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Environment

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Health Department abdicated responsibility to enforce air pollution standards, audit shows

From 2015 through 2017, 19% of facilities that should have had annual inspections were not inspected at all, according to city Inspector General Joe Ferguson.

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Scrap metal recycler General Iron reaches deal to vacate North Side site

The company will close by end of 2020 and start new operations on the Southeast Side.

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Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens dies at age 91

An only child who grew up in a small Oklahoma town, Pickens followed his father into the oil and gas business. "I firmly believe one of the reasons I was put on this Earth was to make money and be generous with it," he once said.

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Mother Earth needs love, too

Semi-retirement offers time to enjoy — and clean up — the surroundings. The 4th annual Green Team Summit strives to inspire the religious community to do the same.

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Hurricane Dorian triggers massive flooding, ‘catastrophic damage’ across Bahamas

A storm surge as high as 23 feet and top sustained winds just under 150 miles per hour hit the islands as a result of the Category 4 storm.

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Smoke from Amazon fires causing breathing problems for children, the elderly in Brazil

The number of people treated for respiratory issues increased sharply in recent days at the local Cosme e Damia Children’s hospital.

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EDITORIAL: What to do about record high Lake Michigan water levels? Start by going natural

Short-sighted humans haven’t grasped the new normal, environmentalists say. Every Great Lakes state, as well as Canada, should aim to restore natural shorelines rather than create hardened stretches of concrete and rock.

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EDITORIAL: 3,500 miles from Amazon fires, Chicago is feeling the heat

What happens in the Amazon rainforest is sure to do damage to the climate and quality of life here.

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Fund backed by Leo DiCaprio pledges $5M to combat Amazon fires

Earth Alliance, created by DiCaprio and two other philanthropists, also seeking donations to help repair the Brazilian rainforest, called the "lungs of the planet."

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Brazilian military begins fighting Amazon forest fires

Some 44,000 troops will be available for "unprecedented" operations to put out the fires. Four Brazilian states have asked for federal help to contain the blazes.

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Brazilian president wants to send army to contain Amazon fires

President Jair Bolsonaro has previously described rainforest protections as an obstacle to economic development.

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EDITORIAL: Illinois’ energy future needs sense of urgency

Some in Springfield reportedly are considering putting important energy legislation on the back burner. It’s a horrible idea, and here’s why.

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Giraffes move closer to endangered species protection

"So many people are so familiar with giraffes that they think they’re abundant ... but giraffes are critically endangered," said a Wildlife Conservation Society official.

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Forest fires in the Amazon are generating smoke that can be seen from space

In the middle of the day Monday, the sky above São Paulo was blanketed by smoke from the wildfires raging in the Amazon region.

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3,000 fish killed by cyanide leak at Indiana steel factory: state officials

Portage steel factory owner ArcelorMittal and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management have been criticized for failing to report the cyanide leak until several days after the water of the Little Calumet River was poisoned.

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Florida’s iconic palm trees are under attack

Spread by a rice-sized, plant-hopping insect, lethal bronzing has gone from a small infestation on Florida’s Gulf Coast to a nearly statewide problem in just over a decade.

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Steel plant apologizes for releasing cyanide into water near Indiana Dunes

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management said it responded as early as Monday to a report of distressed fish in the east branch of the river at the Indiana Dunes.

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Steel plant dumps cyanide into Little Calumet River, killing fish and shutting down part of Indiana Dunes

An unknown substance was spilled in the east branch of the Little Calumet River, causing fish to die.

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July set new global heat record, scientists confirm

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said July was 1.71 degrees warmer than the 20th century average for the month.

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Meeting on impact of Obama Presidential Center shows little has changed at City Hall, nonprofits contend

‘Your administration has promised transparency, accountability and openness to community input. Nothing of the sort occurred,’ stated a sharply-worded letter signed by leaders of Preservation Chicago, Friends of the Parks, the Hyde Park Historical Society and Save the Midway.

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Trump overhauling enforcement of Endangered Species Act

Critics say the move will put more wildlife at greater risk of extinction.

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One of three endangered piping plover chicks that scuttled Mamby on the Beach concert has died

The chick’s mother migrated south over the weekend, leaving parenting duties to dad — a normal development, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Chicago’s 5 dirtiest beaches. Is yours on the list?

Most days of the year, beaches are considered safe. But researchers found bacteria counts can spike on certain days with fecal matter from people or animals as the chief culprit.

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Deal to reopen Sterigenics blasted by residents’ lawyers

They said the company is getting off easy for emitting toxic chemical.

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Scientists warn Americans to brace for ‘a floodier future’

Government scientists predict 40 places in the U.S. will experience higher than normal rates of flooding this year because of rising sea levels and an abnormal El Nino weather system.

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Two little birds are causing a big controversy

Despite pleas to protect the nests of piping plovers, JAM Productions still plans to hold two nights of shows in August in the midst of the Montrose bird sanctuary.

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Increase in dead whales on the West Coast leads the US to seek private beaches

As the number of whale bodies washing ashore increases, those dealing with the bodies are looking to private beaches to let the animals decompose.

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More milkweed in cities could save monarch butterflies, Field Museum researchers find

Milkweed is the only plant the monarch butterfly — Illinois’ official state insect — can lay its eggs on, and the plant is rapidly disappearing.

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Canada to ban single-use plastics ‘as early as 2021,’ Trudeau says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is considering banning items such as water bottles, plastic bags and straws.

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US sets new record of 12 consecutive days with at least 8 tornadoes

After several quiet years, tornadoes have erupted in the United States over the last two weeks.

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Community garden in Albany Park aims to protect environment, indigenous culture

The First Nations Garden currently includes a traditional garden for the community’s use. Part of the space — a prairie and soil restoration project and land specifically used for indigenous practices and traditions — remains in development.

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EDITORIAL: Keep coal ash out of water supplies across Illinois

Illinois holds the unfortunate title as the state with the most coal ash pits. Let’s make sure those pits don’t contaminate our environment.