Environment

Alabama and the Oil Spill: Gulf Fish Numbers Up

Since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, marine scientists have come upon a surprising finding: more fish. Researchers at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab report dramatic increases in some species. But the seafood industry is responding to the news with a wave of skepticism.

Alabama and The Oil Spill: GM to Recycle Booms into Chevy Volt

As oil spill cleanup continues along the Gulf coast, one of the big questions is what to do with oil-soaked booms. Clean-up crews deployed about 100 miles of booms along the Alabama and Louisiana coast. Environmental groups worry those used booms could end up in landfills. But General Motors has announced plans to repurpose the booms as parts for its new electric hybrid car.

Alabama and the Oil Spill: Environmental Justice

This week, environmental leaders from across the country will meet in Washington for the White House Environmental Justice Forum and the BP Gulf Oil Spill will be front and center.

Rent-a-Goat Business Takes Off

What do you do when you've got a large tract of land that's overgrown with weeds and brush? You could bring in big lawnmowers and bushhogs. But if you don't want the carbon dioxide they spew into the air, you might consider something a little more low-key: renting goats.

E-Recycling

You recycle, right? Of course you do! But what about that "less-than-smart-phone" you just replaced with the latest model? What about those batteries in the clock? Sometimes it's hard to know what to do with electronic gizmos, but as WBHM's Tanya Ott reports some e-recycling is up dramatically in the south.

WBHM Partners on Gulf Coast Consortium to Cover Oil Spill

WBHM is partnering with public media outlets across the Gulf Coast region to create the Gulf Coast Consortium, a multi-media project to expand reporting on the Gulf oil spill.

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Conservation: The Behavior Gap

What are you doing to help the environment? Have you ditched the plastic water bottles and carry a reusable one instead. Maybe you bike to work a couple days a week. According to a recent study, there's sometimes a big gap between what we say we should do and what we actually do.

Oil Spill and Hair Sausages

Many of us watch the coverage of the BP Oil Spill and wonder: What can we do to help? Some people are traveling to the Gulf region to volunteer. But others who can't make the trip are getting creative with hair?

New EPA Sulfur Dioxide Rules

Next week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will release much-anticipated new rules limiting sulfur dioxide in the air. When sulfur dioxide spews from smoke stacks and diesel engines it can cause acid rain. But that's just the beginning of the problem.

Alabama and the Oil Spill: Seafood Safety

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is looming over the seafood industry. Early tests don't show substantial chemical contamination of Gulf seafood. But officials have closed many fishing grounds. And that means we're going to see more imported seafood in the coming months. But as WBHM's Tanya Ott reports, some people question the safety of those imports.

Alabama and the Oil Spill: Hurricane Season

Hurricane season starts in just a few weeks, and experts say it's going to be an active year. What happens if a tropical storm hits while there's still oil in the gulf waters?

Alabama and the Oil Spill: Protecting the Beaches

BP continues to try to stop the flow from the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil has already come ashore in Louisiana. And other coastal communities are scrambling to prepare. As WBHM's Tanya Ott reports, volunteers in Alabama are taking some low-tech steps to protect the shore.

The Oil Spill & Alabama

Governor Bob Riley and Alabama's cabinet heads are working on plans to deal with the massive oil spill that threatens to come ashore this weekend. When an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana exploded last week, gulf coast officials knew they had a problem on their hands. But it's worse than they originally thought.

US 280: The Environmental Perspective

All this week on Morning Edition/All Things Considered we're examining the state's proposed elevated toll road for U.S. 280. Yesterday we talked with someone from the Birmingham Business Alliance, one of the plan's biggest cheerleaders. Today, we hear from Gil Rogers, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Seagrass Beds in Crisis

Alabama is losing sea grass beds at an alarming rate, according to researchers at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. A new aerial survey indicates that Mobile Bay lost nearly 1,400 acres of sea grass in recent years. That comes on top of significant grass losses over the last quarter century.

Southern Environmentalism

When Forbes Magazine ranked states by their "greenness" the usual suspects topped the list - Vermont, Oregon, and Washington, all progressive states known for their environmental movements. Seven out of the ten "least green" states were in the South, the land of coal mines and timber plots. But as WBHM's Tanya Ott reports there's a growing environmental movement down south and some of its members might surprise you.

Restoring Wetlands on Farmlands

Hundreds of years ago the Mississippi Delta was covered with hardwood forests that could withstand seasonal flooding. In the early 20th century, levvies and dams were installed to drain land for row crops. Some of that land has since been turned back into wetlands, and a new study tracks how that's effected wildlife.

Greening the Greens

This time of year golf might be the farthest thing from your mind. But during the off-season golf course managers get to strategize how to best treat their million dollar turf. Some golf courses have a bad rap with environmentalists. But as WBHM's Tanya Ott reports there's a budding green movement in the golf industry.

Estrogen Contamination in Waterways

A recent report from the U.S. Geological Survey confirms past findings that fish are in trouble. They're turning up with lesions and intersexed, meaning they have both male and female characteristics. What does this mean for humans?

Tri-State Water Wars: Atlanta

It's called "the economic engine of the South". Atlanta, Georgia's population has exploded in the last two decades. But with that growth come environmental problems... like where to get enough drinking water. Georgia, Florida and Alabama have been fighting over who gets how much water from rivers that flow through the states. And as Tanya Ott reports a decision in the federal lawsuit could effect communities across the country.

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Global Warming & National Parks

A new report warns that U.S. National Parks could be devastated by global warming. The report identifies 25 national parks, lakeshores, seashores and monuments most at risk from warming temperatures, rising sea levels and retreating snow.

Coal Ash Controversy

Every day for the rest of the year, a long train will travel through Birmingham on its way from a power plant in Tennessee to a landfill in Uniontown, Alabama. Tim Lennox has our report on the controversy the muck on board that train is causing in Alabama's Black Belt.

Birmingham: A Hub for Green Building

Green Building is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy right now. A lot of federal stimulus money is focused on weatherization and alternative energy. And James Smith believes Birmingham can be the sustainability hub of the Southeast. Smith is President and CEO of Green Building Focus. He's gathered internationally-recognized sustainability experts in Birmingham this week for a Green Building Conference.

My City Was Gone

Have an unexplained phenomenon, unusual behavior or an unexpected baby boom? You can always declare, "There must be something in the water." But for the Anniston community, this is not simply an innocuous cliche. Dumping decades ago by the Monsanto corporation has left Anniston with elevated levels of PCBs, a chemical banned since the 70s, but blamed for high rates of cancer and birth defects in the east Alabama town. Public outrage culminated in a legal settlement about 5 years ago which approached $800 million. Journalist Dennis Love followed the case in his book "My City Was Gone." The Anniston native spoke with WBHM's Andrew Yeager.

Air Quality: Portland

This week we've been talking about Birmingham's air quality: why it's bad on some days and the effect of particle pollutants on your health. We've looked at possible solutions, including 'smart traffic lights' and vehicle emissions testing. Today, we turn our focus to Portland, Oregon, which might seem like a strange choice. But a decade ago that city faced air quality problems like Birmingham's. Reporter Barbara Bernstein explains how Portland turned things around and what new challenges it faces.

Air Quality: On The Line

Birmingham's air quality has improved significantly over the last century. But you wouldn't know it. The area still has problems with smog and other particulate matter, exceeding federal standards. On the next On The Line, Monday June 23 at 6:30 p.m., our guests take your comments and questions about Air Pollution and how to clean up Birmingham.

Air Quality: Emissions

The average price of regular unleaded gas in Alabama is $3.94 a gallon, and that has many people thinking about alternatives. The Birmingham Regional Planning Commission says hundreds of people have signed up for their carpool program, and some businesses are moving to four-day workweeks. All of this could have an impact on the environment. In today's installment in our Air Quality series, reporter Gigi Douban examines vehicle emissions testing in Alabama.

Air Quality: Traffic

When people and businesses think about moving to a city they consider all kinds of things, including air quality and traffic. The two are linked, afterall. More time spent idling at traffic lights means more CO2 emissions. More air pollution. WBHM's Tanya Ott takes us on a road trip.

Air Quality: a history

Birmingham's air quality has improved significantly over the last century. But you wouldn't know it. The area still has problems with smog and other particulate matter, exceeding federal standards. WBHM's Steve Chiotakis harkens back to a time when bad air meant big Birmingham business.

Drought Update – water supply

The latest drought monitor still labels Birmingham and points north and east as in a severe drought, but it is much improved over the exceptional drought that plagued the area months ago. That was when lake levels dropped to historic lows and water restrictions were put in place.

Severe Storms

People throughout the South are cleaning up today after another round of severe weather stuck the region over the weekend. At least one tornado and severe thunderstorms tore through portions of north and central Alabama, waking people up in the middle of the night with vivid lightning, loud thunder and tornado warning sirens. There are no reports of injuries, but damage has been reported in Marion, Winston, and Cullman counties, with downed trees and power lines in many areas.

Alabama Appalachian Trail

State tourism officials are hailing their latest attraction as something hundreds of millions of years in the making. It is a natural path that connects Alabama's portion of the Appalachian Mountains to the Appalachian Trail. The decades long effort has spurred some to ask why the trail doesn't officially end in Alabama. WBHM's Steve Chiotakis reports.