The Environment in Focus

The Environment In Focus
2:57 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Pollution Now Driving Evolution

For years, people thought that evolution was something that happened slowly, over thousands or millions of years. Not true, as it turns out.

Environment In Focus Podcast 7-9-2014

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The Environment In Focus
12:55 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Governor O'Malley's Visit to Iowa Sparks Protest

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's political campaigning in Iowa, a farming capital of the U.S., has sparked complaints from some environmentalists, who claim that he is pandering to the powerful farm lobby.

The Environment In Focus Podcast 7-2-2014

  Michele Merkel, co-director of the justice program at Food & Water Watch, accused O'Malley of avoiding action in his own state to regulate manure from Maryland’s huge poultry industry, which is polluting the Chesapeake BayFor example, she said, the governor in 2013 signed a law – sought by farmers and their allies -- called the “Agricultural Certainty Act.”  It provides exemptions from any new pollution control regulations for farms that meet minimum requirements.

The O’Malley administration also twice delayed poultry manure regulations that would prohibit the spreading of more poultry waste on Eastern Shore fields that are already overloaded with phosphorus from chicken litter. 

O'Malley's Secretary of Agriculture, Buddy Hance, however argues that the O'Malley Administration has made real strides toward preventing runoff pollution from farms.

For example, Hance said, the state issued regulations prohibiting the spreading of manure in the winter, and required water pollution control permits for 80 percent of the large poultry farms in Maryland.  

Hance said the administration may still issue the long-delayed manure management regulations to control phosphorus -- after conducting an economic impact study to determine the cost for farmers.

The Environment In Focus
3:37 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Farmer Profits by Flying from Big Poultry Company

After 23 years of raising chickens for Perdue, Carole Morison found she could earn more money by becoming an independent farmer and selling her own pasture-raised eggs.

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The Environment In Focus
1:14 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

President Obama's Conservative Approach to Global Warming

President Obama's proposed regulations to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from coal-fired power plants have been attacked as a neo-socialist, federal power grab. Ironically, however, his "cap and trade" strategy for reducing carbon dioxide is actually a conservative and modest approach that uses a Wall Street-friendly method of reducing pollution championed by President George H.W. Bush.

The centerpiece of the Obama Administration's climate change policy -- which calls for reductions in emissions of about one percent a year over the next 16 years -- is far from radical. 

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The Environment In Focus
1:10 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

The Last Stand for the Mouse Beaver

Nutria, also called Myocaster coypus (latin for mouse beaver), are large rodents native to South America that wreaked havoc on the Chesapeake Bay's wetlands when they were imported in the 1940's for the fur trade.

The Environment In Focus Podcast 5-28-2014

But now nutria face their last stand on Maryland's Eastern Shore.  Only a few are left after an intensive, more than decade-long trapping campaign by federal and state government agencies.

Wildlife managers have been trying to eradicate the invasive species because they eat the roots of wetlands plants. This accelerates the erosion of marshes that are important breeding grounds for fish and birds, and also work as water pollution filters that clean the Chesapeake Bay.

The Environment In Focus
1:01 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Wind Farm Resurrected by Governor's Veto

On Friday, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley used a rare veto to stop legislation that would have delayed (and perhaps killed) the first wind farm proposed for the Delmarva Peninsula.

Environment In Focus Podcast 5-21-2014

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The Environment In Focus
1:43 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Naturalist Uncovers Hidden Treasures in Maryland's Seasons

Biologist Bryan MacKay's new book, “A Year Across Maryland: A Week By Week Guide to Discovering Nature in the Chesapeake Region,” describes the miraculous diversity of the Mid-Atlantic's natural world.

Environment In Focus Podcast 5-14-2014

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Environment In Focus
1:12 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

What Works in Chesapeake Bay Restoration

Scientific data collected over three decades proves that upgrading sewage plants and government regulation of fisheries work to improve the Chesapeake Bay.  A report by U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science documents the success of clean water and air laws in cleaning up Bay tributaries. 

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The Environment In Focus
11:52 am
Tue April 29, 2014

The Balance of Sharks and Rays in the Bay

A few years ago, a massive bull shark was caught in a Chesapeake Bay tributary, creating quite a stir about "Jaws in the Potomac River."

The truth is, however, that sharks are far more likely to be prey than predator when they encounter people.

Overfishing of sharks up and down the East Coast has destabilized the balance of life in the Bay, with cownose rays multiplying -- and eating more oysters -- because there are few sharks left to eat the rays.    (Originally aired Oct. 27, 2010)

(Photo of bull shark courtesy of Buzz's Marina)

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The Environment In Focus
1:28 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Beaver Boom Dams Up Pollution Control Projects

Once nearly extinct in the East, beaver populations are booming.  Their comeback, however, is creating complications for storm water pollution control systems, which beavers love to dam up.

Stephanie Boyles Griffin, director of wildlife response for the Humane Society of the U.S., is convincing governments to use devices called "beaver deceivers." They foil beaver dams in a way that does not kill the animals.

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