Environment

NPR Story
5:25 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Rules Force Washington To Cut Emissions More Than Other States

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 7:46 am

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced strict new carbon emissions regulations. Washington state has the largest reduction target — about 72 percent overall.

The Two-Way
10:59 am
Tue June 10, 2014

With Concern For Environment, Illinois Bans Microbeads

Researcher Sherri Mason looks for microbeads in a water sample from Lake Michigan.
Cheryl Corley

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 1:27 pm

Illinois became the first state in the union to ban microbeads, the tiny bits of plastic found in consumer products like skin exfoliants and soap.

As NPR's Cheryl Corley reports, environmentalists say that when microbeads wash down the drain, they're usually missed by filtration systems, which means they become food to fish and other wildlife.

Cheryl filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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Around the Nation
3:47 am
Tue June 10, 2014

How Coal Industry Jobs Coexist With Rising Sea Levels In Virginia

Rough surf pounds a fishing pier as Tropical Storm Hanna passes through Virginia Beach, Va., in 2008. Virginia is dependent on coal mining but it also faces routine flooding from rising sea levels.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:49 am

Skip Stiles stands on the edge of a small inlet known as the Hague, near downtown Norfolk, Va. The Chrysler Museum of Art is nearby, as are dozens of stately homes, all threatened by the water.

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Law
6:20 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Supreme Court Rules Against Homeowners In Superfund Case

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that a federal law seeking to improve accountability for environmental spills and pollution can be circumvented by certain kinds of state laws.

The federal Superfund law supersedes state statutes of limitations. Instead the federal law dictates that lawsuits alleging environmental injury need only be filed when individuals either first learn or should have learned that they have been harmed. But what the court gave with one hand, it took away with the other, ruling that rare state statutes of another sort can limit lawsuits in a different way.

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The Salt
5:41 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Doughnut Day Downer: Palm Oil In Pastries Drives Deforestation

Doughnuts at a Krispy Kreme store in Washington, D.C. An environmental coalition says leading doughnut companies like Krispy Kreme source palm oil from suppliers who are clear-cutting rain forests and destroying wildlife habitat.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 7:29 pm

On National Doughnut Day, it's hard to imagine how our love of doughnuts might be contributing to deforestation halfway around the globe.

But here's the connection: You know that oily smudge left on your fingers after you polish off a doughnut? That's not just sugar. It's also palm oil.

The major doughnut retailers — from Dunkin' Donuts to Tim Hortons and Krispy Kreme — fry their sweet treats in palm oil, or in blends of oil that include palm oil.

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The Salt
12:27 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Can Farmed Fish Feed The World Without Destroying The Environment?

Carp are collected at a breeding farm near the Belarus village of Ozerny in November 2013. Researchers say there's a lot the aquaculture industry can do to be more efficient.
Viktor Drachev AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:19 am

We Americans love our fried shrimp, our sushi and our fish sticks. And a lot of other people around the world count on fish as a critical part of their diet, too. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, fish now accounts for almost 17 percent of the world's intake of protein — in some coastal and island countries it's as high as 70 percent.

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TED Radio Hour
9:34 am
Fri June 6, 2014

How Do You Make New York's Mean Streets A Little Nicer?

"When you build it they will come — we've seen quadrupling of bike commuting in New York City since 2000" — Janette Sadik-Khan
Ryan Lash TED

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Getting There.

About Janette Sadik-Khan's TEDTalk

Former New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan says cities can tackle the challenges of tomorrow by completely re-imagining our streets today.

About Janette Sadik-Khan

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TED Radio Hour
9:34 am
Fri June 6, 2014

If We Want to Live In Cities, Will We Have To Share Cars?

"If you live in a city and don't need a car to get to work, you're crazy to be owning one" — Robin Chase
Robert Leslie TED

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Getting There.

About Robin Chase's TEDTalk

Zipcar co-founder Robin Chase makes the case for car-sharing as the solution to global gridlock.

About Robin Chase

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TED Radio Hour
9:34 am
Fri June 6, 2014

How Does Henry Ford's Great-Grandson Envision The Future?

"This is the kind of technology that will merge millions of individual vehicles into a single system" — Bill Ford
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Getting There.

About Bill Ford's TEDTalk

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford describes how we can create a green future of smart roads and smart cars.

About Bill Ford

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TED Radio Hour
9:34 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Can The Sun Fuel A Flight Around The World?

"People will tell you it's impossible, and that's exactly why we try to do it" — Bertrand Piccard
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Getting There.

About Bertrand Piccard's TEDTalk

Explorer Bertrand Piccard explains why he's aiming to carry out an unprecedented mission: to circle the planet in a solar-powered airplane.

About Bertrand Piccard

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The Two-Way
3:34 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Wall Of Ice Surrounding Fukushima Will Contain Radioactive Water

Members of a local government council check an outlet of a so-called groundwater bypass system as they inspect the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station earlier this week.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 12:26 pm

Earlier this week, workers in Japan began constructing an underground "ice wall" around the melted-down nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The wall is designed to stop hundreds of tons of radioactive groundwater from leaking into the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Building a subterranean wall of ice sounds a little crazy. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel, who's been covering the story, says it is a little crazy — but not as far-fetched as it sounds.

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The Salt
11:54 am
Thu June 5, 2014

At 'Pestaurant,' Grasshopper Burgers Win Over Eaters Who Say 'Yuck'

A Grasshopper Burger topped with Mexican spice mealworms.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:17 am

If you're a scientist and you work for a pest control company, you're used to thinking about bugs as the enemy you're trained to kill.

Now try putting one in your mouth.

It took some mental rearranging for Nancy Troyano, an entomologist for Ehrlich Pest Control. But on Wednesday she did it for the first time in her life.

"I'm used to looking at grasshoppers under a microscope," Troyano tells The Salt. "I know what their internal organs and the spines on their legs look like, so I was kind of thinking about them."

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Asia
5:16 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Ice Wall May Stop Radioactive Leak At Japanese Nuclear Plant

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 4:02 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Earlier this week, workers in Japan began construction of an underground ice wall around the melted-down nuclear reactors at Fukushima. It is hard to even say that sentence without feeling like you're relating some science fiction tale. But it's true. The ice wall is designed to stop hundreds of tons of radioactive groundwater from leaking into the nearby Pacific Ocean. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel has been covering this story for a long time. Welcome back to the program.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: Thank you, nice to be here.

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Around the Nation
5:04 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

An Underwater Race To Transplant Miami's Rare Corals

Close-up of a star coral rescued by Coral Morphologic from a reef in Miami's shipping channel.
Courtesy of Coral Morphologic

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 7:18 pm

A lab just off Florida's Miami River has become the base for an unusual lifesaving operation.

A group of scientists there is on an urgent mission to save as many corals as it can before the marine creatures are destroyed as part of an underwater excavation of Miami's shipping channel. The channel — set to be dredged and deepened on Saturday — is home to a thriving coral reef.

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Business
4:08 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

New Pollution Rules Leave Utilities Frustrated, As Details Remain Up In Air

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 7:18 pm

The Obama administration has proposed rules for limiting greenhouse gases, but many of the details must still be set by states, leaving utilities unsure about specifics they'll be expected to achieve.

The Salt
12:40 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Hydroponic Tomatoes May One Day Be Tastier Than Ones Grown Outside

Hydroponic tomatoes are now just as tasty as tomatoes grown outside in perfect summer conditions, scientists say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 12:42 pm

Peak tomato season — July through September here on the East Coast — is almost upon us, and the anticipation is palpable. Before we know it, those super sweet, juicy fruits, grown outdoors under the hot sun, will be back in abundance.

We tend to fetishize summer tomatoes, especially heirloom varieties like Brandywine and Cherokee Purple, and regard them as the pinnacle of tomato flavor.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:03 am
Wed June 4, 2014

How Chocolate Might Save The Planet

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 12:11 pm

When you unwrap it, break off a piece and stick it in your mouth, it doesn't remind you of the pyramids, a suspension bridge or a skyscraper; but chocolate, says materials scientist Mark Miodownik, "is one of our greatest engineering creations."

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Business
7:57 am
Tue June 3, 2014

GOP Demonizes Once Favored Cap-And-Trade Policy

The Homer City Generating Station in Homer City, Pa. Republicans say the Environmental Protection Agency will kill jobs and raise electricity prices with new carbon emissions limits.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 6:04 pm

Republicans say the Environmental Protection Agency will kill jobs and raise electricity prices with new carbon emissions limits. But their tactics in fighting the proposed rules are targeting a policy that their own party championed during GOP presidencies.

Republicans are touting a letter signed by 41 GOP senators asking President Obama to withdraw what they call his "cap-and-trade rule."

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Environment
5:00 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Pa. Coal Area Worries Emission Rules Will Cost Economy Jobs

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 7:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, as we just heard, there is concern these new rules may hit coal communities hard. And let's spend some time in coal country now to listen to the reaction. Greene County, Pennsylvania, is in the southwest corner of the Keystone state - south of Pittsburgh, hugging the West Virginia border. One out of every five jobs there is linked to coal, but it's really part of the culture for everyone. Reid Frazier has this report, introducing us to the people of Greene County.

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Politics
5:00 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Environmentalists Hail Reduced Emission Rules, Others Criticize

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 7:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. President Obama's administration hopes his latest climate initiative will influence the United States long after he is gone.

GREENE: The president leaves office at the beginning of 2017, but the goal of the latest regulations is to sharply reduce emissions of gases linked to climate change by the year 2030. States would be given flexibility on how to meet the goals.

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The Two-Way
5:59 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Study: Americans Less Fearful Of Storms Named After Women

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed more than 25,000 homes in Florida. But its death toll was far less than "female" storms such as Audrey, Camille and Katrina.
Lynn Sladky AP

A study published Monday suggests Americans are less afraid of hurricanes with female names.

This is a real study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — not The Onion.

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State looked at deaths caused by hurricanes between 1950 — when storms were first named — and 2012.

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Business
5:21 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Will EPA's New Emission Rules Boost Your Power Bill? It Depends

A coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. The Environmental Protection Agency wants U.S. power plants to cut carbon pollution by 30 percent.
Matt Brown AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 8:26 pm

The issue of cost comes up repeatedly in the debate over climate change.

With the Obama administration's proposed rules for limiting greenhouse gases out Monday, critics and proponents alike claim they know how the plan will affect consumers' monthly budgets. The draft proposal aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

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Environment
4:36 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

With New EPA Rules, McCarthy Sees Economic Upside In Health Savings

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 6:50 pm

For more on the new pollution regulations, Robert Siegel speaks with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy about her agency's carbon emission plan.

Environment
4:36 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

EPA Lays Out Centerpiece To Obama's Climate Change Policy

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 6:50 pm

The Obama administration is announcing new pollution standards Monday. The rules, key elements of President Obama's climate change policy, may decide the fate of coal-fired power plants in the U.S.

The Two-Way
3:32 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

EPA Chief Says Greenhouse Gas Rules Will Save Country Billions

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signs new regulations targeting greenhouse gas emissions on Monday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 6:48 pm

New federal regulations that aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants will have a large economic upside, largely through health savings, says Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

"We are talking by 2030 having $90 billion in benefits," McCarthy told NPR's Robert Siegel in an interview airing on All Things Considered.

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The Two-Way
1:28 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Jacques Cousteau's Grandson Plans To Spend A Month Underwater

Fabien Cousteau sits inside Aquarius Reef Base in 2012. If he is able to remain under water for 31 days, he will have lasted one day longer than his grandfather, Jacques Cousteau.
Mark Widick AP

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 12:28 pm

Fabien Cousteau has been following in his grandfather Jacques Cousteau's flipper-steps for years — scuba diving around the world and making underwater documentaries of his own. Now he's seeking to break the elder oceanographer's record for the longest period of time spent underwater.

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The Two-Way
9:32 am
Mon June 2, 2014

EPA Unveils New Proposal Targeting Greenhouse Gases

The EPA is proposing rules that would govern carbon dioxide gas emissions by U.S. power plants. Here, coal is transported via conveyor belt to the coal-fired Jim Bridger Power Plant outside Point of the Rocks, Wyo., in March.
Jim Urquhart Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 11:52 am

New federal regulations announced Monday aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

The draft proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency has sparked opposition from industry groups who say the changes would be prohibitively expensive. But the proposal's backers say the rules are needed to cut carbon pollution that scientists say contributes to climate change.

Update at 10:45 a.m. ET: Proposed Rule Published

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Energy
6:20 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Even If Keystone Pipeline Rejected, Oil May Still Cross Neb. By Rail

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 11:01 am

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline has generated controversy, especially in Nebraska, where opposition to transporting crude from the oil sands of Canada has delayed a national decision on the project.

Politics
5:11 am
Mon June 2, 2014

EPA To Propose Rules To Deeply Cut Power Plant Emissions

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 9:39 am

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency will propose rules to regulate the amount of carbon pollution existing facilities can release. The EPA reportedly is seeking a 30 percent cut.

Environment
7:46 am
Sun June 1, 2014

Obama To Wield Executive Power To Limit Carbon Emissions

Originally published on Sun June 1, 2014 12:47 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As we just heard, tomorrow, the Environmental Protection Agency will announce new regulations aimed at cutting carbon pollution. To hear more about that, we're joined by Michael Oppenheimer. He's a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University. These regulations are the president's most ambitious plan yet to combat climate change. Professor Oppenheimer, from your vantage point, how significant is this announcement?

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