Environment

8:15am

Tue November 5, 2013
Environment

Proposed policy may allow fracking wastewater to be moved on waterways

Bosc d'Anjou Flickr

The U.S. Coast Guard has released a proposed policy that would allow fracking wastewater to be transported on waterways around the country. The public has 30 days to weigh in on the issue, and one New York state group is strongly opposed to the plan.

Fracking wastewater contains a mix of chemicals as well as some radioactive materials, and currently isn’t approved for transport on the nation’s rivers and lakes.

Kate Hudson from Riverkeeper, a New York state clean water advocate group, says even though the policy is in its early stages, it raises some serious concerns.

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4:01pm

Mon October 28, 2013
Environment

LEED program trying to change the course of building design

An aerial shot of Destiny USA.
Destiny USA (US Embassy Canada, Flickr)

More and more buildings are making the push to become LEED certified, a voluntary system that rates the environmental sustainability of projects. But what is LEED and how is it used to determine how green a building is?

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7:53am

Mon October 28, 2013
Environment

Environmental groups work to increase lake sturgeon population in upstate waters

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Midwest Region Flickr

The waters of Oneida Lake have long been a destination for fishermen in upstate New York. Fishermen come to try their hand at catching walleye, bass, and perch. But a much larger fish could someday be the ultimate prize in this body of water, and others throughout upstate New York.

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8:57pm

Wed October 23, 2013
Environment

Public helps shape state study on health patterns near Air Brake site

Current and former residents of Watertown's north side neighborhood, near the New York Air Brake plant, listen to a presentation about a health study the state Health Department will carry out.
Justin Sorenson, Watertown Daily Times

Earlier this week, a researcher from the state Health Department met with Watertown residents from the neighborhood near the New York Air Brake plant. The Health Department has agreed to study the area’s disease patterns because residents suspect that pollution from the plant has made people sick.

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8:23am

Tue October 22, 2013
Environment

EPA praises Onondaga County for green infrastructure work

Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, left, talks with Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

A top official at the Environmental Protection Agency was in Syracuse on Monday to highlight the county's work in green infrastructure.

Hitting on Onondaga County's Save the Rain program, EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe outlined the agency's updated national green infrastructure strategy.

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9:36am

Thu October 17, 2013
Environment

Scientists work to bring back American chestnut tree

Andy Newhouse, a researcher for SUNY ESF, at work. He is one of the researchers helping rebuild the American chestnut population.
David Chanatry/NYRP-UC

The American chestnut tree was once known as the king of the eastern forest. It tree grew more than 100 feet tall and six feet across, and accounted for a quarter of the timber in the woods. Its straight-grained wood was remarkably resistant to rot, and its nuts were a reliable source of food.

The chestnut was wiped out by blight in the early 20th century, but now scientists in Syracuse think they’re close to bringing it back.

Bill Coffin, 84, has spent a lifetime in love with the woods.

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4:50pm

Fri October 4, 2013
Environment

Should a ship be deliberately sunk in Lake Ontario?

Lake Ontario.
Vlad Litvinov Flickr

The possibility of deliberately sinking a ship in Lake Ontario will be discussed at a seminar Saturday at SUNY Oswego. Dave White, of New York Sea Grant, which is hosting the conference, says sinking a vessel along the shoreline would create a tourism spot for recreational divers and also provide a habitat for fish.

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8:12am

Thu October 3, 2013
Environment

Onondaga Lake Park prepares for Emerald Ash Borer

The emerald ash borer poses a major threat to ash trees at Onondaga Lake Park.
USDAgov Flickr

Now that the Emerald Ash Borer has been confirmed in Onondaga County, local governments are trying to find the best strategy to deal with the invasive pests that will ultimately kill all the ash trees in the area. One of the county's biggest challenges lies in one of the busiest public green spaces in central New York, at Onondaga Lake Park.

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6:41am

Thu September 12, 2013
Environment

USDA dropping oral rabies vaccines in northern, western NY

Neil McIntosh/Flickr

The United States Department of Agriculture continues to take steps toward lessening the number of rabies cases in New York state. Earlier this summer, edible plastic blister packs of a new vaccine, which has a marshmallow flavor and is a little larger than the size of a quarter, were dropped by airplane and by hand throughout northern New York and parts of four other states.

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5:53am

Thu September 12, 2013
Environment

Environmentalists call for cleaner power plants to reduce CO2 emissions

Calling it the elephant in the room, researchers behind the report claim power plants are the largest source of global warming pollution. By their estimation they account for 41 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide pollution.

Eric Whalen, of Environment New York, says CO2 is what’s driving global warming.

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6:54am

Tue September 10, 2013
Environment

Research examines links between runoff and phosphorus pollution

Robert S. Donovan Flickr

Farmers in the Champlain Valley often use tile drains in their fields. They help the region’s clay soil drain faster and produce higher crop yields. But for years, Lake Champlain has had high levels of phosphorus pollution, which can result in toxic blue-green algae blooms, and farm runoff is one of the primary contributors.

Now scientists are trying to figure out whether there’s a link between tile drainage and phosphorus pollution.

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6:52am

Mon September 9, 2013
Environment

SUNY ESF combines values, architecture in new welcoming center

A view inside SUNY ESF's new weloming center.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The new Gateway Building at Syracuse's SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry campus is meant to be more than a welcoming center, incorporating many of the environmental values the school is known for.

SUNY ESF President Neil Murphy says the new $28 million center fulfills a decade old dream at the school.

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7:12am

Fri August 30, 2013
Environment

Hydrofracking case will be heard in New York Court of Appeals

Ellen Abbott WRVO, file photo

The challenges to local hydrofracking bans in New York are one step closer toward their last day in court, as the state’s Court of Appeals agreed to consider two challenges of lower court rulings allowing municipal fracking bans in the towns of Dryden and Middlefield.

The plaintiffs had to apply to the Court of Appeals because the lower courts were unanimous in deciding against them.

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6:56am

Wed August 28, 2013
Environment

New York lawmakers fighting back against invasive species

Asian Carp jump out of the water at the mouth of the Wabash River in Kentucky.
LousivilleUSACE/flickr

Congress is taking aim against invasive species that are clogging New York state's waterways, with New York representatives in the House and Senate backing the proposed "Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act."

It's a problem that plagues many lakes and rivers in central New York. Species like Asian carp and certain kinds of mussels can interfere with boating and recreation activities on the state's waterways. But championing the legislation is Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who says these species can be difficult to deal with.

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6:02am

Mon August 19, 2013
Obama visit to Syracuse

Obama to be greeted by anti-fracking protesters

Bosc d'Anjou Flickr

President Barack Obama is planning on visiting upstate New York this week to promote an education plan. But whenever a major politician visits the region, the issue of hydrofracking is often on the agenda, whether they like it or not.

Obama’s planned trip to Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton will focus on the importance of getting an affordable college education for students.

But activists opposed to hydrofracking, also known as fracking, want the topic of natural gas drilling to be on the agenda, as well.

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8:15am

Thu August 15, 2013
Environment

Lockport residents continue waiting for Eighteenmile Creek cleanup plan

A sign warning residents of contamination at Eighteenmile Creek.
Ashley Hirtzel/WBFO

The Environmental Protection Agency outlined its plans to clean up a heavily polluted creek at a public meeting in Lockport on Tuesday. But some residents in the western New York community are concerned that the plans won’t happen fast enough, with an official decision not scheduled until the end of September.

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6:07am

Wed August 14, 2013
Environment

Floating USGS lab continues monitoring of Great Lakes

Sea lampery
Ashley Hirtzel/WBFO

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission estimates that more than 40 million people in the U.S. and Canada depend on the Great Lakes for food, drinking water and recreation. A state-of-the-art research vessel, called the “Muskie,” is currently making its way through Lake Erie collecting data samples for the U.S. Geological Survey.

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8:56am

Fri August 9, 2013
Environment

EPA grant funds Onondaga Lake's new environmental steward

Ellen Abbott WRVO

The once heavily-polluted Onondaga Lake has a new environmental steward. The Environmental Protection Agency will fund the position for two years with a $200,000 grant.

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6:41am

Tue August 6, 2013
Environment

Lawsuit challenges change to dairy regulation

Kabsik Park/flickr

A coalition of New York state environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the state’s environmental regulators in July. The groups claim that the Department of Environmental Conservation violated environmental law when it loosened the regulation of dairy farms. The result is that the state’s very public support of the yogurt industry may have hit a roadblock.

During a highly publicized Yogurt Summit last year in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the spirit behind the industry in New York.

“When you see an opportunity, grab it and get it done,” Cuomo said.

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7:38am

Mon August 5, 2013
Environment

Great Lakes restoration funding roundabout continues

International Joint Commission

A federal program dedicated to environmental restoration and cleaning up of the Great Lakes has escaped a massive budget cut. A committee in the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to amend a bill that looked to slash the program’s funding, partially restoring it to $210 million for fiscal year 2014.

The House bill originally aimed to cut 80 percent of the program’s budget, from nearly $300 million to just $60 million for next year.

A House committee has since revised that figure from $60 million to $210 million.

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8:34am

Sat August 3, 2013
Environment

The EPA weighs cleanup options for Eighteenmile Creek

A sign warns of the dangerous conditions at Eighteenmile Creek.
Ashley Hirtzel/WBFO

Eighteenmile Creek in Lockport, N.Y. has been a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated area of concern for decades. Because of recent flooding, the EPA is now weighing the option of permanently relocating people living closest to the creek ahead of a massive site cleanup.

Affected residents say a solution can’t come soon enough.

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7:31am

Fri August 2, 2013
Environment

Emerald Ash Borer discovered in Onondaga County

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Now that the Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB, has been discovered in Onondaga County a special task force will begin making decisions about the future of ash trees, which account for 13 percent of the trees in central New York.

The EAB can kill an ash tree in as little as two years. Central New York Emerald Ash Borer Task Force member David Coburn says the result is that many trees will either be treated with pesticide or chopped down.

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7:19am

Tue July 30, 2013
Environment

Gillibrand wants faster cleanup of brownfield sites

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., answers questions during a stop in Syracuse to push for more brownfield cleanup.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is looking to raise the amount of money that can go to cleaning up former industrial sites in a move she says will spark for redevelopment.

On Monday she crossed upstate New York promoting the Brownfields Utilization Investment and Local Development Act, or BUILD Act.

Most former industrial sites are contaminated with solvents or metals that leaked into the ground. They're known as brownfields and require remediation before they can be redeveloped.

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8:16am

Thu July 25, 2013
Environment

State, Cornell Cooperative Extension teach public to identify invasive pests

Volunteers are taught what to look for when examining trees for the "big three" invasive forest pests.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

On a muggy morning next to the American Steel and Aluminum Company in Liverpool, four people clad in orange vests look through binoculars at the vegetation that surrounds the warehouse.
         

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8:49am

Wed July 24, 2013
Environment

Cuomo says natural disasters are "taxing" state resources

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state will have to find savings elsewhere to pay for storm recovery.
Zack Seward WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday outlined the state's storm aid and recovery package for flooding that hit the Mohawk Valley and western New York late last month, saying the near constant stream of natural disasters that have hit the state in the past few years are draining state resources.

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1:16pm

Tue July 23, 2013
Environment

Some ideas for converting urban "red fields" into "green fields"

Vacant properties, like this former gas station in Syracuse, dot rustbelt cities.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Declining populations and shuttered factories have left rustbelt cities - like Buffalo or Rochester - with numerous vacant and abandoned properties. They can be old homes, former warehouses, or out-of-favor shopping centers.

Municipalities face the challenge of how to get those properties back into productive use.

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6:53am

Wed July 17, 2013
Environment

Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River pose concerns for IJC

A visitor walks along the Lake Ontario shoreline.
Ray Sawhill/flickr

The organization responsible for regulating water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River is holding a series of public hearings in upstate New York and Canada this week, presenting a new management plan. The International Joint Commission, or IJC, attracted criticism for its last draft of the plan, called Bv7, which aimed to alter water levels to decrease environmental damage around the Great Lake.

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8:50am

Thu July 11, 2013
Environment

Onondaga Lake revival earns exhibit at New York State Fair

A portion of Onondaga Lake is being cleaned by Honeywell
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The story of Onondaga Lake, once called the most polluted lake in the nation, will be told in a major interactive exhibit at the New York State Fair this year.

"We no longer have to look at it and be embarrassed, or discuss what we are going to do. Now we can look back at where we have been and where we are going," said Onondaga County Deputy Executive Matt Millea.

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8:11am

Fri July 5, 2013
Environment

Wasp watchers being recruited

Cornell University Cooperate Extension Onondaga County

The emerald ash borer is getting closer to Onondaga County. The Asian beetle infests and kills North American ash trees, and are as close to central New York as Rochester.  Now, Cornell Cooperative Extension is recruiting volunteers for a program in Onondaga County that could  let wasps sound the alarm that the devastating bugs are here.

So how does a wasp tell us that the Emerald Ash Borer is in town?  Simple. They eat them.

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1:45pm

Thu July 4, 2013
Flooding

Flooding came quickly, but the cleanup will be slower

Heavy rains caused flooding in the Mohawk Valley last week. Now comes the cleanup.
New York National Guard via Flickr

The rains that caused severe flooding and damage in central and northern New York last week came quickly, but the cleanup will be much slower.

“I’m just plugging away, day by day and getting a little bit further each day, you know,” said Steven Loucks. His Oneida home was flooded with several feet of water last week.

“My basement was completely flooded. It did not hit my first floor though, which is a good deal. But my basement, my furnace, my hot water heaters; I just got two new hot water heaters,” he said.

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