A section of the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where PCB-contaminated sediment was excavated and removed, in a file photo. Cleanup of the first two miles of the river south of the former GE plant was completed by 2006. River advocates have filed an appeal against the EPA's plan to clean up the rest of the river.

EPA asks federal appeals court to dismiss challenge to Housatonic River cleanup plan

January 31, 2023

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has asked the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss a challenge to the EPA’s Housatonic River cleanup plan. The appeal was brought by two environmental groups. The appeal includes arguments that the EPA should send all PCB-contaminated waste to a licensed off-site facility, rather than putting it in a…

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Brian Lafoe, standing outside the cab of his forwarder, says the warm start to winter in Vermont has already taken a toll on his logging business this year.

A warm start to winter adds to challenges for Vermont’s logging industry

January 30, 2023

Recent snowfall has made it feel more like winter in Vermont. But warm temperatures through December into early January have already taken their toll on one industry: Logging. Loggers rely on frozen ground to access certain forested areas, but that’s been difficult so far this year. And the warming climate is just one of the…

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A giant sand scorpion fluoresces under ultraviolet light.

Scorpion stingers, once thought sterile, are covered in bacteria. That could yield new antibiotics.

January 27, 2023

Barbara Murdoch said scorpions have had about 400 million years of survival to get things right. “For comparison, humans have been on the planet for about 0.2 million years,” Murdoch, an associate professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, said. “There’s got to be just something about [scorpions] that is special. That they can survive through…

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A passive house in the town of Hope into which Patrick McCunney and Madeleine Mackell recently moved.

This Maine home can stay 70 degrees without a furnace, even when it’s freezing outside

January 25, 2023

What if you could design a house that on a cold day in January would stay at 70 degrees inside — without running the furnace? Or even having a furnace? It’s already being done. In fact, what’s known as the passive house concept came to the United States in 2006, and is being used to…

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A 9-year-old female right whale (left) and a smaller right whale spotted earlier this month off the coast of Jekyll Island.

Federal officials shoot down emergency request aimed at protecting right whales from ship strikes

January 23, 2023

Federal officials have denied a request from conservationists to expedite the implementation of proposed ship speed reductions that might help protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale population. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is considering new rules aimed at stopping large vessels from colliding with right whales. A coalition of conservation groups asked that…

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Peconic Bay scallop die-offs are ‘a cautionary tale’ for New England

January 20, 2023

Once one of the largest fisheries on the East Coast, Peconic Bay scallops have faced near complete die-offs on Long Island since 2019. A study by Stony Brook University shows this could be a cautionary tale for New England. Christopher Gobler, a co-author and endowed chair of coastal ecology and conservation in the School of…

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Harold Davis stands on his snow plow truck, which he bought this fall.

‘You can’t plow a puddle’: How warmer winters are changing snowplowing

January 18, 2023

This winter, Harold Davis decided to get into the snow plow business for himself, after about a decade of working for other removal companies. He bought a shiny, canary yellow snowplow a few months ago. It’s still pretty spotless. “It’s depressing. This time of the season, there should be snow banks,” he said, looking out…

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Warm weather and rain bring tough snow season for NH skiers, snowshoers and others

January 9, 2023

Warm temperatures and rainy days have created difficult conditions this winter for Granite Staters who like to get out in the snow. With a snowstorm in mid-December, many local ski areas were able to establish a base coating on their slopes. At Pats Peak in Henniker, N.H., most trails have opened. But the recent conditions…

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Outdoor groups, park officials host First Day Hikes across New England

January 3, 2023

Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts around New England took part in First Day Hikes — a national New Year’s Day tradition that began in Massachusetts 30 years ago. A few dozen people made their way to the Chester-Blandford State Forest, where the Western Mass Hilltown Hikers joined representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation for a…

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Study: Improved forestry could boost carbon storage in New England by nearly half a billion tons

December 21, 2022

A new study published in an international forestry journal finds that better forest management could significantly grow New England’s carbon storage, improve wildlife habitat and provide a reliable timber supply. Published in the journal Forests, the study finds that improved forest practices including increased stocking of trees could bolster carbon storage by an estimated 488…

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