A gray wolf in the wild. Park officials say hunting restrictions in place in parts of of Montana have protected Yellowstone's wolves from a repeat of a 2009 hunt in which four Yellowstone wolves were shot.
Gray wolves were taken off the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana last year and put under state control. But they're still on the list in neighboring Wyoming. That's because Wyoming has been the most aggressive about wanting to kill wolves.
Wyoming has finally struck a deal with the federal government regarding how wolves will be treated once the state takes over. But environmentalists believe the agreement denies wolves an important refuge.
Natural gas is much cleaner than coal. But some energy analysts say an overabundance of the fuel could depress development in even cleaner energy sources like wind and solar power. Above, a rig in Washington, Pa., drills into shale rock to extract natural gas.
Credit Keith Srakocic / AP
Wind power advocates say that even if wind is slightly more expensive than natural gas, utilities will still want it in their mix. Windmills aren't subject to variable fuel prices, so the cost of production is predictable, something that's not true for natural gas.
The boom in cheap natural gas in this country is good news for the environment, because relatively clean gas is replacing dirty coal-fired power plants. But in the long run, cheap natural gas could slow the growth of even cleaner sources of energy, such as wind and solar power.
Natural gas has a bad rap in some parts of the country, because the process of fracking is not popular. But many people looking at cheap natural gas from the global perspective see it as a good thing.
Originally published on Wed February 1, 2012 11:54 am
There's a new lava dome forming on top of Alaska's Cleveland Volcano, and the Alaska Volcano Observatory bumped up its aviation warning level to orange. That means the volcano is "exhibiting heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption".
Originally published on Tue January 31, 2012 10:32 am
Backup diesel generators are powering one of the two nuclear reactors at the Byron Station facility in northern Illinois. Unit Two came offline yesterday after it inexplicably lost power. The facility's operator, Exelon, declared the incident an "unusual event" - the lowest of four emergency status declarations set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
What do you do with a 1,000-foot wreck that's full of fuel and half-submerged on a rocky ledge in the middle of an Italian marine sanctuary? Remove it. Very carefully.
The wreck of the cruise liner Costa Concordia, which ran aground last week, is not unlike a car accident. The first order of business is determining whether it's worth repairing or it gets junked. Then there are the questions of how best to go about it – and who pays.