Environment news

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

High overhead CityBus’s Lafayette headquarters tower three wind turbines, which whir almost melodically on this blustery winter day.

They’re the most visible sign of the corporation’s push to be more environmentally friendly.

But on the ground, there’s a different whirring sound that foretells of the newest such effort -- a generator helps run power tools and a radio playing country music as half a dozen workmen install a natural gas pumping station.

Reducing Holiday Waste As You Deck the Halls

Dec 10, 2014

The end-of-year holidays aren't just a time filled with more cheer, but also are a time filled with more trash-  although some simple tips can help keep that to a minimum.

Dan Goldblatt, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Environmental Health, said the best way to cut down on the garbage generated is through what's known as "pre-cycling," and thinking ahead before you purchase a gift.

Ged Carroll / https://www.flickr.com/photos/renaissancechambara/4938639714

National Weather Service meteorologists say the cold snap heading to Indiana beginning Tuesday night is going to hang around for at least the next ten days.

"Teens and twenties at night and thirties for highs," says National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Ryan. "Still looks like potential maybe for some light snow on Sunday and then also some maybe some later next week. But again, that being out a few days -- need to fine-tune that."

Ryan says the system is funneling cold air down from Canada over much of the eastern U.S.

Markus Meltzer / https://www.flickr.com/photos/125492874@N06/

Phil Meltzer, 88, was born in a small house on the land his family owned since 1857.

“I remember one time when we were kids we built a little cabin out in the woods and went coon-hunting with the boys at night,” Phil says.

Meltzer Woods has also been in the Meltzer family for over 150 years and the trees have been left untouched, making it the last unpreserved old-growth forest left in Indiana.

Now, the Central Indiana Land Trust has bought the 48 acres of intact woods.

Hoosiers Push To Include Renewables In State Energy Plan

Sep 29, 2014
Gretchen Frazee / http://www.ipbs.org/

A group of about 75 Hoosiers gathered on the steps of the statehouse Saturday to launch a campaign aimed at convincing state leaders to make renewables a key part of the Indiana’s energy plan.

Gov. Mike Pence’s administration is in the middle of putting together a proposal for a new statewide energy plan.

Audubon Report Shows Climate Change Affecting Bird Migration

Sep 10, 2014
Bill Gracey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/9422878@N08/8438709330

A new Audubon Society report claims the combination of climate change and habitat destruction could put a large number of North American bird populations at risk sooner rather than later.

The report predicts that, of the 588 North American bird species observed in the study, 314 are at risk because of decreased climatic range due to rising temperatures over the next century. 

For example, a bird spending winters in Mississippi could soon spend winters in Missouri.  

Tim Evanson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/23165290

Hydraulic fracturing -- fracking, for short -- has been an economic boon to such states as North Dakota. It's produced never-before-seen wealth in the form of the gas and oil released from rocks deep underground.

A new report from Purdue agricultural economists Wally Tyner and Farzad Taheripour estimates the industry could create as much as $300 billion in wealth for Americans every year through at least 2035.

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/476706221

Indiana will face serious challenges when it comes to water resources within the next 20 years if the state doesn’t begin correcting its issues now.  That’s according to the lead researcher in an Indiana Chamber of Commerce report released Friday.

Rob Slaven / https://www.flickr.com/photos/robslaven/8164380227

A report out Thursday claims Indiana is one of the worst water polluters in the nation.

The analysis from the group Environment America shows Indiana dumped more than 17-million pounds of pollutants into its waterways in 2012 – more tonnage than any other state.

Alan Berning / https://www.flickr.com/photos/14617207@N00/2621375759

Governor Mike Pence says he will use everything at his disposal to oppose new proposed federal regulations seeking to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. 

President Obama announced Monday the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulations seek to reduce carbon emissions 30-percent by the year 2030. 

The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility / https://www.flickr.com/photos/armgov/4772756538

Central Indiana’s rapid temperature shift this week has produced the possibility for a rare weather condition: the cold air funnel.

Mike Baldwin, a meteorology professor in Purdue University’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, says it’s a type of weak tornado.

“During the day when the sun comes out, even a little bit of sunshine will warm up the surface and the low-level air enough for that air to become unstable,” Baldwin says.

Harsh Winter Sapping State's Wine Grape Crops

May 14, 2014
Raul Lieberwirth / Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lanier67/216341826/

Indiana Vineyards are losing as much as 75-percent of their grape yields this year because of last winter's deep freeze.

Winemakers like David Simmons, co-owner of Simmons Winery near Columbus, knew they were going to take a hit, but are just now discovering exactly how much they’ve lost as their grape vines begin to bud.

"It's been a very difficult winter, we've had a lot of bud damage on the vines," Simmons says.

Peregrine falcon no longer on IN's watchlist

Oct 15, 2013
Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana has taken the peregrine falcon off the state endangered species list. The birds were removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999.

Habitat loss and pesticide use almost wiped out the peregrine falcon population in the 1960s. There weren’t any birds east of the Mississippi River by 1965. Indiana wildlife officials began trying to reintroduce the bird in the early 1990s.

Now those conservation efforts are paying off. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources removed the falcon from the state endangered species list this month.

Work will begin soon on a slum and blight spot in downtown Lafayette. The city and the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation (WREC) are moving forward with clean-up of the property once owned by Midwest Rentals. The 2.3 acre site sits along the river and is bounded by South Street, railroad tracks and Sycamore Street.

The Hoosier Environmental Council wants to help businesses reduce their energy costs. The group is hosting a workshop that also aims at green job creation.

Policy advisor Kris Wheeler hopes the online event gives business owners new resources to improve their operations. She says buildings consume about 40% of the energy we use, so finding efficiencies will save money.

“Lighting is about 30% of where your energy goes, so just using energy-efficient lighting can have a significant impact, or the business owner can do a top-to-bottom, full building retrofit.”