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Happy Earth Day 2014

Apr 22nd, 2014 | By
A red tail hawk enjoys the view of Connecticut shoreline in the Short Beach area of Branford, April 19, 2014. (photo: Christopher Zurcher, Environmental Headlines)

Our planet is at a turning point. The massive global migration underway now from countryside to cities will demand huge investments in energy, water, materials, waste, food distribution, and transportation over the next 25 years.

If the right investments are made now, this unique opportunity will be the catalyst for dramatic changes in the built environment and the fight against carbon emissions and climate change.

New Report: Biomass More Polluting Than Coal

Apr 3rd, 2014 | By
PHOTO: Biomass pellets are used worldwide for energy generation, and they're growing in popularity in Europe. (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“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.

Young Farmers Build a Network to Grow Connecticut’s Farming Future

Mar 24th, 2014 | By
This committee planned the “Build Your Network, Grow Our Future.”

Getting the younger generation interested in farming is important for the future of American agriculture, and a recent event in Connecticut served as an education and network opportunity for beginning farmers.

The “Build Your Network, Grow Our Future” event held last month in East Windsor, Conn. attracted about 60 people to share resources and learn.

Legislators and Activists Launch Campaign to Ban Toxic Fracking Waste in Connecticut

Feb 18th, 2014 | By
Fracking Site in Warren Center, PA (Fracking Lawyer, Ostroff Law)

State legislators, environmental and consumer advocates, and community leaders gathered to announce the launch of a statewide campaign to ban the importation, processing and/or treatment of fracking waste in Connecticut. The legislative sponsors of a Fracking Waste Ban Bill will join with experts and community leaders to discuss the legislation and grassroots efforts to support it.

At the press conference, the legislators and activists highlighted an “I Heart CT” sign and hundreds of “Valentines” with messages of support for the legislation from state residents written to their representatives.

New Haven line upgrade will double electrical supply and prevent power failures

Feb 2nd, 2014 | By
Governor Dannel P. Malloy held a news conference at Union Station in New Haven to announce that the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) will undertake a $10 million project to upgrade the power supply for Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line beginning on Monday, February 3. The project will prevent the type of catastrophic power failure that occurred this past fall in Mount Vernon, New York, seriously disrupting service on the New Haven Line.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has announced the DOT will undertake a $10 million project to upgrade the power supply for Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line beginning on Monday, Feb. 3.

Davos report highlights worsening global air quality

Jan 29th, 2014 | By

Air quality around the world is plummeting, according to the latest version of an annual report, issued at the Davos Summit over the weekend.

Produced by researchers at Yale and Columbia universities, the Environmental Performance Index ranks performance in key environmental areas on a per-country basis.

It breaks down these issues into two broad policy areas: detection of human health from environmental harm and protection of ecosystems. It then ranks each nation based on their overall performance.

GMO Report and CT NOFA’s Successes, by Bill Duesing

Jan 5th, 2014 | By

Connecticut is the first state in the nation to have a law requiring labeling of GMOs. The first state! That “Still Revolutionary” slogan is apt. This success made a number of top ten lists in the food world.

CT NOFA was an important partner in making that happen.

CT Environmental Headlines supports CT NOFA’s efforts. Click on this Environmental Headline for more of this story and more from former CT NOFA Executive Director Bill Duesing.

Why parts of the Sound where hypoxia is worst have low transfer efficiency rates of nitrogen pollution discharge from wastewater treatment plants

Jan 3rd, 2014 | By

When you look at the map of transfer efficiencies, you notice that the efficiency generally gets higher from east to west, and from north to south.

Wastewater treatment plants closer to Western LIS and the Narrows, where hypoxia is worst, have the highest transfer efficiencies, which makes sense.

But some of the biggest plants which discharge into LIS are those serving New York City, which when combined, discharge just over 1,000,000,000 (yes, one billion) gallons of treated sewage per day. By volume of discharge and total nitrogen load, the impact of these plants dwarfs the impact of surrounding facilities.

Click on this Environmental Headline for more of this story from Long Island Sound Study.

Happy New Year from Environmental Headlines

Jan 1st, 2014 | By
(photo © cjzurcher)

Environmental Headlines looks forward to spreading more news about what’s happening in Connecticut’s air, land and waters – that’s right, the Environment. We spell Environment with a capital ‘Y,’ for You. You are the environment. It is what you and I do that counts. We make it better or worse. Hopefully better! So, make a contribution today to the environment.

Tell someone about Environmental Headlines. Pick up a piece of trash. Tell someone anything they put on the ground (pollution) will probably, eventually, end up in Long Island Sound.

Wish us luck. We’re going to try harder to get more sponsors in the New Year. That is our resolution. If you know someone who might be interested, tell them about us. And, Thank you for your continued readership and support!

More studies needed on artificial turf fields, EPA says

Dec 26th, 2013 | By

“Now, finally, the EPA is retracting assuring people of the safety of these fields,” EHHI Executive Director Nancy Alderman said in a news release.

Now, she said, maybe people will finally believe us about the dangers of synthetic turf, even though hundreds of towns have spent millions of dollars installing exactly these kinds of fields for their residents, including children, to play on.

Enter the search term “turf” in the search box on this page for more stories about artificial turf and towns that have spent millions installing them for children and others to play on.

West Haven fined for illegal sewage discharges; Will ‘significantly reduce’ illegal discharges.

Dec 20th, 2013 | By
What can happen during heavy storms of sewer systems are not upgraded. This photo was taken one block from West Haven beach. (photo: cjzurcher)

A major settlement involving federal and state regulators and the City of West Haven will significantly reduce illegal discharges of raw sewage into the environment throughout West Haven from the City’s wastewater collection system.

Under the terms of the settlement, the city will reduce illegal raw sewage overflows from their wastewater collection system, which previously has been discharged to area waterways including New Haven Harbor and the Long Island Sound, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

Connecticut First State To Require Labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms

Dec 11th, 2013 | By

Joined by lawmakers and advocates, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy held a ceremonial bill signing in Fairfield to commemorate final passage of legislation, Public Act 13-183, which requires that certain foods intended for human consumption that are entirely or partially genetically engineered to be labeled as such.

Connecticut’s GMO labeling law goes into effect only after four other states enact similar legislation. Additionally, any combination of northeastern states with a combined population of at least 20 million – including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey – must adopt similar laws.

Connecticut birders catch a glimpse of a long-tailed visitor from far far away

Dec 2nd, 2013 | By

For months Patrick Comins of Audubon Connecticut has been looking forward to early December to get views of a rare, long-tailed visitor from afar.

While he was expecting Comet ISON to put on a spectacular show, he got a different kind of long-tailed visitor instead — one that he was not expecting at all.

Click on this Environmental Headline for more on this story from Patrick’s article in WXEdge.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 27th, 2013 | By

Recently I received a recognition for my work from the Rockfall Foundation. I was a little under the weather and didn’t make an elaborate speech. I would have said:

“Thank you. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if it wasn’t for you, and for all the other environmental organizations who were there that evening receiving similar recognitions. I wouldn’t be doing the Headlines if all the other organizations, from Audubon CT, and CT Audubon, to CEQ and HVA.”

Click on this Environmental Headline for more of this story.

US Fish & Wildlife Survey 2012 Eelgrass Survey released

Nov 21st, 2013 | By

Since eelgrass beds are vital habitats for marine and estuarine biota, there is interest in documenting their status and trends. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetlands Inventory Program (NWI) has conducted eelgrass inventories for the eastern end of Long Island Sound since 2002.

These inventories were initiated because the State of Connecticut’s Office of Long Island Sound Programs wanted to know the status of eelgrass beds in 2001 and how they change over time.

Click on this Environmental Headline for more on the study and a link to download the study.

Southington’s Crescent Lake Recreation Area Recognized as Connecticut’s First Connecticut Grown Community Forest

Nov 15th, 2013 | By
Crescent Lake from Bradley Mountain (photo: wikimedia.commons)

Connecticut’s Departments of Energy and Environmental Protection and Agriculture have designated Southington’s Crescent Lake Recreation Area as the state’s first community forest to receive the Connecticut Grown recognition for sustainable forest management.

A favorite spot for area residents to enjoy many outdoor amenities and activities, the 223-acre Crescent Lake Recreation Area was recognized for taking key steps toward sustainable woodland management.

Crescent Lake Recreation Area’s sustainable forest management plan includes use of sustainable forestry practices, protection of water quality during forestry operations, compliance with Connecticut’s Forest Practices Act, adherence to the standards of DoAg’s Connecticut Grown Program, and responding to destructive forest pests and invasive plants, all of which helped qualify it for this special distinction. Click on this Environmental Headline for more of this story from the DEEP.

$1.29 Million Awarded for Community-Based Projects on Long Island Sound

Oct 26th, 2013 | By
A harbor seal stops in West Haven summer of 2013 on its way to Maine. (photo: cjzurcher)

Top federal and state environmental officials announced 23 grants totaling $1,295,972 to local government and community groups in Connecticut and New York to improve the health of Long Island Sound. The projects, which are funded through the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, will open up 12.2 river miles for passage of native fish and restore 50 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat including intertidal marsh, coastal forest, grasslands and freshwater wetlands.

TNC Report Addresses Protecting Coastal Communities from Climate Change Impacts

Oct 24th, 2013 | By

The Nature Conservancy prepared the report by request from The New York City Special Initiative for Rebuilding to undertake a project evaluating the role of nature and natural infrastructure in protecting communities from some of the impacts of climate change. The community of Howard Beach, Queens, was selected as a conceptual model for the project because this neighborhood, hit hard during Sandy, is low-lying and densely populated. Although Howard Beach was used in the analysis, the study methodology is applicable to coastal communities across the City and around the globe.

The zombie coal plant

Oct 18th, 2013 | By

by Paul McMorrow, CommonWealth Magazine

Environmentalists want to kill off Brayton Point. The Patrick administration says let the market do the dirty work.

Old-line coal plants such as Brayton Point are zombies shuffling through the Massachusetts electric market. Three coal plants in Massachusetts and Connecticut have shut down since 2011, and three other plants (one in Holyoke, and two in New Hampshire) appear to be on shaky financial ground, thanks to the flood of cheap natural gas that’s hit the market in recent years. They’re the walking dead, groaning and rotting and less than fully alive. And, as Brayton Point shows, they can be surprisingly tough to kill off.

Brayton Point’s new owner, the private equity firm Energy Capital Partners, recently filed for permission to close the coal plant in 2017. But the firm looks to be in the money until then.

Source to Sea Cleanup targets Connecticut River

Oct 5th, 2013 | By
Kayakers are seen enjoying the early fall foliage on the Connecticut River (cjzurcher)

Billed as the largest river cleanup in New England, the 17th annual Source to Sea Cleanup aims to clean up the Connecticut River from its northernmost reaches in New Hampshire, 300 yards from the Quebec border, to where it flows into Long Island Sound in Old Saybrook and Old Lyme.

Click on this Environmental Headline for more from Mark Zaretsky of the New Haven Register.