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Environmental briefs

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

IN THE NEWS Quabbin renovation to cost $3.2 million BELCHERTOWN — The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority will spend $3.2 million on a 14-month project to upgrade electrical and security equipment at the Quabbin Reservoir. The Telegram & Gazette reports the project will replace existing power lines and enhance communications and security measures at Winsor Dam, Quabbin Tower and the Shaft 12 intake works. William Pula, regional director of the Quabbin …

Naila Moreira: Plastic bag ban in Northampton ‘necessary, but not sufficient’

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — A friend of mine recently forgot his reusable bags when he dropped in at Stop & Shop. To make matters worse, he’d also forgotten about Northampton’s new plastic bag ban, which started Jan. 1. Then the person in line behind him lectured him on the merits of the ban. “Don’t give …

Walk opposing pipeline, picketing of Berkshire Gas office planned in Greenfield on Presidents Day

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

GREENFIELD — Walkers who oppose the Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct pipeline will walk on Monday, Presidents Day, from Greenfield Community College to the First Congregational Church at 43 Silver St. between 10 a.m. and noon, according to Hattie Nestel of the No NED Pipeline Affinity Group, which is sponsoring the event. The walk’s route will include a stop to picket with others …

Calendar says winter, but it’s hot and dry which leads some scientists to say El Nino operating differently than expected

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

LOS ANGELES — By this point in the winter, Southern California was supposed to be dealing with rains and flooding, not brush fires and beach weather. Yet temperatures have soared this week, breaking records in downtown Los Angeles and other locations across California. For all the talk of …

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe declares state of disaster, hoping to speed up the flow of aid

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

MASVINGO, Zimbabwe — Cattle, thin like their owners, wander in a parched riverbed. Desperate villagers barter a few fish for maize because there is no money for food. In this drought-stricken area of Zimbabwe, some people allege that …

Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus among the hardest species to fight

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

SAVANNAH, Ga. — The mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus are among the hardest species to fight because they live and breed in tub drains, dog bowls, buckets, flower pots and other spots where water collects inside the …

Congressman Edward Markey cites federal approval of natural gas exports as reason to question proposed pipeline

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy’s approval of U.S. natural gas export overseas from two proposed Canadian export terminals last week confirms Congressman Edward Markey’s “long-standing warnings that the ultimate goal of some natural gas pipeline proposals being made in New England is not to help our residents with …

High court freezes Clean Power Plan

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to halt enforcement of President Barack Obama’s sweeping plan to address climate change until after legal challenges are resolved. The surprising move is a blow to the administration and a …

Cleanup costs at coal ash pits grow clearer

Sunday, February 7, 2016

EDEN, N.C. — Giant earthmoving machines beep and grind as they drop 17-ton scoops of coal ash and dirt into dozens of railroad cars lined up for two-thirds of a mile at a site along the Virginia-North Carolina …

State plans presentation on ‘rattlesnake island’

Sunday, February 7, 2016

ORANGE — State wildlife officials who want to reintroduce rattlesnakes on a Quabbin Reservoir island have set a public meeting for Feb. 23 at Mahar Regional High School. Beginning in a couple of years, the state plans to stock Mount Zion Island with endangered timber rattlesnakes. The plan …

Earth Talk: Artic changes have wide-ranging effects

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Dear EarthTalk: Why is the Arctic such a crucial area to focus on in efforts to stem global warming?                Joseph Constabile, Dedham The image of a polar bear standing on a …

Valley Views

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Barred Owl Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Easthampton Photograph and text by Dot Barnard, North Hatfield A friend and I visited the Arcadia Sanctuary recently in search of several different birds that had been seen there by local birders in …

Scientists turn to drones to count growing seal colonies off Nantucket

Friday, February 5, 2016

On a remote island off of Nantucket, scientists are using a tool most commonly associated with war and surveillance to get a look at fuzzy baby seals. Researchers who want to get a handle on the growth of …