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Environment

Lava creeps closer to Hawaii homes

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

PAHOA, Hawaii — After weeks of slow, stop-and-go movement, a river of asphalt-black lava was less than the length of a football field from homes in a Big Island community Tuesday. The lava flow easily burned down an empty shed at about 7:30 a.m., several hours after entering a residential property in Pahoa Village, said Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira. A branch of the molten stream was less than 100 yards from a two-story house. It could hit the home later Tuesday if it continues on its current path, Oliveira estimated. Residents of Pahoa Village, the commercial center of the island’s rural Puna …

Coalition plans advertising campaign backing projects such as Tennessee Gas Pipeline

Monday, October 27, 2014

With higher electricity costs scheduled to kick in next week for National Grid customers, a recently created “Coalition to Lower Energy Costs” is planning a media campaign, backed by large industrial electricity users — and organized by lobbyists connected to pipeline proponent Kinder Morgan — pushing for support of projects such as the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline. The coalition was organized Oct. 8 …

Relicensing of Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project raises concerns about erosion study

Monday, October 27, 2014

As part of a 35-year effort to stop erosion along the Connecticut River’s banks, engineers, environmental groups and representatives of federal, state and regional agencies routinely troll the shore in the 22-mile river stretch between the Turners Falls and Vernon, Vermont, dams to produce a “full river reconnaissance” study. But as FirstLight Power prepares for relicensing of its hydroelectric projects, that study — …

More sea turtles come to Florida, but reasons mysterious

Monday, October 20, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. — This year’s early count of sea turtles nesting on Florida beaches is encouraging, though there are many unknowns in the numbers. Welcome to the mysterious world of sea turtles, which spend much of their life far from Florida’s beaches encountering fishing boats, oil spills, plastic …

Nepal closes trekking route with storm’s death toll at 38

Sunday, October 19, 2014

KATMANDU, Nepal — Nepalese officials closed a section of a popular Himalayan trekking route Sunday after rescuers, overwhelmed with last week’s snowstorms that killed at least 38 people, had to save new hikers who set out after the …

Hikers enjoy Salamander Trail at newly opened Mount Warner Reservation in Hadley

Saturday, October 18, 2014

HADLEY — Outdoor enthusiasts dodged falling leaves Saturday to take the inaugural hike on the newly opened Mount Warner Reservation. “Every time you walk a trail here, it’s different,” said Hadley resident Andrew Morris-Friedman. “It’s great to be …

From costumes to art, Northampton ReUse Committee encourages repurposing waste

Saturday, October 18, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Ellen Smith showed up at the Halloween costume swap at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School Saturday morning to drop off the makings for a skunk and rooster. She and her 5-year-old twin sons Gabe and …

Pipeline opponents sponsor ‘Not in Anyone’s Back Yard Sales’ fundraiser

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cummington is among the Hilltowns that will join other communities in Massachusetts and New York this weekend in holding a “Not in Anyone’s Back Yard Sales” fundraiser to fight a proposed natural gas pipeline. Other participating towns in the region include Conway, Northfield, Orange, Athol and Royalston. While …

Are bans on plastic bags making a dent?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dear EarthTalk: What’s the latest on efforts to ban plastic bags? How many U.S. locales have instituted some kind of ban, and have these initiatives made a dent in the amount of plastic litter? — Melinda Clarke, New …

Bird Sightings

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts. A Nelson’s sparrow was found in the Arcadia Meadows of Northampton. A white-fronted goose was seen with a large flock of Canada geese off …

Deerfield River Watershed Association celebrates 25th anniversary

Friday, October 17, 2014

Before the federal government got rolling on relicensing seven hydroelectric dams along the Deerfield River a quarter century ago, a group of state, regional and local groups got their oars into the water, collaborating on a process that …

NOAA: No polar vortex sequel

Thursday, October 16, 2014

WASHINGTON — If you thought last winter was a horror show, with cold blasts from the polar vortex and a lack of California rain, here’s some good news: No sequel is expected this year, federal forecasters say. Mike …

Rising cost of electricity fuels debate over need for Tennessee Gas Pipeline

Thursday, October 16, 2014

When National Grid announced recently that it will increase electricity prices this winter, that was enough to raise some eyebrows. Not only will its Massachusetts Electric customers have their bills jump by more than one-third beginning next month because of rising fuel costs to generate that power, but …