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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Living With The Rise and Fall of King Coal

 

Coal was a vital industry in Appalachia for a century, but economics and its environmental effects have undermined its power, leaving mines abandoned and many--once employed by the industry--floundering. Now faced with the hard reality that the country is moving on from coal, the region is in a period of hard transition, and while some choose to hold tight to and morn for the past, others are forging ahead into an uncertain future.

 

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Elk Island: A World Less Apart

 

The bison, beaver, and coyote of Elk Island National Park in Alberta, Canada live according to the stark realities of nature, but on the other side of a wooded curtain, an unseen industrial threat looms.

 

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The Puffin Project

 

When National Audubon Society Vice President Steve Kress first began his quest to restore the historic puffin population on a small island off the coast of Maine, he had no idea it would become his life’s work. Now, over 40 years later, the puffins are back at Egg Rock Island and his successful techniques are models for bird conservationists worldwide.

 

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What A Howling Wolf Howl Says

 

When a wolf howls in Yellowstone’s snowy landscape, a howling chorus responds. But in the spring, the wolves grow quieter as they den and raise pups. Now researchers understand how wolf calls change with the seasons, and are one step closer to answering the tougher question of what the howls actually mean.

 

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Checking Up on Native Plants

 

Spring is the season for the first wild flowers to appear, and despite this year’s severe winter, native wild flowers are starting to bloom at the New England Wild Flower Society’s Garden in the Woods. But climate change, aggressive invasive species and insects are stressing some iconic plants, so a group of experts produced a report on the state of New England’s plants. We took a walk in the woods with the Wild Flower Society’s senior research ecologist Elizabeth Farnsworth to find out what’s going on.

 

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Leading at the Top of the World

 

The US recently took the reins of the Arctic Council, a group of 8 arctic nations and observers, which helps craft environmental and social policy for the region. There are many areas of cooperation among the arctic nations, but as the Arctic warms, it opens the ocean for navigation and oil and gas exploration: new issues that could create tension and rivalry.

 

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Deepwater Disaster Three Years On

 

Just three years ago, the Deep Water Horizon oil spill poured 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Now, a team of chemists, engineers, and biologists is attempting to assess the damage to the Gulf ecosystem.

 

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Antarctic Volcano

 

Many scientists are concerned about the impact global warming is having on Antarctica, and now scientists from Washington University in St. Louis have discovered a new kind of threat lurking beneath the vulnerable West Antarctic ice sheet—an active volcano. (Photo: Doug Wiens)

 

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Cape Wind in Doubt

 

Wind turbines in the Irish Sea. The United States has yet to establish offshore wind, but countries in Europe have taken the plunge (photo: Andy Dingley)

 

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FBI Breaks Its Own Rules to Spy on Keystone Protestors

If you oppose more oil pipelines and expanded fossil fuel development, you might be on the FBI watch-list. Revelations from Texas show FBI investigators deemed environmental action as extremism. Around the country, environmental activists have protested the Keystone XL pipeline, and industry-reported ecoterrorism concerns have prompted the FBI to dig deeper into the lives of activists. Redacted internal documents now reveal that FBI’s Houston branch violated its own protocols and opened sensitive probes into Keystone protestors without proper authority.

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Living With The Rise and Fall of King Coal

Coal was a vital industry in Appalachia for a century, but economics and its environmental effects have undermined its power, leaving mines abandoned and many--once employed by the industry--floundering. Now faced with the hard reality that the country is moving on from coal, the region is in a period of hard transition, and while some choose to hold tight to and morn for the past, others are forging ahead into an uncertain future.

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The Great Transition to Renewables

Curing our addiction to fossil fuels may seem like a huge challenge, but environmental thinker Lester Brown says a renewable energy future is inevitable and welcome.

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This Week’s Show
May 22, 2015
listen / download


FBI Breaks Its Own Rules to Spy on Keystone Protestors

listen / download
If you oppose more oil pipelines and expanded fossil fuel development, you might be on the FBI watch-list. Revelations from Texas show FBI investigators deemed environmental action as extremism. Around the country, environmental activists have protested the Keystone XL pipeline, and industry-reported ecoterrorism concerns have prompted the FBI to dig deeper into the lives of activists. Redacted internal documents now reveal that FBI’s Houston branch violated its own protocols and opened sensitive probes into Keystone protestors without proper authority.

Beyond the Headlines

listen / download
In this week’s trip beyond the headlines, we discuss how a new Wyoming law that restricts data collection on private lands can conceal environmental violations. Also, concerns about drone aircraft that spray fields with pesticides,and a look back twenty-five years to the mysterious bombing of two Earth First! activists who were trying to protect California’s redwoods.

Living With The Rise and Fall of King Coal

listen / download
Coal was a vital industry in Appalachia for a century, but economics and its environmental effects have undermined its power, leaving mines abandoned and many--once employed by the industry--floundering. Now faced with the hard reality that the country is moving on from coal, the region is in a period of hard transition, and while some choose to hold tight to and morn for the past, others are forging ahead into an uncertain future.

Elk Island: A World Less Apart

listen / download
The bison, beaver, and coyote of Elk Island National Park in Alberta, Canada live according to the stark realities of nature, but on the other side of a wooded curtain, an unseen industrial threat looms.

The Great Transition to Renewables

listen / download
Curing our addiction to fossil fuels may seem like a huge challenge, but environmental thinker Lester Brown says a renewable energy future is inevitable and welcome.


Special Features

A River Town in Transition

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Wrangell, Alaska is a small, isolated town at the mouth of the mighty Stikine River and a former a timber capital. But since the saw mills shut down in the ‘90s, the small town has reinvented itself as a tourist destination and a commercial fishing hub. Since both of these industries are dependent on the Stikine, some locals worry that a mining development upriver could put the whole town’s livelihood at risk.
Blog Series: Alaskan River Riches

Alaskan River Riches At Risk From Mining In Canada

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With many untouched wild rivers and sensible fishing regulations, Alaska has some of the healthiest salmon fisheries in the world. But as Emmett FitzGerald reports, new gold and copper mines upstream in Canada have the fishing community in Southeast Alaska very concerned about what toxins could be released into the rivers.
Blog Series: Alaskan River Riches


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You know, Alaska is the jewel of the world when it comes to fisheries management. This state is second to none, and that's because you don't see dams on our rivers. You don't see a lot of development that will have a negative impact.

-- Mike Erikson, CEO of Alaska Glacier Seafoods

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