Environment

Environment
7:50 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Proposed Extraction Ordinances By Charlestown Challenged By Industry

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers trucked in 90,000 cubic yards of sand from two Rhode Island quarries to replenish the beach after Superstorm Sandy. The first quarry didn't have enough sand, so the Corps subcontracted Copar Quarries for the rest.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Yesterday we brought you the story of homeowners in the communities of Westerly and Charlestown who say their lives have been disrupted by the rock blasting at a neighboring quarry. Charlestown is working on ordinances that would regulate this industry. Town officials are trying to balance the interest of homeowners and sand and gravel business owners. But one local operator said those proposed ordinances would create hardships for the industry – an industry he said is already struggling to survive. This is the second installment of a two-part series.

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Environment
8:12 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Westerly Quarry Still A Quandary For Neighboring Residents

A bird's eye view of the Westerly Quarry in April 2010 from Google Earth.
Google Earth Images

On the surface, this story is about sand and gravel. And it’s not, actually. It's a story about how stone becomes sand and gravel. And about the people who built homes around what used to be a dormant quarry in Westerly. It’s the first installment of a two-part series.

Charlestown resident Denise Rhodes lives about 1,000 feet away from this quarry, just across the border in Westerly. She invited local town council members and Rhode Island Public Radio to her house on a day when the town issued a “Code Red alert.” 

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Environment
9:25 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Rhode Island's First Farm-Based Brewery Opens

Farm-based breweries can now sell limited quantities of beer; only 72 ounces. That's about one six pack.
Credit Courtesty National Beer Wholesalers Association

Bills that would have given farmers a license to sell unlimited amounts of beer at their farm breweries and at farmer’s markets didn’t pass in the most recent legislative session.  But, Rhode Island has just licensed the state's first farm brewery.

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Environment
9:12 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Raimondo, Fung Defend Decision Not To Take Part In Environmental Debate

Gubernatorial candidates Gina Raimondo and Allan Fung have agreed to do a limited number of joint appearances and televised debates before the general election.  A coalition of environmental groups is disappointed its invitation for a debate didn’t make the list.

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Environment
7:52 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Volunteers To Pick Up, Record Trash At Beach Cleanup

Volunteers will comb the shores of Misquamicut Beach for trash, cataloging all of the debris they find.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

About 2,000 volunteers will dedicate their entire morning tomorrow cleaning up beaches around the state as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, which draws about 650,000 volunteers worldwide.

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Environment
8:06 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Hundreds Of Conservation Activists Expected In Rhode Island

More than 2000 land conservation leaders from around the country are flocking to Rhode Island this week for a conference.  They’ll get to tour special protected places around the state.

Rhode Island has more lands trusts per square mile than anywhere else in the country: 45 of them. And they’ve conserved about a quarter of the state’s protected lands. Rupert Friday, director of the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, says that accomplishment is one reason why Rhode Island was picked for the second time to host the conference.

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Environment
7:26 am
Tue September 16, 2014

State Of The Birds Report Highlights Gains And Losses

Pictured here in the distance are American oystercatchers, whose numbers in Rhode Island are slowly rising again due to conservation efforts. Many islands in Narragansett Bay, such as Hope and Dyer islands, are refuges for birds.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Bird populations are declining across many keys habitats in the country, according to the most comprehensive report of the health of our nation’s birds, the State of the Birds 2014, created by the nation’s top bird science and conservation groups. 

The report brings good news, too, said Laura Carberry, refuge manager for Fisherville Brooke Wildlife Refuge in Exeter.

Carberry said the report highlights the recovery of bird populations in places where states invested in conservation. In Rhode Island, for example, the population of piping plovers is rising again.

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Environment
5:00 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Legendary Oceanographer Sylvia Earle Speaks To Local Environmental Leaders

World famous oceanographer Sylvia Earle said never before have we been as equipped with knowledge about the universe, the earth, and the processes that keep us alive as we are [equipped] today. She said that should guide how we treat our planet.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse invited world famous marine scientist Sylvia Earle to speak to and inspire local environmental leaders at his fifth annual Energy & Environmental Leaders Day.

For too long we’ve tapped into natural resources thinking they’d always be there, said Earle. She cautioned worldwide our “life support” is collapsing, such as coral reefs, kelp forests, and even the marine plants that produce half of the oxygen in the air we breathe.

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Environment
3:05 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

EPA Head Affirms Climate Change Is A Public Health Threat

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said she accepted Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s invitation to be a keynote speaker at the annual Energy & Environmental Leaders Day, because she wants to celebrate what’s happening at state and federal levels to reduce carbon pollution. She highlighted the EPA’s plan to reduce their carbon emissions by the largest polluters: power plants.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Climate change is one of the country’s most serious public health threats, said Gina McCarthy, the head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She spoke to a large crowd of local energy and environmental leaders at an annual conference today hosted by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. 

McCarthy shared one example of a direct public health threat.

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Environment
2:30 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Block Island Wind Farm Fully Approved

The Block Island offshore wind farm is now fully permitted by all state and federal agencies.

The latest approval comes from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lead federal permitting agency for such a project.

A total of nine state and federal agencies have reviewed and approved what may be the country’s first offshore wind. Deepwater Wind is set to build five turbines three miles off the coast of Block Island. It’s already begun the initial stages of constructing them.

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