Environment news

Underwater Crops Could Soak Indiana Farmers

Jul 14, 2015
Joshua Duffy / https://www.flickr.com/photos/joshduffyphoto/7283981926

This summer is shaping up to be one of the wettest on record in Indiana.

And that means many farmers across the state are being flooded with problems.

A good portion of Indiana’s corn and soybeans have been heavily damaged by the rain – some fields destroyed. 

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Barbara Brosher explains how that could impact your next trip to the grocery store.

'Battery Farm' Could Help Power 15 States

Jul 10, 2015
Joe Strupek / https://www.flickr.com/photos/strupey/6859432225

Indianapolis Power and Light has broken ground on what it says will be one of the largest energy-storage facilities in the Midwest. IPL will use interconnected, advanced batteries to store up to 20 megawatts of energy.

Ken Zagzebski, president of IPL parent company AES, says the battery array will make the power grid more reliable by smoothing out variations in supply and demand.

And he says the lithium-ion batteries will reduce emissions. He says only recently have electric companies cracked the long-standing dilemma of how to store energy for when it‘s needed.

Daniel X. O'Neil / https://www.flickr.com/photos/juggernautco/

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the Hoosier State will join a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s new water rule. 

The EPA recently finalized a rule broadening the definition of “waters of the United States” – that is, which bodies of water fall under federal regulation.  The term would now include small bodies of water, including streams, ponds, and drainage ditches. 

Dave Emerson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/daveemerson/

Indiana physicians and public health experts say Governor Mike Pence would be irresponsible if, as he’s pledged, he opposes the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  The proposed regulations would call for a 20-percent reduction from Indiana’s 2005 carbon emission levels by 2030.

In a letter to President Obama, Governor Mike Pence vowed not to comply what he calls the “ill-conceived and poorly constructed” Clean Power Plan unless the EPA makes significant improvements.  But IU School of Medicine professor Steve Jay says it’s the Pence administration’s position that needs improvement.

Indiana Biz Leaders Cheer SCOTUS Pollution Ruling

Jun 29, 2015
Alan Berning / https://www.flickr.com/photos/14617207@N00/2621375759

The Supreme Court has sided with Indiana and 22 other states in throwing out a proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulation of coal-burning power plants.

Separate coalitions of states and businesses sued over a new mercury emission standard. A 5-4 Supreme Court agreed with their argument that the EPA unreasonably ignored the cost of compliance in drafting the rule.

Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar contends the regulation would impose crippling costs on utilities for very little gain in air quality. And he says other businesses would see electric bills soar.

Joshua Duffy / https://www.flickr.com/photos/joshduffyphoto/7283981926

With the prospect of Tropical Depression Bill swinging up across Indiana this weekend, farmers and some homeowners are keeping a wary eye on the sky. Across the northern third of the state, ditches are full, some fields have standing water and a few riverside homes are being sandbagged.

Several rivers in northern Indiana are flooding or in danger of flooding – the Tippecanoe, the Iroquois, the Wabash and in Sumava Resorts in Newton County, the Kankakee, where some residents were filling sandbags Wednesday.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / http://www.fws.gov/

Jumpstarting the lives of hundreds of endangered frogs is part of a conservation effort underway this week in Indiana. 

A team of staff at the Indianapolis Zoo is scooping up hundreds of crawfish frog tadpoles that have been growing in tanks for about six weeks and placing them in containers to be transported to their new home at a protected wildlife area in southwestern Indiana.   Letting the tadpoles mature gives them a much better chance, says Josh Dodson, interpretation manager at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Daniel Bauer / https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhynocoris/

The Environmental Protection Agency is reducing the amount of biofuel required in gasoline by 1 billion gallons — that exceeds the total amount of ethanol produced in Indiana last year.

Steve Pittman, president of the Indiana Ethanol Producers Association, says in a statement that it’s a “big step backwards for energy innovation and renewable fuels” and that the EPA is giving into the demands of big oil companies.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

“Worse than doing nothing” – that’s how critics describe Indiana’s new energy efficiency effort crafted by Governor Mike Pence and the General Assembly. 

Environmental and consumer advocacy groups say the new energy efficiency program is going to drive up costs for residential consumers. 

Under the approved legislation, each utility company must develop its own energy efficiency program…and they can raise rates to cover any revenue they lose because of decreased energy usage. 


Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler is on a wild goose chase, literally. Canada geese are flocking to the town in hordes and occupying parkland. Tyler hopes to evacuate the avian infestation with the help of Muncie Parks Superintendent Harvey Wright, who has a plan to ship the geese to another location.

"If we get the 800 caught, then we will take them up north and release them," Wright says.


The Indiana Natural Resources Commission has voted to end the hunting season of a game bird whose numbers have declined in recent years. The ruffed grouse is a chicken-sized bird native to Indiana, but Indiana Department of Natural Resources spokesman Phil Bloom says it's become harder to find.

"I think in the last four years, out of 15 routes, our biologist who does that stuff on an annual basis has heard one drumming," Bloom says. "We need to do something to protect what ruffed grouse are left and go from there."

Martin LaBar / https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinlabar/

The federal government will spend millions of dollars trying to figure out why honeybees and monarch butterflies are disappearing.

Purdue entomology professor Christian Krupke says the study—which will include several federal agencies-- is long overdue.

He says the consensus is that there are a number of factors that have led to the decline of honeybees.

"Pathogens, parasites, pesticides and habitat availability," says Krupke. "Which of those ranks first largely depends on where those particular bees reside."

USDA / https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/

Open the Purdue Tree Doctor app and select the kind of tree you’re having trouble with. Then scroll through several pictures to determine which ones look like your tree. The app will tell you what the problem most likely is and give you recommendations on how to fix it.

Purdue entomologist Cliff Sadof helped create the app that he says will particularly help with the invasive emerald ash borer, that’s been wreaking havoc on trees throughout Indiana.

Now that Lafayette plans to buy new trash bins for residents, city officials are trying to figure out how to squeeze as much profit from the venture as possible.

The current small, blue recycling bins will be replaced with larger toters, like those used for garbage. The city will also be decrease the size of garbage toters from 96 to 64 gallons. Mayor Tony Roswarski (D) says he would like to sell the old bins if he can. 

G.E. Long / https://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonmetal/4902096710/

An Indy-based meteorologist says Indiana won’t get the severe storms and tornadoes the West got, but the same system will likely bring thunderstorms over the weekend.

National Weather Service Meteorologist John Hendrickson says the best chance for bad weather is early next week.

“I don’t see anything with a real big risk of severe across our area, but there’ll be a few strong thunderstorms and it looks like the chances of severe might be a little bit better towards Monday,” Hendrickson says.