Environment

Environment news

Farmers Say New EPA Water Proposals Unfairly Target Them

Aug 26, 2015
Ron Nichols/NRCS

Most people agree clean rivers and streams are vital to our health. The divide comes when the conversation turns to who should make sure those waterways are kept clean, who should regulate them and whether they should be regulated at all.

Later this month, the Environmental Protection Agency plans to implement a new set of rules that expands its reach -- allowing it to regulate not only major rivers, but also the tributaries that flow into them.

IDEM Looking Into Wabash River Fish Kill

Aug 21, 2015
Andrea Pokrzywinski / https://www.flickr.com/photos/andreagp/2741289470

The state is trying to figure out what’s killing fish in northeastern Indiana, near the source of the Wabash River.

Indiana Department of Environmental Management officials took samples from the river this week nad tests came back positive for a species of blue-green algae, which could be part of the problem.

Indiana Department of Environmental Management Spokesman Dan Goldblatt says they’ve confirmed there’s an algal bloom in the Wabash River.

How Indiana Could Achieve The New EPA Pollution Standards

Aug 19, 2015
Alan Berning / https://www.flickr.com/photos/14617207@N00/2621375759

Indiana must reduce the carbon dioxide its power plants emit by about a third in the next 15 years.

The mandate comes as part of new Environmental Protection Agency rules President Obama announced earlier this month.

The rules require each state to put together a plan on how it will reach the new EPA goals. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Gretchen Frazee explains how that could work.

Kurt Beard / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kurtbeard/19219078886

Indiana’s state parks resemble a bathtub that’s ringed with mildew. That’s how Department of Natural Resources officials describe the current state of park land.

DNR Deputy Director Mike Smith says in most parks, a ring of green sludge is all that remains from the heavy rains earlier this year.

Smith says the agency has had to cancel more than 4,000 reservations and has missed out on almost $700,000 of revenue it expected to generate.

Smith says most of that money was likely to come from in-state tourists.

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

Indiana’s farmers are expected to produce significantly less corn this year while soybeans didn’t take as bad a hit after flooding that devastated parts of the state. 

Indiana corn crops are expected to decline by about 20-percent from last year, while soybeans are only down 9-percent.  That follows the second-wettest June and July in the state’s recorded history. 

Yet Purdue corn specialist Bob Nielsen says the expected output is a mixed bag across the state.

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. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/radunzel/5626418882

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.

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