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  • Latest Newscast From the WNYC Newsroom
    6/28/2022
  • NJ Superfund lawsuit offers tribal land a path from contamination to cultural restoration
    Peter’s Mine Road is plastered with signs. On one side, they say “congratulations class of 2022.” On the other, they say “Superfund site.” Pollution in this area of Ringwood, New Jersey dates back to 1967, when the Ford Motor Company began dumping paint sludge and other hazardous byproducts from their Mahwah car factory on land surrounding a defunct mine. But for a while nobody knew – especially not the indigenous people who lived there. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency didn’t designate the site for federally-managed Superfund cleanup until the 1980s. Those toxic chemicals remain at the center of a decades-long fight, waged largely with the Ramapough Lenape Nation’s Turtle Clan. Two weeks ago, New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the state Attorney General’s office filed a new lawsuit against Ford, saying the automaker was “fully aware” of the harm it was causing to Ringwood and the ancestral lands of the Ramapough. Most of the area’s residents were and continue to be members of the Turtle Clan. Chief Vincent Mann said the community’s way of living off the land unknowingly sealed their fate. “They were harvesting wild medicinals. They were drinking the water,” Mann said. “In all of those things was all the toxic chemicals that was disposed of there by Ford Motor Corporation, allowed by the town of Ringwood.” According to the new civil complaint, Ford later sold or donated the land to municipal governments and residential developers without fully disclosing the contamination they’d left behind. By 1973, the company no longer owned any land at the site. Click listen in the player to hear the story, and visit Gothamist for more details. This story is part of Covering Climate Now’s ‘Food & Water’ joint coverage week.
    6/28/2022
    6:03
  • Gov. Hochul, challengers blanket NY ahead of primary
    New York voters will head to the polls Tuesday to pick the Democratic and Republican nominees for governor. Gov. Kathy Hochul is seeking her first full term, but two of her fellow Democrats -- Rep. Tom Suozzi of Long Island and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams -- are hoping to put her out of work. And there's a heated four-way race among the GOP, with businessman Harry Wilson, former Trump aide Andrew Giuliani, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin seeking the nod. WNYC's Albany reporter Jon Campbell joined host Tiffany Hanssen on "All Things Considered" to discuss how the candidates spent the last full day of the primary season. For more on the race, visit Gothamist.com.
    6/27/2022
    4:55
  • Community solar programs gain popularity among the many New Yorkers who don’t own their roofs
    An affordable housing co-op in West Harlem is weighing their options — change over to electric heat pumps, install rooftop solar or both. It’s an energy decision they must make in the next couple of years when their boiler that runs on fuel oil #2 needs to be replaced, as new climate laws take effect. For these homeowners, who are all low-to-middle income, climate change mitigation feels like both a luxury and a necessity for the 20-unit building on West 156th Street. Government incentives and tax credits can cover more than 70% of the upfront costs of solar panels, yet customers still end up paying tens of thousands of dollars for installations. But co-op board member Estelle Bajou doesn’t want to wait or be left out of the clean energy transition just because she has to “make every dollar count on a low income.” “When you’re low-income, there’s an expectation that you won’t be able to afford to go green,” said Bajou. Looking for alternatives, a growing number of leaseholders, small businesses or even low-income homeowners like Bajou are turning to community solar programs. Renewables developers compare the concept to Netflix — a subscription in one of these programs entitles a person to a share of a solar farm or a rooftop installation rather than outright ownership. This share of renewable power generation offsets a customer’s own electricity usage, reflected directly on their utility bill. They also get to contribute individually toward mitigating climate change. Every megawatt of solar power generates emissions-free electricity that could replace a megawatt of natural gas, which releases 200 kilograms of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. This option also allows energy customers to choose solar power without paying for the upfront costs, construction and commitment. Out-of-pocket expenses for household solar installations range from $15,000 to $22,000 in New York City, according to market analysts at EnergySage. In March, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that more 1 gigawatts of community solar had been installed across New York, which could power more than 200,000 homes every year. More than 700 projects are in the works, she said, which would add up to another 2.3 gigawatts of power toward the state’s goal of building 10 gigawatts by 2030. Click listen in the player to hear more details, and visit Gothamist for the full story. 
    6/27/2022
    2:50
  • Weekend arts planner: A Frank Walter exhibition, the art world documented in "The Art of Making It," and concerts by C4 Trio in NJ and NYC
    It’s impossible to keep up with everything happening in New York City arts and culture, but here are a few recommendations for events you shouldn’t miss: 1. "By Land, Air, Home, and Sea: The World of Frank Walter" This show was assembled for the David Zwirner Gallery by Hilton Als, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic for The New Yorker. Walter is a fairly little known artist, whose work Als first encountered at the Venice Biennale in 2017. The show is intimate in scale, but its elemental force makes you lean in close. 2. "The Art of Making It" This new documentary, which opens on Wednesday at the IFC Center, takes a good, hard look at the business of art galleries and museums, and how a successful career happens, or maybe doesn't. Director Kelcey Edwards introduces viewers to some talented young artists, like painters Jenna Gribbon, Gisela McDaniel and Chris Watts. You really get a very clear sense of the challenges even successful artists have faced — and, paradoxically, how the pandemic may have set the stage for change. 3. C4 Trio This band of Venezuelan performers, whose name is pronounced "say cuatro," is made up of three superstars of cuatro, a nimble little guitar-like instrument with four strings. Edward Ramírez, Héctor Molina and Jorge Glem are joined by bass player Rodner Padilla in the group, which has made seven albums and won two Latin Grammys. They play in Weehawken, NJ, on Wednesday, and at Lincoln Center on Thursday. For more details and useful links, visit Gothamist.
    6/25/2022
    4:23

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