Environment

Environment news

The Ford Motor Co. recently closed its historic Twin Cities Assembly Plant on a scenic river bluff in St. Paul, Minn. In better times, the parcel of land might have made condo developers drool, but in today's real estate market, redevelopment of the old factory could be a long way off.

The industrial architect Albert Kahn was particularly skilled at making factories blend into their surroundings. The 2-million-square-foot plant has a classical stone facade that flows along the Mississippi River bluff. The red tile roof of its hydroelectric plant glows in the sunlight.

Lafayette Awarded EPA Grant

Dec 22, 2011

Lafayette is one of eight cities in the country receiving a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The money provides free neighborhood design consultation next year.

The goal is to give Lafayette tools to be Greener and more efficient with its infrastructure development and policy making.

Mayor Tony Roswarski says the city has taken key steps in protecting the environment and the grant will help it go above and beyond.

New regulations issued by the Obama administration will force the country's coal- and oil-fired power plants to reduce the emission of pollutants such as arsenic and mercury or shut down.

In a statement, the Environmental Protection Agency said the new standards "will protect millions of families and children from harmful and costly air pollution and provide the American people with health benefits that far outweigh the costs of compliance."

Stranded motorists. Closed highways. Packed hotels.

It's winter and the Great Plains has gotten walloped:

"From northern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle through Oklahoma and northwestern Kansas," The Associated Press writes, "blizzard conditions [on Monday and into today] put state road crews on alert and had motorists taking refuge and early exits off major roads."

Some reports from the stricken states:

Forum at Purdue Focuses on Biomass Efficiency

Dec 15, 2011

The Midwest is poised to bring in billions of additional dollars by developing renewable energy alternatives.

That’s the assessment of Steve Brick with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

He discussed biomass and its impact during a presentation at Purdue, Wednesday.

Brick says residuals, such as corn stover, can help inject some extra money into the region’s economy.

He says scientists are getting closer to developing technology allowing for more cost efficient practices of converting biomass into energy.

Canada Exits Kyoto Climate Agreement

Dec 13, 2011

Canada is withdrawing from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol agreement on climate change, with Environment Minister Peter Kent arguing that the framework doesn't represent the way forward for Canada or the world.

Kent is quoted by the AP as saying:

"The Kyoto Protocol does not cover the world's largest two emitters, United States and China, and therefore cannot work. It's now clear that Kyoto is not the path forward to a global solution to climate change. If anything it's an impediment."

Are shoppers getting their money's worth when they choose a salmon filet wearing an eco-sticker?

A study released this week by the University of Victoria's Seafood Ecology Research Group found that most eco-labels on farmed seafood don't reflect better fish farming practices than other products on the market.

The city of Lafayette has collected nearly $3-million in storm water fees over the past year-and-a-half.

The money will be used for studies and projects to collect runoff, specifically into the Wabash River.

Comptroller Mike Jones says some work has already begun including staffing, purchasing equipment, and surveillance.

He says the amount collected would have been greater but the city offered a 20-percent reduced rate during the first six months.

Jones says that was to help ease the fee into place.

The Debate Over the Newport Chemical Depot

Aug 30, 2011

Walking around the Newport Chemical Depot is pretty mundane.  There isn’t much to see outside of a few abandon buildings.  Some of them look unkempt and shoddy while a few others could be serviceable with a paint job and some cleaning.

In some areas the grass and weeds reach hip-high and the only noises that can be heard are birds chirping and the wind blowing.

The seven-thousand-acre development in Vermillion County that was once the home to U-S Army production facilities is now desolate, but Jack Fenoglio believes that can change.

Purdue is forming a joint research partnership with a Chinese university.

Officials with Purdue's Energy Center and the Center for Environment and Zhejiang University formalized creation of the Clean Energy Research Initiative this morning.

Energy Center director Maureen McCann says the effort will focus on advancing clean energy technologies, specifically biomass and coal.

She says the partnership will include student and faculty exchanges, workshops and other educational programs.

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