Science and Environment

Environment
6:20 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Why Oklahomans Don't Like Basements

A heavily damaged home in Moore on Monday. Chances are, it doesn't have a basement.
Joshua Lott AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 7:39 pm

When Randy Keller moved from Texas to the Oklahoma City area seven years ago, he couldn't find the house he was looking for.

"I was moving from Texas, where there are also a lot of tornadoes," says the professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Oklahoma who experienced the 1970 tornado in Lubbock, Texas. "But I just couldn't find one."

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Louisiana Coast
8:36 am
Mon May 20, 2013

The Louisiana Coast: Last Call — River Diversions

The Davis Pond Freshwater Diversion Structure in 1999 and 2003. The structure part of a project that is attempting to reverse land loss and ecosystem degradation in the marshlands.

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 2:37 pm

It’s almost impossible to find anyone in coastal Louisiana opposed to the idea of “coastal restoration.” Storms like Katrina, Gustav and Isaac have shown everyone the value of the marshes and swamps that once stood between them and the Gulf.

But when “restore” means turning things back to the way they once were, problems can arise.

The best-known example of that is the conflict over using river diversions.

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Louisiana Coast
10:42 am
Thu May 16, 2013

The Louisiana Coast: Last Call — How We Got This Way: Rising Seas, Sinking Land

A street submerged by water in Venice, La. in 2010.

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 2:39 pm

The clang of tide gauges throughout parts of southeast Louisiana aren’t from a science fiction movie, though they may make residents feel like they’re caught in one.

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Louisiana Coast
9:29 am
Wed May 15, 2013

The Louisiana Coast: Last Call — How We Got This Way: Canal Dredging

Man-made canals in the Barataria Basin wetlands.
Dr. Terry McTigue NOAA

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 2:39 pm

These days when fishing guide Ryan Lambert motors away from the boat launch in Buras, he’s fishing in the what locals call “the land of used-to-bes.”

As in, that used to be Yellow Cotton Bay, or Drake Bay, or English Bay… and dozens more. It’s all one big open body of water now because the marshes, cypress swamps and ridges that separated these water bodies for most of his life are gone.

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Environment
2:29 am
Mon April 29, 2013

After Sandy, Questions Linger Over Cellphone Reliability

Residents of the East Village in New York City look for cellphone reception Nov. 1 after Hurricane Sandy wiped out power and some cell towers.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 12:07 pm

Roughly one in four cellphone towers in the path of Hurricane Sandy went out of service. It was a frustrating and potentially dangerous experience for customers without a landline to fall back on. Now, local officials and communications experts are pushing providers to improve their performance during natural disasters.

Lori McCaskill lives in Brooklyn, and when Sandy hit last October, her Verizon cell service went out. She couldn't work. She couldn't check in with family and friends. Her sister was due to have a baby any day.

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Environment
1:56 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Lionfish Attacking Atlantic Ocean Like A Living Oil Spill

Lionfish, like this one spotted in the Bahamas, are a nonnative predatory fish that can decimate native fish populations.
Cammy Clark MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 12:45 pm

A gluttonous predator is power-eating its way through reefs from New York to Venezuela. It's the lionfish.

And although researchers are coming up with new ways to protect some reefs from the flamboyant maroon-striped fish, they have no hope of stopping its unparalleled invasion.

Lad Akins has scuba dived in the vibrant reefs of the Bahamas for many years. But when he returned a couple years ago, he saw almost no fish smaller than his hand.

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Bayou Corne
3:58 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Massive Sinkhole In Louisiana Baffles Officials

After the collapse of a salt mine in south Louisiana last year, a 9-acre sinkhole has flooded the area. It also caused gas and oil leaks, and local residents are fed up.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 5:43 pm

Louisiana officials are grappling with a giant sinkhole that's threatening a neighborhood. A salt mine collapsed last year, creating a series of problems regulators say they've never seen before, including tremors and oil and gas leaks and a sinkhole that now covers 9 acres.

Residents have been evacuated for more than seven months now and are losing patience.

Ernie Boudreaux lives in a trailer on Jambalaya Street in Bayou Corne, La. Strange things have been happening to his home, he says.

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2010 BP Oil Spill
5:42 am
Mon March 11, 2013

From Oiled Shores to the Courtroom: NPR's Debbie Elliott on the BP Oil Spill

Credit Christy Haynes/NPR

Debbie Elliott is NPR’s national correspondent based in Alabama. She has covered the 2010 BP oil spill, and its aftermath, since the beginning.

Reporting in Terrebone Parish in 2010, Elliott met the Chauvin family that had been shrimpers for five generations before the disaster. Now covering the trial over BP’s liability for the spill, Elliott tells WRKF’s Ashley Westerman that family story is one that has stuck with her.

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Deepwater Horizon
11:02 am
Sun March 3, 2013

BP Trial Heads Into Second Week

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 1:03 pm

BP executives are gearing up for testifying at the second week of a federal trial in New Orleans over its 2010 oil spill. Officials from the oil giant have so far blamed other companies for the disaster.

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Deepwater Horizon
10:58 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Judge Approves Transocean Civil Settlement

A federal judge has approved Transocean Ltd.'s agreement with the Justice Department to pay $1 billion in civil penalties for its role in the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said in his ruling Tuesday that he found "no just reason for delay" in approving the civil settlement.

Last week, a different judge approved Transocean's criminal settlement with the federal government. The company pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and will pay an additional $400 million in criminal penalties.

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