Environment

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

For 51 years, a small federal program has been paying scientists to keep American waterways healthy. It's called Sea Grant — part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — and President Donald Trump"s proposed budget for next year would eliminate it.

When three sacred staples of the South weren't safe from the cloudy, salty water in his town, Clay Duffie knew there was a problem.

"It'd kill your azaleas if you irrigated with it; your grits would come out in a big clump, instead of creamy like they should," Duffie said.

Even the sweet tea.

"Your tea would come out all cloudy," Duffie said. "Oh man, it was bad news."

As Coal Jobs Decline, Solar Sector Shines

May 6, 2017

Craig Williams is still mining coal despite tough times for the business. "We're one of the last industries around and hope to keep it that way," he says in a breakroom at Consol Energy's Harvey mine, south of Pittsburgh.

The father of two — speaking in his dusty work jacket and a hard hat with headlamp — says coal is the best way he's able to support his family. He declines to give his salary, but nationally, coal miners average about $80,000 a year.

A lot of the anger over federal public land in rural Utah today can be traced back to a windy, gray day in Arizona in September 1996. At the Grand Canyon, President Bill Clinton formally designated the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, more than 100 miles away.

"On this remarkable site, God's handiwork is everywhere in the natural beauty of the Escalante Canyons," he said.

But Clinton didn't set foot in Utah. The planning for the monument was largely done in secret, and state leaders had little warning it was coming.

Copyright 2017 KCUR-FM. To see more, visit KCUR-FM.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It's been an awfully long time since a wolf pack has called Denmark home — roughly two centuries, in fact.

There are thousands of parks, refuges and wilderness areas in the U.S. that are kept in something close to their natural state. But one form of pollution isn't respecting those boundaries: man-made noise.

New research based on recordings from 492 protected natural areas reveals that they're awash in noise pollution.

Mark Hertzberg

After two years of intensive planning, Racine's Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan is about to become reality. Planners say its unique.

“We think, from what we can ascertain, that we are the only major city bike pedestrian master plan in the Midwest that been mostly privately funded,” Dottie-Kay Bowersox says. She’s not only an avid cyclist, but is also Racine’s public health administrator.

An existing pathway system that stretches along Lake Michigan’s shore gave planners a starting point.

Lots of people pay traffic fines, but not everyone is affected the same way. According to a new report from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, traffic fines in California have an outsize effect on low-income drivers and people of color. And those consequences are not just monetary. Unpaid tickets can result in additional fines. Failure to pay those fines can lead to suspension or loss of license, and even jail time for some if they continue to drive without a license.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Freshman Tya Miller was among the North Division students who gathered outside at the end of the school day Wednesday, holding signs and distributing bottled water.

“My concern is that we don’t have clean water at all. All of our water bubblers are full of lead and they expect us to drink it,” Miller says.

Miller says bottled water is being provided, “But we have pay a dollar for it and I feel like that isn’t fair,” she adds, “We’re students here and we deserve free water.”

A deadline is fast approaching for Republican lawmakers who want to undo an Obama-era regulation that aims to limit the emissions of methane — a powerful greenhouse gas — from energy production sites on public lands.

Get ready for a new kind of apple. It's called Cosmic Crisp, and farmers in Washington state, who grow 70 percent of the country's apples, are planting these trees by the millions. The apples themselves, dark red in color with tiny yellow freckles, will start showing up in stores in the fall of 2019.

Scott McDougall is one of the farmers who's making a big bet on Cosmic Crisp.

"It goes back to believing in the apple," he says.

"You believe?" I ask.

"I believe!" he says, and chuckles.

Silverleaf Geospatial © OpenStreetMap contributors, © CARTO

The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report Tuesday on states with the most drinking water violations. And, Wisconsin was on the list.

States were ranked most at risk from over 100 contaminants, including toxic chemicals, bacteria and metals such as lead. The data was drawn from EPA records collected throughout 2015.

sima, fotolia

Update: Democratic and Republican state Representatives sounded like they were from different planets, or at least talking about a different bill, during long deliberations Tuesday.

Republican Rep Gary Tauchen of Bonduel said the bill simply does two things, "It works with existing wells - that they be maintianed, that they be repairedand that they be transferred.  And the other thing it does is it has a study area in the Central Sands area."

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