Monday, March 27, 2023

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Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

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Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Connecticut Weighs Pros and Cons of Hydropower

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Wednesday, February 1, 2023   

While Connecticut elected officials want to import hydroelectric power from Canada, one group said the option would not be as environmentally conscious as it might seem.

Hydropower turbines are known for injuring or killing the migrating fish passing through them. Environmental advocates feel other considerations must be made, especially as the U.S. moves further on the path toward renewable energy.

Rhea Drozdenko, the Connecticut River Conservancy's river steward in Connecticut, noted some of the dam operators do make adaptations for fish populations, but they could be doing more.

"There are things like fish ladders that help those migratory fish get from the river to the reservoir above," Drozdenko acknowledged. "But a lot of those fish ladders were made, like, 20 years ago, and they aren't actually as effective as promised."

She added updating the fish ladders would be an option. As Connecticut residents face rising power prices, Drozdenko said her organization sees importing hydropower as a temporary solution, with costs going beyond a customer's electric bill. They would also rather see local solutions instead of the state outsourcing its power needs.

Despite the advances in technology, including different types of turbines to generate power, hydroelectric dams also affect river health, and other plant and wildlife species.

Kathy Urffer, the Connecticut River Conservancy's river steward in Vermont, thinks improvements can be made, but it is important to look at all the effects of all the options for energy sources.

"When you start to look at each potential source of energy -- there's wind, there's solar, there's hydro, there's coal -- each one of them has impacts in different ways," Urffer explained. "And different intensity of impacts, even in terms of the sizing of each facility or where it is placed. "

She added there could be easier ways to add renewable energy to the mix in Connecticut with few downsides for the environment. The state already has 13 dams producing electricity.


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