Environment

8:00am

Sat November 10, 2012
Environment

Buffalo cemetery promotes green burials

It's nearly impossible not to leave a carbon footprint on the planet... Even in death. But Buffalo's largest cemetery is trying to make dying more environmentally friendly.

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7:45am

Fri November 2, 2012
Environment

Officials to hold public meeting about Watertown Air Brake site

The New York Air Brake industrial site in Watertown has been the subject of resurgent concerns among residents of the city's north side neighborhood. Some have come forward about illnesses they say are linked to pollution at the site. The state departments of Health and Environmental Conservation are holding a community meeting Wednesday, November 7 in Watertown to hear those concerns.

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9:10am

Thu October 25, 2012
Environment

Kids study water levels' effects on invasive species at Eel Bay

Construction of the giant hydropower dam near Massena in the 1950s forever tamed the once wild St. Lawrence River. It allowed engineers to harness the river’s natural ebb and flow for energy production and to protect homes and ports at the same time. But in the process, it hurt the indigenous plants and animals that depend on those highs and lows to survive. The environmental group Save The River has been leading a charge to persuade the agency that controls water levels to return more natural ebbs and flows to the St. Lawrence. One way is by giving the younger generation of River residents a hands-on lesson.

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4:07pm

Wed October 3, 2012
Environment

Cuomo says health review of hydrofracking is "no step back"

New York state recently decided to conduct a health review of the controversial natural gas extraction method, hydrofracking. This will likely cause a November deadline to be missed and the public comment period to be re-opened. However, during a visit to Syracuse on Tuesday Governor Cuomo denied that he is stalling the process, saying a delay in the state’s decision on allowing hydrofracking is not a “step back.”

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1:52pm

Mon October 1, 2012
Environment

Project SWIFT will create water quality database in Southern Tier

Workers on a drill pad in Pennsylvania.
Marie Cusick Innovation Trail/WMHT

Two Syracuse University geology professors - along with a graduate assistant or two - are hurrying to collect water samples from drinking wells in the Southern Tier before - and if - the natural gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing is approved in New York.

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8:09am

Mon October 1, 2012
Environment

Green Jobs Green New York off to a slow start

Pat Dundon in the office, surrounded by workarounds for the energy efficiency modeling software TREAT.
Matt Richmond WSKG

The walls around Pat Dundon's desk are slowly filling up with white printouts. Some have the letterhead of the state's energy research organization NYSERDA, and others are lists he's created. His involvement in a program called Green Jobs Green New York has produced all this paperwork. Through the program, NYSERDA offers low-interest loans for energy efficiency upgrades.

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8:57am

Fri September 21, 2012
Environment

DEC tries to calm fears over industrial site's health effects

The New York Air Brake industrial site was cleaned up in the late 1990s, but neighborhood residents fear chemicals from the site may be the cause of their illnesses.
Joanna Richards WRVO

A toxic waste site in Watertown is drawing renewed attention from residents and city leaders. New York Air Brake's chemical dump on the north side of town was cleaned up in the 1990s. State environmental officials say it's been monitored since then and they're convinced it's safe for neighbors and wildlife. But people who live nearby believe they have health problems traceable to the site. And they fear it still poses a health risk.

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9:43am

Thu September 20, 2012
Environment

Project to protect old forests comes to Cortland

Biologist Joan Maloof looks for old trees in Lime Hollow Nature Center in Cortland, NY
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Tree lovers are uniting behind a plan by a biologist from Salisbury University in Maryland to preserve and encourage old growth Forests .  The goal, is to create a network of over two-thousand undisturbed, yet accessible, forests across the country.

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2:01pm

Mon September 17, 2012
Environment

Gillibrand pushes cleanup program for post-industrial waterfronts

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), left, and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner listen to developer Steve Aiello explain his plans for the Inner Harbor.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand did one of her bill-promoting swings through upstate New York on Friday. This one was for money to help cities redevelopment their once industrial waterfronts. The Democratic senator stopped in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse to promote the Waterfront Brownfields Redevelopment Act.

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7:01am

Thu September 6, 2012
Hydrofracking

Fracking will bring heavy truck traffic, but towns are ready

A tanker trucks transports water for hydrofracking operations in Susquehanna County, Pa.
Marie Cusick WMHT

Transporting the millions of gallons of water, as well as equipment, sand, and other materials needed to hydraulically fracture a natural gas well requires quite a few truck trips, to put it mildly.

One well site could require up to 3,399 one-way truck trips [PDF], according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's 2011 draft environmental impact statement (dSGEIS) on hydrofracking.

All those trips by heavy trucks can quickly beat up and wear out roads if they're not built to handle it.

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9:11am

Wed September 5, 2012
Hydrofracking

As New York's fracking decision nears, legal battles loom

A drill rig in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.
Marie Cusick Innovation Trail/WMHT

New York State is poised to issue its final plans for regulating hydrofracking. But even with a decision imminent, there’s no guarantee this controversy will die down.

Instead, the fight will likely head to the courts.

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9:14am

Tue August 21, 2012
Environment

Onondaga Lake cleanup underway

borisvolodnikov Flickr

After 100 years of environmental assault, Onondaga Lake in Syracuse became known as the most polluted lake in America. But now the final stage of a cleanup is underway. 

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8:32am

Tue August 21, 2012
Environment

Gas industry takes issue with new study on fracking wastewater

Matt Richmond WSKG

The natural gas industry has responded quickly to a report we did last week on a new study looking at the potential harm from fracking wastewater treatment and removal.

The Innovation Trail spoke with John Krohn, Communications Director for Energy in Depth, an education and outreach arm of the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

Krohn wrote a lengthy critique of Stony Brook University's report that can be read here.

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4:32pm

Wed August 1, 2012
Environment

College students help fight invasive species

Louisiana Sea Grant College Program Louisiana State University

All summer long, the Department of Environmental Conservation is stationing college students at boat launches around New York with the mission to stop the spread of invasive species.

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11:59am

Wed August 1, 2012
Around the Nation

America's 'Most Polluted' Lake Finally Comes Clean

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 11:41 pm

Participants in a fishing derby cast lines from a pier near Onondaga Lake's outflow in Syracuse, N.Y.
David Chanatry for NPR

Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, N.Y., has often been called the most polluted lake in America. It was hammered by a one-two punch: raw and partially treated sewage from the city and its suburbs, and a century's worth of industrial dumping. But now the final stage in a $1 billion cleanup is about to begin.

Standing in his office amid stacks of reports, scientist Steve Effler glances at an old front-page headline of the Syracuse Herald-Journal: "Divers find goo in Onondaga Lake."

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9:58am

Tue July 31, 2012
Environment

What the Beijing Olympics could mean for climate change

During the 2008 Summer Olympics Beijing cut its traffic in half.
topgold Flickr

As the 2012 Summer Olympics get underway this weekend, the world's attention will be focused on London.

But a team of scientists has recently been keeping a very close eye on the city that hosted the games four years ago: Beijing. 

They've discovered that China's efforts to cut back on traffic and clean up its air during the 2008 Olympics could have big implications for curbing climate change.

A recent study published in the journal of Geophysical Research Letters shows that Beijing's traffic restrictions during the games led to a significant reduction in emissions of a powerful greenhouse gas: carbon dioxide (CO2).

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9:30am

Fri July 13, 2012
Environment

Voyage studying plastic in Great Lakes sets sail

A ship of scientists and students will study plastic waste in Lakes Huron, Superior and Erie this summer. The voyage will be led by Sherri Mason [above], a SUNY Fredonia professor.
Daniel Robison Innovation Trail/WBFO

Until now, scientists could only guess at the amount of plastic waste in the Great Lakes.

This week, a team of researchers sets sail to conduct the first-ever survey of plastic pollution in the world’s largest fresh water system.

“You really have to start with, ‘Is this even an issue in the Great Lakes?  [With] 35 million people living around the Great Lakes, all the plastic you see blowing around, common sense is that it’s out there,” says Sherri “Sam” Mason, professor within SUNY Fredonia’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

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10:49am

Thu June 14, 2012
Environment

Lake Ontario lawmakers ask Cuomo to halt IJC water levels plan

State lawmakers representing communities along the south shore of Lake Ontario are lining up against a plan to regulate water levels in the lake, and in the St. Lawrence River system.

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9:36am

Thu June 14, 2012
Environment

Onondaga Lake dredging stirs up controversy with Onondaga Nation

Dredging equipment on Onondaga Lake
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The Onondaga Nation is not happy with the breadth of the Honeywell Corporation's plan to dredge and cap polluted sediment at the bottom of Onondaga Lake.

This $451 million plan will dredge an estimated two million cubic yards of toxic material from 185 acres out of the 3,000-acre lake bottom, and cap 14-percent of the lake bottom, to keep toxic chemicals underground.

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9:47am

Fri June 1, 2012
Environment

Contaminated sediment to be dredged in Onondaga Lake

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

A major step in the clean up of Onondaga Lake is about to begin. Honeywell International will begin the dredging and capping of contaminated lake sediment this summer.

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2:31pm

Thu May 31, 2012
Environment

Lofty goals for Syracuse's first sustainability plan

Syracuse wants to live up to its nickname.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The city of Syracuse wants to get half its power from renewable energy sources by 2020.

That's just one of the targets laid out in a draft version of Syracuse's first sustainability plan [PDF].

It still has a ways to go, however: about 24 percent of New York's power currently comes from renewable sources - with hydropower accounting for the vast majority of that number, according to the New York Independent System Operator [PDF].

Syracuse is also hoping to reduce its energy consumption, advance education about environmental stewardship and increase urban agriculture and tree cover.

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10:32am

Mon May 28, 2012
Environment

Saving rain in the suburbs

amandabhslater Flickr

Onondaga County could soon be saving rain in the suburbs.

Lawmakers are considering expansion of the "Save the Rain" program, which has already kept 125 million gallons of water out of the sewage treatment plant in the city of Syracuse.

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5:00pm

Sat May 19, 2012
Woodcocks

Singing American woodcocks announce spring in the north country

Paco Lyptic via Flickr

Every spring, a state Department of Environmental Conservation biologist drives along north country highways at dawn or dusk, stopping every so often to pull over and listen to the nature sounds.

She's listening for the distinctive “peent” of the singing American woodcock, a brown speckled bird a little larger than a songbird with a long, narrow beak for pulling earthworms out of the newly thawed ground.

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11:57am

Mon May 7, 2012
Environment

State regulation of wastewater is questioned

A new report from Environmental Advocates of New York is questioning the state's regulation of wastewater from oil and gas wells. The study is based on about 100 drilling applications filed with the Department of Environmental Conservation.

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4:00pm

Fri May 4, 2012
Environment

Paul Roberts on the Campbell Conversations

Paul Roberts is an environmental journalist and the author of the widely acclaimed books "The End of Oil" and "The End of Food." In this conversation he relates the importance of a concept known as 'peak oil,' and considers possible bridge fuels to a new energy economy, including natural gas and nuclear power.

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12:22pm

Mon April 30, 2012
Environment

The future of hydrofracking unclear in New York state

Natural gas drilling site in PA; August 2009
arimoore via Flickr; taken by Attorney Helen Slottje

Earth Day came and went in New York  without too much discussion of what many environmentalists believe to be the biggest issue facing the state- when and where the gas drilling process known as hydrofracking will  occur.

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10:53am

Wed April 25, 2012
Environment

Air quality improves in many parts of New York state

Pollution is locally produced in New York state from things like power plants, factories, diesel trucks and vehicle traffic.
gsbrown99 via Flickr

The American Lung Association says there is some good news for those in this area who suffer from breathing problems. Many parts of New York state have seen improved air quality this year over last.

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10:01am

Mon April 23, 2012
Environment

Study finds limiting sprawl could reduce carbon emissions

A study finds reducing urban sprawl and improving public transit could reduce a community's carbon emissions.
millicent_bystander via Flickr

Scaling back urban sprawl could reduce carbon emissions released by communities throughout the Northeast, according to research done in part by New York scientists and engineers.

The study is by Hubbard Brooks Research Foundation and focused on nine counties, including Tompkins County in New York.

It found that a reduction in sprawl limits emissions from the first step of development onward by preventing the release of the carbon in vegetation when land is first cleared.

"So if you can work on redeveloping previously developed land, and think about land development smartly to try and minimize disturbance, that’s greatly going to reduce the carbon footprint," says Syracuse University professor Charles Driscoll, who co-wrote the study.

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11:09am

Fri April 20, 2012
Environment

Skaneateles undecided about hydraulic fracturing

A sign of protest.
ltmayers via Flickr

The Finger Lakes are buzzing these days with the debate on hydro-fracking and many communities want it banned.  Thursday night the town of Skaneateles held a public forum to give residents the chance to speak their minds about a proposed law to prohibit the controversial process for natural gas drilling.

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9:36am

Fri March 16, 2012
Environment

Syracuse Center of Excellence still working to fill up two years in

A prototype window at the Syracuse Center of Excellence is able to collect energy from the sun while also letting light in.
Courtesy Syracuse Center of Excellence

The window blinds control themselves, adjusting automatically to light conditions.

The roof is covered with plants.

Each cubicle has its own individual climate control system.

Ed Bogucz and his colleagues are guinea pigs, working inside a giant, building-sized science experiment: the Syracuse Center of Excellence.

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