motion picture film, video or digital recording or electronic image that depicts animal cruelty.

Tamarack tree
Cindy Zackowitz (Flickr) / Creative Commons

November isn't known for colorful fall leaves in Connecticut, but there's one tree that always impresses me as it's the last to drop its foliage. The larch or tamarack tree is unusual. It has needles like a pine, but it's deciduous and drop its needles in winter. The late fall golden color is striking especially since is occurs after all the other deciduous leaves have fallen.

Jiri Nedorost / Creative Commons

Gun season for deer hunting in Connecticut begins Wednesday.

 

Over the past few years, the state has expanded its hunting seasons and relaxed deer hunting restrictions.

Pages