Cuomo Scraps $3 Billion Environmental Bond Act

New York, fearing the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, has decided to pull an item from this year’s ballot to decide if the state should borrow $3 billion to fund a series of environmental projects related to climate change.

Entering the control room at Three Mile Island Unit 1 is like stepping back in time. Except for a few digital screens and new counters, much of the equipment is original to 1974, when the plant began generating electricity.

Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant To Close

The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, site of the nation’s worst nuclear accident, will shut down by the end of September. Backers failed to secure subsidies to keep the plant operating.

Plastic bags in a grocery cart.

Is New York’s Plastic Bag Ban Garbage?

New York is only the latest state to ban plastic bags, but such restrictions may actually hurt the environment more than help it. Human nature, hard truths, and what kind of bag to use anyway?

Health Fears Have Hunters Shifting To Copper Bullets

Frank Femia runs Klubfunstore Guns and Ammo in Henrietta, where the popular ammunition this season is copper bullets. “It’s been hard finding them because everyone’s been sold out of them and it’s been hard to keep in stock,” Femia said.

State Officials Push Growth Of Wind Power In New York

If New York state hopes to reach a goal of getting half of its electricity from renewable resources by the year 2030, wind energy will have to be part of the formula. That was the focus of a wind summit held in Syracuse this week, and boosters of wind power are optimistic it will happen.

Climate Change: Not A Big Deal In PA’s Race For Governor

STATE IMPACT PENNSYLVANIA —  A report out this month from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a pretty dire picture. By 2040, the world faces myriad crises — including food shortages, extreme weather, wildfires and a mass die-off of coral reefs — unless emissions are cut sharply.

In Rarity For GOP, PA Congressman Pushes For Carbon Tax

STATE IMPACT PENNSYLVANIA – In a rare move for Republican lawmakers, U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Bucks County and Carlos Curbelo of Florida have teamed up to introduce a climate change bill — a big one.

Fight Over Finger Lakes Trash Incinerator Going To Court

SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – A controversial trash incinerator project in the Finger Lakes is headed to court. The company trying to build the $365 million facility, Rochester-based Circular enerG, is asking a judge to void a decision by the town of Romulus’ zoning board that would stop its construction.

As Nuclear Power Loses Ground To Natural Gas, Environmentalists Are Torn

STATE IMPACT PENNSYLVANIA – The natural gas boom was supposed to help the electric sector lower its carbon footprint by replacing old, carbon dioxide-spewing coal plants with newer, lower-emitting natural gas plants. And to a degree, that’s happened. As coal plants have retired, carbon emissions from the power sector have decreased.

Explore the Outdoors with PBS KIDS!

PBS KIDS celebrates Earth Month with its annual Explore the Outdoors initiative and a special week of Nature Cat, Splash and Bubbles, and Wild Kratts episodes. Catch this special week of programming on WSKG TV:
April 23 | 6:00am & 3:30pm | Wild Kratts ‘Cheeks The Hamster’
April 23 | 8:00am & 3:00pm | Nature Cat ‘Lets Talk Turkey Vulture/Prescription: Nature’
April 23 | 10:30am | Splash and Bubbles ‘Seal Sitters/from Ray to Zee’
April 24 | 6:00am & 3:30pm | Wild Kratts ‘Wild Ponies’
April 24 | 8:00am & 3:00pm | Nature Cat ‘Enter The Dragonfly/Water Woe’s’
April 24 | 10:30am | Splash and Bubbles ‘The Sea Sparkles/Tyke and Seek’ 
April 25 | 6:00am & 3:30pm | Wild Kratts ‘Elephant Brains!’ April 25 | 8:00am & 3:00pm | Nature Cat ‘Garden Impossible/Agents of the Great Outdoors’
April 25 | 10:30am | Splash and Bubbles ‘Lights Out!/Catching Some Zzzs’ 
April 26 | 6:00am & 3:30pm | Wild Kratts ‘Sloth Bear Suction’
April 26 | 10:30am | Splash and Bubbles ‘The Job Search/Reeftown’s Got Talent!’ 

Explore the Outdoors Activities from PBS KIDS:

Wild Kratts Nature Journal (pdf)
Curious George’s Pinwheel (pdf)
I Spy Peg (pdf)
Dinosaur Train’s Nature Collection (pdf)
Dee’s Nature Poetry (pdf)

Jessup Frustrated With PA’s Response To Yellow Power Plant Smoke

Residents of Jessup say they are not satisfied with the response from the state Department of Environmental Protection, after a new natural gas power plant spewed yellow-colored smoke and prompted health complaints earlier this month. The Invenergy plant being built in Lackawanna County started emitting noxious smoke on March 3. According to Jessup Borough Council President Jerry Crinella, DEP sent two people to investigate on March 6, but after they walked around, they said they couldn’t see or smell anything. Read full story here. 

Sunoco Appeals PA’s Stop Work Order

Sunoco is appealing the Department of Environmental Protection’s January 3 order to halt construction on the Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline.

A Few IBMers Learn The Latest Details In Clean Up Of Endicott’s Toxic Plume

The front row of folding chairs was empty. Eight people showed up to the meeting in the hall at the First United Methodist Church on McKinley Avenue, just a block away from the Huron Campus. It’s a tragic story: IBM employed the town, cut their jobs, then left Endicott contaminated. These folks have been through a lot – they have friends and relatives with cancer. One guy is working on a film about the contamination.

Judge Fines Environmental Attorneys $52,000 For ‘Frivolous’ Injection Well Suit

A federal judge has ordered a pair of attorneys for an environmental group to pay $52,000 in legal fees to an energy company because, the judge said, they filed a “frivolous” legal challenge to a fracking waste injection well in Indiana County. U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter of the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled the attorneys, Thomas Linzey and Elizabeth Dunne, should pay part of Pennsylvania General Energy’s (PGE) legal fees for advancing a “discredited” legal argument that had already been defeated in prior decisions. In addition to the fine, the judge referred Linzey to the state Supreme Court Disciplinary Board for additional discipline. Read full story here. 

A Surge, Then A Fade For Pennsylvania’s Wind Industry

While the wind power industry booms across the United States thanks to favorable federal and state policies, the development of new wind farms has stalled in Pennsylvania. More than two dozen wind farms popped up across the state leading up to 2012, but only one in the years since. Read full story here. 

MLK’s Environmental Justice Legacy Threatened By Trump Administration Cuts

It was a stormy night in Memphis, Tennessee, and Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t feeling very well. He had a slight fever and a sore throat, and felt exhausted after the trip to the city that would see him die. But he got up from his bed at the Lorraine Motel and joined hundreds of striking sanitation workers gathered at the Bishop Charles Mason Temple. Public garbage collectors were demanding equal rights and accusing the city of neglect and abuse. It was April 3rd 1968, the night before his assassination, and the third time he had traveled to Memphis to support the strike.

Proposed Waste-To-Energy Trash Incinerator Causing Stir In Finger Lakes

SYRACUSE (WRVO) – A proposed incinerator in Seneca County that could turn trash into electricity is drawing some criticism from the community. The Rochester-based Circular enerG wants to build the 48-acre facility on part of the now empty Seneca Army Depot in Romulus, a Finger Lakes town between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. It would burn solid municipal waste, brought in by truck and or rail, to power a turbine. The company hopes to start construction on the project in 2019 and be ready to start burning by 2021. At that point, Circular enerG estimates it could accept 1,300 tons of trash per day, resulting in less than 25 megawatts.

New York’s Green Party Offers Its Own ‘State Of The State’

SYRACUSE (WRVO) – The Green Party in New York offered up its own State of State address last week, with a series of ideas the party says will push the state forward. Howie Hawkins, a two-time gubernatorial candidate for the Green Party, says there are things his party liked in Gov. Cuomo’s list of 2018 legislative priorities, but there’s not enough to pull them on board. “He’s socially progressive but economically, he’s pretty conservative,” said Hawkins. “And the system isn’t changing. And when you get to issues like poverty and the struggles of middle income people, he offers nothing.”

Hawkins says Cuomo’s 2018 legislative agenda doesn’t go far enough on several fronts, including promoting clean energy and  reforming public campaign financing.  And as far as a multi-billion dollar budget deficit the state faces,  Hawkins says the answer is easy.

Trump Proposes Oil And Gas Drilling Off The Atlantic Coast

President Trump wants to open up almost all federal waters to offshore drilling, including waters along the coasts of New Jersey and Delaware. The draft proposalcould lead to the largest lease sale ever. But the plan would face substantial opposition along the New Jersey and Delaware shorelines. Read full story here. 

EPA Union Leader: Public Records Request Was ‘Retaliation’

With looming budget cuts threatening jobs, employees at the Environmental Protection Agency have something else to worry about. A private agency investigated employees who criticized the EPA, according to a report in the New York Times. When EPA union official Gary Morton protested proposed budget cuts during his lunch hour last March outside EPA’s Region 3 headquarters in Center City Philadelphia, he didn’t think it would lead to a public records request regarding his emails. Read full story here. 


New York’s Fracking Ban Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

In 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a bold statement by banning hydraulic fracturing in the Empire State, declaring alongside his health commissioner that “no child should live near” a shale-gas well because of its potential harm. 

The governor’s proclamation made him a hero among environmentalists and persona non grata in the oil and gas industry. Energy in Depth, an industry-funded website, criticized Cuomo for basing the moratorium on dubious science “to kowtow to Yoko Ono, Mark Ruffalo, and all of the environmental pressure groups in New York.”

In truth, though, the picture is murkier, and Cuomo’s ban is less than absolute. Moratorium notwithstanding, New York is still reaping the rewards of fracking, importing shale gas from neighboring Pennsylvania and preparing to process it in a mammoth power plant under construction 65 miles northwest of New York City. Read full story here. 


PA Eyes New Land For Abandoned Mine Cleanup

Environmental officials in Pennsylvania have long focused on cleaning up the most hazardous old mines, but they plan to start addressing other abandoned mining sites that pose fewer public health dangers. Patrick McDonnell, secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, announced Tuesday that his agency is developing a program aimed at converting these spaces into recreation areas. “Traditionally the moneys we’ve had available for mining have been focused on dangerous highwalls, major stream impacts, things like that,” he said. Red full story here. 


Tompkins Health Department Warns Of Blue Green Algae In Cayuga Lake

The Tompkins County Health Department says harmful blue-green algae has been found in Cayuga Lake. In a press release, the Department says the Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) have been “visually identified” on each side of the Southern end of the lake, and that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has confirmed the HABs.  Ingesting water infected by blue-green algae can make humans and pets ill. The Department is urging residents to look out for strongly colored water, a paint-like surface and floating mats or scum. You can see sample images here of both HABs and non-toxic green algal blooms. Boiling, chlorinating, or otherwise treating your water will not make it safe to use during a bloom. The Department has this instruction: “During a bloom, do not drink, prepare food, cook, or make ice with water from the lake or from beach wells.” Pets should also be kept from drinking untreated surface water.


This Huge Plant Can Cause Burns, Blindness

    Giant Hogweed is an invasive plant that can be dangerous to your health and the environment. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has a hotline to call if you think you see the plant. The state even has a Giant Hogweed Control Crew.   Alexander Wyatt is on the crew. On a recent trip to Candor, NY, he and a partner cleared younger, smaller plants from a residence.


Lawmakers, PA Officials Clash Over Regulatory Oversight

HARRISBURG (WSKG) — GOP lawmakers and the Wolf administration have renewed their sparring over state government regulation, butting heads on environmental rules.  The discussion in a House State Government committee meeting was ostensibly focused on Department of Environmental Protection regulations. However, it also delved into some more deep-seated disagreements over how the commonwealth is run. Officials from the DEP testified before the panel, primarily about general permit revisions to methane regulations, which some lawmakers contend need to have more legislative oversight. Secretary Patrick McDonnell maintained that the state is doing all it is required to under Independent Regulatory Review Commission guidelines. But as former DEP Secretary Mike Krancer pointed out, the issue goes beyond methane regulations.

Ithaca Researchers Find Oil Spill Cleanups Often Delayed

ALBANY (WSKG) – Environmental advocates say that New York state officials could do a better job of cleaning up pollution sites caused by the fossil fuels industry that they say in some cases, have dragged on for decades. Cuomo’s environmental aides defend their record.  An Ithaca-based environmental research group analyzed data on dozens of alleged toxic spills for just one company — Exxon Mobil. Walter Hang, with Toxics Targeting, says he got the idea to file a Freedom of Information Act request for all of the company’s sites being investigated by state officials when he was doing work last year against the proposed expansion of a gas pipeline across wide swaths of the state. Hang says he discovered the remains of a pipeline first constructed in the 1880s by Exxon Mobil’s predecessor, Standard Oil Company. It stretches from Olean, across the Southern Tier and into New Jersey.

Swing Into Spring with Curious George

You know it must be springtime if a curious monkey named George is dancing on the balcony at sunrise! The Man with the Yellow Hat is sure that George has spring fever, and he takes George to the park to experience all the wonders of spring. George is so excited about spring that he wants Hundley to have spring fever, too, but Hundley and the Doorman are busy trying to win the Mayor’s spring cleaning prize. When a broken water pipe floods the building, Hundley has to stay with George in the country, and George tries to make sure Hundley enjoys spring, too. Even blooming flowers, baby animals and a canoe ride can’t make Hundley love spring. What’s worse – Hundley gets lost in the country!

Wild Kratts: Back in Creature Time

In the special, Aviva unveils her most secret invention yet – the Time Trampoline! Now the Kratts crew can jump back in time and finally meet extinct creatures like the Dodo bird and the mysterious Tasmanian Tiger. Part 1 | The Wild Kratts crew lament the extinction of different animals in recent history and how they’ll never ever be able to see them. Aviva decides that it’s finally time to unveil her most secret invention yet – the Time Trampoline! Using the trampoline, the Wild Kratts jump back in time to meet the extinct Dodo Bird of Mauritius.

New PBS KIDS Episodes Encourage Families to Explore the Outdoors

PBS KIDS celebrates Earth Month with its annual Explore the Outdoors initiative and a special week of new episodes of Nature Cat and Wild Kratts including the 100th episode of Wild Kratts on April 28 in a 100-themed show! Catch this special week of programming on WSKG TV.  New Wild Kratts episodes will air beginning Monday, April 25, 2016 at 7:00am and 5:00pm.  The new Nature Cat shows air at 8:00am and 3:30pm.


How are You Celebrating Earth Day?

Earth Day was established in 1970 to give a voice to an emerging consciousness, channeling human energy toward environmental issues. It is a day to reflect to on how you can make a difference in creating a more sustainable world. Here are some PBS KIDS and PBS programs highlighting Earth Day activities:

Plum Landing game: A series of globetrotting ecosystem puzzles inspired by “escape room” adventure games. Plum Landing Nature Changer Game: Play as 30 different animals and customize game mechanics like speed, the number of predators, and goals for a nearly infinite amount of combinations! PSB KIDS Explore the Outdoors

Check out these PBS Earth Day specials. Frontline Heat covers a far-reaching investigation into America’s energy landscape and what can be done to save our planet – and what it will take.

Celebrate the Outdoors with 'Cyberchase' Activities

WSKG celebrates the environment with Cyberchase!  Our Cyberchase pick of the week is this online collection of nature-themed activities that are low-cost/no-cost and easy to replicate at home or in the classroom. Topics include wind power, temperature, recycling, fog, ecosystems, and more.  Cyberchase airs on WSKG TV Fridays at 5:30pm and Saturday & Sunday at 10:30am.  Tune in to support math and environmental lessons.

Explore the Outdoors with WSKG and Tanglewood Nature Center

Join WSKG’s Youth Focused team on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at Tanglewood Nature Center.  Activities will include a scavenger hunt, sensory safari, screenings of the new, hit PBS KIDS show Nature Cat, and more!  This free event runs from 10:00am to noon and is open to the community.  Call 607.732.6060 with questions. Parents, do your kids love Nature Cat?

Explore the Outdoors with WSKG and Tanglewood Nature Center

Join WSKG’s Youth Focused team on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at Tanglewood Nature Center.  Activities will include a scavenger hunt, sensory safari, screenings of the new, hit PBS KIDS show Nature Cat, and more!  This free event runs from 10:00am to noon and is open to the community.  Call 607.732.6060 with questions. Parents, do your kids love Nature Cat?

Seed to Table Lessons with 'Cyberchase'

WSKG is proud to air Cyberchase and we love learning about math and the environment!  Our Cyberchase pick of the week is the episode ‘A Seedy Business’ and you can watch it here:

Episode Description
The citizens of Factoria are back to work, but the benefactor of their factory is Hacker, and he serves the employees unhealthy meals from vending machines. To get the Factorians out of Hacker’s clutches, the CyberSquad must show them how to grow their own food. For Real segment: Harry and Bianca volunteer at a farm that raises organic livestock and grows healthy foods. They learn about proper gardening, and the benefits of eating seed-to-table.

Artistic CYBERCHASE fans!

Thank you to the talented Cyberchase fans from Binghamton, NY for sharing these creations with us!  

We’re glad you liked learning about recycling, reusing, reducing, and recycling. Our planet will be a healthier place to live because you are taking care of your environment. Keep up the great work! Do you have a CYBERCHASE fan in your life?