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Going green

  1. USF kills plans for 'body farm' in Lithia


    TAMPA — A day after strong opposition emerged, the University of South Florida on Friday canceled plans to build an outdoor research facility in Lithia for studying dead bodies.

  2. State officials ponder cattle ranching and more to make money off state parks


    The new boss of the state Department of Environmental Protection, Jon Steverson, wants to make the award-winning Florida State Park system pay for itself.

    The DEP has been putting together a request for cattle ranchers to bid on taking over 6,630 acres of the 37,000-acre park, which hasn’t had any cattle in it since the state bought it in the 1930s. The proposed lease documents, which have not yet been released publicly, include a number of requirements to limit the impact from the cows’ grazing and subsequent fecal output.
  3. Core samples show parallel between Deepwater Horizon and 1979 spill that also used dispersant


    After the offshore rig sank into the sea, the oil flowed for months before anyone could stop it. Millions of gallons of crude tainted the Gulf of Mexico. To try to dissipate it before it reached shore, the rig's owner sprayed an unprecedented amount of chemical dispersant on the slick.

  4. Tampa looking at long-range project to turn reclaimed water into drinking water


    TAMPA — To grow, Tampa needs water.

  5. Business interests influencing Hillsborough environmental chief search, conservation groups say


    TAMPA — Prominent environmentalists in Tampa Bay are unhappy with how Hillsborough County is trying to replace the longtime executive director of the Environmental Protection Commission.

  6. St. Petersburg debuts solar-powered charging stations


    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.
  7. Study finds high incidence of respiratory problems in oil spill cleanup workers


    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]
  8. Q&A: Five years after Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Gulf is resilent but scarred


    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]
  9. Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf of Mexico


    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]
  10. State wildlife officials vote to bring back bear hunts (w/video)


    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.