Environment

A small company in California is hoping to make a big splash by providing detailed flood maps to homeowners and insurance companies. And to do that, the company is using one of the fastest supercomputers in the world.

The company is called Katrisk, based in Berkeley, Calif. Hydrologist and computer modeler Dag Lohmann is one of the company's founders. He says the flood maps the Federal Emergency Management Agency already produces will tell you how prone a particular area is to flooding.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency made a mistake when it told electric power plants to reduce mercury emissions. The high court says the EPA should first have considered how much it would cost power plants to do that.

The decision comes too late for most power companies, but it could affect future EPA regulations.

Mercury in the air is a health risk. When you burn coal or oil, you create airborne mercury that can end up in fish we eat and cause serious health problems.

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Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

The Supreme court has ruled against an Obama administration effort to limit toxic mercury emissions from power plants, saying the costs of compliance should be taken into account at the very earliest stages of the regulatory process.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Before you prosecute thieves, you have to know what they stole. It's the same for crimes against nature.

The world's only lab dedicated solely to wildlife forensics is in southern Oregon. The lab usually specializes in endangered animal cases, but armed with a high-tech device, it's now helping track shipments of contraband wood.

Save Wildlife, Save Yourself?

Jun 26, 2015

Everyone knows that keeping our forests and grasslands full of wolves, bald eagles and honeybees is good for the environment.

But could protecting animals and preserving ecosystems also help people not catch Lyme disease or West Nile virus?

Earlier this month, scientists at the University of South Florida reported evidence that higher biodiversity in environments, such as forests in the northeastern U.S. and the Amazon basin in South America, may lower people's chances of getting animal-borne diseases.

Waukesha is one step closer in its quest to obtain Lake Michigan water.

On Wednesday, the Wisconsin DNR gave preliminary approval to the city’s plan. Waukesha’s underground source of water is dwindling and increasingly contaminated with radium, an element linked to cancer. So the city is under a federal order to take action. The final decision about getting water from Lake Michigan does not rest with the DNR.

When giant icebergs break off of huge, fast-moving glaciers, they essentially push back on those rivers of ice and temporarily reverse the flow.

That's according to a new study of "glacial earthquakes," an unusual kind of temblor discovered just over a decade ago.

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