Environment

Environment
8:50 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Sen. Whitehouse Offers Sharp Critique Of Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse speaking on the senate floor
Credit Whitehouse Office

The U.S. Senate passed a bill approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline Thursday.  Rhode Island’s junior Senator Sheldon Whitehouse voted against the bill.

A vocal critic from the start, Whitehouse released a sharp statement following the bill’s passage.  He calls the $8 billion dollar project a “disaster” for health and the environment.   The Keystone project would construct a nearly 12-hundred mile pipeline to carry mainly oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

Whitehouse says the project would encourage dependence of fossil fuels, which exacerbate climate change.

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Environment
2:22 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Federal Government Leases Two Areas Offshore Martha's Vineyard For Wind Energy Development

Turbines have already been installed in Providence, now the federal government is leasing areas off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts for an offshore wind farm.
Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

The Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Managment auctioned off two out of four wind development areas off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard today for potential wind energy development. Twelve companies were eligible to place bids, but only two took part in the auction.

The two companies are RES Americas, a company headquartered in the UK, and OffshoreMW, the sister company of a German wind energy developer. They have secured provisional leases to build offshore wind farms off the coast of Massachusetts, south of Martha’s Vineyard.

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Environment
1:27 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

RI DEM Warns: Keep Snow Disposal Away From Water Sources

RI DEM urges cities, towns and businesses to avoid dumping collected snow into or near water sources.
Credit File/Ian Donnis / RIPR

As crews clear roads and parking lots, the excess snow is piling up. And the Department of Environmental Management urges cities, towns and businesses to avoid dumping all that snow into any body of water.

That includes ponds, lakes, rivers, wetlands and the ocean. Why? Well, all the salt, sand, littler and oil from cars pollute the water, harming wildlife and possibly sinking down into the groundwater.

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Battle With The Sea
9:28 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Battle With The Sea: Rhode Island Develops State-of-the-Art Planning Tools

The head of the EPA Northeast Region, Curt Spalding, took a guided walking tour of Wickford Village in North Kingstown to learn about a climate change adaptation pilot project there. He also visited Westerly, South Kingstown, and Warwick.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Just this week, the U.S. Senate went on the record that climate change exists. Local and state officials in Rhode Island haven’t been waiting around to take the lead from Washington. They not only know climate change is real, but they’re also planning for its impacts. As part of our Battle With The Sea series, Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza went on a tour with the Environmental Protection Agency’s northeast director to see how plans are in place.

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Environment
10:04 am
Thu January 22, 2015

EPA Head Tours RI Areas Affected By Climate Change

EPA head Curt Spalding tours areas affected in Rhode Island.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The regional head of the environmental protection agency said Rhode Island is doing state-of-the-art planning for climate change threats.  Curt Spalding spent Wednesday seeing firsthand the tools coastal managers have already put into place.

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Environment
9:39 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Sen. Whitehouse Applauds Official Senate Recognition Of Climate Change

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse addresses the Senate during one of his weekly speeches on climate change.
Credit Whitehouse Office

Climate change is real, not a hoax. That’s according the U.S. Senate, which is now on record about the reality of climate change.  The Senate voted 98 to 1 on an amendment recognizing climate change in the Keystone Pipeline bill.  

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Environment
10:29 am
Wed January 21, 2015

EPA Head To Survey Parts Of RI Endangered By Climate Change

Misquamicut Beach in Westerly was drastically affected by hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s New England region is in Rhode Island Wednesday. Curt Spalding will survey parts of the state, to see which are at risk to storms and increased sea level rise.

For two days, the EPA’s Curt Spalding will tour areas in Westerly, South Kingstown, North Kingstown and Warwick. The idea behind the tour is twofold: to examine at-risk areas, and share ideas and existing tools for how to plan for rising seas and more violent storms.

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Environment
5:00 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Year-Long Birding Competition Kicks Off In Rhode Island

A barred owl.
Ed Hughes The Audubon Society of Rhode Island

If bird watching is your way of combating the winter blues, then the Audubon of Society of Rhode Island has a challenge for you, as Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza reports.

In the past, the Audubon Society of Rhode Island (ASRI) has held something called a bird-a-thon, where bird watchers try to identify as many bird species as they can in a day.  

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Environment
6:15 am
Mon January 12, 2015

CFL Recycling Program Keeping Mercury Out Of Waterways

Compact fluorescent light bulbs contain small traces of mercury that can get into our waterways when they are sent to the landfill. Exposure to mercury, even in small amounts, may cause serious health problems. The most common exposure to mercury is through fish consumption.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

A recycling program for light bulbs with mercury has kept nearly seven grams of mercury out of our waterways in its first four months of operation. 

Seven grams of mercury is enough to make more than 20 tons of fish unsafe to eat, said David Gerraughty, the mercury program coordinator at Clean Water Action Rhode Island, the group that’s paying for the cost of this recycling program.

Gerraughty said the most common exposure to mercury is through eating contaminated fish.

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Environment
8:30 am
Sun January 11, 2015

EPA Pushes Back Deadline For Carbon Rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received four million comments for its trio of federal rules proposing to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. This is why the EPA will miss a deadline this month to finalize one of those plans. Now the agency will finalize those rules all at once in the mid-summer.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management submitted comments, encouraging the EPA to continue recognizing existing efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

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