environment

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Women learn art of wood splitting at hands-on workshop

Mar 6, 2013
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Watertown scares away nuisance crows

Jan 15, 2013
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.

A group called Elected Officials to Protect New York is pressing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to extend a 30-day public comment period that ends Friday. The comment period is for revised hydrofracking regulations released by the Department of Environmental Conservation in November.

Matt Richmond / WSKG

A document from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration assessing the health impacts of hydrofracking, written less than a year ago, says the gas drilling process is likely safe if proper precautions are taken by the governor’s environmental agency, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). 

DVIDSHUB / Flickr

A report published Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) finds that sea level increases over the next century will have significant impacts on coastal communities.

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