Environment

No chemical used by farmers, it seems, gets more attention than glyphosate, also known by its trade name, Roundup. That's mainly because it is a cornerstone of the shift to genetically modified crops, many of which have been modified to tolerate glyphosate. This, in turn, persuaded farmers to rely on this chemical for easy control of their weeds. (Easy, at least, until weeds evolved to become immune to glyphosate, but that's a different story.) Glyphosate had been considered among the safest...

Health workers are piecing together a complicated puzzle in El Paso County, Colo. In January, three cities — Security, Fountain and Widefield — noticed synthetic chemicals known as PFCs in the drinking water. Historically, these compounds had been used to make products like carpet and firefighting foam. The Environmental Protection Agency has linked exposure to low birth weights, and even forms of cancer. And the Pentagon says it's examining hundreds of military base sites for possible...

During the Our Ocean conference in Washington, D.C., President Obama announced the creation of the first national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean. "We're protecting fragile ecosystems off the coast of New England, including pristine underseas canyons and seamounts," Obama said during his remarks . "We're helping make the oceans more resilient to climate change ... and we're doing it in a way that respects the fishing industry's unique role in New England's economy and history." The 4...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Health workers are piecing together a complicated puzzle in El Paso County, Colo. In January, three cities noticed synthetic chemicals in the drinking water known as PFCs. Historically these compounds have been used to make products such as carpets and specific firefighting foam. The Environmental Protection Agency has linked exposure to low birth weights and even forms of cancer. Grace Hood from Colorado Public...

The floods that hit Louisiana last month were caused by rainfall that was unlike anything seen there in centuries. Most of the southern part of the state was drenched with up to 2 or 3 inches in an hour. A total of 31 inches fell just northeast of Baton Rouge in about three days; 20 parishes were declared federal disaster areas. Climate scientists and flood managers suspect there could more like that to come — in Louisiana and in other parts of the country. There have always been...

From anthrax outbreaks in thawing permafrost to rice farms flooded with salty water, climate change seems to play a bigger and bigger role in global health each year. But sometimes it can be hard to grasp what all the numbers and stats mean. For instance, when scientists say the Earth's average surface temperature has gone up about 1 degree Celsius over the past 150 years or so, what does that really mean? Besides, hasn't the Earth's temperature always fluctuated? Now a cartoon from Randall...

The 10th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season was an odd one: When the National Weather Service announced the formation of Tropical Storm Julia in northeastern Florida on Tuesday night, it marked one of the few known instances of such a storm developing over land rather than open water. "The formation of a tropical storm while the center of circulation is over land is a bit unusual, but not unprecedented," Dennis Feltgen of the National Weather Service tells NPR. "It last occurred in...

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In North Dakota, work has stopped on one section of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline . Still, over the weekend protesters continued to stream into camps set up near the construction site. One protest camp is about an hour's drive south of Bismarck. A prairie there is covered with tepees, tents and RVs. Flags from tribes around the country line the dirt road into the camp. "We brought a ton of water, sleeping bags, mats to sleep on," says Jessie Weahkee of Albuquerque. She traveled 17...

Copyright 2016 Prairie Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Prairie Public Broadcasting .

Louisiana Flooding Swamps Agriculture

Sep 10, 2016

SCOTT SIMON, HOST: As Louisiana continues the clean-up of flood-damaged buildings and homes, farmers face another set of problems. Many corn, soybean, sugar and rice fields were flooded with several feet of water. As Tegan Wendland at member station WWNO reports, farmers are trying to figure out what comes next. TEGAN WENDLAND, BYLINE: In the flatlands of south-central Louisiana just past Lafayette, big trucks drive fast down the country roads. Debris is piled high outside of farmhouses hit...

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The Camp of the Sacred Stone is full of all manner of people — kids, elders, lawyers, laid-back hippies, and representatives of several Native American tribes — all gathered alongside the Standing Rock Sioux Nation to resist construction of a controversial oil pipeline that would cut across the American heartland. Since construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline brought protesters to the encampment in April, organizers say nearly 200 tribes have offered support. Celebrities, environmentalists...

A deadly fungus that's been devastating frog populations is spreading across the globe — it's helped drive the extinction of 200 species so far. In California, the chytrid fungus has moved inexorably across the Sierra Nevada, leaving thousands of frogs dead. But scientists are trying to turn the tide against the fungus with an experimental treatment, one that could matter to frogs worldwide. They're making a last-ditch effort to save the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog by immunizing it...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: There's an unexpected twist in the battle over a planned oil pipeline in North Dakota. A federal judge today ruled that construction could go forward despite protests by the nearby Standing Rock Sioux tribe. But then the Obama administration said it would step in. Sisk of Prairie Public Broadcasting is at the state capitol in Bismarck. There have been protests there against the pipeline. Amy, can you hear me? AMY...

A veteran Volkswagen employee has pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the carmaker's use of so-called "clean diesel" engines that actually cheated on U.S. emissions tests. Engineer James Robert Liang worked for VW in both Germany and the U.S. Liang pleaded guilty to criminal charges that he conspired to defraud the U.S., to commit wire fraud, and to violate the Clean Air Act; a grand jury indicted him three months ago, but that document was sealed until today. As part of the plea...

Construction on the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline is allowed to proceed, except in one area in North Dakota of particular sensitivity to a Native American tribe. That's the result of two separate developments Friday — a federal court decision, and a statement by three federal agencies. A federal judge denied the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's request for an injunction that sought to temporarily stop construction on the pipeline, set to carry crude oil across four states. Immediately after...

California is already on track to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Now under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, the state will ratchet up its fight against climate change by launching an ambitious campaign to scale back emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. "This is big, and I hope it sends a message across the country," Brown said. California reduced emissions by imposing limits on the carbon content of gasoline and diesel fuel,...

Alarmed Russians are sharing photos on social media of a Siberian river that has suddenly and mysteriously turned blood red. Russian authorities are trying to determine the cause of the ominous change to the Daldykan River, located above the Arctic Circle and flowing through the mining town of Norilsk. Photos posted on Facebook by the Association of the Indigenous Peoples of the Taimir Peninsula clearly show the river has turned a vivid red. As National Geographic reported , two major...

Thirteen months after an Environmental Protection Agency mistake sent millions of gallons of bright orange wastewater into a Colorado river, the agency has declared the Gold King Mine and 47 other locations in the region Superfund sites, Colorado Public Radio reports . "The Environmental Protection Agency accidentally spilled 3 million gallons of orange wastewater when studying the mine in August 2015. Many mines in the area drain thousands of gallons of water laced with heavy metals every...

A federal judge has granted part of a Native American tribe's emergency request to halt construction of a section of oil pipeline in North Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe fears the planned pipeline could contaminate its drinking water and sacred lands, as we've reported . The temporary restraining order is "a mixed victory for both sides," as The Bismarck Tribune wrote . In the motion filed Sunday, the tribe had sought protection for a larger area along the planned route for the Dakota...

Copyright 2016 Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations. To see more, visit Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations . RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: And we've been hearing a lot about the lead-contaminated water in Flint, Mich. In the city of East Chicago, Ind., it's not lead in the water that's the problem; it's lead in the soil. The Environmental Protection Agency is conducting tests, and local leaders have ordered 1,100 residents to move out. As Nick Janzen from Indiana Public Broadcasting reports, many...

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it does not oppose the temporary halt of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.8 billion oil pipeline slated to run through four states, including North Dakota. As we've reported , the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposes the pipeline because it fears it could disturb sacred sites and affect the drinking water. Earlier this summer, the tribe filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing that the Army...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: A mystery that's billions of years old could be answered by scientists researching one of the Great Lakes. The researchers are diving deep to explore these sinkholes with purple-colored mats of microbes in order to understand the role they play in oxygenating the planet. Ben Thorp with member station WCMU has the story. BEN THORP, BYLINE: About 2.4 billion years ago, oxygen first appeared on Earth in what's...

Lizards are expected to be hard hit by climate change — and a new study suggests it might be even worse for some lizards than scientists thought. Lizards are sensitive to global warming because they regulate their body temperature using the environment. They bask in the sun, and cool off in the shade. It's been predicted that about 40 percent of the world's lizard populations will die off by the year 2080, which means roughly 20 percent of lizard species will go extinct. That prediction was...

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After one of the strongest earthquakes ever to hit Oklahoma struck Saturday, state regulators ordered oil and gas companies to shut down all their wastewater disposal wells in a 725-square-mile area around the site of the quake's epicenter near Pawnee. The seismic activity immediately raised suspicions that it was linked to injection wells that oil and gas companies use as part of fracking and other operations. The 5.6-magnitude earthquake was felt in five states; it followed a string of...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: An earthquake rattled northern Oklahoma early Saturday morning with a magnitude 5.6, one of the strongest in the state's history. So far no fatalities have been reported, but people felt the quake as far away as St. Louis, Mo., Dallas, Texas, and even Memphis, Tenn. Now, Oklahoma has experienced a number of earthquakes this year, some of which have been linked to the underground disposal of wastewater from oil...

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