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Going green

  1. St. Petersburg debuts solar-powered charging stations

    Environment

    ST. PETERSBURG — The solar-powered charging stand at Crescent Lake Dog Park was getting plenty of energy Friday morning under a sun already hot enough that Mayor Rick Kriseman's brief remarks were accompanied by thirsty dogs slurping at a nearby water fountain.

    Dogs and their owners mill about near the solar-powered charging stand at Crescent Lake Dog Park on Friday. Five stations, capable of charging cellphones and tablets even on cloudy days, thanks to a battery, are now available, including at Vinoy Park, Lake Vista and Walter Fuller dog parks. The charging stations cost about $2,500 and were built by city workers from a design by St. Petersburg’s Sunsure.
  2. Study finds high incidence of respiratory problems in oil spill cleanup workers

    Environment

    Thousands of people who were hired to help clean up after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill are experiencing problems with their respiratory systems that may be tied to their exposure to the oil, according to an ongoing government study of the spill's health impacts.

    Workers clean a beach after tar balls washed up as efforts continue to contain BP's massive oil spill on May 12, 2010, in South Pass, La. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by BP was leaking an estimated rate of 1,000-5,000 barrels of oil a day into the gulf. [Getty Images]
  3. Q&A: Five years after Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Gulf is resilent but scarred

    Water

    Five years after the BP well explosion, there is no single, conclusive answer to how the Gulf of Mexico is doing, but there are many questions. Here are some of them:

    What do scientists say?

    An endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle swims as it is released earlier this year into the Gulf of Mexico, 24 miles off the coast of Louisiana, after being rehabilitated by the Audubon Institute. After the spill, the number of the turtles' nests dropped 40 percent in one year in 2010. "We had never seen a drop that dramatic in one year before," according to Selina Saville Heppell, a professor at Oregon State University. The population climbed in 2011 and 2012 but then fell again in 2013 and 2014, down to levels that haven't been that low in nearly a decade, she said. [Associated Press]
  4. Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

    Water

    OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO — A blanket of fog lifts, exposing a band of rainbow sheen that stretches for miles off the coast of Louisiana. From the vantage point of an airplane, it's easy to see gas bubbles in the slick that mark the spot where an oil platform toppled during a 2004 hurricane, triggering what might be …

    This March 31, 2015, photo shows an oil sheen drifting from the site of the former Taylor Energy oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. An Associated Press investigation has revealed evidence that the spill is far worse than what the Taylor Energy Company - or the government - has publicly reported. Presented with AP's findings, the Coast Guard provided a new leak estimate that is about 20 times greater than one recently touted by the company. [Associated Press]
  5. State wildlife officials vote to bring back bear hunts (w/video)

    Wildlife

    TALLAHASSEE — Despite opposition from 75 percent of the people who wrote and called, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to bring back bear hunting this fall.

    Bryan Wilson of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida protests outside Wednesday's Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting included one man dressed in a bear suit and wearing a target on his chest.
  6. Grow Financial provides saplings for Earth Day

    Environment

    When customers visit any of the Tampa Bay Area's 22 Grow Financial stores on Wednesday, they'll walk away with more than a receipt and plastic-covered lollipop.

    Hayley Asab, 8, was excited to plant the red maple with her brother last year.
  7. Bear hunt on agenda for Florida wildlife commissioners this week

    Wildlife

    For 21 years, it has been illegal to hunt the black bear in Florida. That may change in the fall.

    Critics question the need for a hunt since the bear population is not known.
  8. Emails reveal concerns among refuge employees regarding people swimming with manatees

    Wildlife

    CRYSTAL RIVER — For Michael Lusk, it was a bizarre and unpleasant encounter he had with some angry people and a woman in a pink chiffon dress that made him wonder whether hands-on, up-close encounters with manatees had finally crossed the line at the most popular place in the world to swim with the endangered …

    A manatee inspects Julie Barney, right, and her mother, Laura Rogers, near Three Sisters Springs. The Crystal River Refuge is preparing new rules for interaction with manatees.
  9. Swiftmud, give us proof before selling conservation lands

    Environment

    Nearly 20 years ago, the state announced an ambitious plan to buy 32,000 acres of prized habitat called the Annutteliga Hammock.

    Turns out it was probably too ambitious.

  10. Photo of shark-eating bobcat in Florida goes viral

    Wildlife

    A Fort Pierce man said he captured a remarkable wildlife encounter Monday: a bobcat emerging from the surf near Sebastian Inlet with a shark in its jaws.

    John Bailey, a Fort Pierce sales rep, said he captured this photo of a bobcat emerging from the surf near Sebastian Inlet with a shark in its jaws while taking a walk on the beach on Monday. [Photo by John Bailey]