Environment

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Saudi Arabia is such an influential player in the oil industry that any action it takes — or is rumored to take — can sway global markets. So it's not surprising there's a lot of speculation about whether its massive state oil company, Saudi Aramco, is trying to buy a refinery in Texas.

Farmers Enlist Chickens And Bugs To Battle Against Pests

Sep 20, 2016

In an effort to turn away from chemical pesticides, which have the potential to damage the environment, some farmers are looking in a new direction in the age-old struggle against pests. They're warding off intruding insects and noxious weeds with bugs and chickens.

Highly polluted air is bad for your health — and that's particularly true when it's air full of small particles from coal-fired power plants, as studies going back for years have shown.

But just how bad? For the first time, there's a study that actually quantifies how many years of life expectancy are lost based on a given amount of particulate exposure.

I'm the health reporter covering the Zika story here at WLRN in Miami, and I'm a pregnant woman.

When Florida Gov. Rick Scott made free Zika testing available to all pregnant Floridians through the Florida Department of Health, I was one of the more than 2,200 women who took him up on the offer.

The team at Planet Money set out to buy 100 barrels of crude oil right from the source, and then follow it from ground to gas tank.

After a little cajoling, Jason Bruns, a part-time preacher, part-time oil man in southern Kansas, agreed to pump us some oil from one of his wells in a cow pasture.

When do you get to actually touch crude oil? Never. It's silky, like shampoo. Don't try this at home kids.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.)

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.

During the Our Ocean conference in Washington, D.C., President Obama announced the creation of the first national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

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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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

Louisiana Flooding Swamps Agriculture

Sep 10, 2016

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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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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