U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says the new climate change deal between the U.S. and China is good news for Rhode Island.  

The U.S. is committing to reducing carbon emissions 28 percent by 2025.

Whitehouse sais though Rhode Island is not a major carbon polluting state, it’s already feeling the effects of climate change. “Particularly with rising sea levels, Narragansett Bay is 3 to 4 degrees warmer, the winter flounder catch has virtually collapsed,” said Whitehouse.

Photo Courtesy of Steve Dubois

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency reported Copar Quarries in Westerly has paid $80,000 in penalties for violating federal clean air standards. According to EPA officials, the quarry is now in compliance. Not so, say neighbors who live near the quarry. Their lawyer is calling for a new investigation into dust and other concerns associated with the operation.

Courtesy of Rhode Island College

Rhode Island College is on a mission to improve the state’s declining honeybee population. Honeybees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. They pollinate nuts, fruits, and vegetables. The honeybee population has declined dramatically nationwide by more than 50 percent over the last 75 years.

A quarry in Westerly has agreed to settle claims by the Environmental Protection Agency that it violated federal clean air standards. 

The EPA cited Copar Quarries, LLC, last year for failing to do three things: to notify the EPA that it started up business in 2011, to conduct the required emissions testing, and to keep proper inspection log books.

Kevin Rector / Creative Commons via Wikipedia

Wondering what to do with burnt-out light bulbs that contain mercury? Thirteen hardware stores across the state are now collection sites for recycling compact fluorescent light bulbs and linear bulbs up to 4 feet long. Mercury is a neurotoxin. It can affect memory, cognitive thinking, and fine motor skills. The most common exposure to mercury is through eating contaminated fish.


RIPR File Photo

Coastal communities have a new tool available for wetland restoration projects. The Coastal Resources Management Council released new maps that show how rising sea levels will affect salt marshes.

Rhode Island has lost more than half of its salt marshes to coastal development. The state will lose more with frequent coastal flooding due to rising sea levels. Marshes play important roles as storm buffers, nurseries for fish and birds, and as filters for polluted runoff.

Google Earth Images

A Superior Court judge recently ruled homeowners in Westerly seeking remedy for alleged nuisance from a neighboring quarry operation have the right to do so.

When two families filed a lawsuit against the quarry owner, Westerly Granite Inc., the quarry operators, Armetta LLC, formerly known as Copar Quarries, LLC, and the subconstractor Maine Drilling and Blasting, Westerly Granite responded with a counter complaint.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Jerimoth Hill, Rhode Island’s highest point at 812 feet, is officially open to the public. Brown University owned this parcel of land in Foster and handed over the land deed to the state at a ceremony this morning.

State and Brown University officials huddled with their rain jackets and umbrellas near the entrance of Jerimoth Hill along route 101 in Foster. After they watched Gov. Lincoln Chafee raise the Rhode Island flag on a flagpole, they made their way to the highest point on the property, which isn’t that much higher than the road at the entrance. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The Department of Environmental Management has extended an existing shellfish closure in an area of Upper Narragansett Bay known as Conditional Area A and the Conimicut Triangle.

One Square Mile: An Audio Postcard From Hope Island

Oct 8, 2014
Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Narragansett Bay is home to more than 30 islands. Some are bustling with people; others with birds. Rhode Island Public Radio’s summer intern Molly Malinowski set out to explore some of the lesser known islands in the bay and went on a boat tour with the Narragansett Bay Research Reserve. As part of our One Square Mile: Narragansett Bay series, she filed this audio postcard about Hope Island.

An old dock and a small concrete fort greet us, as the boat approaches Hope Island. In the distance, some wooden telephone posts peek out from the overgrown trees. 

One Square Mile: An Audio Postcard From Dyer Island

Oct 8, 2014
Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

More than 30 islands dot Narragansett Bay. They range in size from as big as Aquidneck Island to as small as Whale Rock, a flat rock ledge about half an acre in size. Few have remained undeveloped, giving birds and other plant and animal species a protected space to be. As part of our One Square Mile: Narragansett Bay series, our summer intern Molly Malinowski took a boat tour with the Narragansett Bay Research Reserve and filed this audio postcard about Dyer Island.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Lobster populations in Southern New England were booming in the 1990s. Since then, their numbers have declined, from more than 36 million lobsters in 1997 to about 14 million in 2007. But commercial fishermen in Rhode Island say lobsters are making a comeback. And a pilot program in place today is giving lobster fishermen an opportunity to work with state and federal managers to collect data about the lobster populations in Narragansett Bay and the Rhode Island and Block Island sounds.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

For the past 55 years, researchers and students from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography have trawled Narragansett Bay on a weekly basis. These trawls are one of the world's longest running surveys that track the type of fish that come and go from season to season. For our One Square Mile: Narragansett Bay series, we turn to these trawls to give us a snapshot of how fish have responded to changes.

Three URI students board the 53-foot research vessel Cap'n Bert at Wickford Harbor, as they do each week, to trawl the bay at two stations.

In our series One Square Mile Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Scott MacKay sits down with Vincent Mesolella, chairman of the Narragansett Bay Commission board, about how the commission takes care of sewage treatment and keeping water pollution out of the bay.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and other leaders have gathered at Slater Mill in Pawtucket this afternoon for a ceremonial signing of the Affordable Clean Energy Security Act, an energy bill the governor signed into law earlier this summer.

The act gives Rhode Island an opportunity to work with other New England states to address volatile electricity prices. Last winter, the New England region spent $5 billion in energy costs, nearly as much as the region spent for the entire 2012 calendar year.