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Environment

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.

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.

Code Red

The Birmingham metropolitan area was placed under an air quality alert once again Wednesday for particle pollution, a code red for what officials say was a particularly dangerous situation: smoke coming from wildfires burning in Georgia and Florida. Winds have shifted and the smoke has moved out of the area -- for now.

March Storms

March roared in like a lion across the Southeast and Midwest, bringing with it a band of bad weather. The system spawned several deadly storms that left a total of twenty people dead in Georgia, Missouri and Alabama -- including eight high school students in Coffee County.

Watermelon 101

It’s an age-old puzzle. You’re standing in front of dozens of gorgeous watermelons…how do you choose the best one? The experts say there are two schools of thought on that… ‘You want one that’s not a bright, shiny green…’ ‘You pat on it, like that” ‘There’s a little stem, and when it turns brown it’s […]

The Clean Air Quest

NPR News and Classical Music for North Central Alabama

Alabama Earthquake

NPR News and Classical Music for North Central Alabama

Waste Not Want Not

NPR News and Classical Music for North Central Alabama

Solemn Slolem

NPR News and Classical Music for North Central Alabama