environment

Ben Thompson / Ocmulgee Audobon Society

When Ben Thompson was a kid, he was like a lot of other kids in that he liked watching the nature shows on public television.

“And they would show specials every once in a while about the wildebeest migration in Africa or, you know, Caribou or reindeer in Alaska, and those were great migrations,” Thompson said. “You know, I may never go to those places I can see the great migration in my backyard.”

For a kid growing up in Perry, Georgia, the backyard meant a patchwork of cotton and peanut fields, wetlands and patchy woods that characterize middle Georgia farmland. As for his great migration, he meant the Sandhill Crane. 

 


Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Gloria Hammond remembers the day the man from Georgia Power came to talk about buying the home she shared with her husband Cason.  They were just back from the hospital. The man gone no farther than the front yard.

 

“I said, ‘Look, I'm telling you right now, we're not selling nothing right now,’” Hammond said. “Because I already knew Cason was terminal.”

By terminal she meant Cason was already sick with the cancer that eventually took his life. By then, most everyone else up and down Luther Smith Road in Juliette had already sold out to the utility. 

 


Grant Blankenship / GPB

When trash leaves your house and goes to the landfill, that landfill has features in place that keep liquids from the trash from getting into groundwater. Right now, those features are not required for Georgia landfills that store the toxic coal ash from power plants.

A bill filed this week in the Georgia Legislature would bring coal ash storage rules in line with the rules for your household garbage.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

The U.S. Forest Service is in the planning stages of a massive, perhaps even first of its kind forest management project at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains.

The Foothills Landscape Project takes in a little over 157,000 acres of the Chattahoochee National Forest, a little over twice the footprint of the city of Atlanta, running in an arc from the Tennessee border north of Chatsworth over to Rabun County.

The public has through Friday, Jan. 10 to weigh in.


Courtesy of Georgia Tech
Justin Chan Photography

Amid the buzz of the Nov. 20 Democratic debate in Georgia, you may have missed that former Pres. Barack Obama was in town for another event.  He delivered the keynote address at the GreenBuild International Conference in Atlanta.  


Altamaha Riverkeeper

There is definitely oil in the marshes near St. Simon’s island where a shipping vessel capsized this month.

That’s the conclusion of University of Georgia Marine Scientist Mandy Joye and others who sampled the marshes last week.

Altamaha Riverkeeper

More than a week after a cargo ship capsized in the St. Simons Sound on the Georgia coast, oil is being found on grasses in nearby marshes. The first oil was discovered earlier in the week by the Altamaha Riverkeeper. It comes in with each new tide and looks similar to rings on a tree.

Rick Bowmer / AP

Transportation — trucks, trains, planes and automobiles — is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Electric vehicles offer a less polluting alternative. That, and reduced fuel costs are strong selling points. Limited battery range is not.

But shorter distances, and those savings, work for many local governments. Last month, Savannah added two new electric cars to its city fleet. Nick Deffley is the director of Savannah's Office of Sustainability. He joined On Second Thought from GPB's studio in Savannah to talk about how the city began its transition to electric vehicles.


National Geographic

By 2050, the world's population is expected to reach 9.8 billion people. According to a report by the United Nations, nearly 70% of them are projected to live in urban areas. 

The Brunswick News

Coastal residents and conservation groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday over the proposed Spaceport Camden.

They said Camden County is breaking state and federal open record laws by withholding information about safety and potential risks to residents and tourists during rocket launches.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

A new report by the Altamaha River Keeper, Environment Georgia and others looks at the Georgia data from a first ever national survey of coal ash storage by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Associated Press

Nine environmental groups are suing the federal government to block seismic air gun testing for oil off the Southeast US coast.

 

The testing uses blasts of sound to test for oil deposits and is a precursor to offshore drilling. Conservationists say it would harm marine life, including critically endangered right whales.

Federal Aviation Administration

The Southern Environmental Law Center is suing the Federal Aviation Administration for documents related to the proposed Camden County Spaceport.


Emily Jones / GPB News

On a recent hot and humid summer day, the St. Simon’s Island fishing pier offered some shade and a nice breeze for lots of people fishing and crabbing.

 

But that wasn’t all they were doing. Many were smoking. And their cigarette butts had to go somewhere.


Leighton Rowell / GPB

Atlanta is known as the “city in a forest." More than 1/3 of the city is covered in trees, standing well above most American cities

But as Atlanta experiences a development boom, the green canopy is shrinking. Private property is the main factor behind this destruction. 

Pollution and global warming rank near the top of environmentalists' growing list of concerns. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, another menace to the environment is in many people's own backyards. Over a two day period, the EPA studied waste from 100 dogs. The findings were alarming; there were enough bacteria to force the closing of a city’s watershed. Anna Truszczynski from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division explains how dog feces is an environmental hazard.

Pexels

Pollution and global warming rank near the top of environmentalists' growing list of concerns. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, another menace to the environment is in many people's own backyards.

For Mark Sanchez, being a peach grower means "you pretty much stay worried all year. That's because for peaches to bloom in the spring, peach trees have to stay cold in the winter. At Lane Southern Orchards in Fort Valley, Georgia, that means getting 650-850 "chill hours" — or hours under 45 degrees Fahrenheit — between November and February. But last year, conditions didn't even come within range. By Sanchez's estimate, Fort Valley only got about 550 cold hours. Whereas a typical peach season goes through mid-August, Lane wrapped up operations in early July. So after this year's cold winter, Sanchez, Lane's CEO, is more optimistic. We talked to him about what we can expect from this year's peach season and what makes Georgia the peach state even though other states have surpassed our production levels. 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Ready to put your winter clothes away? Not so fast. Although temperatures across the state are predicted to reach into the 70s this weekend, cooler than average spring weather is projected to stick around Georgia until at least the beginning of May. In Atlanta, lows have approached century-old records for this time of year. In middle and south Georgia, the National Weather Service projects a 40 percent chance of below normal temperatures. 

What makes Vidalia onions so special that they get their own festival — and declaration as Georgia's official state vegetable? We asked Delbert Bland of Bland Farms in Glennville, Georgia. He's been in the Vidalia business for decades and gave us a taste of the history and science behind this sweet onion.  

Mike Gonzalez / Wikimedia Commons

Georgia has been at war with Alabama and Florida over tri-state water use for decades. More recently, Tennessee entered the mix

The legal dispute began in 1990, when Alabama and Florida sued Georgia and the Army Corps of Engineers (COE) over a COE recommendation that a dam on the Chattahoochee River be used to supply Atlanta with water, rather than the states of Florida and Alabama. 

UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography

When we talk about Coastal Georgia’s salt marshes, it’s often in terms of how pretty they are, or all the birds and other species that live there. But how much are they worth? Oceanographer Bill Savidge, of the University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, has tallied up the value of the “goods and services” the marshes provide - from commercial and recreational fishing to storm surge protection.

 

GPB’s Emily Jones asked Savidge why he decided to put the marshes in economic terms.

Lauren Packard / NOAA/Flickr

Right whales are Georgia’s state aquatic mammal, and around this time of year they’re usually right off our coast having their calves. But this year, only three whales have been spotted, and none of them are calves. Environmental changes and human activity seem to be jeopardizing the endangered whales’ livelihoods.

So, how worried should we be? With us by phone was Clay George, biologist and head of right whale work for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

 

 

  

 

The Associated Press

Last week, the Coca-Cola Company unveiled an ambitious plan to recycle a bottle or can for every drink it sells by 2030. It is the latest move by the Atlanta-based soda giant to address environmental concerns tied to its production. Will this plan work?

Cleaning Up Georgia's Coal Ash Ponds

Nov 13, 2017
Flickr

Coal ash is a toxic substance. For years it was haphazardly dumped into rivers and ponds. Within the last 10 years or so, there has been a push to clean up the way coal ash is disposed. Georgia Power has vowed to close all its dump ponds. We talk with Chris Bowers, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. We also hear from Jen Hilburn of Altamaha Riverkeeper.

Grant Blankenship

When Hurricane Irma took out the power in Marshallville, Georgia, Monday, it took the water pump behind City Hall with it. 

Since then, the 1,500 or so residents of Marshallville have had no drinking water. Officials with Georgia's Environmental Protection Division said eight South Georgia water systems are under boil advisories with more to come soon. That's where Marshallville Chief of Police Ronald Jackson said the city finds itself now that the power is back on and the water is running.

Talia Crews / flickr

Lead was banned from plumbing decades ago, but as the crisis in Flint, Michigan shows, lead contamination lasts a long time. A new investigation into Georgia’s water systems finds they are not immune from lead contamination. We talked about the story with reporters Andy Miller of Georgia Health News and Brenda Goodman of WebMD.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

The numbers are in after four months of a six month experiment in promoting coyote hunting in Georgia. The results are mixed.

 

Trappers have turned in 176 coyotes to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources since March in what DNR is calling the Coyote Challenge. Jennifer Wisniewski, communications manager for the DNR Wildlife Resources Division, says that may sound like a lot until you consider what deer hunters do every fall.

 

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets Saturday in Washington, D.C., and cities across the globe, for the People's Climate March, demanding action on protecting the environment.

On a sweltering hot day in the nation's capital, protesters made their way down Pennsylvania Avenue chanting, singing and banging drums. Once they reached the White House, some staged a sit-in while others marched past carrying signs and shouting, "Shame, shame, shame."

Jessica Fontana / Georgia Aquarium

Atlanta might be the last place you’d look for endangered penguins, but every morning at the Georgia Aquarium begins with a Waddle Walk. That’s when staff take endangered African penguins out for a walk around the aquarium. GPB intern Olivia Reingold joined them recently to bring us this audio postcard.

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