Environment

Environment
5:24 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Southern California's Water Supply Threatened By Next Major Quake

The California Aqueduct carries water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Southern California. It is one of four aqueducts in the region that glide across the San Andreas Fault.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 6:30 pm

Southern California gets the vast majority of its water from four aqueducts that flow from the north, but all of them cross the San Andreas Fault.

That means millions of people are just one major earthquake away from drying out for a year or more.

"It's a really concerning issue for the city of Los Angeles," says Craig Davis, an engineer with the LA Department of Water and Power, which oversees the LA aqueduct.

Read more
Environment
2:39 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Road Salt Contributes To Toxic Chemical Levels In Streams

Salt is unloaded at a maintenance yard in Scio Township, Mich., in September.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 10:05 am

This is the time of year when it's not uncommon to see big trucks barreling down highways and streets spreading road salt.

Steve Corsi, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, says that translates into high levels of chloride concentrations for rivers like the Milwaukee in Wisconsin or 18 other streams near urban areas in Illinois, Ohio, Colorado and several other states.

"At many of the streams, concentrations have now exceeded those that are harmful to aquatic life," he says.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:53 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

2014 To Be Warmest Year On Record, U.N. Weather Agency Says

Marina owner Mitzi Richards carries her granddaughter in September as they walk on their boat dock at the dried up lake bed of Huntington Lake in California, which was at only 30 percent capacity as a severe drought continued. The state was in the grip of its third year of severe drought, the worst in decades.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 11:10 pm

This year is on track to become the warmest on record, with average global temperatures 1.03 degrees Fahrenheit above the 1961-1990 average, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization. That would make 2014 the 38th consecutive year with above normal temperatures.

Read more
Energy
11:33 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Scrutiny of Subsidies Could Test the Economics of Wind Energy in Oklahoma

A NextEra Renewable Energy Resources wind farm site near Elk City, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The 2015 session is still months away, but the newly elected Oklahoma Legislature has already started talking about how to divvy up roughly $7 billion in state appropriations.

Some prominent lawmakers are promising to re-examine tax credits and economic incentives worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Some of those incentives are used for wind energy, which the industry says are working.

Big Wind

Oklahoma is in the middle of a wind boom. In the last five years, installed wind power capacity has soared more than 200 percent. Last year, Oklahoma was the country’s fourth-largest producer of wind-powered electricity, data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency show. But every energy boom comes with a cost.

Read more
Energy
1:22 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Possible Wind Energy Regulation Coming to Oklahoma

A wind-powered water pump and a wind-driven electricity turbine share a field near the town of Calumet in western Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Tuesday ended its four-month inquiry into wind energy development in Oklahoma. The examination could lead to new rules, though it’s not clear what they might be or which agency would enforce them.

The commission heard from vocal landowners for and against wind farms. Developers lauded the economic potential of Oklahoma’s wind, while conservationists and Indian tribes warned that, left unchecked, turbines would kill threatened bird species and ruin delicate grasslands.

Read more
StateImpact Oklahoma
10:37 am
Thu November 20, 2014

EPA In the Crosshairs as Oklahoma’s Inhofe Gains Sway Over Climate Policy

Oklahoma U.S. Senator James Inhofe at an impromptu news conference during climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009.
Andrew Revkin / Flickr

The Republican wave that put the party back in full control of Congress also put Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe back in charge of the Senate committee that oversees the country’s environmental policies.

The political shift in Washington comes at time when — from President Obama’s Clean Power Plan to enforcement of the Regional Haze Rule that’s riled Oklahoma officials— the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a lot of things in the air.

Election night was a rough one in general for the left, but some of the tears spilled on November 4th were over the specific issue of climate change, and what a fully Republican controlled Congress might do to thwart President Obama’s environmental efforts.

Read more
Environment
10:30 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Experts Meet in Oklahoma to Update U.S. Maps With Manmade Earthquake Hazards

A panel of state geological surveys and oil and gas regulators at the National Seismic Hazard Workshop on Induced Seismicity, held in November at a conference center in Midwest City, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Scientists, regulators and technical experts from the energy industry met in Oklahoma to discuss how earthquakes triggered by oil and gas operations should be accounted for on national seismic hazard maps, which are used by the construction and insurance industries and pubic safety planners.

The three-day workshop started Nov. 17 and was co-hosted by the Oklahoma Geological Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Read more
StateImpact Oklahoma
7:52 am
Thu November 13, 2014

What Oklahoma Can Learn From a Municipal Ban on Fracking in Texas

A Frack Free Denton booth at the University of North Texas. On Nov. 4, voters approved a citywide ban on hydraulic fracturing.
Crystal J. Hollis / Flickr

Driven by water worries, safety questions and quality of life concerns, residents in Oklahoma and states other the country have pushed for citywide bans on hydraulic fracturing.

Many of those efforts have proved successful, but, in the end, fracking bans might be more about lawyers than voters.

Using local referendums, residents in states like California, Colorado, New York and Ohio have successfully banned fracking. The anti-fracking fervor has even spread to Texas, the country’s No. 1 crude oil producer. On Election Day, voters in Denton approved a citywide ban on fracking.

Read more
Environment
9:36 am
Wed November 12, 2014

China, U.S. Pledge To Limit Greenhouse Gases

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Environment
7:15 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Stillwater Plans for Earthquakes

Credit facebook.com/StwSema

Stillwater’s Emergency Management Office is working with a new list of priorities focused on earthquakes.  

Working in unchartered territory, the office developed recommendations based on California protocol, a state with longstanding and time tested earthquake safety practices.

Read more

Pages