Environment

Apple starts fuel-cell energy project in North Carolina

Apple is building the nation's biggest non-utility fuel cell facility in North Carolina, near one of its data centers. | 04/03/12 10:43:16 By - John Murawski

NOAA listing Gulf dolphin death information on website

Many dolphin deaths have been reported in the Gulf of Mexico this year. NOAA is putting details on a public website. | 04/02/12 18:18:22 By - Karen Nelson

Quandary on Texas ranch: Can you protect rare species by hunting it?

The asphalt on County Road 405 soon turns to dirt as a truck pushes open a series of six "bump gates" that swing wide, for just enough time for a following car to edge through. Then two electric gates open as the 8-foot wire fences give way to a lodge, a lake and the scrubby vegetation of Hill Country. | 03/30/12 19:18:00 By - Maria Recio

New rule will harm endangered antelope, ranchers say

An unusual exemption under the U.S. Endangered Species Act that's allowed the hunting of rare African antelope will change next week, and new federal rules to protect the animals will, some say, threaten the sport. | 03/30/12 19:18:00 By - Maria Recio

EPA climate proposal could limit coal's future, at least in U.S.

The Obama administration's proposal this week to put the first limits on greenhouse gases from new power plants probably will mean that no new coal-fired U.S. plants will be built after this year, but that won't slash coal use anytime soon. | 03/29/12 15:05:00 By - Renee Schoof

Ky. Power's decision to stick with coal leads to tense case

Kentucky Power's request for state permission to retrofit its aging coal plant, which is the subject of upcoming public hearings, has surprised some in the industry and led to a tense debate before the state Public Service Commission. | 03/28/12 12:19:09 By - Scott Sloan

EPA announces historic rule to limit climate pollution from new power plants

The Environmental Protection Agency took a historic step on Tuesday in the fight against climate change, proposing the first limits of greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants. | 03/27/12 17:49:00 By - Renee Schoof

Environmentalists take aim at toxic lead in ammunition

In a move opposed by many hunters, environmentalists want the Environmental Protection Agency to ban or severely limit the use of toxic lead in hunting ammunition. In a petition filed with the agency last week, the groups said that up to 20 million birds in the United States die each year after nibbling on bullet fragments, including swans, golden and bald eagles, mourning doves, California condors and more than 70 other species. | 03/25/12 13:16:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

California creeks, levees may be next battleground for public access

In California, public access to coastal beaches has been a high-profile struggle for decades. The same battle on inland waterways, however, has received far less attention. The public has similar legal rights in both situations, but the legal thicket seems to get bigger as the waterway in question gets smaller. | 03/25/12 11:44:35 By - Matt Weiser

Dam down, the Elwha River flows again

The Elwha Dam is history, allowing a Northwest River restoration projet to begin. | 03/23/12 11:05:12 By - Lynda V. Mapes

As part of energy renovation, Charlotte building gets two small wind turbines

A 1928 building in Charlotte, N.C., has been turned into a model of energy innovation | 03/23/12 10:47:17 By - Bruce Henderson

Advocates of cycling, walking lobby for federal funds

Bicycle riding advocates from California's Central Coast visited Washington to seek more federal money to promote biking and walking. | 03/23/12 10:33:32 By - Bob Cuddy

U.S. intelligence: Looming water woes will add to global instability

Floods and water shortages in the next 30 years will make it hard for many countries to keep up with growing demand for fresh water, particularly in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, the U.S. intelligence community reported Thursday. | 03/22/12 15:18:00 By - Renee Schoof

As natural gas production grows, questions arise about methane leaks

As natural gas production in the United States hits an all-time high, a major unanswered question looms: What does growing hydraulic fracturing mean for climate change? | 03/18/12 15:02:00 By - Renee Schoof

After a warm winter, flood threat down in much of U.S.

After an unusually warm winter with low snowfall in much of the United States, no part of the country faces a high risk of flooding this spring, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday in its annual forecast of floods, droughts and spring temperatures. | 03/15/12 18:29:00 By - Renee Schoof

Senate approves plan to send BP fines to Gulf restoration

The Senate approved a highway bill Wednesday that includes a long-sought provision for the Gulf Coast: A guarantee that 80 percent of the fines collected from the April 2010 BP oil spill — an amount that could reach $20 billion — would be distributed for coastal restoration to the five states along the Gulf of Mexico: Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Texas and Alabama. | 03/14/12 18:20:00 By - Maria Recio

Report: Florida at highest risk in U.S. for flooding from sea level rise

A new report on sea level rise finds Florida has the greatest number of people at risk from sea level rise as the climate warms. | 03/14/12 10:11:31 By - Curtis Morgan

Damaged North Slope oil well to be plugged, abandoned by Repsol

The Spanish oil company Repsol has decided to plug and abandon its Qugruk Number 2 well a month after it was damaged in a shallow gas blowout. | 03/14/12 06:19:27 By - Richard Mauer

Senate rejects plan to open Arctic refuge to drilling

The Senate on Tuesday resoundingly rejected a sweeping measure to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other protected areas to oil drilling, as well as to approve construction of the Keystone pipeline project. | 03/13/12 17:26:00 By - Sean Cockerham

Project aims to lower operating costs for electric cars

As part of his plan to get 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015, President Barack Obama wants Congress to give buyers a tax credit of up to $10,000 next year. | 03/08/12 10:56:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

Consumers blast GM Foundation gift to group fighting climate science

General Motors, a company that's made strides to lower the carbon footprint of driving, is taking heat from 10,000 of its customers for a donation its charitable foundation made to an institute that casts doubt on climate science. | 03/07/12 18:04:00 By - Renee Schoof

Safety concerns rise as ‘fracking’ grows in Kansas

The national debate over fracking has darkened a good-news story for the country: horizontal multistage hydrofracking has reversed the growth of imported oil and natural gas, created hundreds of thousands of American jobs and, in the case of natural gas, dramatically cut prices. | 03/05/12 14:26:20 By - Dan Voorhis

Everglades may get boost from lawmakers

Florida House and Senate budget negotiators agreed to set aside $30 million for restoration efforts for the Everglades. | 03/02/12 16:53:31 By - Curtis Morgan and Steve Bousquet

California's lone wolf exits state

A gray wolf known as OR7 crossed back into Oregon after wandering in northern California. The wolf is the first known in California since wolves were exterminated in the state in the early 1900s. | 03/02/12 16:46:04 By - Matt Weiser

Calif. high speed rail will accept bids within weeks

Contractors are expected to start making bids on the first sections of California's high-speed rail line in a few weeks. | 03/02/12 15:56:05 By - Tim Sheehan

Giant new plant shows coal power isn't going away

The Prairie State power plant, set amid farm fields and woods in southwestern Illinois, will start producing power soon, beginning a life of burning local coal that's expected to last until at least the 2040s. | 03/01/12 17:40:00 By - Renee Schoof

Alaska OKs plan to drug and move moose

The moose you've seen loitering by the sides of Mat-Su roads may soon be getting an all-expenses paid trip to new, more rural homes, courtesy of the Alaska Moose Federation -- and the state treasury. | 02/29/12 06:49:25 By - Michelle Theriault Boots

Idaho Gov. Otter wants control of federal timber

Idaho is at big risk for a catastrophic wildfire because of the lack of logging, Gov. Butch Otter told members of Congress on Tuesday. | 02/28/12 17:33:00 By - Sean Cockerham

White House applauds decision to build part of Keystone XL pipeline

With President Barack Obama facing fire from Republicans over the rising cost of gasoline, the White House moved quickly Monday to trumpet a Canadian company's decision to build a section of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Cushing, Okla., to Houston after Obama blocked a longer path last month. | 02/27/12 18:53:00 By - Lesley Clark and Renee Schoof

Gov. Gregoire: Western states should lure foreign tourists

When she leaves the executive mansion as Washington state's 22nd governor next January, Democrat Chris Gregoire wants to unwind by taking a month to visit some national parks with her husband, Mike. | 02/24/12 15:10:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

Texas becomes battlefield in Keystone XL pipeline fight

The politically volatile Keystone XL pipeline is becoming embroiled in a widening controversy in Texas as supporters tout the promise of jobs and other economic benefits while increasingly vocal opponents say the project would trample property rights and endanger water supplies in East Texas. | 02/22/12 07:36:37 By - Dave Montgomery

San Joaquin River restoration likely a sore point in dry season

This is the year east Valley farmers have dreaded. It's one of the driest seasons in the past 100 years, and they must share precious water with the federal government to restore California's San Joaquin River. | 02/21/12 12:39:49 By - Mark Grossi

UT study finds no direct link between fracking and groundwater contamination

Hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to extract natural gas has no direct connection to groundwater contamination, according to a study by the Energy Institute of the University of Texas at Austin. | 02/17/12 12:23:43 By - Jack Z. Smith

Pacific whales in Baja Mexico lagoon

Scientists amazed as Pacific whales turn up far from home in Baja, Mexico | 02/16/12 19:06:59 By - Tim Johnson

Restore Act measure to boost BP cleanup passes House

The House approved an amendment Thursday pushed by Gulf State lawmakers to dedicate 80 percent of the fines collected from the BP oil spill to a trust fund for coastal restoration of Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. | 02/16/12 18:59:00 By - Maria Recio

Spoonbills return to Everglades mangroves

With plumage pink as a blushing cheek and a bill that resembles a wooden kitchen utensil, the roseate spoonbill always stands out — even among the many and beautiful wading birds of the Everglades. | 02/16/12 06:55:23 By - Curtis Morgan

Oil well in Alaska's North Slope suffers a blowout

An exploratory well being drilled on the North Slope by the Spanish oil company Repsol suffered an apparent blowout Wednesday morning when drillers were unable to control pressure from a pocket of natural gas, state and company officials said. | 02/16/12 06:29:55 By - Richard Mauer

Interior Dept. faces resistance in push for more public lands

It's cost $15 to shoot a duck since 1991, but that will change if President Barack Obama gets his way. Under the president's new budget proposal, the cost of the federal duck stamp required for hunting would rise to $25 next year, a move aimed at making it easier for the Interior Department to buy more land for migratory waterfowl. | 02/15/12 17:21:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

Scientists amazed as Pacific whales turn up far from home

When scientists fired a cigar-sized satellite tag into the blubber of a western gray whale off Russia's Sakhalin Island in September, they expected to track her along Asia's Pacific shoreline down to the South China Sea. To their surprise, the young female turned up off of Mexico's Baja Peninsula. | 02/15/12 16:13:00 By - Tim Johnson

Greenpeace calls for cleaner energy from Duke

Greenpeace has launched a campaign in North Carolina to push Duke Energy to phase out coal and boost renewable energy. | 02/15/12 10:13:33 By - Bruce Henderson

More Southern forests at risk from biomass plants, report indicates

A new report says Southern forests are at risk from biomass plants that burn wood to make energy. The report, released Tuesday by two environmental groups, says the expanding biomass industry will look at cutting trees to fuel the power plants, a departure from the current practice of using waste wood from sawmills and other sources. | 02/15/12 07:32:24 By - Sammy Fretwell

'Twilight' tribe wins land transfer for tsunami protection

Congress has signed off on a plan that will transfer 785 acres of federal parkland along the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Washington state to the tiny Quileute Indian tribe, a move aimed at protecting the tribe's safety in case a tsunami ever strikes. | 02/14/12 13:52:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

Alaska lawmakers plan to sell ANWR drilling during D.C. trip

A contingent of state representatives including House Speaker Mike Chenault are missing several days of the legislative session next week to head to Washington, D.C., and make a pitch — once again — for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. | 02/10/12 06:57:48 By - Lisa Demer

California Fish and Game to sue Army Corps over levee tree ban

The state Department of Fish and Game in California plans to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because the Corps requires that all trees and shrubs be cut down on levees. The Central Valley has little of its historic streamside habitat left, leaving the levees as habitat for many rare species. | 02/09/12 10:38:34 By - Matt Weiser

New estimate of Hanford cleanup is $112 billion

The new price of finishing cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation is $112 billion. It estiamtes the costs through 2065 for cleaning up radioactive and chemical waste from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons during World War II and the Cold War. | 02/09/12 10:21:43 By - Annette Cary

S.C. bill would hurt efforts to block disputed Savannah harbor dredging

A bill in the South Carolina legislature would make it harder for environmentalists to sue to stop Savannah's disputed harbor dredging project. The measure also would hamper other suits brought by groups that want to see South Carolina's pollution control law enforced. | 02/09/12 10:10:01 By - Sammy Fretwell

The Greening of Guántanamo

Solar-powered lights serve as sentries where U.S. Marines once faced-off along the Cuban frontier. A team of Navy cops now rides bikes rather than gas-guzzling patrol cars in the searing Caribbean sunshine at Guantanamo | 02/08/12 17:40:09 By - Carol Rosenberg

Coal group tries to block climate scientist's lecture at Penn State

A coal and gas interest group wants Penn State to disinvite a climate scientist scheduled to give a talk at the university. | 02/08/12 13:08:14 By - Anne Danahy

What happened to the cold winter weather and snow?

Winter's been so mild in much of the United States this year that you can slip out some sunny afternoons to the golf course or bike path. Many snow shovels have stayed in storage. Heating bills have fallen. Meanwhile, Europe's suffering a brutal winter. | 02/07/12 16:55:00 By - Renee Schoof

Plan developed to remove highly radioactive waste spilled into Hanford soil

Hanford has a plan to clean up what may be the most highly radioactive spill at the nuclear reservation near the Columbia River in Washington state. The spill of radioactive material occurred in the 1980s. | 02/06/12 12:01:37 By - Annette Cary

Gas lobby group touts self-policing safety standards to NC officials

The oil and gas industry's chief lobby group told government officials in North Carolina that industry's self-policing standards should be the model for state government regulation. | 02/03/12 10:56:01 By - John Murawski

New forest-management plan weakens wildlife protection

Back in the 1980s, when conservation advocates were trying to stop logging in old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest, they relied on a 1982 regulation that required the National Forest Service to protect wildlife such as the spotted owl throughout its range. They won, and a new Northwest forest plan in 1990 greatly reduced logging in the region's old-growth forests on federal land. Now the national planning rule that governs individual national forest plans is about to change, for the first time since the Reagan era. | 02/02/12 15:22:00 By - Renee Schoof

Baseball's Kansas City Royals go green with solar array

The Kansas City Royals baseball team is getting greener with the largest in-stadium solar array generating electricity in Major League Baseball. | 02/01/12 14:24:54 By - Steve Everly

Cactus may give Calif. farmers a cure for poisoned crop land

The prickly pear cactus is helping eliminate soil contamination left from irrigation drainage in the farmland of the San Joaquin Valley, California. | 01/30/12 10:20:20 By - Mark Grossi

Charlotte company prepares to build nation's first nuclear plants in 3 decades

Shaw Power Group based in Charlotte, N.C., is building the first U.S. power plants in a generation. The plants are loaded with risks for their owners and builders. | 01/29/12 20:36:00 By - Bruce Henderson

Bering Sea ice threatens crab fishery

Sea ice is encroaching unusually early on the central Bering Sea, threatening to grind Alaska's economically important snow crab fishery to a halt at the peak of the season, leaving crabbers facing major losses. | 01/26/12 06:48:01 By - Michelle Theriault Boots

New estimates of Atlantic, Gulf fishing will help determine limits

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday announced that it's using a new way to estimate the amount of fish caught by recreational saltwater anglers on the Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico, the result of years of work on how to make the numbers more accurate. | 01/25/12 16:30:00 By - Renee Schoof

Environmental groups ask Kentucky lawmakers to consider coal's health impact

Kentucky's leaders should consider the health hazards of mining, moving and burning coal as they craft the state's energy policy, an environmental group said Tuesday. | 01/25/12 07:16:32 By - John Cheves

Metals found in wells at NC coal plants

Elevated levels of metals have been found in groundwater near ash ponds at 14 North Carolina coal-fired power plants. | 01/24/12 18:42:49 By - Bruce Henderson

Seaweed in the tank? Company turns to aquaculture for ethanol

Imagine driving up to a gas station for ethanol made not from corn farms in the heartland, but from seaweed farms on the coasts. Futuristic, yes. But as the world looks for ways to reduce the use of fossil fuels, farming for seaweed as a fuel feedstock could emerge as an option. It's already starting in the earliest stages of testing in Chile. | 01/19/12 15:00:00 By - Renee Schoof

Texas gets $13 million for wildfire relief

Less than a year after wildfires scorched millions of acres in Texas, claiming lives and destroying property, federal officials announced Wednesday that the state will receive nearly $13 million to help rebuild. | 01/19/12 07:39:08 By - Anna M. Tinsley

Obama rejects oil pipeline from Canada, triggering loud controversy

The Obama administration on Wednesday denied a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, touching off a torrent of criticism from Republicans — whom the White House blamed for forcing a decision. | 01/18/12 18:57:00 By - Renee Schoof and Lesley Clark

Are the snows of Kilimanjaro returning? Guide says yes

One of Mount Kilimanjaro's most dramatic features is its breathtaking glaciers, which slither across its dormant volcanic plateau and down its crater slope in frigid shades of bluish-green. | 01/18/12 15:12:04 By - Alan Boswell

In South Carolina, eroding beaches may mean tougher building rules

South Carolina’s popular beaches need better protection from development, even if it means some oceanfront landowners pay higher insurance rates, a coastal commission says. | 01/18/12 13:37:37 By - Sammy Fretwell

U.S. to announce ban on python imports

The United States is poised to formally and finally ban that slithering scourge of the Everglades, the Burmese python. U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who has championed the ban, is expected to make the announcement Tuesday. | 01/17/12 07:09:50 By - Curtis Morgan

New rule would ban imports of Burmese pythons, eight other snakes

As one of Congress' top experts on spending issues, Washington state Rep. Norm Dicks keeps an eye on the public purse, and he says that Burmese pythons just cost taxpayers way too much money. | 01/13/12 16:41:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

Investors see climate opportunity to make money, create jobs

In the language of the 450 large institutional investors meeting at a conference here Thursday, climate change is a risk to avoid and also an opportunity to make a good return on investments. | 01/12/12 17:47:00 By - Renee Schoof

EPA agrees to end emissions testing program in Anchorage

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday agreed to let Anchorage end its vehicle emissions testing program after 27 years, saying all the hassle isn't necessary for air quality. | 01/11/12 06:23:26 By - Sean Cockerham

Interior Dept. bans new uranium mining near Grand Canyon

In a controversial decision, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on Monday made official a 20-year ban on uranium and other hard-rock mining claims on more than 1 million acres of federal land near the Grand Canyon. | 01/09/12 18:38:00 By - Emily Seagrave Kennedy

Eco label granted for swordfish caught off Florida on controversial longlines

Consumers who buy one company's swordfish caught off eastern Florida will be seeing a blue and white label at the store that assures them the fish was caught with utmost care for life in the Atlantic Ocean. | 01/08/12 14:16:00 By - Renee Schoof

Ecuador conservation effort gets dragged into legal fight

One of Ecuador’s most ambitious conservation efforts is getting dragged into one of the world’s largest environmental lawsuits. | 01/06/12 14:27:03 By - Jim Wyss

Manatees have another tough year

Frigid weather was largely to blame for making 2011 the second-deadliest year on record for Florida’s endangered manatees. Of the 453 dead manatees recovered in state waters, state wildlife biologists determined that just over a quarter of them were killed by “cold stress.’’ It was the third year in a row that bad weather helped drive up the annual death total. | 01/05/12 07:00:40 By - Curtis Morgan

Audubon watchers find snowy owls flying south for sustenance

As talk of the snowy owls' atypical prevalence in the United States continued to swirl among the birder community, Charley Burwick, a Springfield, Mo., resident, started his car and joined those around the nation going to lengths to spot this white nocturnal bird. | 01/04/12 17:48:00 By - Rachel Roubein

Tag data reveal habits of large ocean fish

Satellite information from tags on fish such as blue marlins show how deep the fish dived and where it went. The information helps researchers understand what the fish need to survive in a changing ocean. | 01/04/12 15:19:17 By -

Kansas City's 'boutique' gasoline no longer so special

A boutique blend of gasoline required in Kansas City didn't help clear smog from the air as much as promised. | 01/03/12 09:09:47 By - Steve Everly

Feral pigs going hog wild in Kentucky

Randy Kelley has engaged in a frustrating and discouraging battle the past four or five years on his Henry County, Kentucky, farm. His 200-pound foe: a wild pig. Actually, that should be plural because these pigs tend to run in herds. | 01/03/12 07:07:56 By - Karla Ward

Intense Kansas weather becomes part of nation's history

From the deadliest year for tornadoes in decades to a heat wave so intense and enduring that Wichita and several other Great Plains cities broke records for most 100-degree days, 2011’s weather seared itself into our nation’s collective memory. | 12/29/11 14:02:58 By - Stan Finger

Wolf on long trek could become first in California in 90 years

A 2-year-old male wolf migrated 730 miles across Oregon over two months beginning in September and is now near the California border. The trek of this wolf marks another success in the reintroduction of wolves to the West. | 12/29/11 13:43:26 By - Matt Weiser

New Illinois law prohibits trashing electronics

Starting Sunday, it'll no longer be legal for Illinois residents to throw away electronics with other trash. | 12/29/11 11:41:47 By - Laura Girresch

Hastings, GOP target Endangered Species Act

The gray wolf hit a major milestone on Dec. 21, when the Obama administration said the wolf's population in the Great Lakes region had grown to the point where the animals no longer required federal protection. | 12/28/11 13:59:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

California's Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant reacts to Japan's disaster

For many, 2011 will be remembered as the year of Fukushima. On March 11, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck Japan. The powerful quake coupled with a large tsunami that followed crippled the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. | 12/28/11 12:27:55 By - David Sneed

Clean energy group to challenge Fla. decision on nuclear funding

An advocacy grouup notified the Florida Public Service Commission that it is taking the unusual step of appealing an order that allows utilities to collect money for work on future or existing nuclear plants. | 12/28/11 11:54:34 By - Jim Saunders

Hundreds of Portuguese men-of-war wash ashore in S.C.

Chris Garmston was walking his dogs on the beach near his home in Hilton Head Island's Port Royal Plantation Christmas morning when he spotted something unusual. It was electric blue and shaped like a giant dumpling. It was only after he'd returned to his house and researched his discovery that Garmston learned he'd almost stepped on one of the ocean's most dangerous predators: a Portuguese man-of-war. | 12/28/11 11:23:44 By - Grant Martin

Judge rules BP's 2009 North Slope oil spill an accident

A federal judge in Anchorage on Tuesday rejected an effort by prosecutors to hold BP criminally negligent for a 2009 pipeline rupture, one of a series of mishaps and disasters that have dogged the company over the past decade. | 12/28/11 07:15:10 By - Rich Mauer

Geologists map ocean floor to study fault near nuclear plant

Mapping of the ocean floor is helping scientists get a better understanding of an earthquake fault near the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California. | 12/27/11 15:55:17 By - David Sneed

Where's the Sierra snow?

Snow in the Sierra Nevada is far below the average depth this time of year. | 12/27/11 15:42:53 By - Phillip Reese

Book examines America's turn from science, warns of danger for democracy

Americans have trouble dealing with science, and one place that's especially obvious is in presidential campaigns, says Shawn Lawrence Otto, who tried, with limited success, to get the candidates to debate scientific questions in the 2008 presidential election. | 12/26/11 14:06:02 By - Renee Schoof

Florida Sen. Nelson: Everglades restoration is bipartisan

There’s more bipartisan support for restoring the Everglades than might be expected, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said Wednesday — especially given the politically charged atmosphere in Washington and Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s previous concerns about spending state money on projects. | 12/22/11 07:10:03 By - Erika Bolstad

EPA announces historic rule to clean or shut coal-burning power plants

Unveiling a historic rule, the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced the first national requirement for the nation's coal-fired power plants to reduce emissions of mercury, arsenic, cyanide and other toxic pollutants. The landmark ruling took more than 20 years for EPA to finish. | 12/21/11 19:15:00 By - Renee Schoof and Halimah Abdullah

As shale fracking booms, environmental protection lags

America's race for cheap natural gas and energy independence has been outpacing the flow of state rules aimed at assuring people that gas production won't harm their health. The biggest environmental issue is what happens to the wastewater. | 12/21/11 17:13:00 By - Renee Schoof

Does shale oil boom mean U.S. energy independence near?

It may surprise Americans who've lived through many years of dependence on foreign fuels, but in less than a decade the United States could pass its 1970s peak as an oil and natural gas producer. If that happens — and many analysts think it's possible — the United States would edge past Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's top energy producer. | 12/21/11 16:23:00 By - Kevin G. Hall

Drought has killed up to 10 percent of Texas woodland trees

The unforgiving Texas drought has killed 100 million to 500 million trees statewide, according to a preliminary survey by the Texas Forest Service. | 12/21/11 07:38:15 By - Steve Campbell

Debris from Japan's tsunami in March may hit Alaska shores soon

Debris from the March 11 Japan tsunami has reached Washington state and British Columbia. According to predictions from a leading oceanographer, Alaskans can expect to see flotsam -- perhaps tons of it -- washing up on coastal beaches soon. | 12/19/11 06:47:38 By - Mike Dunham

GOP gets provision to curb ban on energy-sucking light bulbs

The Department of Energy won't be able to enforce rules that ban energy-wasting light bulbs when new standards take effect in January, thanks to a requirement slipped into the federal spending bill. | 12/16/11 17:26:00 By - Renee Schoof

Nuclear commission chief 'abusive,' fellow members testify

The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission blows up in abusive anger, intimidates staff members and withholds information from the rest of the commission, all four of his fellow commissioners testified to Congress on Wednesday. | 12/14/11 18:33:00 By - Renee Schoof

Cuba shows U.S. its response plans in case of oil spill

As Cuba prepares to embark on a new round of exploratory offshore drilling, U.S. officials are slightly more enlightened about the island nation's plans in the event of a catastrophic oil spill on the scale of last year's Deepwater Horizon explosion. | 12/12/11 18:30:00 By - Erika Bolstad

Business groups see some benefits for U.S. in climate talk results

The U.S. government and some major business groups say the climate talks that just wrapped up in Durban, South Africa, were a success for the United States, though some environmentalists voiced disappointment. | 12/12/11 17:54:00 By - Renee Schoof

Senate panel supports $415 million more for Lake Tahoe

The beloved cobalt-blue beauty of Lake Tahoe, a popular tourist destination on the border between California and Nevada, doesn't come cheaply. | 12/08/11 18:21:00 By - Michael Doyle

New EPA rules will lead to blackouts, Kansas utilities claim

Here are two versions of what it will be like to live in Kansas in 2012: Either residents will suffer rolling blackouts and pay more for the privilege, or nothing will happen at all. Backing the energy disaster scenario are utilities and the state itself. The other side is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and environmental groups. | 12/05/11 07:20:56 By - Karen Dillon and Steve Everly

Environmentalists pressure U.S. to help more at climate talks

Is the U.S. leading or blocking progress toward stopping global warming? It's a key question this week as officials from more than 190 countries begin the latest round of negotiations seeking an eventual global climate-protection plan. | 11/30/11 17:41:00 By - Renee Schoof

BP's 2009 pipeline spill may lead to criminal charges

Two years ago, a BP pipeline carrying a mix of oil, water and natural gas blew open on Alaska's North Slope, spilling what the oil company estimated was 13,500 gallons of crude. Now that spill is being dissected in federal court to determine whether the circumstances leading up to it amount to criminal behavior by BP. | 11/30/11 06:53:41 By - Lisa Demer

Can coal plants afford EPA's new air-toxics rule?

America has never had a nationwide limit on mercury and other toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants. That's about to change, though, and it will cost companies such as American Electric Power, which runs the Tanners Creek power station here on the Ohio River, billions of dollars. | 11/29/11 14:43:00 By - Renee Schoof

Calif. company pulls plug on wind farm, citing risk to birds

A San Francisco company said it has abandoned plans for a large-scale wind farm near Winters because the turbines could have harmed golden eagles, bald eagles and other local bird species. | 11/23/11 06:49:16 By - Rick Daysog

Cook Inlet beluga whales should be on endangered list, federal judge rules

For the second time in less than six months, a federal judge on Monday threw out a lawsuit by the Parnell administration challenging an endangered species listing, this time involving Cook Inlet's beluga whales. | 11/22/11 06:45:17 By - Richard Mauer

How has climate change impacted California?

The songbirds at the feeder outside your window are not the same as they used to be. The goldfinch, the grosbeak and even the ever-present sparrow are all a little bit bigger. The reason is climate change, according to a new study, which found that 70 bird species, all common to Central California, have evolved a longer wingspan and greater body mass over the past 40 years. | 11/21/11 06:44:11 By - Matt Weiser

Republicans grill Energy Secretary Chu about Solyndra loan

In a politically charged hearing Thursday, Republicans in the House of Representatives accused Energy Secretary Steven Chu of breaking the law in how he handled the restructuring of a loan for the California solar-energy company Solyndra. | 11/17/11 19:54:00 By - Renee Schoof and William Douglas

Killing tiger and hammerhead sharks may become a crime in Florida

Florida wildlife managers, in a move that would be a first nationally, are poised to outlaw killing tiger sharks and three kinds of hammerheads that prowl state waters — but in increasingly fewer numbers. | 11/16/11 06:56:11 By - Curtis Morgan

Federal prosecutors seek to revoke BP's probation for 2006 spill

BP, the biggest oil field operator on Alaska's North Slope, has failed to fix pervasive management and environmental safety problems and is a repeat environmental offender, federal prosecutors said in a new court filing this week. The federal government is seeking to revoke BP's probation on a criminal misdemeanor conviction from 2007 that arose from a huge spill in 2006. | 11/16/11 06:47:42 By - Lisa Demer

Congress divided over continuing subsidization of wind power

Washington state sometimes has too much of a good thing: power. In a state that relies heavily on water and wind for its electricity, Mother Nature can be too generous, and it has been causing headaches for energy producers. | 11/14/11 17:38:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

Pennsylvania farmers warn North Carolina farmers of shale gas drilling

Two Pennsylvania farmers who leased land to shale gas drillers in their state and dreamed of a big payoff painted a bleak picture of the gas industry Thursday. | 11/11/11 15:03:51 By - John Murawski

Obama administration delays decision on Keystone XL oil pipeline

A decision on whether to build a pipeline from Canada's oil sands to Texas will be delayed, probably until 2013, to allow time to consider rerouting a section in Nebraska, the State Department announced Thursday. | 11/10/11 18:52:00 By - Renee Schoof

Can the oceans continue to feed us?

Far out on the Pacific Ocean, the world's industrial fishing fleets pursue one of the last huge wild hunts — for the tuna eaten by millions of people around the world. | 11/10/11 14:37:00 By - Renee Schoof

Alaska handles brunt of Bering Sea megastorm

A giant Bering Sea storm with hurricane-force winds roared up the western Alaska coastline Wednesday, sending waves over storm barriers, knocking out electricity, flooding parts of some villages and leading to evacuations. But as of Wednesday evening, officials had heard no reports of injuries nor massive damage. | 11/10/11 11:00:56 By - Kyle Hopkins, Casey Grove and Mike Dunham

Report: Roads, not clear-cutting, to blame for erosion in California

Dirt roads, not logging clear-cuts, are likely the largest source of erosion that may threaten salmon restoration in Battle Creek, an important Sacramento River tributary. That is the conclusion of a new report by a special state task force, presented Wednesday at a meeting of the California Board of Forestry. | 11/10/11 06:49:53 By - Matt Weiser

Alaska official skeptical of Escopeta Oil's gas discovery at Cook Inlet

Two Alaska state officials said Monday they are skeptical of Escopeta Oil's claim last week that it made a giant gas discovery in Cook Inlet, saying the company lacks the data to back its assertion. | 11/08/11 06:38:14 By - Richard Mauer

For GOP, Arizona mine a job-creating model on U.S. land

In 1955, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower signed an executive order that put a huge swath of rugged Arizona plateau off-limits to all future mining, a bow to recreationists and to American Indians who regard the site as sacred. Fifty-six years later, Republicans in the House of Representatives have another idea in mind. | 11/07/11 15:04:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

Gas shale brings promise of jobs, concerns about water

To appreciate the promise and betrayal of the nation's natural gas rush, look no further than this rural community in southwestern Pennsylvania where the 957 residents barely outnumber the dairy cows. Like dozens of farming communities in the state, the countryside here is dotted with drill pads, derricks, compressor stations, truck convoys, earth movers, open-air reservoirs and pipelines that snake along fence lines and carry natural gas to refineries. | 11/07/11 07:13:58 By - John Murawski

Thousands surround White House in protest of Keystone oil pipeline

On a sunny, cloudless day, thousands of protesters encircled the White House Sunday in a show of numbers intended to persuade President Barack Obama to stop a proposed oil pipeline from being built. Organizers estimated that the crowd exceeded 10,000 people. | 11/06/11 18:34:00 By - Daniel Lippman

White House protest planned against oil pipeline from Canada

Thousands of people are expected to mass at the White House on Sunday to send an environmental message to President Barack Obama: Say no to a proposed pipeline that would import highly polluting oil from Canada. | 11/04/11 18:19:00 By - Renee Schoof

Fewer monarch butterflies spotted in Texas this year

It is one of the most amazing migrations in all of the world, not least because the animal making the 3,000-mile journey weighs half a gram and North Texans often see the ancient journey from their back yards and gardens. But, with only isolated sightings, the last few weeks proved disappointing for monarch butterfly watchers in virtually all of Texas. Normally the butterflies' migration from the Red River to the Rio Grande Valley is hailed as one of autumn's great marvels. | 11/03/11 07:34:35 By - Chris Vaughn

EPA says Kansas officials misled court on coal plant

The court fight over whether Kansas will build a new coal-fired power plant has taken a new twist. State officials told the state's highest court that the EPA had no objections to the permit. Not true, EPA says. | 11/02/11 11:20:50 By - Karen Dillon

Quest for gold destroying marine life in North Carolina

Gold prospectors chasing $1,600-an-ounce flecks in river bottoms east of Charlotte also might be sucking life out of the streams, experts say. As the price of gold mounts, some weekend prospectors have turned to machines called suction dredges. | 11/01/11 13:44:39 By - Bruce Henderson

California releases plan on regulating toxic chemicals in goods

After nearly a year of delays, California is moving ahead with its ambitious plan to regulate toxic chemicals in consumer goods. The new rules create a list of 3,000 toxic chemicals found in consumer items as diverse as personal care products, children's toys, automobiles and even computers. | 11/01/11 06:41:29 By - Rick Daysog

Delta smelt keeps protection as Supreme Court declines to review case

Federal protections for California's delta smelt will remain intact, but Western water controversies will keep on boiling, with a Supreme Court decision Monday not to hear farmers' ambitious challenge | 10/31/11 16:19:00 By - Michael Doyle

Gold prospecting raises concerns about ecosystem damage to N.C. river

Gold prospectors chasing $1,600-an-ounce flecks in river bottoms east of Charlotte, North Carolina, also might be sucking life out of the streams, experts say. As the price of gold mounts, some weekend prospectors have turned to machines called suction dredges. | 10/31/11 07:24:46 By - Bruce Henderson

Alaska's beluga whales case hurt by loss of coast zone program

Back in February, the Parnell administration told a judge that Cook Inlet beluga whales didn't need the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act because the state was perfectly capable of protecting them itself, in part because of the Alaska Coastal Management Program. But in a notice belatedly filed in the case Friday, the Alaska attorney general's office acknowledged the state had lost that conservation and enforcement tool four months ago. | 10/31/11 06:47:29 By - Richard Mauer

EPA chief meets with college clean-energy activists

College environmental activists met Thursday with Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson to tell her what they're doing at their schools to try to shut down campus coal-fired heating plants. | 10/27/11 18:33:00 By - Renee Schoof

Army Corps wants $1 billion to repair flood damage

The Army Corps of Engineers says it desperately needs about $1 billion to repair the damage from this year's catastrophic flooding in the Missouri and Mississippi basins. Last spring brought as much as 10 times the normal amount of rainfall to the South and Midwest, which mixed with melting snow to produce record river levels along the lower Ohio and Mississippi rivers, according to the corps. | 10/27/11 15:56:00 By - Randy Leonard

Students ask University of Kentucky to stop using coal on campus

In Lexington, students and residents want the University of Kentucky to shut down two coal-fired plants that provide campus heating. | 10/27/11 14:43:17 By - Linda B. Blackford

In Kansas, it's peak mating season for deer-car collisions

At no time are the odds higher for deer-vehicle collisions than for about the next four to six weeks. "It's an annual thing that towards the end of October we start seeing the number of accidents rise," said Mike Miller, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism information chief. "It usually peaks around the 18th to 20th of November, but we'll still have accidents into the end of the month." | 10/27/11 14:04:45 By - Michael Pearce

Feds announce plan to speed Everglades restoration

A new fast-track planning effort could shave years off the next phase of Everglades restoration, putting more fresh and clean water into the central and southern portions of Florida’s "River of Grass" more quickly. | 10/27/11 11:50:17 By - Erika Bolstad

Alternative energy: 9,000 pigs plus a high-tech waste digester equals methane

The old saw about using every part of a pig but the squeal now includes its droppings, which are producing electricity on a Yadkin County, N.C., farm. Duke University is a partner with Duke Energy and Google in testing a system that captures methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from manure. The gas fuels a small power plant that makes enough energy to run the waste-processing system and part of the farm itself. | 10/27/11 07:17:12 By - Bruce Henderson

Joplin tornado cleanup raises lead contamination concerns

As if Joplin weren’t already facing a massive rebuilding task, the city now must deal with significant and costly lead contamination stirred up by the May 22 tornado and its after-effects. City officials estimate that it could cost as much as $7.5 million to clean up lead contamination re-exposed by the tornado on some 1,500 properties in damaged areas, and they have asked the federal government for help. | 10/27/11 07:06:23 By - Mike McGraw

Obama to block new uranium-mine claims near Grand Canyon

New uranium mining claims on 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon will be blocked for 20 years under a decision the Bureau of Land Management announced Wednesday. | 10/26/11 17:46:00 By - Renee Schoof

Seeking a shale tax in Pennsylvania

As a statewide citizens’ group called for tighter environmental regulations to be imposed on drilling in the Marcellus Shale, a local protest demanded a gas severance tax to mitigate the imposition of higher income and real estate taxes. | 10/25/11 12:38:39 By - Cliff White

Congress spars over tightening boiler-pollution rules

Congress is feuding over how quickly the federal government should move in trying to reduce deadly air pollution that comes from industrial boilers and incinerators. | 10/24/11 18:36:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

Alaska state officials seek info about wind-blown dust at proposed coal mine

A company that wants to open a strip mine for coal in Alaska's Matanuska Valley says it needs to revamp its application for an air quality permit but hasn't lost interest in the project. The strip mine would sell coal overseas. | 10/23/11 19:05:37 By - Casey Grove

House GOP wants to waive environmental laws on U.S. borders

In a move aimed at improving national security, House Republicans want to give the U.S. Border Patrol unprecedented authority to ignore 36 environmental laws on federal land in a 100-mile zone stretching along the Canadian and Mexican borders. | 10/23/11 13:36:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

Following complaints from Gulf, Congress seeks audit of BP oil spill fund

Republican Sens. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Marco Rubio of Florida, unhappy with the handling of the $20 billion fund set up by BP to compensate victims of the 2010 Gulf oil spill, won Senate approval Friday for an independent audit of the organization. | 10/21/11 19:02:00 By - Maria Recio

California board OKs cap and trade for carbon emissions

California approved one of the broadest and most controversial components of its landmark climate change law, pushing the state toward a low-carbon economy that relies less on imported foreign oil. | 10/21/11 06:50:01 By - Rick Daysog and Dale Kasler

GOP White House candidates' Yucca stance roils other Republican leaders

Republican lawmakers from South Carolina and Washington state, which hold tons of nuclear waste, are none too pleased that leading candidates for the GOP presidential nomination are backing President Barack Obama's decision to shutter a central dump designed to store their waste. | 10/20/11 17:36:00 By - James Rosen

Alaska borough voters reject controversial mine

Voters in two Alaska boroughs rejected a giant mine that is controversial because of its potential impact on salmon in Bristol Bay. Now the matter goes to the courts. | 10/19/11 09:15:44 By - Sean Cockerham

U.S. admits limits in monitoring Cuba's offshore oil drilling

As exploratory oil drilling is set to begin in December off the coast of Cuba, the U.S. government acknowledged Tuesday that because of chilly diplomatic relations it could have a limited ability to control the response to an oil spill there, let alone one the magnitude of last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. | 10/18/11 15:40:00 By - Erika Bolstad

EPA settles dust-up over 'farm dust'

The federal government is backing away from tighter air-quality regulations that generated a controversy over “farm dust.” | 10/18/11 07:10:49 By - Mike McGraw

Treasury officials testify on controversial Solyndra loan

Congressional Republicans who question whether the Energy Department broke the law in the way it handled a loan for the California solar company Solyndra called in two senior Treasury Department officials Friday, but the officials didn't provide any evidence of illegal doings. | 10/14/11 19:02:00 By - Renee Schoof

House bill would block EPA oversight of coal ash, leave it to states

Next up for Republicans in the House of Representatives who are seeking to curb the role of the Environmental Protection Agency is a vote Friday on a bill that would give states the power to monitor the disposal of coal ash from power plants. | 10/13/11 18:37:00 By - Renee Schoof

Global warming spurs debate over whether U.S. should build new icebreakers

Climate change is melting parts of the ice-locked Northwest Passage. China is building its first modern icebreaker in hopes of staking claims to Arctic waters. Frigid polar regions are opening up to increased shipping traffic, scientific exploration and tourism. | 10/10/11 16:32:00 By - Kyung M. Song

Conservation nonprofits face economic squeeze

Nonprofit conservation groups have preserved wild places in California, but now say tough economic times could force them to cut back. | 10/10/11 14:03:49 By - Matt Weiser

California bans shark fin sales

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that bans the possession and sale of shark fins. Some 73 million sharks a year are estimated to be killed for shark fin soup in Asia. | 10/10/11 10:45:28 By -

Whales who ventured into Alaska river now headed back to sea

Three killer whales that worried biologists this week by traveling far up the Nushagak River in Southwest Alaska appear to have left the river's fresh water and headed back to more-familiar salt water, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. | 10/08/11 16:54:34 By - Casey Grove

Controversial decision awaits as hearings on oil sands pipeline end

With the formal debate over on Friday, a decision on an oil pipeline that will cross America's heartland and open up a greater market for Canada's oil sands now rests with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. | 10/07/11 18:16:00 By - Renee Schoof

Killer whales' swim into Alaska freshwater river concerns biologists

Three killer whales discovered in freshwater far up Southwest Alaska's Nushagak River have state and federal biologists considering options to intervene and move them back to the ocean. It's unclear why the whales swam so far upriver. And they aren't showing any signs of leaving. | 10/07/11 06:43:36 By - Casey Grove

Gulf state lawmakers work to bring oil spill money home

Members of the House of Representatives from the five Gulf Coast states — Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Texas — announced Wednesday that they had agreed on a bill to direct at least 80 percent of the fines that BP is expected to pay for last year's oil spill to their states for economic and environmental restoration — a payday that may reach $20 million. | 10/05/11 19:30:00 By - Maria Recio

Kansas Gov. Brownback leads renewable energy summit

Gov. Sam Brownback urged leaders from the energy industry to work together to help spur job growth and ignite economic opportunities powered by wind and fuels which are rich in Kansas. | 10/05/11 07:03:38 By - Ron Sylvester

Congress spars over 'ocean zoning'

House members clashed Tuesday over a White House plan that essentially calls for zoning the oceans, with Republicans charging that it already has created more job-killing bureaucracy and Democrats saying it could give Americans more certainty on how they can use busy public waters. | 10/04/11 18:04:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

BP wind farm to span four Kansas counties

A day before Gov. Sam Brownback's renewable energy summit, BP Wind Energy officials unveiled plans to build Kansas' biggest wind farm. | 10/04/11 13:47:29 By - DAN VOORHIS AND JERRY SIEBENMARK

Lawsuit leaves large gas storage fields in Kansas unregulated

Knox says it's unsettling to know that because of a federal court decision last year, neither the state nor federal governments are inspecting the gas field near his home, or others holding thousands of times the amount of gas that caused havoc in Hutchinson. | 10/03/11 14:19:24 By - Dion Lefler

California solar company makes its way without subsidies

The solar industry has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks with the collapse of Solyndra, the Fremont manufacturer that received $535 million in federal loan guarantees. But for every Solyndra, there are scores of companies like Solar Power Inc. that have gotten by without federal funding. They provide a counterpoint to the growing criticism that the solar industry requires heavy subsidies. | 10/03/11 06:41:05 By - Rick Daysog

Dangers of nitrates well known, but stats are scarce

Medical science has long known about the effects of nitrate contamination -- dizziness, upset stomach, shortness of breath, lung infections, diabetes, possible links to cancer and potentially fatal blue-baby syndrome. | 10/02/11 18:32:25 By - Mark Grossi

Rural California residents: 'Who knows what's in the water?'

The plastic Santa Claus beckons motorists. So does the vintage seven-blade Trimmer lawn mower. They start conversations at Elida C. Lopez's yard sale along a quiet, country road. | 10/02/11 18:30:30 By - Mark Grossi

Tainted water flows from taps of rural California Valley homes

The tap water in rural areas of California's fertile Central Valley is often laced with nitrates, a chemical linked to a potentially lethal infant illness as well as cancer. Rural Valley residents in an area half the size of Maryland live day-to-day wondering if the next drink of water will make their children sick. I | 10/02/11 18:25:45 By - Mark Grossi

Students aid endangered Oregon spotted frog

The imperiled Oregon spotted frog received a helping hand Thursday from nearly 30 students enrolled in the New Market Skills Center’s Environmental Explorations program. | 09/30/11 13:31:03 By - John Dodge

Trident Seafoods agrees to $2.5M pollution fine from EPA

A leading Seattle-based seafood company has agreed to pay the largest water-pollution fine ever handed down by the EPA to an Alaska fish processor, the agency says. | 09/29/11 06:42:01 By - Kyle Hopkins

U.S. lawmakers urge Spanish oil company to leave Cuba

Thirty-four U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday asked the Spanish oil company Repsol to keep out of Cuban waters, saying the firm's pending offshore drilling plans would support the Castro regime and "bankroll the apparatus that violently crushes dissent." | 09/28/11 19:19:00 By - Erika Bolstad

Idaho natural gas fight centers on balance between drilling, environment

As Idaho and two of its counties work to catch up with a new natural gas industry, their struggle could turn this year’s legislative session into another fight between state and local control | 09/28/11 11:52:25 By - Rocky Barker

Researchers find signs of toxic oil effects in Louisiana marsh fish

Gulf seafood is safe to eat and the water is clear after the BP oil spill, but a new biology study released Monday shows that effects of the oil on a small Louisiana marsh fish could be an early warning sign of trouble ahead for fish populations. | 09/26/11 19:57:00 By - Renee Schoof

Drought taking toll on Texas trees

A drive through Trinity Park in Fort Worth illustrates the toll the drought is taking. Instead of vibrant trees along walking and biking trails, many are turning brown; others have lost all their leaves. While the final toll won't be known for months, the prognosis isn't good. | 09/26/11 14:19:46 By - Bill Hanna

Everglades restoration imperiled by monitoring program cuts, experts say

The agencies in charge of restoring the Everglades are set to gut a science program critical to determining whether work they’re doing is helping or hurting plants and animals that live there — from algae that anchors the bottom of the food chain to alligators that feast at its top. | 09/26/11 06:59:37 By - Curtis Morgan

ANWR coastal plain is topic of debate for Alaskans

A battle over whether the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge should be set aside as wilderness — or eventually opened up for oil exploration — brought dozens of people with polar-opposite views to a public hearing in Anchorage on Wednesday. | 09/22/11 06:43:57 By - Lisa Demer

House GOP bill would roll back basic air-pollution rules

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Friday on a bill that's mushroomed recently into a plan to block the Obama administration's two main rules to clean up air pollution from power plants and change the way the Clean Air Act has worked for 40 years. | 09/21/11 18:54:00 By - Renee Schoof and Halimah Abdullah

Bill to steer BP oil spill fines to Gulf states passes committee

A bipartisan effort to secure at least 80 percent of fines from the BP Gulf oil spill for the five Gulf Coast states — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas — advanced Wednesday as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the bill by voice vote. | 09/21/11 18:13:00 By - Maria Recio

Richard Branson's Carbon War Room picks Sacramento, Miami for project

A high-powered investment coalition assembled by Richard Branson, the eccentric British billionaire, is offering Sacramento a shot at hundreds of jobs through a $100 million energy-efficiency program. | 09/21/11 06:44:41 By - Dale Kasler and Rick Daysog

Investors to spend millions 'greening' commercial buildings in Sacramento, Miami

Sacramento is one of two cities to participate in a massive program to retrofit commercial buildings to improve energy efficiency, through a private nonprofit consortium led by British business tycoon Richard Branson. | 09/20/11 12:51:29 By - Dale Kasler

In Alaska, vote nears on giant copper and gold mine

Voters in a remote part of Alaska could soon decide on whether the gigantic Pebble mine will go forward. It's one fo the most controversial development projects ever in Alaska. | 09/20/11 11:01:58 By - Sean Cockerham

Remember Nemo's sea turtle friend? Now he's endangered

The Obama administration took steps Friday to protect the loggerhead sea turtle, downgrading the status of some populations from threatened to endangered. | 09/16/11 18:11:00 By - Curtis Tate

Lawmakers go west for hearing on public lands

The perennial conflict over public lands will surge again Monday in Sacramento, Calif., as congressional Republicans showcase their unhappiness over environmental restrictions they consider excessive. | 09/16/11 14:45:00 By - Michael Doyle

For Washington's seals, it's tasty-salmon-snack season

Chinook salmon have begun their annual return to the Deschutes River in Oregon through the Fifth Avenue dam, with about 900 already in the hatchery and thousands more expected, according to state Fish and Wildlife officials. | 09/16/11 13:01:28 By - Nate Hulings

Invasive species: Giant snails invade Miami subdivision

The silent, slithery invasion of an army of Giant African Snails in a southwest Miami subdivision has federal and state agricultural officials launching a time-consuming expensive counter-attack to remove the large slimy creatures. | 09/16/11 12:43:29 By - Lomi Kriel

Florida prosthetist helped to give dolphin a new tail

Winter the dolphin, and soon-to-be movie star, lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Her unique story of survival inspired the movie “Dolphin Tale,” which opens nationwide Sept. 23. | 09/14/11 12:28:44 By - Susan Hemmingway

GOP wants to give Congress veto on national monuments

Citing state sovereignty and economic hardship, Republican lawmakers said Tuesday that they wanted to give Congress the authority to veto presidents' national monument designations, a power used by nearly every executive since Theodore Roosevelt. | 09/13/11 18:11:00 By - Curtis Tate

Lawmakers dueling over proposed Alaska gold mine

In a high-stakes battle that pits gold and copper against fish, members of Congress are scrapping over a plan to build one of the world's largest open pit mines in southwest Alaska. | 09/11/11 00:01:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

U.S. and Europe to fight pirates who steal fish on the high seas

Illegal fishing undermines efforts to stop overfishing and shrinks the profits of legal commercial fishermen, the oceans chiefs of the United States and the European Union declared on Wednesday, as they pledged to cooperate to nab fish pirates. | 09/07/11 16:50:00 By - Renee Schoof

Fla. Gov. Scott clarifies Everglades drilling comments

Gov. Rick Scott found himself on both sides of the fence on Tuesday when he said in a speech that he supports oil drilling in the Everglades, then hours later issued a clarification that he didn’t mean “an expansion of drilling.” | 09/07/11 06:50:43 By - Mary Ellen Klas

Asian stink bug poised to devour North Carolina crops

The Asian stink bug has started its migration into North Carolina, and a team of researchers at N.C. State University have prepped their labs, set their traps and launched a monitoring website — all in an effort to stop the pest's spread. Their work is urgent. This insect, also known as the brown marmorated stink bug, has decimated crops in the mid-Atlantic states. | 09/05/11 19:38:17 By - Alicia W. Roberts

Saltwater imperils South Florida's drinking water supply

South Florida's lakes, marshes and rivers pump fresh, crystal clear water across the state like veins carry blood through the body. But cities along South Florida's coast are running out of water as drinking wells are taken over by the sea. | 09/04/11 17:18:04 By - Marina Giovannelli

Duke-Progress merger wins backing from key panel

Progress Energy and Duke Energy have won key backing for their planned $26 billion merger as the two power companies speedily advance in their bid to form the nation's biggest electric utility. But advocacy groups were quick to denounce the utilities' deal with the consumers' advocate within the N.C. Utilities Commission. | 09/03/11 20:06:50 By - John Murawski

In Alaska, earthquakes are a fact of life

When a 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook the East Coast last week, millions of people felt it. When a 6.8 magnitude quake struck in Alaska's remote Aleutian island chain early Friday, few noticed — though it was about 10 times more powerful. | 09/02/11 19:39:00 By - Curtis Tate

Oregon pine white butterflies find home in eastern Washington

Small, fragile transplants from Oregon seem to have made a permanent home in the Tri-Cities. For the second summer in a row, pine white butterflies appeared in Tri-City conifers during the last week of August. | 09/02/11 16:32:41 By - Jacques Von Lunen

EPA rules could cause 'emergency events,' Texas power officials say

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, operator of the state's major power grid, said in a report Thursday that a new Environmental Protection Agency regulation will reduce generating capacity and put the grid "at increasing risk of emergency events," including rotating power outages. | 09/02/11 07:25:55 By - Jack Z. Smith

Katia looming, lawmakers fight for 'hurricane hunter' funds

With the cleanup from Hurricane Irene ongoing and Katia looming in the Atlantic Ocean, some lawmakers and top federal scientists are making the case to maintain healthy research budgets that sharpen the accuracy of hurricane forecasts. | 09/01/11 19:04:00 By - Erika Bolstad and Curtis Morgan

Heat kills more than 124,000 fish in Texas lake

More than 124,000 fish died at Lake Grapevine this week as this summer's nonstop heat severely depleted oxygen levels, an official with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said. | 09/01/11 12:29:25 By - Steve Norder

U.S. losing clean-energy race? Solar maker Solyndra bankrupt

California solar manufacturer Solyndra announced Wednesday that it was shutting down a factory built with the help of a $535 million federal loan guarantee and would file for bankruptcy. | 08/31/11 17:43:00 By - Renee Schoof

Sea lions may be to blame in pelican wounding

Nature’s battle for survival played out in dramatic fashion off Avila Beach, California when sea lions attacked some pelicans who were trying to feed on schooling fish. | 08/31/11 15:43:00 By - David Sneed

Irene wasn't overhyped for rural areas on East Coast

WASHINGTON — While many in major East Coast cities wondered whether officials over-prepared the public for Hurricane Irene, the answer from the mostly rural areas hardest hit by the storm was unequivocally no. | 08/30/11 19:23:00 By - Curtis Tate and Kate Howard

Living with grizzlies brings conflict in the west

Bears in Yellowstone National Park are getting the headlines this year — officials there are trying to capture a grizzly bear that killed 59-year-old John Wallace of Chassell, Mich., while he hiked near the wildlife-rich Hayden Valley last week. His death was the second grizzly killing of the summer — and only the third since 1986. | 08/30/11 12:46:42 By - Rocky Barker

Osprey tangled in twine rescued at Washington state wildlife refuge

At a wildlife refuge in eastern Washington state, wildlife officials have rescued ospreys twice recently. The ospreys were tangled in scavanged baling twine. | 08/29/11 16:28:23 By - Annette Cary

As patience runs short, Puget Sound cleanup accelerates

Nearly every time heavy rain falls in north Puget Sound, high levels of fecal bacteria flow into Samish Bay, disrupting work at Taylor Shellfish Farms, the largest shellfish producer in the United States. | 08/28/11 00:01:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

Irene churns toward Northeast, millions of hurricane newbies

As Hurricane Irene threatened the Outer Banks and most of the Eastern Seaboard, President Barack Obama warned Friday of a historic storm with the potential to flood neighborhoods, down trees, erode beaches and knock out power to tens of millions of people unused to violent tropical weather. | 08/26/11 19:03:00 By - Erika Bolstad

State Dept. sees no environmental harm in controversial oil sands pipeline

A pipeline that would greatly expand imports of oil sands crude from Canada won't significantly threaten water in the Great Plains or have much impact on climate change, the State Department argued in a final environmental impact statement it made public Friday. | 08/26/11 18:09:00 By - Renee Schoof

Summer's almost over, and still no solar panels on White House roof

In October, Energy Secretary Steven Chu pledged that solar panels and a solar hot water heater would be installed on the White House roof before the start of summer. Now, summer is almost over, the 2012 election campaign is well under way, and there are still no solar panels on the White House roof. Why? That's a mystery. | 08/25/11 14:36:00 By - Lauren Biron

Texas Railroad Commission wants EPA's cross-state pollution rule challenged

The Texas Railroad Commission is asking Attorney General Greg Abbott to "bring a prompt legal action" to delay implementation of a new Environmental Protection Agency rule that state officials say would jeopardize electric reliability in the state. | 08/25/11 07:41:37 By - Jack Z. Smith

No matter Irene's path, North Carolina leads response

As Hurricane Irene gathers strength in the Caribbean with a U.S. landfall likely over the weekend, North Carolina finds itself once again in the path of a storm, and in the position of first responder. | 08/24/11 17:21:00 By - Curtis Tate

Left, right agree: For big debt cut, end subsidies that harm environment

Budget-slashers in Washington could get a jump-start toward their goal by eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies, an unusual coalition of conservative and liberal groups advised Wednesday. | 08/24/11 17:18:00 By - Renee Schoof

University of South Carolina praised for fuel cell project

Energy Secretary Steven Chu stepped briefly into USC’s innovative energy research district Tuesday, touring a portion of the multimillion-dollar development the university hopes will spearhead the way to world leadership in fuel cell technology. Chu voiced his support for fuel cells as an alternative energy, saying critics had misrepresented his position amid budget discussions. | 08/24/11 16:40:29 By - Roddie Burris

Cook Inlet oil, beluga whales are topic of NOAA and gas industry talks

Alaska U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and a top Obama administration official sat down Tuesday with Cook Inlet gas and oil interests to discuss whether exploration and production could get a boost by streamlining requirements for protection of endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales. | 08/24/11 06:47:32 By - Lisa Demer

Solar-powered trash compactors debute on Myrtle Beach's beach

They are about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, and basically, they appear to just sit there. | 08/23/11 13:50:34 By -

Miners and environmentalists: Conflict and cooperation in Idaho

The relationship between Idaho's environmental community and the mining industry has evolved in recent decades. | 08/23/11 13:20:13 By - Rocky Barker

National Science Foundation: No misconduct by climate scientist, case closed

Inspector general's office of the National Science Foundation looks into accusations against Michael Mann, a climate scientist, and finds no evidence of misconduct. The review says the case is closed. | 08/23/11 13:05:44 By -

Environmentalists put Obama to test on climate over pipeline plan

Ranchers from Nebraska, people in car caravans from California and hundreds of others plan to hold daily sit-ins at the White House starting Saturday, protesting against a planned pipeline that would greatly expand the flow of oil from the black sands of western Canada. | 08/19/11 16:52:00 By - Renee Schoof

Sacramento on track for coolest summer in nearly 30 years

If Sacramento fails to have another century mark reading this summer, 2011 will have the fewest 100-degree days in nearly 30 years. | 08/18/11 13:31:02 By - Bill Lindelof

Kentucky's coal ash regulations criticized by environmental groups

Kentucky and other states do a poor job of regulating coal ash in order to protect water supplies, two environmental groups said in a study released Wednesday. | 08/18/11 07:19:30 By - Bill Estep

Report: In 70 years western trout habitat could be cut in half

Warming temperatures could cut in half suitable trout habitat in the West over the next 70 years. | 08/15/11 18:50:19 By - Rocky Barker

Florida boaters asked to wave yellow manatee banners

If people boating Manatee and Sarasota county waterways during the upcoming Labor Day holiday can avoid striking the endangered manatees, it will not only keep the creatures’ numbers from falling, but will spare many from disfigurement, says Katie Tripp | 08/15/11 12:37:02 By - Richard Dymond

New study blames human beings for half of Arctic ice melt

About half the recent record loss of Arctic sea ice can be blamed on global warming caused by human activity, according to a new study by scientists from the nation's leading climate research center. The peer-reviewed study, funded by the National Science Foundation is the first to attribute a specific proportion of the ice melt to greenhouse gases and particulates from pollution. | 08/14/11 20:05:39 By - Richard Mauer

NOAA backs off turtle death data in the Gulf

NOAA Fisheries has data that shows Gulf shrimpers are now using their turtle-protection devices. Partly because of this, the agency has decided not to impose emergency measures on the shrimping industry in order to stop the unusually high number of sea-turtle deaths in the northern Gulf since the BP oil spill in 2010. | 08/12/11 16:18:41 By - Karen Nelson

Florida gets $100M from Wetlands Reserve Program

The Obama administration on Thursday will pump $100 million into a little-known program that is going a long way toward redefining Everglades restoration. The money won't go to build reservoirs. It will go to ranchers. | 08/11/11 06:57:21 By - Curtis Morgan

Idaho Power branches into solar energy plant

Idaho Power has no experience building or operating the renewable technology that is expanding worldwide. So it plans to build a pilot photovoltaic solar plant that will give it the expertise it needs for the technology that already has risen over the horizon. Idaho Power also has approved two contracts to buy power from solar developers. | 08/10/11 12:50:53 By - Rocky Barker

BP to return to Ocean Springs, Miss. for spill clean-up

Dark-amber mats of oil as big as a large man’s foot sit on the sand 10 feet from the water, and farther inland along the beaches of Horn Island’s west end. Recreational boater Nick Mason pointed out a swarm of quarter-sized tar globs floating around his boat anchored on the north side of the island Tuesday. BP knows. | 08/10/11 12:22:52 By - Karen Nelson and Mary Perez

Nuclear power seems inevitable to Florida’s energy future

Every time you pay your Florida energy bill, a portion of it goes to build a nuclear power plant that won’t produce power for at least another decade and, if opponents have any say, never will. | 08/09/11 12:59:44 By - Mary Ellen Klas

Obama backs more Alaska oil drilling, Salazar says

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar came to Anchorage on Monday and said the Obama administration supports more oil drilling in Alaska, potentially including offshore Arctic development. | 08/09/11 06:36:46 By - Sean Cockerham

Movement to ban plastic bags picking up steam

They call them urban tumbleweeds -- lightweight plastic bags that litter streets, clog drains, pose a danger to wildlife, and get stuck in tree branches and brush. | 08/08/11 14:05:00 By - Anna Tinsley

Will oceans' tides supply endless electricity?

Joshua Myers has been busy putting electrodes on the heads of juvenile salmon, trying to determine how the fish will react to the simulated sound of giant steel and fiberglass turbines, which soon could be submerged in Washington state's Puget Sound. | 08/07/11 00:01:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

Don't feed the Cascade red foxes

Mason Reid, a wildlife econolgist, watched the fox with a pained expression. Like a bored and lonely latchkey kid, the Cascade red fox kit stared blankly across the parking lot toward the snow-covered Tatoosh range at Mount Rainier National Park. | 08/05/11 13:36:03 By - Dean J. Koepfler

Shell Oil's Arctic drilling plan gets tentative approval

Shell cleared a major hurdle Thursday in its effort to begin a two-year drilling program in the Arctic Ocean next summer, receiving a conditional exploration permit from the federal agency that oversees offshore oil development. | 08/05/11 06:49:54 By - Richard Mauer

Washington's Mt. Rainier still has snow covered trails

Most summers, the 3.8-mile round-trip hike to Comet Falls in Mount Rainier National Park is a popular, family-friendly walk. This summer, park rangers are recommending hikers use ice axes and crampons to navigate the route that is still covered with snow. | 08/04/11 13:22:58 By - Craig Hill

Volcanologist at Alaska's Mount Cleveland raise alert status

Signs of lava at Mount Cleveland prompted volcanologists to raise their alert level Tuesday afternoon for the Aleutian Islands volcano. The Alaska Volcano Observatory reports "heightened or escalated unrest" and the possibility of an eruption at the 5,676-foot volcano, according to the observatory's website. | 08/04/11 06:39:27 By - Casey Grove

Supercomputers may help predict climate changes locally

Even a century ago, scientists working out equations on paper understood that gases in the atmosphere absorbed and emitted energy, keeping Earth from being a ball of ice. Today they use supercomputers to make increasingly refined predictions about how the Earth's climate will change. | 08/03/11 14:23:00 By - Renee Schoof

Battle over coal for China highlights global economic change

When a Seattle-based shipping company announced plans last year for a deepwater cargo port that it promised would create hundreds of jobs, it looked like good news for Bellingham, Wash. But not everyone was happy about what cargo the company had in mind: coal, and potentially 48 million tons of it a year. That coal would end up in China, where it would fuel the blistering growth of America's biggest competitor. | 08/02/11 17:52:00 By - Curtis Tate and John Stark

Surprise! Economy in Wichita greener than it seems

No one would confuse Wichita as a home for tree huggers, but even Wichita has taken its place in the green economy in recent years. Wichita actually has thousands of jobs tied to improving the environment — in businesses such as organic farming, insulated building materials and wind turbine parts. | 08/02/11 16:05:54 By - Dan Voorhis

Climate changes predict more frequent fires in Yellowstone

Imagine a Yellowstone National Park without thick, verdant forests. Some of the region’s top fire and forest scientists say the fires of 1988 are nothing compared to the size and frequency of those that will burn by the middle of this century | 08/01/11 12:53:43 By - Rocky Barker

New EPA regulations aim to cut oil, natural gas emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed new regulations Thursday that it said would dramatically reduce polluting emissions from oil and natural gas operations, with "a net savings to the industry of tens of millions of dollars annually from the value of natural gas that no longer would escape in the air." | 07/29/11 07:39:03 By - Jack Z. Smith

Drought brings on water restrictions in north Texas

An unusually hot summer, even by North Texas standards, is draining the area's water supplies faster than normal, prompting the likely implementation of stringent water restrictions across much of the region within weeks. | 07/28/11 11:07:27 By - Aman Batheja and Elizabeth Campbell

Energy conservation rules rolled back by Florida regulators

State regulators set the clock back on energy conservation in Florida on Tuesday by reversing a rule that would have required Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy Florida to encourage customers to use less electricity. Their argument: saving money for some was going to require higher bills for everyone. | 07/27/11 07:02:18 By - Mary Ellen Klas

Wind projects' costs irk utilities in 9-state pool

Not everybody is happy about Kansas' move into a wind-powered future. Several utilities in the region that are being asked to help foot a bill for hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade high voltage lines in western Kansas remain upset about the process. | 07/26/11 13:11:07 By - Dan Voorhis

Heat brings frog spawning to California swimming pools, dog dishes

They're small, some slimy and some with warts. And they're hopping everywhere. A flood of frogs has filled California's Lake McClure's Horseshoe Bend swimming area, taking advantage of the warm water to lay their eggs. In the heat toads end up in strange places, such as dog water dishes and kids' swimming pools, trying to find a place to cool off. | 07/26/11 12:19:55 By - Carol Reiter

Navy can use Gulf of Alaska for ship target practice

The Navy has obtained authority to blast and sink as many as two real ships a year in the Gulf of Alaska over the next five years to give pilots and gunners authentic targets for their sights. But ocean campaigners say that even decommissioned, stripped-out ships, like the ones the Navy will use as targets, contain residual hazardous materials that can poison the Gulf's rich habitat for years. | 07/26/11 06:36:41 By - Sean Cockerham

Study: Solar industry job growth slowed by red tape

Reducing government red tape for the California solar industry would create nearly 4,000 additional jobs statewide over the next decade, according to a new study. | 07/25/11 06:52:43 By - Rick Daysog

Potatoes promote weight gain? Spud slander! Idaho says

The humble Idaho potato is marketed as an inexpensive, fat- and cholesterol-free source of potassium and fiber, in addition to being deeply rooted in the country's agricultural economy. | 07/24/11 05:00:56 By - Erika Bolstad

House kills bill to keep compact fluorescent bulbs off Capitol Hill

The House of Representatives on Friday defeated an amendment that would have prohibited the federal government from installing or buying compact fluorescent light bulbs for congressional offices. | 07/22/11 15:38:00 By - Daniel Lippman

EPA finalizes surface-mining guidelines

Federal regulators have finalized surface-mining guidelines that have caused controversy in Appalachian coal country. The guidelines include a new standard for judging the effect of mining on water quality. | 07/22/11 07:02:26 By - Bill Estep

Gulf Coast senators want BP fines to restore coastline

In an unusual show of bipartisanship, nine Gulf Coast senators joined forces Thursday to introduce a bill that would require at least 80 percent of penalties from last year's BP oil spill paid under the Clean Water Act to be directed to restoration projects in the five Gulf states: Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Texas. | 07/21/11 18:08:00 By - Maria Recio

Wildlife hit hard in Kansas as rivers flow only a trickle

Don Distler, a biologist, has gotten only one mosquito bite this summer. Other years "I'd be covered with them," he said. "I couldn't sit out at night." But the reason for his mosquito-free summer isn't bug spray. It's drought. | 07/21/11 17:39:22 By - Sarah Rajewski

Business groups say new smog rule will hurt Obama in 2012

Within weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to tighten the national standard for ozone, the main ingredient in smog. In last-minute lobbying, business groups are warning that the country can't afford cleaner air in an economic downturn and that President Barack Obama can't afford it politically, either. | 07/21/11 17:06:00 By - Renee Schoof

Green sea turtle nest found near Bradenton, Fla.

A green sea turtle nest filled with eggs -- a rarity in the region and only the second such nest found on Anna Maria Island in the past 28 years -- has been discovered on Coquina Beach and moved to safety. | 07/20/11 09:03:46 By - Richard Dymond

EPA's emissions plan could hurt Texas power supply, ERCOT claims

A decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to curtail emissions from coal-fired power plants starting Jan. 1 could jeopardize adequate supplies of electricity in Texas, Trip Doggett, president of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said Tuesday. | 07/20/11 07:42:19 By - Jim Fuquay

Inspections show violations of rules on turtle excluder devices

Shrimp boats that fish in the Gulf of Mexico without the required turtle-excluder devices are killing more sea turtles than is allowed under the Endangered Species Act, the advocacy group Oceana said in a report Tuesday. | 07/19/11 18:42:00 By - Renee Schoof

Huge catfish caught, released in Kansas' El Dorado Lake

Any angler using equipment short of a boat winch for a reel and pool stick for a rod could get his tail whupped by a beast swimming within El Dorado’s waters. Last Friday Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism biologists caught and released a huge flathead catfish at the lake. | 07/19/11 13:35:00 By - Michael Pearce

Heat wave grips Kansas City and much of the US

A “heat dome” is hovering over much of the central United States and isn’t moving much, making being outside uncomfortable for more than 40 million Americans. | 07/18/11 12:35:00 By - Matt Pearce

BP oil pipeline breaks, spills during pressure test in Alaska's North Slope

State environmental officials are investigating why a pipeline on Alaska's North Slope operated by BP ruptured early Saturday during a pressure test. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. estimated the size of the spill at 2,100 to 4,200 gallons of fluid, mainly methanol and other fluids along with an undetermined amount of crude oil. | 07/18/11 06:38:40 By - Lisa Demer

Last U.S. Federal Helium Reserve is running out

Deep beneath the dry, dusty ground in the Texas Panhandle lies something lighter than air: helium. But the supply of the gas that inflates balloons, cools MRI machines and detects leaks in NASA space shuttle fuel tanks isn't infinite. There's only so much helium in the world, and some fear that a shortage is coming. | 07/17/11 15:08:38 By - Anna M. Tinsley

2 plead guilty to trafficking walrus tusks, polar bear hides

Two Alaska men charged with trading in hundreds of pounds of walrus tusks and two polar bear hides admitted in court Friday to breaking federal marine mammal laws. A third member of the alleged conspiracy is set to enter a guilty plea Tuesday. | 07/16/11 12:54:06 By - Casey Grove

Texas congressman secures more life for 100-watt bulb

The House of Representatives gave extended life to the 100-watt bulb Friday, voting to delay a ban on sales of the incandescent bulb for nine months, from Jan. 1 to the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, 2012. | 07/15/11 18:58:00 By - Maria Recio

Miami Swim Week premieres first compostable bikini

Swim Week on South Beach is mostly about glitz, glamor and impossibly leggy models traipsing about celebrity-lined runways. But at one Friday night show at The Setai, it’s also about trying to save the planet — one itty-bitty bikini at a time. | 07/15/11 13:41:59 By - Curtis Morgan

Federal money helps cities smooth way for migratory birds

Migratory birds got a helping hand from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week as the federal agency gave a total of $650,000 to a number of cities across the country to help those urban areas conserve and protect their bird populations. | 07/14/11 18:06:00 By - Daniel Lippman

San Joaquin restoration meets resistance in Congress

Ambitious San Joaquin River restoration plans confront delays on the ground and renewed resistance on Capitol Hill. | 07/14/11 17:47:00 By - Michael Doyle and Mark Grossi

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