environment

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

The threat of Asian Carp entering the Great Lakes has been talked about for years. While the potential of the invasive species on the lakes has not been fully determined, environmentalists are concerned the fish could hurt the lakes' ecosystem.

Dave White, with New York Sea Grant, says big head and silver carp have been detected very close to the Great Lakes, so the risk of a flood introducing them into the lakes is always present.

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.

Roy Saplin / Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Three North Country communities were awarded grant money from New York state yesterday to address contaminated sites called brownfields.

The village of Lyons Falls in Lewis County received over half a million dollars to figure out a plan for 4 sites – including the old abandoned paper mill in the center of town.

Katie Liendecker is mayor of Lyons Falls. She says the mill is in pretty bad shape.

"Looking over at the paper mill you can see how some of the buildings have just collapsed. And thank goodness from our main street we’re not looking at that."

Scientists work to bring back American chestnut tree

Oct 17, 2013
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.

Joanna Richards

Current and former residents of Watertown's north side neighborhood have been building a public case against the company New York Air Brake, over former chemical dumping they say has made them sick. The law firm of famous environmental attorney Erin Brockovich has taken interest in the case. Now, a lawsuit is shaping up, and the state Department of Health is planning its own investigation.

Millennium Pipeline Company, LLC.

A group opposed to the construction of a new north-south natural gas pipeline that would run from Binghamton to Syracuse is hoping to get its message to landowners along the route before the gas company does.

Millennium Pipeline Company this May proposed building the Upstate Pipeline which would connect three east-west pipelines already in operation.

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.

The leaders of the environmental committee in the New York state legislature have proposed a $5 billion environmental bond act, to be voted on in November 2014. But at an Assembly hearing on the state’s environmental budget, advocates say a bigger concern is dwindling staff at the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Assembly Environmental Committee Chair Robert Sweeney is sponsoring a bill to create a $5 billion environmental bond act to promote clean water, clean air and to preserve public land.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Gas storage contoversy continues to simmer

Jul 22, 2013
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.

Alcoa breaks ground at Massena East plant

Jul 4, 2013
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. 


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

Old coal plant on Fort Drum reopens as biomass facility

Jun 5, 2013
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.

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.   

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.  

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.

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.

Matt Richmond / WSKG

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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