Environment

Friday News Roundup - Domestic

Aug 11, 2017

President Donald Trump says he will declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, following the recommendation of a White House commission. This also follows a report that the tens of thousands of recorded opiate deaths might be too low a measurement.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The year 2016 was the warmest on record for the planet as a whole, surpassing temperature records that date back 137 years, according to an annual report compiled by scientists around the globe.

For global temperatures, last year surpassed the previous record-holder: 2015.

Since President Trump took office in January, enforcement of environmental laws has dropped dramatically, compared with past administrations. A study released by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that $12 million in civil penalties have been collected from violators in 26 cases between January and the end of July.

Susan Bence

As Gov. Walker pushes for swift approval of the $3 billion Foxconn incentives package, Wednesday Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said his chamber is taking its time to go through it. Meanwhile, DNR secretary Kathy Stepp was in Milwaukee to promote the bill.

At the monthly meeting of the state's Natural Resources Board, Stepp wanted the board to know her agency is ready to work with Taiwanese company and that she’s excited about it.

Copyright 2017 KCAW. To see more, visit KCAW.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Franklin, the fifth tropical storm to form in the Atlantic so far this year, has intensified into the first hurricane of the season as it prepares to make landfall on Mexico's Gulf Coast.

The storm, with winds of about 85 mph, was moving west at about 13 mph. It is expected to make landfall Wednesday night north of Veracruz.

Most of us think of jellyfish, when we think of jellyfish, as something to be avoided at the beach (or as the protagonists in that one episode of Friends).

Even marine biologists have historically cast aside these bothersome interlopers when conducting surveys of more "important" ocean species.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Not all algae is toxic to humans and animals, but the type of blue-green algae growing in Milwaukee's Veterans Park lagoon is. Earlier this month, the city’s health department issued an advisory against coming into contact with the lagoon’s water.

A task force is recommending changes that could loosen protections for the greater sage grouse, a Western bird species renowned for its elaborate mating dance.

The report comes out of a review by the Trump administration of a massive Obama-era conservation plan for the bird which is imperiled by loss of habitat.

The administration says the revisions are aimed at giving states more flexibility. But critics argue that the changes favor mining and petroleum companies and could hurt the bird's long-term prospects.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed spending $275 million to upgrade defenses against an invading force. The enemy? A fish. Specifically, Asian carp that are threatening to break through to the Great Lakes.

German scientist Matthias Schmidt wants to extract rare earth metals from abandoned mines using bacteria. He has an unlikely partner — Nedal Said, a Syrian refugee scientist who escaped Aleppo.

Brittnie Peck

Towering Pines Camp For Boys came to life in 1945. As environmental awareness was on the rise in the 1970s, the northern Wisconsin camp pioneered an environmental immersion program that garnered national attention.

They call it acclimatization.

The campers merge with the natural world – in some unconventional ways. For instance, camp leaders teach the kids what it feels like to navigate the world like a raccoon.

Copyright 2017 Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations. To see more, visit Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

All his life, 56-year-old Jeanpier Marolahy has been growing rice in eastern Madagascar, on the steep hills that slope down from the central highlands toward the Indian Ocean.

The thin, weather-beaten Marolahy knows that rice production is all about water and timing. The grain needs a lot of water at first, but if torrential rains fall at harvest time, they can destroy the crop.

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