Environment & Science

Nature and Science news

Scott Willis / WAER News

A coalition of environmental and social justice groups says the pending closure of the aging FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Oswego County presents an opportunity to transition to true sources of renewable energy.  At the same time, the groups aren’t ignoring the plight of the more than 600 plant workers or the community that are so dependent on the facility.

Climate Prediction Center / Noaa.gov

  What does winter have in store? It’s the time of year again when Central New Yorkers begin to ponder what weather patterns lie ahead.  Bitter temperatures and above-average snowfall have battered the region over the past two winters. But one forecaster says this year’s models suggest this season may be a mild one. New York State climatologist Mark Wysocki spoke to us from Cornell University.  He says there is a 73 percent chance this year’s temperatures will be warmer than average.  

Black Oak Wind Farm

A wind power project that's starting construction later this year is pointing out some of the changing economics that might make it a more viable alternative energy source. Wind energy pricing is now at an all-time low according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy. The price from wind power sale agreements in 2014 fell to just 2.35 cents/kWh. 

Chris Bolt/WAER News

  Sales of electric and hybrid cars continue to inch up…though most drivers still stick to vehicles that need gas for a variety of reasons.  WAER’s Chris Bolt met up with a cruising crusader traveling through Syracuse who’s trying to change some minds.

High Profile Swim in Onondaga Lake Shows Promise of Lake's Future

Jul 23, 2015
Elana Sukert/WAER News

  Local dignitaries and residents took the plunge on Wednesday into the warm waters of Onondaga Lake. What was once considered one of the most polluted lakes in the nation, now meets the official standards for being swimmable. 


  New York State has seen a boom in solar power over the past three years…and one local expert says it’s just a start of a conversion to sustainable energy sources.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

There’s a place on Syracuse University’s South Campus where biologists are trying to figure out how woody plants behave and work. 

   Associate Professor of Biology Jason Fridley opens the gate into a garden plot that looks more like overgrown brush under a shade cloth.  It’s actually an outdoor lab for native and non-native plants.


  People standing on either side of the debate on Hydrofracking are speaking out about the State D-E-C’s final report that bans the natural gas drilling practice in New York. 


  The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has weighed in on the fracking question and is raising concerns about the adverse environmental impact of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing in New York State. While the DEC statement doesn’t explicitly state that fracking cannot be done safely, they do agree with the Health Department’s recommendation issued in December against fracking due to the uncertain risks to public health and the environment.

The impact statement released Wednesday has been in the works for over 5 years. The DEC was tasked to determine whether or not fracking could be done safely in New York State. The study incorporated community input and various academic research across the country and state, including scientific studies from Pennsylvania, where fracking is permitted and shares apart of the Marcellus shale region with New York State.

Many New York State Anti-Fracking Organizations are celebrating in support of the DEC’s findings. Water and Natural Resource Associate Liz Moran states, 

USGS / John Smith, WAER News

The weather might finally be warming up in Central New York, but a new exhibit illustrates the damaging effect climate change is having on the world’s coldest features.  “Losing a Legacy” is the name of a photography project on display at the Museum of Science and Technology revealing the dramatic decline of glaciers over the past century, especially at Glacier National Park. Exhibits project manager at the MOST Peter Plumley says the photos from the U.S. Geological Survey portend a grim future.