Environment

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.

Jeremy Stump / Flickr

Sanding in downtown Pittsburgh, you can see where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet to form the headwaters of the Ohio River. It’s here where the Ohio starts its near-thousand-mile journey from Pennsylvania through five other states to the Mississippi River.

This week the U.S. EPA issued its full report on the potential risks of fracking to ground water.  The  study was mandated by Congress six years ago leaves some big questions unansered

The report did not settle the question of whether fracking does or does not pose a threat to drinking water. The agency’s summary cites too many gaps in available data to reach a definitive conclusion.

Giraffes are dying at an alarming rate and could face extinction if the trend doesn't reverse, according to a new conservation report on animal populations worldwide.

The report was released by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which maintains the so-called Red List of species threatened with extinction.

The House passed a bill that would stop the state from enforcing an increased use of green energy for three years. 

Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET on Dec. 6

The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota is asking people camping near the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline to go home.

"I'm asking them to go," Dave Archambault III told Reuters on Monday, saying that the Obama administration "did the right thing," and that he hoped to "educate the incoming administration" of President-elect Donald Trump.

"Nothing will happen this winter," he said.

The Army Corps of Engineers has denied a permit for the construction of a key section of the Dakota Access Pipeline, granting a major victory to protesters who have been demonstrating for months.

The decision essentially halts the construction of the 1,172-mile oil pipeline just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Thousands of demonstrators from across the country had flocked to North Dakota in protest.

The governor of North Dakota says he has not authorized roadblocks or forcible removal of protesters from the area near the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple spoke to reporters in an effort to clarify the implications of an evacuation order he issued earlier this week, which he said had led to "some miscommunication" with local law enforcement.

An annual study released by the Brazilian government estimates that the rate of deforestation in the Amazon has increased by 29 percent over last year.

That's the second year in a row that deforestation in the Amazon quickened; last year, the pace rose by about 24 percent.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers notified the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Friday that the public will not be allowed in areas being used to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In a letter to the tribe, John W. Henderson, a district commander with the Corps, said that the area will be closed by Dec. 5. Anyone found to be on "Corps-managed land" north of the Cannonball River after that date will be considered trespassing and subject to prosecution:

There are a lot of things that make holidays hectic: travel, cooking, making small talk and avoiding questions from your relatives about who you're dating and how school's going. That's typically part of what comes with holidays, but the chaos and disorder that accompany Black Friday, not even a true holiday, are something else.

Police and demonstrators opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline clashed overnight on a bridge that has been a flashpoint in the ongoing protests.

"Police say protesters set fires in the area Sunday night and threw rocks at officers," Prairie Public Broadcasting's Amy Sisk reported. But an activist said in a live-stream video that projectiles fired from the police side started the fires and that demonstrators, who call themselves water protectors, were trying to extinguish the flames.

Karen Kasler/OPR

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Columbus police report an activist in a small group protesting construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline blocked traffic by handcuffing himself under a vehicle at a downtown intersection.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Monday that it needs more information before it can decide whether to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built along its planned route.

In a joint statement by the U.S. Army and Department of the Interior, the Corps announced it had finished a review of the route, and concluded that more study was needed before it could grant the pipeline company the easement it needs to cross under a section of the Missouri River.

Biologist Mike Graziano beside a vernal pool that he and others constructed.
Sam Hendren / 89.7 NPR News

Biologist Mike Graziano loves to explore the Clintonville area’s ravines. According to an acquaintance, this Ohio State University PhD candidate is the next E.O. Wilson.  

Finally — some good news for the bees of Hawaii.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has given endangered status to seven species of yellow-faced bees native to the islands. These are "the first bees in the country to be protected under the Endangered Species Act," according to the Xerces Society, which advocated for the new designation.

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