Allegheny Front

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

The Lure Of The Saw-Whet Owl

Apr 19, 2018

The Northern saw-whet owl is the symbolic face of conservation in Pennsylvania. The Wild Resource Conservation Program uses a saw-whet owl as its emblem, and the Commonwealth featured a saw-whet owl on its first specialty state license plate in 1993.

Fish, Birds And Mussels Get Their Own Business Plan In Pennsylvania

Apr 12, 2018

A new conservation strategy is underway in Western Pennsylvania. The Western Pennsylvania Business Plan for Restoration of Healthy Forests and Freshwater Habitat prioritizes funding for projects that focus on key species in important ecosystems to ultimately restore healthy forests and freshwater habitat in the region. The plan was developed with numerous conservation groups headed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The Health Risks Of Fracking From A To Z

Mar 29, 2018
Alex Brandon / AP

Over the last 4 years, the Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility have compiled a list of studies and reports which outline what they call “the risks and harms of fracking” to public health.

Ohio River Town Reacts To EPA Settlement To Reduce Manganese In The Air

Mar 27, 2018
EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently signed a consent decree with the Pittsburgh-based S.H. Bell Company to reduce manganese pollution from the company. 

Can This Bird Survive Climate Change? The Answer Could Be In Its DNA

Mar 15, 2018
Mary Corporan Dunn / Flickr

new study in the journal Science finds there are genetic differences in yellow warblers that live in different parts of the U.S. and Canada, and some of those populations seem to be more genetically vulnerable to climate change than others.

Rachael Bay is the lead author of the study, at the University of California-Davis and the Bird Genoscape Project.

Why I'm Addicted To Bird Nestcams (And You Should Be Too)

Mar 8, 2018
Peter Bell

*This story was originally published April 22, 2016. 

Ah, Spring! The time of year when we’re glued to our computers and cell phones watching live webcams pointed at the nests of celebrity birds of prey. We’re totally absorbed as they hatch eggs and raise their downy babies.

Scott Heppell / AP

The Trump administration has been in office for a little over a year, and it’s done a lot to change the federal government’s stance on environmental issues from announcing the US’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, to opening up thousands of miles of U.S. coastline to offshore drilling. So what’s the impact of all these changes?

Have You Seen This Bad Bug?

Mar 1, 2018
Lawrence Barringer / Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org

In the summer of 2014, a Pennsylvania game commission officer named Frank Strathmeyer spotted a bug he’d never seen before in Berks County. It was about an inch long, with dark spots and red hind wings. He called it in to the state.

 

“And lo and behold it became our first discovery of spotted lanternfly in the northern hemisphere,” says Strathmeyer. “Not just in Pennsylvania, but in all of North America.”

Environmental Group: Methane Pollution Higher Than PA Thinks

Feb 23, 2018
Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

An environmental group says that Pennsylvania’s gas drilling industry is releasing much more methane into the atmosphere than the state is reporting.

A Surge Of Black Lung Disease In Appalachia

Feb 22, 2018
Timothy D. Easly / AP

An ugly legacy of the coal mining industry is making a comeback in Appalachia. Despite regulations meant to protect workers from toxic coal dust, a whole new generation of miners is being diagnosed with the most severe form of black lung disease. 

Are Pipelines To Blame For Decline In Ancient Salamanders?

Feb 9, 2018
Dave Herasimtschuk / Freshwaters Illustrated

As the natural gas industry matures in our region, construction of big transmission pipelines like the Constitution and the Rover continue make headlines. But there are also thousands of miles of smaller pipelines being built in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to connect drilling well pads to the energy distribution system. These lines have far less oversight and could be having big impacts on smaller streams, and the wildlife that lives there.

How Pipelines Are Changing The Dynamics Of PA Forests

Feb 8, 2018
Courtesy of Lillie Langolis

Some migratory birds need the deep, dark cover of Pennsylvania’s forests to breed. But natural gas development has cut into their habitat. 

Great Lakes Islanders Band Together To Get Through The Winter

Feb 1, 2018
Lisa Brohl

There are about 32,000 islands in the Great Lakes. Most are uninhabited. But for those who live year-round on about 30 of them, it can be an isolating experience. 

Industry Gets A Pass On Accidental Bird Deaths

Jan 25, 2018
Dennis Schroeder / National Renewable Energy Labratory

This year, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act turns 100. It protects more than 1,000 species of birds from a host of threats, including disruption of nesting sites and illegal trade. 

Trump's USDA Moves Closer To Scrapping Animal Welfare Rule

Jan 19, 2018
Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs

A carton of organic eggs can cost more than double the price of regular eggs — so, what are you paying for? When it comes to the treatment of livestock and poultry, there are some murky areas. Many in the organic industry pushed for a new rule, issued at the end of the Obama administration, aimed, in part, at ensuring that the green and white organic seal on the egg carton means the chickens actually spent time outdoors.

Inside The EPA's Regulatory Rollback Machine

Jan 19, 2018
Evan Vucci / AP

The Trump administration has rolled back 60 environmental policies at last count. But what does this rollback mean and how it is affecting the work of the agency charged with protecting America’s environment and public health? ProPublica reporter Talia Buford dug into the story of one EPA rule that took the agency a decade to craft and the Trump administration just months to undo.

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.

Pages