Environment

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 Mon June 2, 2014 2:43 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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The Salt
4:06 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Oklahoma's Extreme Drought Has Wheat Farmers Bracing For Worst

Fred and Wayne Schmedt say the drought has withered their wheat plants down from an average height of 24 to 30 inches to just 6 to 8 inches.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oaklahoma

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 7:27 pm

Rainfall totals in southwest Oklahoma are more than 3 inches below normal. And that means that the wheat crop grown in brothers Fred and Wayne Schmedt's farm is several inches shorter than normal as well.

Laughter is key to surviving as a farmer here. Fred Schmedt looks out on his field, then down at his legs and laughs at how short the wheat stalks are.

"What would you call that, high-shoe-top high?" he says. "In a normal year — a really good year — it'd be thigh-high. So we're looking at plants that are 6 to 8 inches tall versus 24 to 30 inches tall."

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The Salt
2:42 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

How A Food Stylist Made Squirrel And Earthworm Look Appetizing

Left, gray squirrel. Right, crostini with squirrel meat, white mulberry, goat cheese, hazelnut and purslane.
Christopher Testani

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 7:44 am

Communities around the world are increasingly overrun by invasive critters. Gray squirrels, which are native to North America, are an ecological nuisance in England. And nutria — or swamp rats, colloquially — from South America are destroying wetlands in the Gulf Coast states.

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Around the Nation
5:18 am
Fri May 30, 2014

During A Drought, Senior Water-Rights Holders Have Privileges

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 12:36 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Environment
4:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Conservatives, Environmentalists Found Common Ground In Cap And Trade

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 7:11 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: Now more about the history of cap and trade and how conservatives and environmentalists came together to establish that approach to reducing emissions. To tell us that story, joining us is C. Boyden Gray who assist in the formulation of the policy during the administration of President George H. W. Bush. He was later U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Ambassador Gray, welcome to the program.

C. BOYDEN GRAY: Thank you very much.

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U.S.
4:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

As Oklahoma Drought Continues, Farmers Prepare For Losses

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 7:11 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Environment
4:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

States Say Cutting Down On Carbon Was Easier Than Expected

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 9:45 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

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Environment
4:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

A Peat Bog As Big As England, And A Rare Glimpse At Earth's History

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 6:17 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Farther west in Africa, in Congo, Brazzaville, scientists have found a remarkable peat bog - a vast expanse of decaying plant material. The discovery could tell them about the whole planet's atmospheric history. It is a rare, tropical peat bog. It's the size of Pennsylvania. The thick layer of carbon it traps may offer clues to what was in the air over 10,000 years ago. Dr. Simon Lewis of the University of Leeds led the research team, and he joins us now to tell us about this little-studied region. Welcome to the program.

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:29 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

A Little Bird Either Learns Its Name Or Dies

Robert Krulwich NPR

I've been wondering lately, do animals invent names? As in names for themselves? Names for each other? I've always thought that what we do when we call ourselves "Ralph" or "Laura" is unique, something exclusively human. But it turns out that's wrong. Other animals have name-like calls that they use much like we do. I've posted about this before (regarding horses, dolphins and little parakeets) ...

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Around the Nation
6:10 am
Wed May 28, 2014

No Matter How You Spell It, Fracking Stirs Controversy

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 12:27 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. The word fracking was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary this month. It is defined as the injection of fluid into shale beds at high pressure in order to free up petroleum resources. Despite getting this official definition, both the spelling and meaning of fracking remain controversial. Marie Cusick, from member station WITF, reports.

MARIE CUSICK, BYLINE: This is a fracking site in northeastern Pennsylvania. It's one of the most productive parts of Marcellus Shale natural gas formation.

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Around the Nation
3:33 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Industrial Hemp Could Take Root, If Legal Seeds Weren't So Scarce

The hemp seedlings in Ben Holmes' warehouse in Lafayette, Colo., will be ready for harvest in about 50 days. Holmes says that during the peak growing season, the little sprouts can shoot up several inches each day.
Luke Runyon KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 12:57 pm

The most recent farm bill is allowing a handful of farmers across the country to put hemp, the nonpsychoactive cousin of marijuana, in the ground.

The bill allows small-scale experimentation with the plant. But despite the new law, many farmers say they're getting mixed messages from the federal government.

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Science
5:09 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Hybrid Trout Threaten Montana's Native Cutthroats

Clint Muhlfeld, an aquatic ecologist with the USGS, holds a native Westslope cutthroat trout in Glacier National Park.
Noah Clayton USGS

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:53 am

Many parts of the U.S. have been getting warmer over the past several decades, and also experiencing persistent drought. Wildlife often can't adjust. Among the species that are struggling is one of the American West's most highly prized fish — the cutthroat trout.

In springtime, you can find young cutthroats in the tiny streams of Montana's Shields Basin. Bend over and look closely and you might see a 2-inch fish wriggling out from under a submerged rock — the spawn of native cutthroats.

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The Two-Way
4:06 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Peat Bog The Size Of England Discovered In Congo Republic

A massive peat bog the size England has been found in West Africa's Republic of Congo.

The previously undiscovered bog is thought to reach nearly 23 feet beneath the ground and contain billions of tons of peat –- ancient, partially decayed vegetation. It could cover an area 40,000 to 80,000 square miles, scientists believe in the Congo Republic, also referred to as Congo-Brazzaville.

The BBC says:

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The Salt
6:38 am
Sat May 24, 2014

If Local Farms Aren't Local Enough, Buy From The Rooftop

At the Mini-Farmery in North Carolina, greens grow on the walls and customers can pick their own produce.
Amy Edwards New Image Studio

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 3:07 pm

Local produce just tastes better, right? That perception is part of what's driving the rush of new farming ventures to supply cities with food grown nearby.

Some urban farmers are even experimenting with growing food a few blocks away from or even inside the grocery store. Call it über-local food.

Most of these new ventures are lead by idealistic entrepreneurs who want to part of the new food system. It's not yet clear whether they'll fit in for the long haul.

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The Salt
4:46 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

California's Drought Isn't Making Food Cost More. Here's Why

Farmworkers pull weeds from a field of lettuce near Gonzales, Calif. Salinas Valley farms like this one rely on wells, which haven't been affected much by the drought.
George Rose Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 4:48 pm

The entire state of California is in a severe drought. Farmers and farmworkers are hurting.

You might expect this to cause food shortages and higher prices across the country. After all, California grows 95 percent of America's broccoli, 81 percent of its carrots and 99 percent of the country's artichokes, almonds and walnuts, among other foods.

Yet there's been no sign of a big price shock. What gives?

Here are three explanations.

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Energy
7:07 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Political Rhetoric Bogs Down Future Of Keystone XL Pipeline

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 7:52 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Last month the Obama administration put off a decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The project has been enormously controversial. It would carry crude oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. This morning we examine what's at stake for the oil industry and for energy production. Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

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Environment
5:05 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Scientists Discover Carbon Cycle Is Out Of Whack

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 9:39 am

Scientists who track carbon say the way it cycles from the atmosphere back to earth and into plants and animals has apparently changed. It could be the whole planetary carbon treadmill is speeding up.

All Tech Considered
5:34 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Storm Shelter App Helps Pinpoint People Amid Tornado's Rubble

After a tornado leveled Moore, Okla., last year, firefighter Shonn Neidel (left) developed an app that helps first responders locate storm shelters under the wreckage.
Courtesy of Shonn Neidel

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 2:24 pm

After a devastating tornado rolled through Moore, Okla., last May, firefighters were scrambling to pull people out of storm shelters. Actually finding those shelters, though, was difficult. Landmarks had been swept away, and the town's emergency dispatcher was overwhelmed with calls.

"Yes, we're at 604 South Classen. There's people down," one caller said. "We're stuck under rubble. ... Please hurry."

Shonn Neidel was one of the firefighters rushing to rescue people that day, and he quickly saw a problem.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:03 am
Wed May 21, 2014

So What If It's Ugly? It Just Keeps On Going ...

Courtesy of Rachel Sussman

Far, far, far away is a great place to be — if you want to stay marvelous. There is a plant, called Welwitschia mirabilis (mirabilis being Latin for marvelous), found only one place on Earth. You can get there, as artist/photographer Rachel Sussman did, by driving through the vast emptiness of the Namibian desert, the Namib Naukluft, in Africa.

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