Environment news

Purdue University

Purdue will use $33.1 million to move away from coal-powered energy and toward natural gas.

The money comes from what was supposed to be used to build a clean-coal boiler, but that project was canceled last year. A state committee approved the financing deal Wednesday.

Administrators say Purdue is now focusing on natural gas projects, which are more viable for the future.

U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is designating more Indiana counties a disaster area due to the ongoing drought.

The additional 14 counties are: Blackford, Boone, Clinton, Delaware, Fountain, Henry, Madison, Montgomery, Rush, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Vermillion, Vigo and White.

Farmers and ranchers in each of those counties, and ones contiguous to them, are available for federal disaster assistance, such as low-interest loans.

As Indiana continues to suffer through weeks of extreme heat conditions, people are looking for ways  to save money on their energy bills.  Now, the state and its utility companies are offering home audits to help Hoosiers cut costs.

Drought worsens, leaves farmers with few options

Jul 19, 2012
Mike Loizzo / WBAA News

The fields of corn surrounding Idaville in eastern White County look pretty sad. They’re not very tall and they’re starting to brown. Typically, these fields yield anywhere from 165-to-175 bushels per acre, but not this year.

“We’ve been counting ears the last couple days," says Brian Scott. "We’re thinking the good stuff is 120, if we’re accurate.”

New rules affect IN livestock, poultry producers

Jul 9, 2012
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

While Indiana livestock and poultry producers are concerned with the hot weather, many might have winter on their minds.

Rules that just took effect prohibit most large-scale operators from spreading animal manure on frozen or snow-covered fields.

Tamilee Nennich is a nutrient management specialist with Purdue Extension. She says producers should be prepared to store manure longer.

EcoCar2 challenge includes Purdue team

Jul 5, 2012
Mike Loizzo / WBAA Radio

Fifteen teams of university students, including one at Purdue, are on a quest. They’re taking part in a three year effort to take an existing car and reduce its environmental impact. Performance and safety can’t be compromised, and it still has to be marketable to those looking to buy such a car.

New Montgomery Co. company seeks air permit

Jun 11, 2012
Herr Voss Stamco

Herr Voss Stamco, which is building a plant southeast of Crawfordsville, is applying for an air quality permit from the state for its metal-processing equipment facility.

The new source construction and minor source operating permit application was submitted in April, and after review by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the staff is recommending it be approved.

The permit is needed so the company can operate a stationary hard chrome electroplating machine that reconditions mill rolls.

Tippecanoe preparing to show off trails

Jun 1, 2012

Tippecanoe County’s trail system is being highlighted Saturday.

The Parks and Recreation Department is hosting local events as part of National Trails Day.

Wabash Heritage Trail Manager Kathy Smith says this gives residents a chance to learn about some new features in the area.

This is the 19th year Tippecanoe has participated.

It’s free to attend.

Last year, about 65 people went on the roughly 1.5-mile trail hike, which starts at the Tippecanoe Battlefield Park in Battle Ground. 

The event begins at 4 p.m, Saturday.

A national organization focused on more sustainable neighborhoods is giving advice to the city of Lafayette.

Global Green USA met with community leaders and residents of the Historic Centennial Neighborhood on how to make the area more environmentally responsible.

Members of the organization spent the past two days assessing what improvements are needed and what that part of the city is doing well.

Green Urbanism Program Director Walker Wells says the goal is to initiate change by using resources already in the area.

Sustainability analysis underway in Lafayette

May 14, 2012

An organization focused on a cleaner environment and sustainability is in Lafayette this week outlining ways to improve one of the city’s neighborhoods.

Global Green USA is conducting consultations on how to make the Historic Centennial Neighborhood more efficient and eco-friendly.

Lafayette is one of eight communities in the country picked to participate and received grant funds from the Environmental Protection Agency to help finance the initiative.

Lafayette parking garage goes green

Apr 9, 2012

New lights and two charging stations are part of a Green makeover of a Lafayette parking garage.

The City installed two electric vehicle charging stations and nearly 150 LED lights on the Fifth Street structure downtown.

John Christodoulakis is a member of the Lafayette Parking Commission and owner of Red Seven Bar and Grill.

He says the green technology shows the city’s commitment to a cleaner community, which benefits both residents and businesses.

According to new research, 3.7 million Americans who live at elevations close to high tide could face more frequent flooding because of the sea rise caused by global warming.

The New York Times reports:

OK, so this story is about weeds and weedkillers, neither of which is ever the hero of a story, but stay with me for a second: It's also about plants with superpowers.

Unless you grow cotton, corn or soybeans for a living, it's hard to appreciate just how amazing and wonderful it seemed, 15 years ago, when Roundup-tolerant crops hit the market. I've seen crusty farmers turn giddy just talking about it.

Rising gas prices have been the big energy story of the past several weeks. But many energy experts say that's a sideshow compared with the really big energy event — the huge boom in oil and natural gas production in the U.S. that could help the nation reach the elusive goal of energy independence.

Since the Arab oil embargo of 1973, energy independence has been a Holy Grail for virtually every American president from Richard Nixon to Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama.

But now, it might just be within reach.

The Shale Gale

WL WWTU increasing its green efforts

Mar 6, 2012

January was a record month for processing food waste at West Lafayette's waste water treatment plant.

Utility director Dave Henderson says 36-tons was collected from the Purdue Memorial Union and dining courts on campus.

He says along with the 26,000 pounds of fats, oils, and grease that were processed in January, the plant was able to generate 20% of the electricity needed for its operation.

Henderson says that saved the city more than $5,000.

He says the utility will continue to look for ways to increase the amount of power the plant produces in-house.