Environment

6:13am

Fri July 11, 2014
Environment

Healthcare professionals against fracking urge state to look at more research

Dr. Sandra Steingraber, of Ithaca College, says more studies have come out this year than in 2011 and 2012 combined.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

A group of healthcare professionals are seeking a meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health department, saying they have compiled a compendium of new and ongoing research highlighting numerous health risks associated with the controversial natural gas drilling process called hydrofracking.

The health experts include a doctor, a veterinarian, and a Cornell University medical professor, who have requested a meeting with Cuomo’s acting health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, to go over the growing number of studies indicating numerous health risks associated with fracking.

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7:26am

Mon July 7, 2014
Environment

Environmental group tests Erie Canal and Oswego River water for invasive species

The Nature Conservancy's Andrew Tucker empties water from a collection tube into a container held by Benjamin Wegleitener.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

The Nature Conservancy and other environmental groups are making use of a recently developed DNA sampling technique to determine whether or not any invasive species might be swimming, living or growing in the Oswego River and Erie Canal. By taking hundreds of water samples, the group believes it can slow the growth of invasive species in the state.

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6:01am

Fri July 4, 2014
Environment

Giant Hogweed poses threat to both plants and people

Giant Hogweed hides out in the woods near the Rice Creek Field Station in Oswego.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

New York has a big problem with an invasive species you may have never heard of. Giant hogweed is a poisonous plant that can overtake entire fields with its giant leaves and can cause painful blisters on a person's skin. But the state Department of Environmental Conservation says it's stepping up its digging and spraying program to help control the plant and even eradicate it in some spots.

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8:03am

Tue July 1, 2014
Environment

Offshore wind energy faces setbacks in Great Lakes

Martin Abegglen Flickr

The United States is not yet generating a watt of energy from commercial offshore wind. A couple of years ago, it looked like the Great Lakes might lead the nation. Pennsylvania was among a handful of states working with federal agencies to speed up the process.  As recently as a couple of months ago, construction of a wind farm in Lake Erie, off the Ohio shoreline near Cleveland, looked promising. But now some are sounding the death knell for any wind development in the Great Lakes.

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5:55am

Tue July 1, 2014
Environment

Court of Appeals rules towns can ban fracking within their borders

Bosc d'Anjou Flickr

In a 5-to-2 ruling, New York’s highest court has upheld the right of local governments to ban hydrofracking within their borders. The decision comes after a nearly three-year court battle over bans passed in the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield. Fracking opponents hope to now spread the bans to towns that were waiting for the court’s final ruling.

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7:54am

Mon June 30, 2014
Environment

Invasive insect threatening hemlock trees near Skaneateles Lake

Nicholas A. Tonelll

There’s a new invasive insect causing problems in Onondaga County. The hemlock woolly adelgid has started feeding on hemlock trees in the watershed that provides water for the city of Syracuse.

An alert arborist found the bug that’s been on the eastern seaboard since the 1950s, munching on hemlock needles in trees on the Onondaga County side of Skaneateles Lake.

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6:24am

Wed June 18, 2014
Environment

IJC backs Plan 2014 to control Lake Ontario water levels

Boaters are expected to see longer seasons two out of every three years as part of Plan 2014.
Ray Sawhill/flickr

The International Joint Commission says its recommendations to help restore some of the natural water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway will also benefit the lake's wetland wildlife. According to the commission, Plan 2014 will help Lake Ontario get closer to its natural ebb and flow throughout the year.

Commissioner Dereth Glance says Plan 2014 strikes a balance between the current plan and the lakes original water levels about 60 years ago.
 

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5:52am

Thu June 12, 2014
Environment

Onondaga County plans to spend $15 million to combat Emerald Ash Borer

Arborist Lori Brockelbank injects insecticide into an ash tree. (file photo)
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Onondaga County expects to spend more than $15 million over the next 25 years to deal with the Emerald Ash Borer infestation. The plan targets almost 47,000 ash trees on county land that pose a danger if they fall over.

The invasive bug was discovered in Onondaga County last summer, and if left alone can kill an ash tree in two to seven years. County Environmental Director David Coburn says the county is proposing an ash tree management strategy that is a balanced approach.

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7:04am

Wed June 11, 2014
Environment

Environmentalists call for toxic site legislation as session closes

Environmental advocates are pressing the state legislature to renew a toxic site cleanup program before the session wraps up in a few days, even though there seems little interest in taking up any big issues in Albany.

Environmentalists are holding up the toxic site cleanup program’s renewal as a measure of a successful legislative session. 

Both the Assembly and Senate have versions of a bill to renew a cleanup program for old industrial sites, known as brownfields. But environmentalists are calling on the governor to urge legislative leaders to act on the bills.

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7:17am

Tue June 10, 2014
Environment

Onondaga County residents speak out against 'Trash to Ash' plan

Jamesville resident Vicki Baker, left, speaks to Onondaga County legislators about the county's proposed 'Trash to Ash' plan
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Opponents to a trash to ash plan between Onondaga and Cortland Counties had their say at an informational meeting on the environmental impact of the proposed move in the town of DeWitt last night.  

The plan would truck garbage from Cortland County to Onondaga County’s trash burner in Jamesville, then return the ash to the Cortland County landfill. Many of the people who testified at the meeting had been involved in the fierce debate over whether the plant should have been built in the first place  20 years ago, and remembered the promises made to placate a community.  

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4:30pm

Mon June 9, 2014
Environment

Public to share concerns about 'Trash to Ash' plan during first hearing

Onondaga County's Waste-to-Energy Facility in Jamesville.
Office of Onondaga County Comptroller

Onondaga County is hosting the first of several public hearings on a plan to import trash from Cortland County to burn at Onondaga County’s incinerator in Jamesville.

Onondaga County Legislator David Knapp says this is all part of the process of getting information about the potential impacts of the deal.

“Right now we’re in the scoping phase of the environmental impact process," Knapp said. "So this meeting is open to any resident to come in and give us their thoughts about what should be in the scope of the environmental review.”

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7:51am

Fri June 6, 2014
Environment

Flipping the script on eminent domain

Catherine Holleran, (Right) and daughter Megan at home in New Milford, Pennsylvania.
Matt Martin/WSKG

The federal government is considering an application to build a natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Schoharie County in New York. Often, the pipeline companies will use the threat of eminent domain as a way to pressure landowners into signing a lease agreement. But some landowners and activist groups are calling their bluff.

A short hike up the hill from Catherine Holleran’s house in New Milford, Pennsylvania is a small grove of maple trees.

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6:44am

Mon June 2, 2014
Environment

Upstate NY sightings of monarch butterfly in danger

Nature Conservancy of Western and Central New York

Early June is the time of year we should begin seeing  the monarch butterfly fluttering about our flowers and plants in central and western New York. But, scientists are worried that a sharp decline in the population of the iconic insect could cut back local monarch sightings dramatically, or end them all together.

When you think about it, the migration of the monarch butterfly is pretty amazing.

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7:22am

Fri May 30, 2014
Environment

Doctors request another moratorium on New York hydrofracking

(file photo)
Bosc d'Anjou Flickr

Researchers and medical professionals from around the state gathered in Albany to urge acting Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to impose a three- to five-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York state.

Yuri Gorby, a researcher at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, says the medical community is only just beginning to understand the health impact of hydrofracking, and the moratorium would give New York a chance to make a fully informed decision.

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7:29am

Thu May 29, 2014
Environment

Syracuse University and Harvard release carbon pollution study

The Environmental Protection Agency will be coming out with new proposals to cut down on carbon emissions from power plants next week. Researchers from Harvard and Syracuse University have joined forces to look at how reducing this kind of pollution impacts human health and the environment.

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6:17am

Tue May 27, 2014
Environment

New York lawmakers rally behind efforts to combat climate change

Hurricane Sandy, which caused damage to these homes, is one of several storms that have pounded the state in recent years.
DVIDSHUB Flickr

A new White House climate report paints a dire picture for New York if something drastic isn't done to address climate change, and the Obama administration is preparing to act without Congress.

The Third National Climate Assessment predicts dramatic changes in coastal states like New York. But the state’s junior Democratic senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, says upstate residents and businesses are at risk too.

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7:02am

Thu May 22, 2014
Environment

Ashokan Reservoir clouds Hudson Valley waters

Ashokan Reservoir
Wikipedia Commons

Ulster County residents living along the lower Esopus Creek which drains the south-central Catskills have been noticing a steady decrease in water clarity. It’s because of dirty liquid being released from the upstream Ashokan Reservoir, courtesy of a New York City authority.

The Department of Environmental Conversation held a public comment session recently on the turbidity of Ashokan water.

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7:24pm

Tue May 20, 2014

9:40am

Fri May 16, 2014
Environment

Schumer calls for more water monitoring for algae blooms

Sylvan Beach, on the eastern shore on Oneida Lake.
Karen via Flickr

Toxins that can cause blue-green algae outbreaks have been detected in 17 waterways in central New York, part of a state-wide increase that has prompted Sen. Charles Schumer to call for more monitoring.

Schumer, a Democrat, says the federal Environmental Protection Agency should better test for the runoff and toxins that cause algae outbreaks.

Blue-green algae can sicken people and pets who swim in contaminated waters and it can harm drinking water.

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7:35am

Fri May 16, 2014
Environment

Onondaga County opens up new extension to Onondaga Lake Park Trail

A view of Syracuse from the Onondaga Lake Park Trail.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

It’s been a century since the west side of Onondaga Lake has been available to the general public. That changes this weekend, when Onondaga County opens up the West Shore Trail. This is the latest step in reclaiming what was once the most polluted lake in the country.

For nearly 30 years, waste from production of soda ash by Allied Chemical in Solvay was dumped into waste beds along the western shore of Onondaga Lake.  What was left was a field of dry, chalky white alkaline waste rising 60 feet above the lake shore and covering 300 acres.

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7:43am

Thu May 15, 2014
Environment

Public gets first chance to weigh in on 'Trash to Ash' plan

Onondaga County's Waste-to-Energy Facility in Jamesville.
Office of Onondaga County Comptroller

The so-called Trash to Ash plan is now officially before the public. The initial public comment period has started, regarding a regional solid waste partnership between Onondaga and Cortland County, but there is already opposition to the plan.
             

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7:25am

Mon May 12, 2014
Environment

New living lab experiment at SU studies climate change impact on trees

The new living lab at Syracuse University.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Last week's federal report on climate change puts the spotlight on how increasing global temperatures will affect the world. One Syracuse University professor is trying to localize that by creating a climate garden on campus that will show the effects of climbing temperatures on trees in central New York.

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7:37am

Fri May 9, 2014
Environment

Onondaga County's compost program is growing in more ways than one

Waste is being transformed into compost at the OCRRA facility in Amboy.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Onondaga County’s program that turns food waste into the compost and mulch we use in our gardens is expanding.

OCRRA, the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency, has installed new structures that make the process at the Amboy Compost Facility work like a well-oiled machine.

It all starts with the food we throw away at restaurants, schools and grocery stores; the fruit rinds, the crusts of bread and corn husks. Those scraps are dumped into a new covered mixing area at the facility on Airport Road in Amboy.

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7:26am

Wed April 23, 2014
Environment

Madison County leads state e-waste recycling movement

DPW workers work during a Madison County e-waste collection event in Hamilton on Earth Day.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

There’s more urgency now than ever for New York state residents to dispose of certain electronic equipment. That’s why e-waste was emphasized in one central New York community on Earth Day this year.
 

Starting in 2015, you won’t be able to dump old TVs or computer monitors in any New York state landfill. Madison County has a head start, with a ban in place for several years now, and has been shipping these TVs to a Rochester-area recycler. But Madison County Landfill Director James Zecca says they’ll still feel an impact.

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6:45am

Mon April 21, 2014
Environment

Documents show fracking health study is ongoing, group claims

Bosc d'Anjou Flickr

Documents obtained by a group opposed to hydrofracking show the Cuomo administration is conducting a thorough health study on the controversial natural gas drilling process. The Finger Lakes based organization is now wondering why the review has been conducted almost entirely in secret.

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6:54am

Fri April 11, 2014
Environment

Shah’s resignation no surprise, say both sides of fracking debate

WBFO

There’s a "Help Wanted" sign at the state Department of Health after Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah announced his resignation effective at end of June.

The commissioner is unlikely to see out the release of a long-awaited health review on the impact of hydrofracking that he was commissioned to produce by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November 2012.

According to Cuomo, salary issues were the reason for his departure, in reported comments made during a meeting with the editorial staff of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle Thursday.

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5:50am

Mon April 7, 2014
Environment

Anti-fracking activist fights injunction in court

Vera Scroggins outside of the "No Trespassing" area
Matt Martin WSKG

A judge in Pennsylvania has loosened restrictions on anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins. The original restrictions -- requested by Cabot Oil and Gas -- prevented Scroggins from visiting any land leased or owned by Cabot. The ruling last week says Scroggins has to stay away from Cabot drilling sites, producing wells and a dozen properties owned by the company.

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6:07am

Fri April 4, 2014
Environment

Emerald Ash Borer poses bigger threat to central New York trees that expected

The Emerald Ash Borer poses a major threat to ash trees in Onondaga County.
USDAgov Flickr

Homeowners in parts of Onondaga County with ash trees on their property, need to take action sooner than expected to deal with the Emerald Ash Borer. 

Jesse Lyons of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Onondaga County says there’s evidence that the invasive insect has spread to almost  the eastern border of Onondaga County.

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7:16am

Fri March 28, 2014
Environment

New photo exhibit shows how far Onondaga Lake cleanup as come

"Look into my Eyes" is one of the photos on display this weekend in Geddes.
Greg Craybas

Local photographers are showing off pictures of wildlife and birds returning to Onondaga Lake, during an exhibit open to the public this weekend at Honeywell’s Onondaga Lake Visitors Center in Geddes. The images are meant to show the public that the lake is being restored.

Like the canary in the coal mine, birds are often a harbinger of the health of an ecosystem, says Audubon of New York Executive Director Erin Crotty.

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8:34am

Sat March 22, 2014
Environment

How much do bass fishing tournaments hurt the fish?

Bassmaster Elite angler Randy Howell reels in a small mouth during a tournament practice session near Ogdensburg last summer.
David Sommerstein/NCPR

Last summer, the country's top professional anglers were catching hundreds of pounds of Bass in the St. Lawrence River for the Bassmasters Elite tournament. Elite series officials deemed it a big success. A study found it generated $1-3 million for the region.

But are tournaments like Bassmasters Elite bad for the fish?

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