Native Prairies, Oil-and-Gas Conversations, and Nuclear Near-shore Threats

In the midst of the holiday craziness, some Nooze for you! rebecca kesslerFirst, from Becky Kessler writing for Yale Environment 360, a look at what some folks are doing to restore the landscape of middle America:

In Midwest, Bringing Back Native Prairies Yard by Yard

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David Read is a big guy, six-foot-two, but the grass behind him inches above the crown of his khaki fisherman’s hat. He gestures off toward his house across a swishing, dancing expanse of stems, leaves, and early-autumn wildflowers, and smiles. “We wanted to sit on our back porch and watch grass swaying in the wind,” he says. Which is exactly what it’s doing this September day, finally.

It wasn’t always so. In the 1990s when he and his wife Alisande bought this property, 38 acres in exurban Dexter, Michigan, it was fallow farmland slowly succumbing to invasive shrubs. In 2003, after retiring, they set about restoring 11 acres of it to native prairie... Read more.

Karen Sharp’s house in the Water Hill neighborhood of Ann Arbor, Mich., filled with native vegetation. (Photo by Rebecca Kessler)

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sarah gilmanNext, Sarah Gilman writes for Writers on the Range about the fraught future of oil and gas in Colorado, and the way we think about energy:

Oil and gas drilling in Colorado: If not here, where?

A few weeks ago, a Texas oilman cornered me at a brewery in the high-mountain town of Ouray, in western Colorado. Some young women from Moab had just taken the table next to me and a friend, when the fellow wandered over to buy us a round.

Eventually, he revealed that he worked for ConocoPhillips. This didn't go over well with the Utah ladies, and Mr. ConocoPhillips grew defensive: Did they think the vehicle they had driven here ran on rainbows? When he found out I covered the industry as a reporter, he leaned in tipsily and asked, "Can we have a conversation? A real conversation?"... Read more

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Gary WilsonAnd Gary Wilson with Great Lakes Echo reports on Chicago Public Radio about the radioactive threat to the Great Lakes:

Nuclear power: The ultimate near shore threat to the Great Lakes

Palisades Nuclear Power Plant on Lake Michigan. (Photo courtesy U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

“I hope you rethink your really scary plan to bury radioactive waste located only half a mile from Lake Huron…”

That’s a concerned citizen responding to a Canadian nuclear power company’s proposal to store radioactive waste underground near Lake Huron for 100,000 years.

The best-known near shore threats to the Great Lakes are raw sewage and algae blooms. Both receive considerable attention from government agencies and accounts about them are regularly reported in the popular media.

The threat posed by the nuclear power plants that dot the region could easily trump both. It may be the ultimate near shore threat... Read more.