Environment

Law
2:17 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Legendary D.C. Law Firm To Pay Chevron In Ecuador Pollution Case

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 9:04 am

A long-running legal battle between a legendary Washington law and lobbying firm and a major oil company has been settled.

D.C.-based Patton Boggs has agreed to pay Chevron $15 million to settle a case that centers on pollution from drilling activity in the rainforests of Ecuador.

The case has gone on for more than four years, and the stakes were enormous for the two powerhouses.

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Environment
6:04 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

When Colleges Ditch Coal Investments, It's Barely A Drop In The Bucket

Some universities have stopped investing in coal companies, but many others don't see the point. An aerial view of the Coal Hollow Mine in Utah in 2012.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:59 am

If the students at Stanford University believe they sent the coal industry a strong message this week, they should think again. The school's decision to eliminate coal from its portfolio did not send shock waves through the industry. In fact, representatives say it will have no financial impact on the industry at all. Nor will it curb the growing demand around the world for coal-generated electricity.

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Environment
5:11 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Stanford Dumps Its Holdings In Coal, With Climate In Mind

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:59 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
11:16 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Stanford University Says No To Coal Investments

Stanford University's trustees says the school will rid itself of any investments it has made in coal-producing companies. A 2013 file photo shows coal being loaded onto a truck at a mine near Decker, Montana.
Matthew Brown AP

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 11:24 am

Stanford's trustees say the school will no longer invest in companies that mine coal, joining about a dozen other colleges that have taken the step. The decision cited alternate energy sources that emit less greenhouse gases.

Stanford will liquidate any current holdings in coal-producing companies, the school says. Of the schools that have divested, it's by far the largest.

"Stanford wouldn't say how much it currently invests in coal companies," NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports. "Its total endowment was just shy of $19 billion last year."

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Politics
5:06 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Obama Sounds Alarm Bell On Climate Change. Is Anyone Listening?

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 8:47 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Everybody makes conversation about the weather. And today that includes President Obama. He's appearing on three network TV shows to discuss a new government report on climate change. It's on a day when the president also visits Arkansas to survey the damage from last week's tornadoes.

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Environment
5:34 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

White House Report Says Climate Change Is Here And Now

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:04 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Climate change is not a future problem for faraway places; it's affecting Americans now. This comes from a U.S. government report out today. NPR's Elizabeth Shogren says it also shows that choices people make now will have big ramifications for future generations.

ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: The National Climate Assessment is the government's take on the latest science about climate change. This is the third one and its message is clear.

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Environment
5:34 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Report: Climate Change Creates Public Health Costs

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 11:01 pm

Melissa Block speaks with Brian Stone, director of the Urban Climate Lab at Georgia Institute of Technology, about the public health effects of climate change.

Environment
5:34 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Despite Warnings On Warming, Public Response Remains Lukewarm

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 11:35 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Here's a warning about global climate change: Humanity's influence on the global climate will grow in the coming century. Increasingly, there will be significant climate-related changes that will affect each one of us. We must begin now to consider our responses, as the actions taken today will affect the quality of life for us and future generations.

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The Two-Way
3:33 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Scientists Help Galapagos Finches Get Rid Of A Nasty Nest Pest

A Darwin finch in the Galapagos. The subfamily that is unique to the islands has been threatened by an invasive parasite that first appeared in 1997.
Education Images UIG via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 6:52 pm

The diminutive Galapagos finches had a problem: The larvae of a parasitic nest fly were killing off their hatchlings.

A scientist, with the help of crowdfunding, had a solution: offer the birds insecticide-laced nest-building material.

It worked.

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Environment
3:35 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Drought-Stricken Texas Town Turns To Toilets For Water

After three years of drought, the water has receded from a dock at Lake Arrowhead State Park near Wichita Falls, Texas.
Larry W. Smith EPA /Landov

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 1:07 pm

The city of Wichita Falls, Texas, may soon become the first in the country where half of the drinking water comes directly from wastewater.

Yes, that includes water from toilets.

The plan to recycle the water became necessary after three years of extreme drought, which has also imposed some harsh restrictions on Wichita Falls residents, says Mayor Glenn Barham.

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Environment
3:31 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Monterey Bay An 'Ocean Buffet Open For Business' This Spring

Three humpback whales surge upward, gulping the silvery anchovies that have been in abundance in Monterey Bay this spring.
Kate Spencer Fast Raft Nature Tours

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 10:34 am

Monterey Bay on California's central coast rests atop one of the largest underwater canyons in the world. It's deeper than the Grand Canyon, making it possible for lots of ocean life — including humpback whales, orcas, dolphins and sea lions — to be seen extremely close to shore. That is, given the right circumstances. Lately, the right circumstances have converged, and there's more marine and wildlife in the bay than anyone's seen in recent memory.

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The Two-Way
8:44 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

USGS: Okla. At Increased Risk Of 'Damaging Quake'

A map showing seismic activity in Oklahoma since 1970.
United States Geological Survey

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 4:55 pm

The U.S. Geological Survey says the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has gone up dramatically in recent months and that the surge in seismic activity has increased the danger of a damaging quake in the central part of the state.

The USGS and Oklahoma Geological Survey issued a joint statement on Friday, citing a dramatic spike in magnitude-3.0 temblors, especially since October 2013.

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Business
4:53 pm
Sun May 4, 2014

Climate Change Warming Up Business In The Arctic

Originally published on Sun May 4, 2014 6:19 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

And if you're just joining us, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath. Climate change is melting polar ice at an alarming rate. While this terrifies many people, especially those living near sea level, some businesses are seeing an opportunity, a big opportunity. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the year-round ice cover in the Arctic is now half the size it was in the 1980s. And previously inaccessible natural resources are now there for the taking.

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The Salt
7:18 am
Sat May 3, 2014

Organic Farming Factions Spat Over Synthetic Substances

The National Organic Standards Board voted to no longer allow farmers to use the antibiotic streptomycin on organic apple and pear trees.
Jeff Haynes AFP/Getty Images

Here in the news biz, we rely on thumbnail descriptions, sparing you the details. We'll tell you, for instance, that organic farmers aren't allowed to use synthetic pesticides and factory-made fertilizer.

In general, that's true. But there's also a long list of pesky exceptions to the rule. And this week, a battle erupted over those exceptions: the synthetic or factory-made substances that organic farmers are still allowed to use because the farmers say they couldn't survive without them.

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Law
3:51 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Texas Family's Nuisance Complaint Seen As Win Against Fracking

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 5:22 pm

A Dallas jury recently awarded nearly $3 million to a family who said they were poisoned by a natural gas drilling operation near their North Texas ranch. The verdict, reached on April 22, is being called a landmark by opponents of the drilling technique, called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."

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It's All Politics
6:06 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Nino's No-No: Justice Scalia Flubs Dissent In Pollution Case

Whether the error in Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's recent dissent was originally his fault or a clerk's doesn't make it less cringeworthy.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 7:28 pm

All of us who write for a living know what it's like to completely forget something you wrote 13 years ago.

But when a Supreme Court justice pointedly cites the facts in a decision he wrote, and gets them exactly wrong, it is more than embarrassing. It makes for headlines among the legal cognoscenti.

I'm not sure I rank as one of the cognoscenti, but here's my headline for Justice Antonin Scalia's booboo: "Nino's No-No."

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The Salt
3:07 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Smiting The Mite To Save The Bees (And The Crops They Pollinate)

Wild bees, such as this Andrena bee visiting highbush blueberry flowers, play a key role in boosting crop yields.
Left photo by Rufus Isaac/AAAS; Right photo courtesy of Daniel M.N. Turner

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 5:05 pm

How do you like them apples, apricots, blueberries, almonds and peaches? They all depend on bees for pollination.

But over the last several years, a massive number of bee colonies have died, putting beekeepers, farmers and scientists in a bit of a panic.

They've come up with a lot of reasons why colonies are collapsing and dwindling.

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NPR Story
5:05 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Concerns Raised Over Exporting Liquefied Natural Gas

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 8:22 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the U.S. may soon be a big exporter of natural gas. Some say that would boost America's economy and its strength on the world stage. But there are also worries that environmental risks presented by this new industry are not being taken seriously enough. NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports.

ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: Right now the U.S. doesn't export natural gas overseas but companies are eager to convert existing import terminals to export instead in places like Lusby, Maryland, where Sue and Dale Allison live.

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Law
4:24 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

High Court Ruling Revives Law Against Out-Of-State Pollution

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:07 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. Some communities are unlucky recipients of air pollution that blows in from other states and today, those areas got good news by way of a Supreme Court ruling. It revives a major air pollution rule that was knocked down by a lower court. NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports it's another big victory for the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Around the Nation
4:24 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Farmers And Frackers Wrangle For Water In Shadow Of Calif. Drought

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 7:40 pm

California's drought has developed an interesting relationship between farmers and oilers: California oil wells produce more water than oil, and Chevron filters that water and sells it to a local water district. Interest in the technology is growing in the Central Valley, but high costs and uneasy relations between oil and agriculture might get in the way.

Around the Nation
5:17 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Kansas Town Destroyed By Tornado Spreads Blame For Lack Of Growth

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 2:25 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Around the Nation
4:17 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Between Farmers And Frackers, Calif. Water Caught In Tussle

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 1:08 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Water supplies in California are tight with the state's severe drought and that's putting a spotlight on hydraulic fracturing or fracking. The controversial oil and gas extraction technique uses freshwater, which can mean millions of gallons for each fracking site.

Lauren Sommer of member station KQED reports from California's Central Valley, where tensions between oil and agriculture are on the rise.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEES)

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The Salt
3:34 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Fire-Setting Ranchers Have Burning Desire To Save Tallgrass Prairie

A line of fire turns brown grass into black earth.
Dan Charles/NPR

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 12:02 pm

For the past month, in part of eastern Kansas, the prairie has been burning, as it does almost every spring. On some days, you could look toward the horizon in any direction and see pillars of smoke. The plumes of pollution have traveled so far that they've violated limits for particulates or ozone in cities as far away as Lincoln, Neb.

But here's the twist: Environmentalists have come to celebrate those fires.

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The Two-Way
11:15 pm
Sun April 27, 2014

Deadly Storms Strike Central, Southern U.S.

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 5:31 am

Updated 5:25 a.m. ET Monday:

The death toll in Arkansas from Sunday's tornado is now at 16. President Barack Obama, who's traveling in the Philippines, says the Federal Emergency Management Agency will work with local officials in Arkansas.

Updated 2:30 a.m. ET Monday:

The death toll from Sunday's tornado in Arkansas stands at 11. Matt DeCample, a spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe says five people died in Faulkner County, as well as five people in Pulaski County. One person died in White County.

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The Two-Way
5:51 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

For New York, The '10-Year Storm' Isn't What It Used To Be

Sandbags protect the front of the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 29, 2012, in preparation for Hurricane Sandy.
Richard Drew AP

New York City is 20 times more likely to flood during a storm than it was in the mid-1800s, partly owing to sea-level rise linked to global climate change, according to a new study.

The maximum water height at New York Harbor during storms such as Hurricane Sandy has risen nearly 2.5 feet since 1844, says the study, which was published in a recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

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Environment
2:46 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

WIR 04/25/2014

More from the Robotics Team from Parkside High.

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The Two-Way
6:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Radioactive Leak At U.S. Waste Dump Was Preventable, Report Says

A worker drives an electric cart past air monitoring equipment inside a storage room of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, N.M., shown in this undated photo.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:02 pm

A February accident at a nuclear waste dump that resulted in the contamination of 21 workers resulted in part from "poor management, ineffective maintenance and a lack of proper training and oversight," a Department of Energy report concludes.

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel says the report, released Thursday, says the release of radioactive material into the environment from the Feb. 14 accident at the underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M., could have been prevented. The facility is a repository for defense-related nuclear waste.

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It's All Politics
6:18 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Green GOP Group Caught Between 'Rock And A Hard Place'

Volunteer Tom Strain carries debris from an empty lot as part of an Earth Day cleanup effort in Camden, N.J. The Earth Day events celebrated on April 22 promote a sustainable and clean environment.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 7:11 pm

On Earth Day 2014, it wasn't easy being green in the Republican Party. Just ask Rob Sisson, president of ConservAmerica.

ConservAmerica is a membership organization created in 1995 to keep the environmental spirit of GOP President Theodore Roosevelt alive in his party. Back then, the group was known as Republicans for Environmental Protection.

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The Salt
3:26 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Fields And Farm Jobs Dry Up With California's Worsening Drought

Recent rains kept Suzanne and Mike Collins' orange grove alive, but the rainy season is ending. If they don't get federal irrigation water by this summer, their trees will start dying.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 6:47 pm

On a recent afternoon on the main drag of Orange Cove, Calif., about a dozen farm workers gather on the sidewalk in front of a mini-mart.

One man sits on a milk crate sipping a beer. A few others scratch some lotto tickets. Salvador Perez paces back and forth with his hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans.

If there is no water, there's no work, he says in Spanish.

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Environment
4:16 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Forced To Put Its Nets Away, One Fla. Town Clams Up — Literally

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 7:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Many commercial fishermen in Florida faced a tough decision 20 years ago: retire or find another way to make a living. That reality set in after voters passed a constitutional amendment intended to prevent overfishing. It banned the use of gill nets in state waters. Gill nets are large nets that are suspended vertically in the water. NPR's Greg Allen went to an island where former fishermen have found new careers since the ban.

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