Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
Clear
54°
Clear
Hi 62° | Lo 37°

Environment

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 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a temporary license amendment is not entirely unprecedented. But the application — allowing an additional 22 feet …

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 comets, asteroids and relatively large fragments of these objects that pass within 28 million miles …

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 wells. After looking at dozens of cases of suspected contamination, the scientists focused on eight …

Local organizers encourage participation in People’s Climate March in New York City

Thursday, August 21, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Local organizers of the People’s Climate March in New York City are holding a meeting Monday seeking to spark interest in the Sept. 21 event. Susan Theberge, with the groups Climate Action NOW/350MA, said the main focus of the meeting will be on how social justice …

Study: Toothless ‘dragon’ pterosaurs once ruled skies

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ancient winged reptiles called pterosaurs were so successful that they ruled Earth’s skies for tens of millions of years, according to a study published in the journal ZooKeys. The fearsome fliers, part of a family of pterosaurs named Azhdarchidae, get their name from azdarha, the Persian word for …

‘Severe’ drought in 99.8% of California

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

LOS ANGELES — Drought conditions may have leveled off across California, but nearly 100 percent of the state remains in the third-harshest category for dryness, according to the latest measurements. For the past two weeks, California’s drought picture has remained the same, halting a steady march toward worse. …

Fire near Yosemite that 1,000 fled doesn’t grow

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

OAKHURST, Calif. — A wildfire that forced about 1,000 people from their homes in the foothills near Yosemite National Park held steady Tuesday as humidity and calmer winds aided the fight against the second blaze around the park …

MAP:E. coli bacteria levels high in Connecticut, Mill rivers; Health officials warn against swimming, boating following storm

Monday, August 18, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — The deluge of rain last Wednesday has elevated levels of E. coli bacteria at select spots on the Connecticut and Mill rivers, prompting health officials to warn people not to swim or boat there. Water samples …

Study: Less shake from artificial quakes

Monday, August 18, 2014

WASHINGTON — Man-made earthquakes, a side effect of some high-tech energy drilling, cause less shaking and in general are about 16 times weaker than natural earthquakes with the same magnitude, a new federal study found. People feeling the …

SeaWorld responds to animal rights critics with plan to expand killer whale habitat at its parks

Friday, August 15, 2014

SeaWorld will expand the killer-whale habitats at its theme parks, starting in San Diego, the company announced Friday. SeaWorld said it will create “new, first-of-its-kind killer whale environments” that “will offer park guests unique and inspiring killer whale encounters for generations to come.” The Orlando-based company made the …

Bird Sightings

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts. Great egrets were reported in Longmeadow, Hadley, New Salem and Pittsfield. A blue-winged teal, a common gallinule and a Virginia rail were found in …

Valley Views Local photographers aim their cameras outdoors

Friday, August 15, 2014

DOE Quabbin Reservoir, Belchetown Photograph and text by Anne W. Ely of South Hadley Driving through Quabbin is something I always enjoy, especially in the late afternoon when, hopefully, I will catch sight of deer. This doe, however, …

A bluebird house offers a lesson in environmental ethics

Friday, August 15, 2014

It was a sunny day in mid-May. Our small group of fifth-and-sixth-graders walked quietly along the farm road with our eyes glued to the nesting box on the last tree. The students were uncharacteristically quiet. As we got …