environment

6:33am

Thu September 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Miner receives endorsement from environmentalist group

Mayor Stephanie Miner receives an endorsement from the local and regional arm of the Sierra Club.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has some local environmentalists on her side in her race for reelection.

The local and regional arm of the Sierra Club is supporting Miner in her bid for mayor, citing what they say is her ambitious environmental vision for Syracuse. Shortly after becoming mayor, Miner created the Bureau of Sustainability and Environment, dedicated to environmental issues in the city. Miner says these are important issues, even in a time of fiscal instability. She also says city residents appreciate the focus on this issue.

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4:03pm

Wed September 4, 2013
Regional Coverage

Butter to compost could be example of future recycling laws

Butter from the NY State Fair sculpture has ended up at an OCRRA composting site.
OCRRA

Vendors and displays are packed up, and the New York State Fair in Syracuse is over for another year. But one of the iconic sights of the fair will live on, giving a glimpse of what could be the next big recycling trend in New York state.

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5:55pm

Mon August 26, 2013
Regional Coverage

Two Row Wampum campaign took message throughout New York state

Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign

A 13-day trip down the Hudson River was successful in bringing the message of the Two Row Wampum to some New Yorkers who may not have known about it, according to organizers.  

The idea behind the trip was to make non-native people aware of the agreement between Native Americans and European settlers, and how the ideals embodied in that Two Row Wampum agreement are relevant today. This year is the 400th anniversary of the agreement. Jake Edwards of the Onondaga Council of Chiefs says there were warm welcomes from everyone who watched the paddlers go by.

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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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8:02am

Wed July 24, 2013
Politics and Government

Hydrofracking decision in New York weighs on supporters, detractors alike

Bosc d'Anjou Flickr

New York today enters into the sixth year of a defacto moratorium on whether to allow hydrofracking in the state. Business and industry groups are expressing dismay over what they say is too long a delay.

In the summer of 2008, then Gov. David Paterson and the legislature imposed an actual moratorium in New York on the gas drilling process known as hydrofracking. After it expired, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s environmental agency began an extended review.

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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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8:17am

Mon July 22, 2013
Energy

Gas storage contoversy continues to simmer

David Chanatry/NY Reporting Project

It’s something few people think about, but all that natural gas --and other fossil fuels -- produced by hydrofracking has to be stored somewhere before it gets to the consumer. Often used for the job: underground salt caverns like the ones near Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes. Now an out-of-state company wants to expand storage there, a plan some local residents call risky. 

About 100 environmental activists welcomed three of their own with singing that sounded like it was straight out of the civil rights movement last April, after they spent a week in jail.

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12:33pm

Thu July 4, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Alcoa breaks ground at Massena East plant

Elected officials and Alcoa leaders break ground at the Massena East plant.
Julie Grant/NCPR

Alcoa Aluminum broke ground earlier this week on a $600 million expansion and modernization project at its manufacturing plant in Massena.

Company officials were joined by New York Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, other state and local leaders, North Country Rep. Bill Owens, and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Schumer says he started working to maintain the Alcoa plant in Massena in 2007. 

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11:58am

Fri June 14, 2013
-Nature of Things

Doug Whitman: Bird Banding Research


Four years after their first interview, John Weeks sits down with Douglas Whitman again to discuss the research and purpose behind Bird Banding.

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8:46am

Wed June 5, 2013
Regional Coverage

Old coal plant on Fort Drum reopens as biomass facility

ReEnergy Chief Executive Officer Larry Richardson speaks during the grand opening of the company's new biomass plant on Fort Drum.
Joanna Richards WRVO

A once-idled coal plant on Fort Drum has been given new life. ReEnergy Black River is creating dozens of new jobs in the North Country – while maintaining a focus on the environment.

State and local officials gathered recently at the facility to celebrate its grand opening.

Over the past year and a half, New York-based company ReEnergy Holdings has retrofitted the plant on Fort Drum to burn biomass instead of coal. Its primary fuel will be wood chips, created from the waste of the nearby logging industry on the Tug Hill Plateau and southwestern Adirondacks.

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8:46am

Wed May 15, 2013
Energy

Seven years of spinning turbines have brought windfall to Lewis County communities

The Maple Ridge Wind Farm has brought millions of dollars to local governments in Lewis County - and a big change of scenery for residents.
Credit Iberdrola Renewables

Wind farms are a touchy subject in the North Country. As the town of Cape Vincent wrestles with a potential project, in neighboring Lewis County another wind farm has been operating for seven years. The Maple Ridge Wind Farm has brought some big changes to its community.   

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5:58am

Sat May 4, 2013
Environment

Rising concern about changes to Lake Ontario water levels

A marina on Lake Ontario near Hamilton, Ontario in Canada.
Hamilton Conservation Authority via Flickr

The water levels in Lake Ontario have a significant impact on the economic and environmental viability of harbors in upstate New York and Canada. As a result, a proposed plan to change the management of those water levels has raised some concerns in waterfront communities.

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6:27am

Wed May 1, 2013
Environment

Pondering the value of landfills in the Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes region is hope to two of the biggest landfills in the state.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources via Flickr

Hundreds of Finger Lakes residents gathered in Geneva recently for what’s expected to be the first of several conversations about the region’s landfills.

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5:47am

Tue April 30, 2013
Energy

Elmira faces ups and downs of gas business

Schlumberger's gasfield services facility in Horseheads, just outside of Elmira.
Matt Richmond/Innovation Trail

The City of Elmira is just seven miles from the Pennsylvania border. And for four years, the natural gas boom in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier crossed over the border and boosted Elmira’s economy. But that boom has slowed down.

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9:52am

Mon April 29, 2013
Fracking

A loose collection of groups makes up state's fracking opposition

New York's anti-fracking movement has been done largely at the grassroots level.
Matt Richmond WSKG

When philosophy professor Mike Gorr and his wife were looking for a place to retire, they took a trip from Illinois to the Finger Lakes region.

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5:16am

Wed April 24, 2013
Politics and Government

Fracking overshadows other issues on Earth Day

On Earth Day lobby day at the state Capitol, whether or not to allow hydrofracking in New York continues to be the dominant issue.

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5:18am

Thu April 18, 2013
Energy

BP to push forward with Cape Vincent wind project, pending possible sale of renewables division

Richard Chandler, director of business development for BP Wind Energy North America, gives a presentation on the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm project at a firehouse in Three Mile Bay.
Credit Joanna Richards

Earlier this month, energy company BP announced its entire renewables division was up for sale. At a recent public meeting on the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm, a BP official confirmed the company will push ahead with the development anyway, and local leaders vowed to hire experts to help them fight the project.  

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3:50pm

Wed April 17, 2013
Agriculture

Farmers and foodies call for fracking ban

WBFO

A coalition of farmers and foodies are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York state right away. Groups across the state are expected to meet throughout the week to alert the public to the risks they believe fracking poses to the state’s agricultural viability.

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6:40am

Fri April 12, 2013
Politics and Government

New York state still awaiting fracking decision

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner is expected to release a health report on hydraulic fracturing soon, at least according to a timetable announced in late February. But the Cuomo administration has already missed several deadlines on fracking.

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12:47pm

Fri March 22, 2013
Regional Coverage

Arguments over fracking bans focus on one sentence

A drilling rig in Pennsylvania, where Act 13 prevents towns from controlling where drilling can take place. State courts have blocked Act 13.
Matt Richmond/Innovation Trail

Oral arguments were completed Thursday in the case that will decide whether New York towns have the right to ban gas drilling. The case comes down to how the panel of four judges will interpret a single sentence.

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6:30pm

Sun March 10, 2013
Politics and Government

Matt Driscoll on the Campbell Conversations

Matt Driscoll was mayor of Syracuse from 2001 to 2009. Since then, he's been the President of a state public authority, and most recently a member of Governor Cuomo's cabinet. In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, he discusses the environmental issues he became known for as mayor, economic development, and the current Syracuse mayor's disagreement with the governor over public pensions.

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1:22am

Thu March 7, 2013
Politics and Government

Assembly passes ban on fracking for two more years; Senate unlikely to do same

The New York State Assembly has approved, by a 95 to 40 vote, a two-year moratorium on hydrofracking in New York. While it’s unlikely to be passed in the Senate, the action reflects state lawmakers' growing worries about potential health impacts from the natural gas drilling process. 

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9:17am

Wed March 6, 2013
Regional Coverage

Women learn art of wood splitting at hands-on workshop

WRVO reporter Joanna Richards tries her hand at wood splitting at a workshop especially for women in Colton, St. Lawrence County.
Credit Joanna Richards

Our reporter, Joanna Richards, is a city girl. But since she moved to the north country four years ago, she's been boning up on the traditions and culture of rural life. She had a chance recently for a bit of North Country skill building, in a workshop on wood splitting especially for women. Joanna tells the story of her lesson.

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9:14am

Mon March 4, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo faces difficult choice on fracking

Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces a tough choice as he continues to ponder the decision on whether to allow hydro fracking in New York, and it seems there’s no easy way to win for the governor.

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8:58am

Wed February 27, 2013
Politics and Government

State Assembly proposes to ban fracking for another year

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is one of the sponsors of a bill to ban fracking in New York state at least until May of next year.

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9:06am

Mon February 25, 2013
Energy

Residents prepare for legal fight over proposed gas storage facility

The group Gas Free Seneca met recently to discuss their opposition to a proposed gas storage facility
Sidsel Overgaard/WRVO

Opponents of a proposed underground gas storage facility near Seneca Lake are ramping up for a legal fight as a decision on the project nears.

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8:49am

Fri February 15, 2013
Politics and Government

Fracking delay could take weeks or much longer

New York's Dept. of Environmental Conservation delayed its environmental review of fracking until the go-ahead is given by the Dept. of Health
Marie Cusick/Innovation Trail

On Tuesday, New York state officials announced another delay of their final decision on hydrofracking. The Department of Environmental Conservation will wait for a report on the health protections in its environmental review of fracking. Then the environmental review can be completed. The delay could be less than a month or it could be much longer. But one thing is clear - the delayed health review is now the key factor in deciding whether or not fracking will go ahead in New York.

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5:14pm

Tue February 12, 2013
Politics and Government

New York delays fracking decision again

A February deadline on New York’s process to allow hydrofracking will be missed, with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Health Commissioner now saying he needs more time to complete an on-going health study.

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2:05am

Tue January 15, 2013
Regional Coverage

Watertown scares away nuisance crows

Cody Baciuska, of Loomacres Wildlife Management, fires pyrotechnics into the sky to scare away Watertown's winter crow flock.
Credit Joanna Richards

It's an eerie sight – every winter, around dusk each night, a flock of between 20,000 and 30,000 crows gathers in the trees around the Black River in Watertown. They can be a neat sight against the white winter landscape, but the city wants them gone. That's because they squawk and poop and generally annoy a lot of city residents. The city has hired a wildlife management company to disperse the birds.

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