Environment

Tim Durbavetz / ideastream

Gov. John Kasich chose a deck at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland to sign a new bill aimed at protecting Lake Erie. Senate Bill 2 will expand the power of the Ohio EPA, but it’s also aimed at helping businesses.

According to the Ohio EPA, 90% of Ohio’s historic wetlands have been destroyed.  New research from the University of Waterloo in Canada shows wetlands play a bigger role than we thought in protecting water from harmful fertilizer nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen.

Wetlands have several roles –they provide wildlife habitat, they hold water and reduce flooding, and they help filter nutrients in water running off the landscape.

Groups that represent industries from farming to fracking are supporting a legislative push to rewrite how government handles science when drawing up regulations.

And the whole effort has scientists worried.

Consider, for example, the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act, or HONEST Act, which passed the House in the spring and now is with the Senate. Just how "honest" it is depends on whom you ask.

Antartica's Larsen C Ice Shelf Breaks Off

Jul 18, 2017
John Sonntag / Wikimedia Commons

The collapse of Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf could be the beginning of a great threat to Antarctica and the rest of the world. The break-off could be followed by many others, resulting in warmer temperatures in the Antarctic and possibly raising sea level around the world. 

Today we are talking about the impacts of the Larsen C break-off on ecosystems and the rest of the environment.

They landed, one after another, in 2015: plans for nearly a dozen interstate pipelines to move natural gas beneath rivers, mountains and people's yards. Like spokes on a wheel, they'd spread from Appalachia to markets in every direction.

Together these new and expanded pipelines — comprising 2,500 miles of steel in all — would double the amount of gas that could flow out of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The cheap fuel will benefit consumers and manufacturers, the developers promise.

Sam Hendren, WOSU News

​As scientists forecast a significant algae bloom in Lake Erie this summer, environmental groups are calling for tougher government policies to reduce pollution from farms.

Erin Gottsacker

Though America's coal industry continues to shrink, it's left its mark on the earth: Abandoned strip mines, flattened by explosions and the desperate search for fuel.

Statehouse flowers
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Oil and gas companies could be one step closer to drilling on state-owned land after the House overrode a veto by Gov. John Kasich.

The G20 Summit ended in Hamburg with affirmation to pursue the Paris climate accord by leaders of the world's strongest economies, minus President Trump.

"The leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible," reads a declaration adopted on the final day of meetings Saturday, by a group that includes Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, and which some are now calling the "G19," at least when it comes to the question of climate change.

Port of Cleveland

The Greater Cleveland Partnership is urging Governor John Kasich to sign a water quality bill sent to him last week.

Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Several Northeast Ohio groups are working together in an ongoing effort to ensure the survival of the spotted turtle. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources lists the species as “threatened.”

An appeals court in Washington, D.C., has blocked an attempt by the Environmental Protection Agency to delay Obama-era methane regulations, rejecting claims by the EPA that the oil and gas industry wasn't allowed to comment on the rules.

The agency could choose to rewrite the rules, but it overstepped in trying to delay them for years, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decided.

Lawmakers are about to take a long break after spending the last five months on the $65 billion budget. Leaders are already looking at what could be the next big issue in the House and Senate.

The air Americans breathe has been getting cleaner for decades.

But air pollution is still killing thousands in the U.S. every year, even at the levels allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a study out Wednesday.

In a major property rights decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a decisive victory to state and local governments and environmental groups.

By a 5-to-3 vote, the justices made it much harder for property owners to get compensation from the government when zoning regulations restrict the use of just part of landowners' property.

A live Asian carp — an invasive fish so threatening to local U.S. ecosystems that officials have struggled to keep it out of the Great Lakes — has been caught 9 miles from Lake Michigan, beyond a system of underwater electric barriers.

A new report on the health of the Great Lakes is out this week, and it shows a grim outlook for Lake Erie.


What if you could go back in time and follow your food from the farm to your plate? What if you could see each step of your meal's journey — every ingredient that went into its creation, and every footprint it left behind?

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration failed to follow proper environmental procedures when it granted approval to the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project.

It's a legal victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and environmentalists, who protested for months against the pipeline. Oil started flowing through it earlier this month. The tribe fears that the pipeline, which crosses the Missouri River just upstream of its reservation, could contaminate its drinking water and sacred lands.

The gray seal population in New England has bounced back, and new data points to how well seal numbers are doing.

Gray seal numbers had been decimated for more than a century when the Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed in 1972. The animals were hunted in New England, and as NPR has reported, Massachusetts even paid a bounty of $5 each.

Though it has been clear that the population has grown in number, it has been difficult to pinpoint just how much.

A flooded gas dock at a marina on Lake Ontario in Rochester, New York.
ALEX CRICHTON / WXXI

A new forecast of water levels across the Great Lakes could be bad news for those seeking relief from flooding.

Wind turbines in Blue Creek Township in Paulding County, Ohio.
Nyttend / Wikimedia Commons

Several Ohio cities, colleges and universities are joining a nationwide alliance to create a show of force that they’re dedicated to fighting climate change.

The effort comes just days after President Trump announced plans for the U.S. to leave the Paris Climate Agreement.

Imagine one of the Great Lakes on a sunny day – the water is clear and kids are playing in it.  But the day after a big storm, that same lake can reek of raw sewage.

It’s caused by a combined sewer overflow – a common problem in over 700 cities and towns nationwide.   Some cities are finding a solution underground.

The scene at an Rover Pipeline spill in Stark County, Ohio.
Ohio EPA

Builders of the Rover pipeline are going to have to do more testing and may have to pay a bigger penalty linked to the leaking of millions of gallons of drilling mud into a Stark County wetland in April.

The comeback of the American bald eagle is a success story across the Great Lakes region, and keeping them safe is a high priority for many environmental professionals. But one serious threat to the great raptor is lead poisoning.


Local parks in Ohio could be forced into oil and gas “drilling units” if the state Senate adopts the budget bill as passed by the House. Managers and supporters of many local parks, including in northeast Ohio, are joining efforts to keep that from happening.

An amendment to H.B. 49 — the state operating budget — says if 65 percent of property owners around a proposed oil and  gas “drilling unit” agree to be part of it, the other 35 percent can be forced to join. That can include public entities like park districts -- although state parks are exempted.

Ohio Has Impaired Waters. But Lake Erie Isn't On The List

May 23, 2017
Elizabeth Miller / Ideastream

The U.S. EPA has approved Ohio’s list of impaired waters, a disappointment to environmental groups that filed a lawsuit against the agency last month.

The 2014 cyanobacteria bloom that shut down Toledo’s water supply drew national attention. But algae blooms in Lake Erie have been a problem for years. In fact, as seen in this October 9, 2011 satellite photo, you can often see them from space.
NOAA

The Trump administration released details of its 2018 budget plan today. As expected, it eliminates a $300 million program to help the Great Lakes. But that isn’t the only environmental program targeted.

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