ENVIRONMENT

Scott Pruitt was supposed to spend today on Capitol Hill discussing the Environmental Protection Agency's budget. That may seem an easy task compared to the grilling he's likely to get instead over myriad allegations of improper spending and ethics violations.

It's the first time Pruitt will appear before lawmakers since weeks of accusations prompted a string of investigations — by the EPA Inspector General's office, at the GAO, and in Congress. By this week, even staunch allies like Senator James Inhofe, a Pruitt mentor from his home state of Oklahoma, were expressing concern.

You might see smoke rising or trails blocked off in parts of the White Mountain National Forest over the next six weeks.

The U.S. Forest Service will be setting as many as 20 fires across the park in an effort to keep the forest healthy. Fire management officer Patrick Johnson says the fires' locations depend on what the forest needs every year. 

Flooding in Peabody, Massachusetts, in 2011.
Rusty Clark / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/rusty_clark

Municipal leaders will meet this week in Greenfield, Massachusetts, with state environmental officials. The state is holding meetings to help cities and towns prepare for the impact of severe weather.

Air quality in our region continues to rank among the worst in the country. The 2018 State of the Air Report from the American Lung Association gave failing grades in air quality to most of the counties in the region.

Each night, all over the ocean, swarms of animals wriggle and kick their way from deep below the waves to feed at the surface. Each creature is tiny — less than a centimeter long, and sometimes much smaller — and there are trillions of them.

New research suggests this nightly migration might be helping mix the ocean on a grand scale, sending columns of water down as the animals swim up. It's a radical idea, and one that is just starting to take hold among scientists who study the oceans and who have long assumed that wind and waves, not animals, are the drivers of ocean-mixing.

Commercial fishing groups are joining in federal court to challenge the creation of the Atlantic Ocean's first-ever marine national monument. But the federal government is now asking for the case to be tossed out.

At stake is the future of roughly 5,000 square miles off the coast of Massachusetts, called the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts.

A new report says the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has put $4 billion into Northeast economies since 2009.

The three-year study by the Analysis Group says those benefits have continued even as the program known as RGGI grew more ambitious.

Susan Johnson in Camden,  Maine on top of Mt. Megunticook.
Thomas Thompson / Courtesy of Susan Johnson

I began hiking regularly with a friend and her chubby dog eight years ago. The friend worked a 9-to-5 job, so neither she nor her dog got much exercise. But on Saturday afternoons we would hike.

Hampshire's R.W. Kern Center, just certified as a "Living Building," shortly before it opened in 2016.
Karen Brown / New England Public Radio

Two years after opening a super-green, $10-million building, Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, has earned one of the toughest environmental ratings in the world.

The irony was hard to miss.

The Aquarium MBTA station was closed due to flooding, and the aquarium itself, nearby on Boston's Central Wharf, was closed out of caution for its visitors.

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