ENVIRONMENT

Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately affected by the consequences of climate change -- think New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. These areas suffer from poor air quality, increasing temperatures, and extreme weather.

U.S. Rep. Nikki Tsongas addresses Massachusetts Democrats who gathered for the 2016 state party convention in Lowell.
Shannon Young / The Republican

At the end of last week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker's administration rolled out out new rules on greenhouse gas emissions from the natural gas, transportation and electricity generation industries. The regulations call for a greenhouse gas reduction of 24 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2020. 

How Mass. Is Faring In Its Emissions Reduction Goals

Aug 11, 2017

It’s official: Last year was the hottest on record for the planet, and the long-term forecast for New England, according to a new draft federal report, calls for a lot warmer temperatures, much higher seas and more precipitation.

The first truly global disaster resulting from climate change may come from rising sea levels.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Committee on Climate Change has projected sea level rise of 1 to 3 feet by the end of the century, and more recent estimates by NASA and other scientists have projected a rise of up to 8 feet.

In Massachusetts, the rising sea will mean more frequent flooding, more severe storms, and dramatic change.

Sue Baxter owns land abutting where a New York-to-Connecticute pipeline is being constructed. She sits atop a lifeguard chair made for her by friends, as she keeps an eye on the project.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Construction continues on a New York-to-Connecticut natural gas pipeline, running through Otis State Forest in Sandisfield, Massachusetts. Despite work being well underway, there are some who believe the project -- which has been the source of a legal and regulatory battle -- can still be halted. And a few still protest daily, on private land only yards from the construction site.

State Senate President Stanley Rosenberg speaks with constituents during a meet-and-greet at Northampton Coffee on Thursday, September 10, 2015.
Laura Newberry / The Republican

In Massachusetts, there's continued uncertainty around money. A small legislative committee continues to whittle down the not-yet-passed budget that takes effect in three weeks.

Meanwhile, legislators are preparing for a constitutional convention on Wednesday. Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg said he sees one matter before lawmakers -- the so-called millionaires tax -- as a solution to the revenue issues.

A warning sign posted by opponents to a proposed toxic waste disposal site in the woods, near the Housatonic River  in Great Barrington, Mass.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The Environmental Protection Agency's Appeals Board hears arguments Thursday on the second phase of cleaning up the Housatonic River in Berkshire County.

Hairy woodpecker
purza7 / Creative Commons

For birds, this time of year, it's all about the music.

But some birds have a different take on song. Rather than singers, they're percussionists.

Every spring, like clockwork, I wake up to an insistent, rhythmic sound. It's a woodpecker tapping a tree with its beak. It sounds to me like a big bird. But every time I gaze up, I can't find it.

Ornithologist Don Kroodsma, a retired UMass biology professor, says it's probably a Downy woodpecker, the smallest around here.  

Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont wastewater plants along the Connecticut River are waiting to hear from the Environmental Protection Agency. Even without specifics, managers at the larger plants know they will be required to adjust the amount of nitrogen in their treated wastewater, considerably lowering the levels, potentially at a high cost.

By the end of the year, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce new limits on the amount of nitrogen that wastewater treatment plants in Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire can release into the Connecticut River.

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