Environment

Customers of the state’s largest electric utility will pick up the tab for environmental compliance projects and plant upgrades over the next few years, The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports.

Environmental groups have challenged a decades-old exemption for oil and gas drillers from federal law and the energy industry and state regulators are worried a court ruling against the EPA and “the possibility of new regulations,” The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports.

Oklahoma Forestry Services says it's closing four offices and reducing services as part of a restructuring program forced by budget reductions.

Forestry Services Director George Geissler says the agency plans to reallocate resources to maximize its remaining services. While some services will no longer be available to landowners in western Oklahoma, all 77 Oklahoma counties will continue to receive wildfire suppression support.

The Mendenhall Glacier is visible from the visitor center parking lot. But it's still pretty far and if you traveled all the way to Juneau, Alaska, you probably want to get up close to the blue tinted ice.

Touching the face of the glacier can be tricky. You're separated by cold, silty water, and a hike over the ridge could take hours.

Visitor center staff know that. And inside, they use it to prove a point.

There was a time when Sandra Gologergen's freezer never ran out. Packed with traditional Inuit foods like whale, walrus, seal and fish, her freezer has been an essential lifeline, ensuring her husband, three kids and grandson make it through the long harsh winters of Savoonga, Alaska.

"Then that changed," she says.

The water supply for communities in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan is threatened by an oil spill that dumped an estimated 66,000 gallons of heavy oil, along with natural gas used to dilute it, into a major river.

The pipeline that broke is owned by Husky Energy Inc. The site of last Thursday's leak is within 1,000 feet of the North Saskatchewan River.

Larry Lamsa / Flickr

The U.S. government has announced it is removing the lesser prairie chicken from a federal protection list under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday the move follows recent court rulings in Texas that stripped the lesser prairie chicken of federal protection. However, federal officials say the removal didn't mean authorities had concluded the lesser prairie chicken didn't warrant federal protection for biological reasons.

Public Service Co. filed an application July 14 “to withdraw its proposed tariff for distributed generation sources such as rooftop solar or small wind turbines,” The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports.

In northern New York state, logger Greg Hemmerich and his crew are clearing out an old pasture at the edge of a forest.

"There's a lot of balsam, lot of spruce, thorn apple trees," Hemmerich says. "Ninety percent of this lot is low-grade wood."

In other words, it's no good for furniture or paper or sawmills. But he'll make $80,000 to run the wood through a chipper and truck the chips to a nearby biomass plant.

"Everybody said that green power was supposed to be the wave of the future," Hemmerich says. "So I went full in."

The way clouds cover the Earth may be changing because of global warming, according to a study published Monday that used satellite data to track cloud patterns across about two decades, starting in the 1980s.

Clouds in the mid-latitudes shifted toward the poles during that period, as the subtropical dry zones expanded and the highest cloud-tops got higher.

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