Environment

In a major property rights decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a decisive victory to state and local governments and environmental groups.

By a 5-to-3 vote, the justices made it much harder for property owners to get compensation from the government when zoning regulations restrict the use of just part of landowners' property.

The type of siding or "cladding" used on the Grenfell Tower in London — and suspected of feeding the massive fire that killed dozens of residents — is not allowed on the exterior of tall buildings across most of the U.S.

But a few states and the District of Columbia have relaxed their building codes in recent years and have started to permit the material's use.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

On a typical block in Hong Kong, thousands of people live on top of each other. Pol Fàbrega thinks about all these people as he looks up at the towering high rises above the streets. And then he thinks about all that space above all these people.

"The square footage here is incredibly expensive," says Fàbrega, staring upwards. "But yet, if you look at Hong Kong from above, it's full of empty rooftops."

It is, he says, a big opportunity for growth.

In late May on the floor of a drilling rig on Alaska's northernmost edge, oil workers were dwarfed by giant pieces of machinery. They were slowly pushing pipe thousands of feet below the tundra to tap one of the biggest oil fields in North America: Prudhoe Bay.

Arkansas's pesticide regulators have stepped into the middle of an epic battle between weeds and chemicals, which has now morphed into a battle between farmers. Hundreds of farmers say their crops have been damaged by a weedkiller that was sprayed on neighboring fields. Today, the Arkansas Plant Board voted to impose an unprecedented ban on that chemical.

A live Asian carp — an invasive fish so threatening to local U.S. ecosystems that officials have struggled to keep it out of the Great Lakes — has been caught 9 miles from Lake Michigan, beyond a system of underwater electric barriers.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Truth And Lies.

About Michael Specter's TED Talk

Michael Specter explores why some deny scientific evidence — such as the safety of vaccines and GMOs, or climate change. He says denying can provide a sense of control in an unsure world.

About Michael Specter

Thirteen chefs divide into teams and begin to prepare appetizers, salads, mains and sides, and desserts. At their disposal are 300 pounds of "ugly" produce just rescued from local farms: purple cauliflower, cherries, shiitake mushrooms, pears, fingerling potatoes, shallots, kale and carrots.

Most of it looks super-fresh, though in some cases the produce is dinged or oddly colored enough to be unappealing to distributors.

For the first time in more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is set to lose its federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Citing a rebound in the bear's population, the U.S. Department of Interior announced its intention Thursday to end these protections and return oversight of the animal's status to the state level.

The agency says the rule to remove the grizzly from the endangered species list will be published "in coming days" and "will take effect 30 days after publication."

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

If you're standing in the blazing sun struggling to read this on your cellphone, there may be some relief in sight.

And you'll have a moth to thank.

The reason you have to find shade to read your phone is the way the light reflects off the screen. The reflection reduces contrast, washing out images.

One of the biggest threats to global agriculture these days is a tiny, bright red weevil.

These little crimson devils eviscerate coconut, date and oil palms, and are native to South Asia. But thanks to globalization, and the fact that these tenacious buggers can fly up to 30 miles a day — over the last three decades they've spread to more than 60 countries from the Caribbean to Southern Europe.

Some coastal areas in Texas and Louisiana are under a tropical storm warning and forecasters are warning of potential heavy flooding as Tropical Storm Cindy moved inland from the Gulf of Mexico Thursday morning.

Severe weather and flooding have already been reported over the past two days along the Gulf Coast. The storm made landfall early Thursday morning near the Texas/Louisiana border, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's ask why some of the nation's biggest energy companies say they're willing to support the fight against climate change. They say they are willing to be taxed for the pollution they create.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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