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Environment

Timetable, cost unknown for US plan to reopen nuclear waste dump

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Energy Department has identified 7,000 steps needed to reopen its badly damaged nuclear waste dump in New Mexico but cannot say how long it will take or how much it will cost. The agency was expected to release a written recovery plan Thursday, but instead provided a few details about the plan, which awaits approval by the department. Outside experts said the dump will probably not reopen until well …

Massachusets environmental secretary raises concerns about path of proposed Tennessee Gas pipeline

Friday, September 19, 2014

The state’s top environmental official has written to the federal government calling for careful review of Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s proposed Northeast Direct Natural Gas Pipeline, arguing the route is a highly sensitive environmental area. A “preliminary, non-exhaustive” state review of the route shows that it would pass through about nine state wildlife management areas, four wildlife conservation easements, more than 19 miles of …

Film screening offered as alternative to climate march

Friday, September 19, 2014

Northampton ‘ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT OF WAR’ — For anyone who could not get to the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday, local activist Frances Crowe is hosting a screening of the film “Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: The Environmental Footprint of War” at 2 p.m. Sunday in Bodman Lounge on the lower level of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel at Smith …

‘The Very Busy Spider’

Friday, September 19, 2014

Bird Sightings

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts. A short-billed dowitcher was found in the town of Washington. An upland sandpiper, a marsh wren, American pipits,and a Connecticut warbler were in Northampton. Over the last two days, more than 2,500 broad-winged hawks …

Heading Outdoors

Friday, September 19, 2014

∎■ Skinner State Park — Department of Conservation and Recreation sponsors free programs at Joseph Allen Skinner State Park, Route 47, Hadley: Sept. 20 and 21: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3 p.m., Summit House Tour (meet at Summit House); Sept. 22: 10 a.m., Advanced Hike for Seniors (meet at …

Valley Views Local photographers aim their cameras outdoors

Friday, September 19, 2014

FEMALE WOOD DUCK Route 9, Belchertown Photograph and text by Anne E. Ely of South Hadley During breeding season the male wood duck is brightly colored, but the female is quite plain, with the exception of a bit …

Has ethanol lived up to its promise?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dear EarthTalk: I thought that putting ethanol in our gas tanks was going help fight climate change, but lately I’ve heard reports to the contrary. Can you enlighten? — Bill B., Hershey, Pennsylvania Ethanol and similar “biofuels” made …

Northfield Mountain hydroelectric plant seeks to boost storage capacity during winter

Thursday, September 18, 2014

NORTHFIELD —Owners of the Northfield Mountain hydroelectric project have sought permission to change its operating license temporarily this winter to boost storage capacity of its mountaintop reservoir so the region’s power supply can have additional capacity. The application filed last month by FirstLight Hydro Generating Co. to the …

The Regulators: MassDEP enforcement notes, violations, fees, orders

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

IN THE NEWS Inspector general blasts Near Earth Objects program CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. NASA’s effort to identify potentially dangerous space rocks has taken a hit. On Monday, the space agency’s inspector general released a report blasting NASA’s Near Earth Objects program, which is meant to hunt and catalog …

Study shows leaky natural gas wells, not fracking, tainted groundwater in Pennsylvania and Texas

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WASHINGTON — The drilling procedure called fracking didn’t cause much-publicized cases of tainted groundwater in areas of Pennsylvania and Texas, a new study finds. Instead, it blames the contamination on problems in pipes and seals in natural gas …

Groundbreaking research in Arctic leads UMass professor Julie Brigham-Grette to head Polar Research Board

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

AMHERST — Studying glacial geology is a tantalizing mystery that can offer up a treasure trove of information if you know how and where to dig, believes University of Massachusetts Amherst professor Julie Brigham-Grette. “It’s like trying to …

Northampton tree survey volunteer gets a lesson in identification skills

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Before volunteering in the Northampton tree surveying project last weekend, I would have guessed that a “London plane” was something that flew in and out of Heathrow Airport. Now, thanks to a group of dedicated arborists, …