PHOTO: Biomass pellets are used worldwide for energy generation, and they're growing in popularity in Europe. (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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New Report: Biomass More Polluting Than Coal

“Trees, Trash, and Toxics: How Biomass Energy Has Become the New Coal,” which has been delivered to the EPA by the Partnership for Policy Integrity, says that biomass power plants across the country are permitted to emit more pollution than comparable coal plants or commercial waste incinerators, even as they are subsidized by state and federal renewable energy dollars. There are currently two biomass proposals in Connecticut — one in Plainfield and one in Watertown.

It contains detailed emissions and fuel specifications for a number of facilities, including plants in Connecticut, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

Founded in 2007 for the state of Connecticut, Environmental Headlines is a collection of local and hyper-local environmental news coverage for communities in Connecticut and around the world. If you are interested in staying abreast of what is happening in Connecticut's environment, please sign up for our news feed, which is an easy way to receive a rundown of all the news updates via email. Please come back and visit the site to see who is sponsoring and, if you would like to support our efforts, please make a donation on the How to Support Us page. Thank you for your continued support!

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Environmental Headlines is, still, a free service. Our mission is to deliver Connecticut environmental news that creates real change. That means blogging today’s environmental headlines for everyone to read—for free.

Image: Wespionage (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wespionage/765209458/in/set-72157602153892507/)

Courant editorial: ‘Ban the import of fracking wastes’

Because there are few governmental responsibilities as profound as protecting the air and water that sustain life, until the system is safe beyond question, the state should ban the storage and disposal of fracking waste within Connecticut’s borders.

A dusting of frozen precipitation is seen in the foreground of this image of the great Connecticut River overflowing its banks in Cromwell, Conn., with the Arigoni Bridge in Middletown in the background. (photo: Ross Powell)

Flood Warning for Connecticut River

As heavy rain moved into western Massachusetts on Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued a Flood Warning for the Connecticut River in Northampton, Montague, and just over the state line in Thompsonville, Connecticut.

Connecticut River in Cromwell (photo: Ross Powell)

Flood warning for Conn. River issued

Melting snow from northern New England is causing the National Weather Service to issue a flood warning for the Connecticut River in Hartford and Middlesex Counties.

One of a nesting pair of Bald Eagles in Windsor Locks (Paul J. Fusco/CT DEEP)

Bald eagles returned to Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail to nest

A pair of bald eagles returned to Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail to nest for the fourth year in a row. To protect them, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has closed a portion of the trail until July 1.

gmo-label

House kills proposed GMO grass seed ban

In an unusual move that could have ripple effects for the rest of the legislative session, the state House killed a proposal favored by the Senate’s top lawmaker Thursday.

A 1936 photo of the site where the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment is planned. Building is expected to begin this summer on the area's first anchor, a 150,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shops. (photo: Bridgeport History Center, Bridgeport Public Library)

Steel Point Redevelopment Nears Launch in Bridgeport

Bridgeport officials now say the fortunes of Steel Point will turn this summer when building begins on the area’s first anchor, a 150,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shops, which sells boats and outdoor supplies.

earth_hour

8:30 p.m. Today, Saturday March 29, 2014 is Earth Hour

On Saturday March 29th at 8:30pm, millions of people across the world are switching off lights for one hour – to celebrate their commitment to the planet. This year, you can do more.

Tweed Airport as seen from Google Maps

Residents Receive Letter About Tweed Airport Noise

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said that noise over 65 decibels creates some health problems. “We want to go through every house, make a determination how we can do remediation in those areas that we know the noise is louder than that,” she said.

year-of-salamander-2014

DEEP Announces a Children’s Art Contest for 2014 Year of the Salamander

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Friends of Sessions Woods, as part of the Year of the Salamander awareness campaign with Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC), are sponsoring a salamander art contest for children in kindergarten through fifth grade (open to Connecticut residents only).

newmilfordduring-century-brass-epa

Brownfield Redevelopment Project in New Milford to Generate Money and Jobs

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has announced the State Bond Commission at its next meeting is expected to approve $2.5 million in state funding to finance the town of New Milford’s demolition of the deteriorated former Century Brass mill site.

This project, which will create a total of about 50 construction-related jobs, is part of New Milford’s efforts to re-mediate and redevelop the brownfield site – known as the Century Enterprise Center — and market the property to a private developer or other entity for revenue-generating industrial or commercial uses.

Pesticide Records Show Few Violators Get Punished

Over the past three years, Connecticut regulators issued fines or other penalties 20 times against people and companies found to have violated pesticide laws, despite receiving more than 430 complaints.

A photo of Chris Randall when he was working with the New Haven Land Trust. (photo: Allen Appel, New Haven Independent)

Former New Haven Land Trust Chief Arrested

Former New Haven Land Trust Executive Director Chris Randall was arrested on larceny charges Thursday after about $21,000 was found to be unaccounted for by the organization.

twitter_lcv

CTLCV briefing papers good guide to current legislative issues

Since 2004, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters Education Fund has produced briefing materials on a broad array of environmental issues for state legislators, policy makers, media and the general public. This year they have highlighted 10 issues of critical importance to Connecticut’s economy, public health and safety.

Brad-seedponics-armstrong

New Havener gives life to otherwise wasted space

Brad Armstrong found great joy working on organic farms in Vermont and Idaho. But when he moved back to his native New Haven a few years ago, hydroponics (or gardening without soil) became his passion. Click on this Environmental Headline for more from Jeryl Brunner in The Huffington Post.

Water

new-york-sewage-upgrades

Westchester County gets ‘B’ for protecting Long Island Sound

New Haven-based Long Island Sound advocacy group Save the Sound says Westchester’s sewage treatment plants are doing a good job removing nitrogen before discharging into the Sound but have to do more.

Thimble Island (Headlines file photo: Christopher Zurcher)

West Haven mayor, Sen. Murphy call for LI Sound funding

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy called a press conference at the shore to push for passage of the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act, which would reauthorize expired funding for a host of Long Island Sound programs.

Gillibrand, Bishop Call on USDA to Designate LI Sound and Peconic Bay as Critical Conservation Areas

Lawmakers pushed for the designation through a newly created federal watershed program under the 2014 farm bill, which passed earlier this year. Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. Bishop pointed out that steering critical funding toward Long Island would address water quality issues and enhance soil fertility, allowing Long Island farmers, who faced devastation from Superstorm Sandy, to access tools to help adapt to severe weather patterns.

Aids Pomperaug, Aspetuck Rivers:Grant Will Expand RiverSmart Effort

The Housatonic Valley Association, 150 Kent Rd., received a $21,535 grant from the Connecticut Community Foundation on behalf of the Aspetuck Pomperaug River Partners.

Land

playground

Will West Haven’s Land Trust reject Sandy Hook playground?

It could happen — but people on all sides are trying to work things out so it doesn’t.

Deal preserves federal funding for Connecticut farmland preservations

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and federal officials Wednesday announced an agreement that allows the state to access more than $8 million in federal funds for farmland preservation. The agreement also will increase flexibility in use of federal money through the state’s Farmland Preservation Program. The deal was jointly announced by Malloy, Connecticut Department of Agriculture

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Wendell Berry speaks to an audience during a recent visit to New Haven. (photo: cjzurcher)

Wendell Berry: A Strong Voice For Local Farming and the Land

For six decades, writer Wendell Berry has spoken out in defense of local agriculture, rural communities, and the importance of caring for the land. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he talks about his Kentucky farm, his activism, and why he remains hopeful for the future.

connecticut-grown

Report: New England Should Develop Locally-Grown Food System

A new report on sustainable agriculture policy recommends that New England build its own regional food system with locally-grown products.

Energy

Could the ‘Shared Solar’ movement work in shady Connecticut?

Shared solar, also known as community solar, is essentially a virtual solar system. Instead of panels on a roof going directly to that house, a large solar field would be installed where there’s room. Homeowners could subscribe to it, and the local utility would credit them for the solar, even though the actual electrons go

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ecsu-institute-sustainable-energy

ECSU’s Energy Institute to Receive National Award

The 2014 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award, to be formally presented in Washington, D.C., on April 29 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy, recognizes the institute’s work with Connecticut towns, state agencies, school buildings and college campuses to strategically and comprehensively manage energy use.

suez-everett-lng

LNG official says no need to build pipeline

Pipeline capacity is really only a problem during the 15 to 40 coldest days of the year, and could be addressed by deliveries of LNG to power plants fueled by natural gas, says Francis J. Katulak, CEO of GDF Suez, which operates the Distrigas terminal in Everett, Mass.

PHOTO: Biomass pellets are used worldwide for energy generation, and they're growing in popularity in Europe. (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

New Report: Biomass More Polluting Than Coal

“Trees, Trash, and Toxics: How Biomass Energy Has Become the New Coal,” which has been delivered to the EPA by the Partnership for Policy Integrity, says that biomass power plants across the country are permitted to emit more pollution than comparable coal plants or commercial waste incinerators, even as they are subsidized by state and federal renewable energy dollars. There are currently two biomass proposals in Connecticut — one in Plainfield and one in Watertown.

It contains detailed emissions and fuel specifications for a number of facilities, including plants in Connecticut, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

Business

fuel-cell-energy-small

FuelCell Energy awarded $3M from energy department

According to a news release, “This project will enhance the performance, increase the lifespan, and decrease the cost of stationary fuel cells being used for distributed generation and combined heat and power applications.”

A 1936 photo of the site where the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment is planned. Building is expected to begin this summer on the area's first anchor, a 150,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shops. (photo: Bridgeport History Center, Bridgeport Public Library)

Steel Point Redevelopment Nears Launch in Bridgeport

Bridgeport officials now say the fortunes of Steel Point will turn this summer when building begins on the area’s first anchor, a 150,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shops, which sells boats and outdoor supplies.

dominion-ii

Dominion expands solar footprint

Dominion Virginia Power, which currently has 41 MW of solar energy at sites in Georgia, Connecticut and Indiana, will acquire six solar development projects located in California’s Fresno, Kern and Kings counties from developer Recurrent Energy.

NRG-logo

NRG to buy Dominion

New Jersey-based NRG Energy has reached an agreement to buy the third largest alternative electricity supplier in Connecticut by the end of the month.

Transportation

NB-Hartford-busway

Connecticut hopes to sell riders on bus-only route

The state is budgeting about $3 million, 80 percent of which comes from the federal government, for an 18- to 24-month marketing effort on radio, billboards, movie theater ads, and the Internet.

Route 34 hits political traffic | Yale Daily News

While New Haven’s Community Development Committee met last week to discuss a redevelopment plan for Route 34, New Haven bikers, car owners and environmental activists held their breaths.

transit-rail

Progress Made in Expanding I-91 Corridor Rail Service

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has announced what was described as “a significant milestone in progress to provide more robust commuter service on the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail line: the state will be seeking proposals from railroad companies to begin operating the service in 2016.”

The proposed busway route.

Busway Contractors Preparing For Last Big Construction Season

By mid-fall, though, the $567 million bus-only highway from the center of New Britain to downtown Hartford should be essentially complete.

Climate Change

flare-methane-oil-gas-climate

Huge Methane Leaks Add Doubt on Gas as ‘Bridge’ Fuel

The IPCC in its Working Group III report says natural gas as a bridge fuel will only be effective if few gases escape into the atmosphere during natural gas production and distribution.

asian-tiger-mosquitos

Disease On The Wings Of Climate Change

Whether the Fairfield County colony of Asian tiger mosquitoes survived our unusually cold winter is not yet known, but northward expansion of the mosquito’s territory and evolution of its wintering behavior are further evidence of regional climate change and things to come.

This palm forest may look lush. But the palm trees will be burned down in 25 years, releasing all of the carbon they've stored.

Watch Years of Living Dangerously Episode I on Environmental Headlines

While the show premiers on Sunday, April 13 at 10 pm, the first episode is already available for a sneak peek. Episode one focuses in on three main storylines: Don Cheadle visits Texas to talk about drought, climate science, and religion; Thomas L. Friedman explores the role of drought in the civil war in Syria; and Ford visits Indonesia, traveling by seaplane, motorboat, elephant, and helicopter to see firsthand the havoc being wreaked upon tropical forests and peatlands by encroaching oil palm plantations.

haiku-watercolor

Living on Earth: UN Climate Change Reports As Haiku | Living on Earth

The reports of the UN’s Panel on Climate Change are critically important but notoriously dense. IPCC scientist Gregory Johnson tells Living On Earth host Steve Curwood about his personal project to write haiku poems to make the reports more understandable.