Allegheny Front

Allegheny Front is a radio program covering environmental issues in Western Pennsylvania.

America's Freshwater Is Getting Saltier, And That's Not Good

Jan 11, 2018
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A new study finds that the freshwater we rely on for drinking water and industry is getting saltier. 

Who Will Pay For Trump's Plan To Bail Out Coal?

Jan 4, 2018
John Raby / AP

We  all remember the financial and auto bailouts during the Great Recession. They arguably saved significant parts of the economy from even further destruction. The Trump administration says the federal government now needs to step in to prop up the coal and nuclear industries.

Glitter Spreads More Than Holiday Cheer

Dec 22, 2017
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Recently at Little House, Big Art, a crafting studio in Pittsburgh’s Spring Hill neighborhood, 8-year-old Imogen Nowak looks for just the right beads. She’s making a necklace, and while she’s not using any glitter today, it’s a favorite. “I add glitter to things that I’m making or things that I love,” she says. “It adds a little sparkle to life.”

In Their Quest For World Domination, Invasive Plants Can Adapt To New Climates

Dec 22, 2017
USDA Forest Service

Invasive  species tend to do well in new places, and they can push out native species. There’s an assumption that they do better in the same kind of environment as the country they came from.

Turns Out Birds Like To Eat Local, Too

Dec 21, 2017
Mark Duncan / AP

Native plants are better for birds than non-native plants.

That’s the main finding of a study on chickadees and the caterpillars they eat.

 

Desiree Narango is the lead author. She’s a research fellow at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and a PhD candidate at the University of Delaware.

“From the chickadee’s perspective, it’s as if a non-native plant isn’t even there at all because they almost never forage in them,” she says.

This Age Of Humans That We're Living In? It Has A Name: Anthropocene

Dec 7, 2017
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

As visitors enter a new exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, they’re asked for their opinion.

'I Can't Just Step Away From My Grant': Scientists Grapple With EPA Head's Call To End Funding

Nov 30, 2017
Tim Evanson / Flickr

In October, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, ordered scientists who receive EPA grants to either end those grants or resign from EPA scientific advisory boards. But what about industry-backed scientists? He said they can stay.

This Thanksgiving, Put Everything On The Table

Nov 23, 2017
Loren Kerns / Flickr

Sometimes what’s on the holiday table isn’t nearly as exciting as the conversation, especially when it comes to hot topics like climate change. 

Why It's Hard To Know If Your Food Is GMO

Nov 23, 2017
Okanagan Specialty Fruits

Jean Halloran is director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union. That’s the policy and lobbying arm of Consumer Reports magazine — the people who test EVERYTHING, then tell you about it. Halloran’s been looking at GMOs with a critical eye, and Kara Holsopple spoke with her recently about them.

Kara Holsopple: How much of what’s sold to consumers in the produce aisle is actually GMO?

Would This Bleeding Veggie Burger Get You To Skip The Meat?

Nov 20, 2017
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Few things have as big an impact on our environment as the food we eat. Agriculture accounts for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. And beef production, in particular, uses copious amounts of water, when compared with other foods. So, some environmentally conscious meat lovers have been working in the lab, to create a vegan burger that bleeds like beef, without all the downsides.

They’re serving these so-called Impossible Burgers at select restaurants around the country, so we went to check it out at Pittsburgh’s high end burger place, Burgatory, on the Waterfront.  

Author Uses Pittsburgh As Model For Sustainable Future

Nov 16, 2017
Jon Dawson

Pittsburgh is leading the way to a more sustainable future. That’s the argument Patricia DeMarco makes in her new book, "Pathways to Our Sustainable Future: A Global Perspective from Pittsburgh." DeMarco uses the city’s grassroots environmental successes and commitment to sustainable building and energy use to get at themes of transformation. This week, Kara Holsopple spoke with her about the book and why she chose Pittsburgh as the backdrop.

High Manganese Levels In Kids In East Liverpool Linked To Lower IQ

Nov 10, 2017
zerozlin / Flickr

 

Building Infrastructure In The Age Of Climate Change

Nov 2, 2017
Charlie Neilbergall / AP

As Congress pays out more than 36 billion dollars in disaster relief, the General Accounting Office recommends that the federal government find ways to minimize the economic impacts of climate change.

Pennsylvania's Biggest Environmental Group Hires New CEO

Oct 30, 2017
Brandon Reefer / PennFuture

Pennsylvania's  biggest environmental group is getting a new CEO.

Jacquelyn Bonomo is succeeding Larry Schweiger as the leader of PennFuture. Schweiger is retiring.

Bonomo has been the organization’s executive vice president and COO for the past two years, and has spent more than three decades working in environmental advocacy. 

Bonomo said she didn’t get much environmental exposure while growing up in Hazelton, Pa., in the heart of the state’s anthracite coal region.

Appalachian 'Innovators' Offer New Ideas For The Region

Oct 27, 2017
Nicholas A. Tonelli / Flickr

Around 350 community activists from around Appalachia, which includes 13 states from southern New York to northern Mississippi, gathered in Pittsburgh earlier this month for a conference about transforming the region.

While nationally Appalachia is often portrayed as a poor, rural region suffering from the loss of coal jobs, Earl Gohl, federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, which sponsored the two-day conference, says there is also a lot of excitement about new ways to grow the region’s economy.

Future In Limbo For Coal Ash Site

Oct 26, 2017
Google

A Greene County coal ash landfill won’t be receiving any more coal waste until December, at the earliest. Environmental groups hope the landfill may have seen its last shipment of the waste.

Climate Reality Project Head In Pittsburgh To Train Future Climate Leaders

Oct 19, 2017
Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

This week in Pittsburgh, about 1300 people are in training to become climate leaders in their communities. That means convincing other people to make changes to their lives. But how? Ken Berlin is the president and CEO of The Climate Reality Project, which works to build public support for addressing climate change. He says it’s about communicating four key messages. The Allegheny Front’s Kara Holsopple asked him about them:

Lawsuits Around Climate Change Are On The Rise

Oct 12, 2017
Matt Wade / flickr

 

This week the Environmental Protection Agency announced it’s repealing the Clean Power Plan. That’s the Obama era rule to cut carbon emissions from power plants in order to fight climate change. The Clean Power Plan never took effect because more than two dozen states sued, arguing the EPA overstepped its legal authority. The Supreme Court had been looking into those claims.

First Pittsburgh Garbage Olympics Makes Trash Clean-Up A Competition

Oct 12, 2017
Keith Srakocic / AP

The first Pittsburgh Garbage Olympics will turn picking up litter into a sport. On Saturday morning five East End neighborhoods will go head to head in the competition to see which can pick up the most trash.

Revoking The Clean Power Plan Could Have A Big Impact In Pennsylvania

Oct 10, 2017
Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced Monday the EPA will formally propose to revoke the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s regulation for carbon dioxide from the electricity sector.

Charlie Nielbergall / AP

It’s no secret that the Trump administration is often at odds with scientists. His recent agency nominations continue to reflect that. Sam Clovis is Trump’s pick for Chief Scientist at the U.S.

Exhibit Brings The Hard Lessons Of The Petrochemical Industry Home

Sep 28, 2017
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

What do Louisiana and western Pennsylvania have in common? For one, an industry that for better or for worse inspires art.

Petrochemical America: From Cancer Alley to Toxic Valley is a new exhibit at SPACE gallery in Pittsburgh that takes a closer look at the petrochemical industry, which turns natural gas into the building blocks of plastic.

 

Please Don't Buy Japanese Barberry. Forests Will Thank You

Sep 22, 2017
Paige Walter / Allegheny Front

With reporting by Paige Walter

It would be an understatement to say that Ryan Utz is not a fan of Japanese barberry.

Utz is a professor at Chatham University’s Falk School of Sustainability, and as we walk through some damp, forested land on the property of their Eden Hall campus, north of Pittsburgh, he can hardly contain himself.

Can We Talk About Climate Change Now?

Sep 21, 2017
Gerald Herbert / AP

First Hurricane Harvey inundated Houston, then Irma unleashed savage winds on the Caribbean and parts of Florida. And then the fires – exacerbated by a severe drought – raging in the Pacific Northwest, choking the skies of Big Sky country. All of these events have links to climate change, scientists say.

How Plants Were Used To Gain Freedom On The Underground Railroad

Sep 14, 2017
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

An overlooked part of the Underground Railroad’s history is being brought back to life in Pittsburgh’s Frick Park. The From Slavery to Freedom Garden is a collaboration between the Frick Environmental Center and the Senator John Heinz History Center. 

How A Health Crisis Created A Town Full Of Environmentalists

Sep 7, 2017
National Archives

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Toms River, Dan Fagin uses history, personal narrative, health data and investigative journalism to tell the story of a small town’s decades-long struggle with chemical pollution. 

Struggling To Stay In Appalachia After Coal Layoffs

Sep 5, 2017
Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

 


Dave Hathaway is a coal miner in Greene County, in the very southwestern corner of Pennsylvania. Apart from a brief stint living in Colorado as a child, he’s lived his whole life there, and he’s never really thought much about leaving.

Alcoa

 

 

Ford kicked off a battle in the U.S. auto industry in 2015. The body of its iconic F-150 truck went from being made of steel to being made of aluminum. Ford touted the benefits of aluminum in its advertising. Its lighter weight shaved 700 pounds off the F-150, improving fuel efficiency, and reducing tailpipe emissions.

2 Dead And 4 Injured At Pittsburgh-Area Coal Plant Accident

Aug 30, 2017
Keith Srakocic / AP

Two workers died and four others were injured in an accident at a Pittsburgh-area coal-fired power plant late Tuesday.

Renewables In The Trump Era: Doomed Or Too Big To Fail?

Aug 24, 2017
John Stamets / Flickr

Donald Trump is a big fan of fossil fuels. Renewables not so much.

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