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Environment

FILE - In this June 23, 2015, file photo a lawn is irrigated in Sacramento, Calif. A report is due out Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 on monthly state water conservation figures. Many California cities are conserving well, and officials are turning their attention to the few cities/agencies that aren’t doing so well. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Calif. cuts water use by 31% in July amid drought

Thursday, August 27, 2015

FRESNO, Calif. — California cities cut water use by a combined 31 percent in July, exceeding the governor’s statewide mandate to conserve, officials said Thursday. The strong water conservation figures show California residents are beginning to understand the dire need to cut back in a fourth year of drought, Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, said. …

Scientists squabble while Africa’s only penguins risk extinction

Thursday, August 27, 2015

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — They’re cute, knee-high, they bray like donkeys and are a tourist attraction near Cape Town. But African Penguins — the continent’s only species of the flightless bird — are at risk of extinction. As shoals of anchovies and sardines have migrated south into cooler waters, the population of …

One of twin newborn pandas in DC dies

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WASHINGTON — One of two pandas whose weekend births captured world attention died Wednesday, a reminder that the bears who grow into giant puffy icons enter the world as fragile creatures, hairless and weighing about as much as a bar of soap. The birth of the twins at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo on Saturday night created a frenzy of excitement, crashing the zoo’s …

Florence Bank pledges $10,000 toward curbing excessive plant growth in Nashawannuck Pond

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

EASTHAMPTON — If you toss a fishing line into Nashawannuck Pond, it might just sit on top of a layer of heavy plant growth. “It’s almost like a blanket of weeds across the surface of the pond,” said …

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan: Use less coal, clean up the air

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

President Barack Obama’s newly announced Clean Power Plan is a big step forward for a nation that needs to reduce harmful carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants. It’s a strategy worth extra attention in coal-dependent states like Missouri and Kansas. The Show-Me State gets just over 80 percent of …

Toxic algae cloud blooms, spreads from Calif.-Alaska

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

SEATTLE — A vast bloom of toxic algae off the West Coast is denser, more widespread and deeper than scientists feared even weeks ago, according to surveyors aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel. This coastal …

Power plant rules put climate change on 2016 radar

Monday, August 3, 2015

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s sweeping new power plant regulations are thrusting the divisive debate over climate change into the race for the White House, with candidates in both parties seeing an opportunity to capitalize. To Democrats, rallying …

NH floats desalination plant idea

Monday, August 3, 2015

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — A New Hampshire seacoast official says investing in a regional plant to convert seawater into drinking water could provide a limitless supply of clean water to communities from southern Maine to northern Massachusetts. Portsmouth Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine tells the Portsmouth Herald he wants to …

Zimbabwe accuses 2nd US man of illegal lion hunt

Sunday, August 2, 2015

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Now there are two: Zimbabwe accused a Pennsylvania doctor on Sunday of illegally killing a lion in April, adding to the outcry over a Minnesota dentist the African government wants to extradite for killing a …

Berkshire Gas owner buys 2.5% interest in pipeline

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The owner of Berkshire Gas Co. has announced that it will invest in the proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline, which would provide natural gas for its customers. UIL Holdings Corp. announced its investment this week in the development of …

Earth Matters: Our varied and vibrant Valley vegetation

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Pioneer Valley is a botanist’s paradise, a true hotspot of plant diversity in the state and, indeed New England. But besides pleasing plant geeks, our bounteous flora is the basis for all the animals — birds, insects, …

Bird Sightings

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts. Two great egrets and a snowy egret were reported in the Northampton-Hadley area. A Bonaparte’s gull was found in North Adams, and a lesser …

Zimbabweans find foreign outrage over lion’s death excessive

Friday, July 31, 2015

HARARE, Zimbabwe — While the death of a protected lion in Zimbabwe has caused outrage in the United States — much of it centered on the Minnesota dentist who killed the animal — most in Zimbabwe expressed a …