Colstrip, Mont., is true to its name — it exists because of coal.

"Our coal's getting deeper, like everywhere else, because everybody's mining. They're getting into the deeper stuff," says Kevin Murphy, who has worked in the Rosebud Mine for 15 years running a bulldozer in the open pits.

Everything about the mine is enormous, especially the dragline, a machine as big as a ship with a giant boom that extends 300 feet up into the air. The dragline perches on the lip of the pit, scraping away hundreds of feet of rocky soil to reveal the black seam of coal below.

The government has proposed new standards to lower emissions from coal-fueled power plants. But overall, the country is relying less on coal for power. In 40 states, use of coal as a power source (as a share of all power sources) has dropped since 2004. Many of these states are increasingly relying on natural gas instead.

Sport Fishermen Target Cownose Rays In The Chesapeake Bay

Sep 10, 2015
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



Acoustic biologists who have learned to tune their ears to the sounds of life know there's a lot more to animal communication than just, "Hey, here I am!" or "I need a mate."

From insects to elephants to people, we animals all use sound to function and converse in social groups — especially when the environment is dark, or underwater or heavily forested.

Diver Dan Abbott unloads his scuba gear on a beach in Monterey, Calif. — his tank, flippers and a waterproof clipboard covered in tally marks. He spent the morning counting fish: pile perch, black perch, blue rockfish and kelp rockfish are among the 150 fish he spotted.

Abbott is diving with a team from Reef Check California, a group of volunteers doing underwater surveys by counting everything in the kelp forest in Monterey Bay.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



People in Denmark are throwing away much less food than they used to - 25 percent less according to recent numbers. Sidsel Overgaard reports one reason is Danes are becoming less intimidated by not-so-perfect food.

The French secret service frogman responsible for sinking the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior in a New Zealand harbor three decades ago has broken his long silence and apologized for the attack that killed a Portuguese photographer working for the environmental activist group.

The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing efforts to clean up an oil spill along a stretch of the Mississippi River near Columbus, Ky., after two tow boats — one carrying about 1 million gallons of a potentially toxic petroleum product — collided earlier this week.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Some of the world's most ambitious climate change legislation is currently under consideration in America. But the lawmakers in question aren't in D.C. — they're in Sacramento.

California lawmakers are intensely debating far-reaching goals to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill contains three proposals: one to double energy efficiency in buildings, one to derive 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources and one head-turning proposal to cut petroleum use in vehicles by half — all in the next 15 years.