Environment & Energy

a bring your own bags image
CUYAHOGA COUNTY

An informal survey shows a majority of Cuyahoga County residents support a plastic bag ban that takes effect in a little over a month. The survey was sent out to 500 residents by the county’s department of sustainability and councilwoman Sunny Simon, who sponsored the legislation to ban plastic bags.

It shows more than 70% of residents are in favor of the ban. Simon says they’ve had local retailers sit in on their recent discussions surrounding the ban.

A satellite photo of Lake Erie shows a toxic algea bloom
JOSHUA STEVENS / NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY

Ohio farmers say they’re on board with the state’s plans to slow down agricultural runoff into Lake Erie. And they’re joining environmental activists and conservationists in embracing how Gov. Mik DeWine says he’ll spend $172 million in the newly created H2Ohio fund.

U.S. Steel has announced it aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2030. The plan relies in large part on upgrades at two large facilities near Pittsburgh.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden will cut back its urban agriculture Green Corps program for the 2020 season, with the hopes of it returning in 2021 in a re-imagined form.

Local high school students can usually spend the summer learning job skills at Green Corps farms in Cleveland’s Buckeye, Slavic Village, Midtown and Fairfax neighborhoods, but only one will likely remain open next summer.

Cleveland Botanical Garden President and CEO Jill Koski says Midtown Learning Farm will likely keep its youth program open.

photo of app
SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

The City of Akron is launching an app to make recycling easier for its residents. The “Akron Recycles” app can be downloaded on all mobile devices. The app shows pickup times and classifies recyclable items. Akron’s recycling manager, Dan Dempsey, said the new tool is another way to make Akron sustainable.

“It is just another tool that our residents have. Certainly, the better educated our residents are on recycling, the better recyclers they will be. We are trying to give our residents every tool available to make Akron a sustainable city.”

a photo of the new Boston Mill Visitor Center
ANDREW MEYER / WKSU

Cuyahoga Valley National Park has opened what it’s calling its first “Front Door."

The Boston Mill Visitor Center is on Riverview Road in Peninsula. Park Superintendent Craig Kenkel hopes the new center will bring some new faces as well.

"We see this as being a place for those first time visitors who know nothing about Cuyahoga Valley and Northeast Ohio, but it’s also a place where returning visitors and local visitors can come and learn more about our interpretive scenes and the stories that comprise the National Park as well as its connection to Cleveland and Akron."

Perry Nuclear Power Generation Station
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

This week brought a close to one chapter for Ohio's nuclear power plant bailout law, House Bill 6. But another could be starting. The group fighting against the bailout mounted a last minute push for signatures and their campaign could be heading to a new arena.

a photo of the petition
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The hotly-contested energy law that bails out nuclear power plants takes effect Tuesday. A group trying to pause the law and put it before voters did not turn in their signatures by the Monday deadline. But the anti-nuclear bailout group is taking a different route.

Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts says they didn't have enough signatures to qualify for a referendum by the deadline.  

The group's Gene Pierce says their referendum drive has been met with heavy opposition, including ads, mailers, and canvassers who allegedly blocked and harassed signature collectors.

Electric assisted bicycles, or e-bikes, are becoming more and more popular across the United States. Throughout the country's national parks, that could be a good and a bad thing.

It can be tough to distinguish an e-bike from a regular road or mountain bike by sight, but once you start pedaling, you sure feel the difference.

Cuyahoga County leaders say they want to make it much easier for residents to enjoy the Lake Erie waterfront. 

Officials shared the outlines of a plan Thursday that would connect lakefront parks across the county and improve lake access from major north-south roads.

Updated: Oct. 17, 2019; 10:14 a.m.

The Forest City is looking to double down on its moniker with a 10-year, $10 million tree budget.

The City of Cleveland on Tuesday pledged to spend $1 million each year for the next 10 years on an effort to increase its tree coverage.

New trees would be planted on neighborhood tree lawns, in city-owned cemeteries and parks and on other publicly owned land, said Matt Gray, the city’s chief of sustainability.

The Scarlet Tanager
AUDUBON GREAT LAKES

A new report says there’s a bird emergency in the air. Climate change could eradicate two thirds of the bird species now prevalent in Ohio by the end of this century. 

Marnie Urso, the Policy Director for Audubon Great Lakes, says its new report shows many birds are threatened by warmer weather, changing rainfall patterns and more intense storms. She says that includes the red-headed woodpecker, wood thrush and a striking songbird.

A photo of a Monarch Butterfly
MIKE RODRIGUEZ / CREATIVE COMMONS

Local agencies are encouraging people to help grow the food source for a beloved butterfly. The Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District and the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative have teamed up to collect Milkweed Seed pods, the food source of Monarch butterflies.

SWCD Program Manager Amy Roskilly says that the Common Milkweed is not as common as it used to be.

  

It's been more than a year since golfers teed off at the former Brandywine Country Club. But the next visitors might be wearing hiking boots instead of golf shoes.

The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park signed an agreement to buy the site Thursday. 

Conservancy CEO Deb Yandala says the park has been interested in the land for quite awhile, in part because the parcel sits in the middle of the park.

The hot, dry weather that dominated the region in late September and early October shouldn't have much of an effect on this year's Christmas tree crop. It could mean fewer trees in the future, though.

Something odd is happening to streams and rivers on the high plains of Kansas and Colorado. Some have disappeared.

"We would go and visit these streams, and in many cases it's like a dirt bike channel. It's no longer functioning as a stream," says Joshuah Perkin, a biologist at Texas A&M University who studies the fish that live in these streams.

Updated: Monday, 1:12 p.m.

On Friday, a green-ish scum began forming in places along the banks of the Ohio River. At the time, the executive director of the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) wasn't concerned, but that changed this weekend. 

Ballot efforts typically ramp up in the weeks before an election. The fight over Ohio’s new nuclear bailout law, though, is in full swing more than a year before a possible vote.

So why the early start? One side says it’s to keep two nuclear power plants from closing, while experts say spending now may be the best investment.

Hundreds of students skipped class to rally at the Ohio Statehouse for action against climate change as part of the worldwide Climate Strike protest. 

a photo of battalion chief Silverio Caggiano
JULIE GRANT / THE ALLEGHENY FRONT

new analysis by the nonprofit, Partnership for Policy Integrity finds that “trade secret” chemicals were injected into gas and oil wells nearly 11,000 times in Ohio for over five years. 

Greta Thunberg led a protest at the White House on Friday. But she wasn't looking to go inside — "I don't want to meet with people who don't accept the science," she says.

The young Swedish activist joined a large crowd of protesters who had gathered outside, calling for immediate action to help the environment and reverse an alarming warming trend in average global temperatures.

She says her message for President Trump is the same thing she tells other politicians: Listen to science, and take responsibility.

While critics of Ohio’s recent nuclear bailout are moving toward a referendum to repeal the law, the new policy has won some support from an unusual source.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Working to support wind and solar has become almost standard in states nationwide. Some are even phasing out coal but not Ohio. It recently passed a law doubling down on subsidies for power plants. Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow reports.

photo of Perry nuclear power plant
JERRY SHARP / SHUTTERSTOCK

A group is gathering signatures to put a rejection of Ohio's nuclear bailout law on next year's ballot. National environmental groups are weighing in on the debate, saying the energy policy overhaul takes Ohio in the opposite direction of most other states. 

Relief and recovery efforts in the Bahamas are hampered by the sheer devastation of Hurricane Dorian. Entire communities are gone and roadways disappeared, making it difficult for responders to even know where to look or go.

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