Health, Science, Environment

Biotech Agriculture
12:32 pm
Tue March 8, 2011

Monsanto and Sapphire Energy to collaborate on algal gene research

Flasks of Algae at the Sapphire Energy Lab in San Diego. (Sapphire Energy, Inc.)

Monsanto is entering a multi-year research collaboration with San Diego-based Sapphire Energy.

Sapphire specializes in genetically-engineering algae with the goal of producing drop-in replacements for fuels like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

The collaboration between Sapphire and Monsanto will focus on identifying genes that positively affect growth in algae and that might also increase agricultural crop yields.

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Missouri River Study
3:51 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

Corps seeks public input about report on future of Missouri River

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a new report about its planned re-evaluation of the future use of the Missouri River, and is looking for more public input on the study.

The draft report summarizes the more than 1,200 comments received by the Corps last year during the study scoping period.

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High School Sports Brain Injury
5:12 pm
Fri March 4, 2011

St. Louis medical professionals supporting High School Sports Brain Injury legislation

Missouri Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R-Lake St. Louis) is sponsoring HB300, the High School Brain Injury Prevention Act. He spoke to the press about the bill today at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis area medical professionals are throwing their support behind a bill making its way through the Missouri legislature. The bill would help protect high school athletes from concussions.

Among other measures, the High School Sports Brain Injury Prevention Act would require student athletes to be cleared by a doctor before returning to play or practice.

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Food Deserts
6:35 am
Mon February 28, 2011

"Food deserts" and nutrition: a Q&A with USDA's Roger Beachy

The Old North St. Louis Grocery Co-op brings fresh, local produce to an underserved neighborhood of the city. (Art Chimes)
(Art Chimes)

“Food deserts” – places without access to fresh produce and other healthy foods – continue to be a problem throughout the U.S.

Here in St. Louis, the Old North Grocery Co-op opened last summer, in an effort to increase healthy food options in an underserved part of the city. It’s the first co-op in Missouri to serve a predominantly low-income neighborhood.

The director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy was in St. Louis recently visiting the Old North co-op and discussing the issue of nutrition.

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Coal Ash
6:35 am
Wed February 23, 2011

Coal ash landfill controversy continues in Franklin County

Ameren’s 2,400-megawatt plant near Labadie, Missouri, is the state’s largest coal-fired power plant. (Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)
(Veronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

In the small Franklin County town of Labadie, Missouri, about 35 miles west of St. Louis, a debate is raging over what to do with millions of tons of coal ash.

The dispute is pitting area residents against the utility company Ameren – and putting Franklin County’s commissioners in the middle of the fight.

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Baby Lemur at St. Louis Zoo
11:35 am
Fri February 18, 2011

Baby lemur of endangered species born at St. Louis Zoo

The baby Coquerel’s sifaka, an endangered lemur species from Madagascar, born at the Saint Louis Zoo on Jan. 9, 2011. (St. Louis Zoo)

Recently, a kangaroo joey, then a rhino calf were born at the St. Louis Zoo. Now, adding to its collection of new little residents, the latest arrival is a Coquerel’s sifaka, an endangered lemur species from Madagascar.

The baby was born at the Saint Louis Zoo’s Primate House on Jan. 9, 2011.

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Ameren Missouri lawsuit
4:35 pm
Tue February 15, 2011

EPA responds to Senator Roy Blunt: Ameren lawsuit justified

Ameren's Rush Island power plant near Festus, Missouri. (Google Maps)

EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks says the federal government is confident Ameren Missouri violated the Clean Air Act at its Rush Island power plant near Festus.

Brooks was responding to a letter sent to the EPA last month by Senator Roy Blunt.

In the letter, Blunt defended Ameren and accused the EPA of overreaching its authority in order to “broadly penalize the use of coal in the United States.”

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Earthquakes & St. Louis Region
4:38 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

Threat of earthquakes to St. Louis region "real," says FEMA's Fugate

A woodcut depicting damage from the New Madrid series of earthquakes in 1811 and 1812. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says the threat of earthquakes on the New Madrid fault remain. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

Some scientists say risks of another major earthquake from the New Madrid fault are minimal.

But FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate insists the threat to the St. Louis region is real.

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FEMA & Flood Insurance
3:12 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

FEMA Administrator: Residents may need flood insurance, despite levee protection

A levee in Granite City, Ill. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says homes and businesses in the Mississippi River floodplain may need flood insurance, even if they are protected by a levee like this one. (St. Louis Public Radio)

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says homes and businesses in the Mississippi River floodplain may need flood insurance, even if they are protected by a levee.

Last week senators from Missouri, Illinois and 16 other states sent a letter to Administrator Fugate.

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Mercury Pollution
5:09 pm
Thu February 10, 2011

Illinois, Missouri among nation's top mercury polluters

A screen capture of the cover of the report from Environment Missouri on mercury pollution. (Environment Missouri website)

Updated at 5:00 p.m. with comment from Ameren Missouri.

A new report suggests that power plants in Illinois and Missouri are among the nation’s top emitters of mercury pollution.

Mercury can cause serious health problems for both wildlife and people who eat contaminated fish.

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