Environment

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been confirmed as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency Pruitt has long criticized.

The Senate approved Pruitt on a 52-46 vote Friday afternoon, with two Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — voting for his nomination. Republican Susan Collins of Maine voted no.

On Jan. 25, President Trump signed an executive order instructing construction to begin on a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Environmentalists and civil rights activists say the proposed wall on the southern border with Mexico is a threat to the environmental rights of the people who live on both sides of the border.

Lake Erie
WOSU Archive / WOSU

Ohio's government agencies will spend the next year looking closely at hotspots that are contributing to Lake Erie's algae blooms and developing a monitoring network.

The Ohio EPA has released its framework for reducing phosphorus levels in western Lake Erie under the under the state’s agreement with Michigan and Ontario, Canada.  It has been rolled out one year ahead of the deadline set by the U.S. EPA and Canada.

With the Dakota Access Pipeline now cleared to cross under a reservoir in the Missouri River, one of the two Native American tribes fighting the pipeline has filed a legal challenge to the plan, according to the Associated Press.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources crews were busy at Mosquito Creek Lake last  week, using an alternate means of disposing of this season’s Christmas Trees. It’s part of a program to keep old trees out of landfills and recycle them as natural habitat for fish and other life in the lakes. 

Matt Wolf of ODNR’s Division of Wildlife  is coordinating the effort in northeast Ohio.

For the second time in as many days, a Senate committee's GOP leadership has bypassed a boycott by Democrats to advance President Trump's Cabinet nominees.

The Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee boycotted the second meeting in a row to confirm Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET on Feb. 1

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Tuesday that the acting secretary of the Army had directed the Corps of Engineers to "proceed with the easement" necessary for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

To Catch Prey, Frogs Turn To Sticky Spit

Jan 31, 2017

Frog spit might be some of the catchiest spit on the planet.

That's according to new research on frog saliva, which shows that the sticky stuff is tailor-made to grab bugs.

It helps to explain how frogs can snatch flies out of the air at incredible speeds, and hang on to them using only their tongues.

Researchers had suspected a frog's saliva might be an important tool for hunting.

An underground pipeline that runs through multiple Midwestern states has leaked an estimated 138,000 gallons of diesel fuel, according to the company that owns it, Magellan Midstream Partners.

Clay Masters of Iowa Public Radio reported diesel leaking from a 12-inch underground pipe was initially spotted in a farm field in north-central Worth County, Iowa, on Wednesday morning. Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Iowa Department of Natural Resources joined representatives of Magellan and other local officials at the site, Masters reported.

Opponents who spent months resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline were disheartened by President Trump's decision Tuesday to "expedite" construction of the controversial project. Dave Archambault, the chairman of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, called the move "reckless and politically motivated." Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil Liberties Union said it was "a slap in the face to Native Americans." Earthjustice, the law firm that represents the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, described it as "legally questionable at best" and vowed to take the Trump administration to court.

Scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency who want to publish or present their scientific findings likely will need to have their work reviewed on a "case by case basis" before it can be disseminated, according to a spokesman for the agency's transition team.

President Trump on Tuesday gave the go-ahead for construction of two controversial oil pipelines, the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access.

As he signed the paperwork in an Oval Office photo op, Trump said his administration is "going to renegotiate some of the terms" of the Keystone project, which would carry crude oil from the tar sands of western Canada and connect to an existing pipeline to the Gulf Coast.

It took years of heated debate, but the federal government has finally decided just how much living space an organic chicken should have.

It's part of a new set of rules that cover many aspects of animal welfare in the organic food industry. But the biggest impact of the rule will be felt in the organic egg industry.

Last year, global warming reached record high temperatures — and if that news feels like déjà vu, you're not going crazy.

The planet has now had three consecutive years of record-breaking heat.

A live stream of this confirmation hearing is available via C-SPAN.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been among the most controversial picks for Donald Trump's Cabinet. In part, that's because the Environmental Protection Agency nominee has said things like this:

President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants to open up federal lands for more oil and gas drilling. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports on how that might affect the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Fiat Chrysler violated the Clean Air Act by allegedly installing and failing to disclose software in some 104,000 cars and trucks that alters emissions.

The automaker was required by law to disclose the software to regulators during the certification process but did not do so, the EPA announced Thursday. While the agency is still investigating the nature of these devices, it said the software results in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides.

West Coast crab fishermen just ended an 11-day strike over a price dispute. But a more ominous and long-term threat to their livelihood may be on the horizon. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found a link between warming ocean conditions and a dangerous neurotoxin that builds up in sea life: domoic acid.

Sammis Power Plant First Energy
FIRSTENERGY

Gov. John Kasich has vetoed a bill that rolls back state requirements on electric utilities and clean energy.

Bird watchers all over Ohio are grabbing their binoculars for the 117th annual Christmas Bird Count, underway through Jan. 5th.

Every year, the National Audubon Society puts on the Christmas Bird Count, an official census of bird populations throughout the U.S. conducted by local organizers and volunteers.

One of those local organizers is Kurt Grenig.

 The Ohio is also one of the most polluted rivers in the country.
Jason Meredith / Flickr

For residents of the region, news reports about toxic chemical spills shutting down drinking water supplies are the stuff of recent memory. In 2014, for example, a toxic chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia on the Elk River—a tributary of the Ohio—affected the water supply for more than 300,000 West Virginians and shut down schools, businesses and local governments.

President Obama has indefinitely blocked offshore drilling in areas of the Atlantic Ocean and in Arctic waters, a move aimed at advancing environmental protection during his final days in office.

The Arctic protections are a joint partnership with Canada. "These actions, and Canada's parallel actions, protect a sensitive and unique ecosystem that is unlike any other region on earth," the White House said in a statement.

Dupont container in a field
Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For more than half a century, the chemical company DuPont provided jobs for thousands of people along the Ohio River. One chemical they produced is PFOA, commonly known as C8. It was a remarkably useful compound—used in “Teflon” non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics and even some food wrappers.

For months, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and others in North Dakota mounted a massive protest against the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, in part over concerns that any leak could contaminate their drinking water.

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