Environment

Environment
1:16 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

CRMC Staff Report Has "No Objections" to Block Island Offshore Wind Farms

One of the wind turbines already installed in Rhode Island.
Credit RIPR FILE

The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council says it does not object with the wind farm projects off Block Island proposed by developer Deepwater Wind.

Four CRMC staff members shared this position, along with 17 recommended stipulations, in a 53-page staff report earlier this week in advance of a public hearing on the project’s permit application next week.

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Environment
7:00 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Local Businessmen To Build State’s First Industrial-Scale Composting Plant

Decayed food waste breaks down into soil. Composting is a natural way to recycle food waste that would otherwise make its way to the landfill.
Credit Kessner Photography via Creative Commons

For a pair of Rhode Island businessmen, sending food waste to the landfill doesn’t make any sense. So they’re raising money to build a composting plant. It would be the state’s first industrial-scale composting facility.

The Central Landfill is expected to reach full capacity in about 25 years. Leo Pollock and Nat Harris said their composting facility is not going to solve the state’s landfill problem, but it will help. 

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Environment
6:00 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Plastic Bag Ban Reintroduced With Public Support

Credit s2art via Creative Commons

State Rep. Maria Cimini recently reintroduced a bill to ban plastic bags in Rhode Island. Environment Rhode Island collected more than 10,000 public comments supporting a statewide plastic ban.

The group began collecting signatures to support a statewide plastic bag ban since last summer, after a bill banning them died in committee hearings last year.

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Environment
4:00 am
Fri January 24, 2014

RI DEM To Update Wildlife Conservation Plan

The presence of spotted turtles in wetlands can say a lot about a wetland's health. This is why spotted turtles and other endangered species are valuable species, because they are considered "bioindicators" of a habitat's health.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is updating its wildlife conservation plan. It’s part of a nationwide initiative to identify threatened and endangered species, and set aside money to protect them. Some of those species include big brown bats, herring, and spotted turtles.

This year’s project has a community outreach person who will oversee work done by cities and towns and help put their conservation plans to work. The DEM’s Jay Osenkowski says this piece was missing the first time the state launched this initiative.

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Local Feature
9:46 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Debrief: What Does It Mean To Reduce Nitrogen In Narragansett Bay?

A local quahog fisherman is happy with the improving the health of Narragansett Bay. He harvested these quahogs on a recent chilly and windy morning.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Rhode Island is remarkably close to meeting a goal of reducing nitrogen discharged in upper Narragansett Bay by 50 percent. Upgrades at wastewater treatment plants have played a major role in helping meet this goal. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environment reporter Ambar Espinoza joined Elisabeth Harrison in the studio to talk about what it means to reduce the amount of nitrogen we put into the bay.

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Local Feature
6:44 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Quahog Fisherman Pleased With Progress Of Narragansett Bay Cleanup

Weather permitting, Jody King goes quahog fishing every morning.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

It’s been a decade since a big fish kill in Greenwich Bay grabbed headlines.  It prompted the state to take more action for a healthier upper Narragansett Bay. Local wastewater treatment plants responded and it turns out, the state is on track to meet the goal of cutting back how much nitrogen we put into Narragansett Bay. That’s great news for one quahog fisherman who’s made a livelihood from the bay for decades.

There’s no better season to go quahogging than the winter season for Warwick resident Jody King, even though he makes half as much money as he does in the summer.

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Environment
11:00 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Legislation Would Require Labeling of GMO's Sold In RI

Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States come from genetically engineered seeds.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Between 60 to 70 percent of foods in supermarkets contain genetically modified organisms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. State lawmakers are pushing two bills that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods sold in Rhode Island.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are plants and animals that have had their genes transferred between other plants and animals that are distantly related or not related at all. Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States come from genetically engineered seeds.

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Environment
9:11 am
Mon January 20, 2014

State Managed Deer Hunt Begins On Block Island

A Virginia white-tailed doe.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Starting Tuesday, the second annual state managed deer hunt will be held on Block Island.

It’s the only hunt of its kind on state-owned land. 

The four week hunt takes place on a one-hundred fifteen acre parcel of state-owned land known as Black Rock.

Any Rhode Islander with a state hunting license is eligible to take part in the hunt. However only six hunters will be allowed on the property per day; they’ll be chosen via a lottery system. The bag limit is eight deer per hunter.

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Environment
4:00 am
Sun January 19, 2014

Flushable Wipes Problematic For Rhode Island Wastewater Treatment Plants

Wet wipes marketed as "flushable" are not designed to break down as quickly as regular toilet paper breaks down. Instead, the wipes create expensive clogs and blockages when they bind with oils that are poured down drains.
Credit Courtesy of Warwick Sewer Authority

Those wet wipes marketed as “flushable” are causing major costly problems for sewer systems across Rhode Island.

Managers at wastewater treatment facilities say just because the wipes are flushable doesn’t mean that they break down as easily and quickly as regular toilet paper. Instead they clog pump stations and sewer pipes, forcing treatment plants to spend time and money unclogging their systems.

Warwick Sewer Authority Superintendent Janine Burke says removing those wet wipe clogs takes man power, up to three employees at her facility.

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Environment
4:00 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Sen. Whitehouse Talks With Alaskans Threatened By Climate Change

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the Senate floor in Washington.
Credit Courtesy Whitehouse Office

In Washington D.C., Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse will talk with Alaska Natives this morning to find out how extreme coastal erosion caused by climate change may force them to relocate from their village.

The Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, co-chaired by Sen. Whitehouse and Ca. Rep. Henry Waxman, is hosting five residents from the Alaskan village of Shishmaref.

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