Environment & Energy

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.

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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.

photo of Sen. Sherrod Brown
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown is criticizing the Trump administration for EPA rule waivers that he says are hurting Ohio farmers. The rules had required large oil companies to produce a certain amount of biofuel like ethanol.

By waiving the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard, Brown says it takes a market away from Ohio farmers who sell corn to be turned into ethanol.

A computer rendering of a land bridge
GREEN RIBBON COALITION

Labor Day Weekend traditionally marks the end of summer and many Northeast Ohio families may look to enjoy the weekend at Lake Erie. A Cleveland group is trying to advance the conversation around better connecting downtown Cleveland to the lakefront.

The Green Ribbon Coalition wants to bring the community into the development plans through panels and citizen advocacy.

Lakewood Makes Plans For Tree-Filled Future

Sep 1, 2019

Next month, Lakewood City Council will consider legislation to create an advisory group dedicated to protecting the city’s tree canopy. The idea actually originated seven years ago, when the western edge of Hurricane Sandy touched the Northeast Ohio lakeshore and downed a number of trees.

Updated at 11:30 p.m. ET

Hurricane Dorian strengthened into a catastrophic Category 5 storm on Sunday, reaching the Bahamas as "the strongest hurricane in modern records" to ever hit the archipelago, according to the National Hurricane Center, based on its sustained winds of 185 mph.

Officials from Cuyahoga County’s Board of Health will be back out to beaches in Bay Village this week to check for hazards from an algae bloom.

The algae at Columbia Park Beach and Bay Park Beach was found last week.

Tests for the harmful bacteria caused by algae came back under the hazardous threshold, said Tom Fink from the board of health.

An advisory was posted in the park at the end of Columbia Road and the public access was closed off by Bay Village officials.

photo of someone signing a petition
STEVE ESTVANIK / SHUTTERSTOCK

The battle lines have been drawn for the fight over Ohio's new energy law.

A ballot group is looking to collect signatures statewide to ask voters to overturn the law that bails out nuclear power plants. But a new group has formed to argue in favor of the ratepayer subsidies.

photo of trucks on highway
SHUTTERSTOCK

A new report finds that compared to the rest of the country, Ohio’s highways are getting better.

The study comes from the Reason Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank focused on market oriented solutions. It measured traffic fatalities, congestion and construction costs. 

Baruch Feigenbaum is the lead author on the report. He says Ohio’s overall ranking has improved.

DIARI LA VEU / FLICKR CC

Lake Erie has one of the highest concentrations of microplastic pollution in the world.

Sherri Mason, a researcher at Penn State Behrend in Erie, was the first to report that finding.

Her discovery led to congressional action banning microbeads in consumer products.

On this week’s Exploradio,  we spend some time with Mason finding out how microplastic pollution remains a health hazard.

Map of the proposed Lake Erie Water Trail water access points via Cleveland Metro Parks.
Cleveland Metroparks

Cleveland Metroparks has begun planning a Lake Erie Water Trail, spanning the Cuyahoga County shoreline. Kelly Coffman, the Metroparks Senior Strategic Park Planner, says the popularity of paddle boarding and kayaking is one reason for the proposed trail. She says interest in the Cuyahoga River Water Trail is another incentive.

An Ohio electricity company says it is canceling plans to build a gas-fired power plant because of the state's recent nuclear bailout.

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