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Environment

Doves fly over Tiananmen Gate after the flag raising ceremony on the National Day, the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, in Beijing Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Reports: China body-searched 10,000 pigeons

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BEIJING — The 10,000 doves released in a ceremony Wednesday for China’s National Day underwent unusual scrutiny, each having its feathers and anus checked for dangerous materials, state-run media reports said, reflecting government jitters over possible attacks. The symbols of peace were released at sunrise in Beijing’s symbolic heart of Tiananmen Square in a ceremony for the Oct. 1 holiday …

Operator of region’s electricity grid supports request by Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage for increased winter capacity

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The operator of the region’s electricity grid is backing plans to pump more Connecticut River water through the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage hydrogenerator this winter. Northfield Mountain’s owner, FirstLight Power, wants federal approval to boost the capacity of its generator station by 22 percent to augment the electricity supply available in the region when demand grows during the winter. The letter from ISO …

Hampshire Power will supply Lowell with locally produced renewable energy in first-of-its-kind deal

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — In what its leaders believe is a first-of-its-kind agreement, the Hampshire Council of Governments has signed a deal to supply power to the city of Lowell solely through renewable energy produced in New England. The state’s fourth-largest city has signed a contract through which Hampshire Power will supply electricity to about 31,000 residential and 4,200 commercial ratepayers citywide. Hampshire Power is …

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 …

‘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 …