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Environment

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 of Earth. The purpose is to protect …

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 …

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 put together a 1,000-piece puzzle and having only 300 pieces to work with,” Brigham-Grette said …

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 …

Space station supply ship exits, packing trash

Friday, August 15, 2014

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A commercial cargo ship has ended its monthlong space station visit. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station released the Cygnus supply ship, now full of trash for disposal early Friday. They parted company 260 …