environment

Some of the country's most polluting industries have flooded state regulators with requests to ease environmental regulations, according to an NPR review of hundreds of state environmental records.

Companies across the country say the pandemic is interfering with their ability to comply with laws that protect the public from pollution.

WICHITA, Kansas — An environmental watchdog group says most states aren’t stepping up to fill the gap left by budget and staff cuts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which could put Kansans at greater risk of exposure to harmful pollutants.

“These ecosystems harbor some really amazing species,” said Dr. Ben Hutchins at the most recent Texas Water Symposium forum on Wednesday, November 13 at Schreiner University in Kerrville.

Brian Schoenfish / Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy

GARDEN CITY, Kansas — Tens of millions of years ago, an inland sea covered parts of western Kansas. Today, chalk columns measuring 70 to 100 feet high tower above the arid terrain in Kansas’ newest state park.

The mission of Keep Amarillo Clean is to "Clean and maintain the City of Amarillo—a movement for the citizens, by the citizens!" And indeed that's what they aim to do: inspire folks to CLEAN UP THIS CITY, and this Saturday, they're encouraging everyone to take place in a citywide cleanup from 9am to 12p CT acrosss the city of Amarillo.

Corinne Boyer / Kansas News Service

MANHATTAN, Kansas — A bus filled with livestock industry representatives from South America, Australia, Africa and Europe drove past rows of pens and concrete feed bunks in central Kansas this week.

They held their phones and cameras up to the windows as a wave of cattle lifted their heads and stared back. Dump trucks full of feed shared the roads with cowboys on horses.

Half of the tour group, who had come to Kansas State University for the 9th Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock Conference, had never visited an industrial-sized feedlot.

For the first time ever, wind has surpassed coal as an energy source in Texas. 

Data released this month by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas shows wind created 22 percent of the electricity used in the first half of the year, edging out coal by 1 percentage point.

More than a dozen new energy and environment bills are headed to Gov. Jared Polis for a signature. They cover an array of issues from the oversight of electrical generating companies to how companies have to factor climate change into their decision making to the nitty gritty of how oil and gas drilling is governed in the state.

After more than 20 years, an early tool of genetic engineering in crops is doing more than just killing pests. It’s providing environmental benefits, too, according to a new study in the journal Biological Control.

New cars sold in Colorado will have to run cleaner and average 36 miles per gallon by 2025 thanks to new emission rules adopted Friday.

The move was supported by ski areas and other businesses that have called on the state to take steps to combat the effects of greenhouse gases and climate change.

But some local government leaders and auto dealers in the state are afraid these new rules will have unintended consequences.

It’s no secret that farming operations can produce some gross smells and loud noises alongside those fresh eggs and produce. As urban and suburban growth encroaches on rural areas, that can become all the more obvious.

“Right to Farm” laws were put in place in the 1970s and 80s when urban sprawl started to invade areas of agriculture. All 50 states have some version on the books.

Colorado Feedlot Being Sued For Dead Fish

Nov 30, 2017
CCO Creative Commons

An eastern Colorado feedlot is being sued by Colorado that claims cow manure is to blame for killing thousands of fish, but the feedlot takes issue with some of the state’s claims.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, many of the over 100 feedlots in Colorado are located near waterways and environmentalists are concerned with historic rain events becoming more common, that manure will find its way into streams and groundwater.

Study: Vast Animal-Feed Growth Is Damaging the Planet

Oct 9, 2017
Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons

A new study has found that the vast amount of animal-feed crops humans grow to satisfy the global appetite for meat is seriously harming the planet.

As The Guardian reports, the study by the World Wildlife Fund finds that the earth’s environment is being put under a heavy strain by the staggering amount of land and resources needed to grow crops like soy to feed chickens, pigs, and other animals.

Wallethub

As wind turbines and solar panels continue to crop up across the High Plains, you may have wondered how green your state is, compared to other states.

The personal finance website WalletHub has compiled a list of all states, ranking them according to how friendly they are toward the environment. The site judges states on 20 key metrics, ranging from eco-friendly buildings per capita to share of energy consumption from renewable resources. States in the HPPR listening area did not fare well in the rankings.

Last month was the hottest Texas February on record

Mar 8, 2017
Flickr Creative Commons

Last month was the hottest February on record in Texas, topping every February since record-keeping began in the 19th century, reports The Texas Observer.

This should come as no surprise to West Texans, as some Panhandle counties approached temperatures of 100 degrees in the dead of winter. All-time records were set at weather stations across the state, and this winter is on pace to be the hottest ever in the Lone Star State.

Gardeners have a saying about perennials: "The first year they sleep; the second year they creep; and the third year they leap."

Today on Growing on the High Plains, we'll unearth a few common myths about these boisterous blooms, which are quite misunderstood by beginning gardeners. If you go into the ground with a deeper understanding of what to expect from perennials, you'll sooner reap the sweet smell of success.

usgs.gov

You probably don’t think much about all those grassy strips and medians you pass on the highway during your morning commute. But, as PRI reports, those medians are providing shelter to a whole world of critters.

Oklahomans Find a Way to Turn Garbage into Energy

Feb 12, 2016
storageioblog.com

A group of Oklahoma students have found a way to turn trash into energy, reports KFOR. The students, along with staff members at Oklahoma State University, have patented a process they call “gasification.” The new system could be a game-changer. The name of the project is “Renewable Energy Power on Demand,” or “RE-PODS” for short. The program takes garbage and transforms it into “syngas,” which can run specially-made generators.

Forum Sows Big Ideas about Tiny Seeds

May 12, 2015

People from nine countries and seed librarians from across the country were busy sowing big ideas about tiny seeds during the first The International Seed Library Forum reports the Daily Yonder. The gathering was held in Tucson last week. The group shared ideas and inspiration for improving local access to diverse seeds. The conference also included discussion of climate change and the role agriculture diversity and seed saving play. Cary Fowler is an agricultural pioneer and a former executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. He says in the past circumstances were adapted for the crops we wants to grow using things like irrigation and pesticides. He says in the future we’ll have to adapt the plants themselves.

Consumers are eating this stuff up.

Apr 19, 2015
File Photo / AP

In 2002 the U.S. government began certifying organic products, since then it has turned into an almost $40 Billion dollar a year industry.

Consumers are eating this stuff up, sales of organic goods has leapt 11% since last year and the number of organic producers in the U.S. has grown by 250% since 2002.

The industry estimates that organics now make up almost 5% of total food sales in the United States.” According to Kansas AgLand reporter Mary Clare Jalonick.   

New Kansas ethanol plant turning crop residue into fuel

Mar 10, 2015
Bryan Thompson

Five months after its grand opening, a massive new-generation ethanol plant in the southwest corner of Kansas is undergoing final adjustments as it prepares to begin full-scale production. The plant, built by a Spanish company with financing from the U.S. Department of Energy, is designed to produce clean-burning fuel — not from corn, but from the bits and pieces of crops left in farmers’ fields after harvest.