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It was a controversial move when Madison, Wis., decided to replace all its lead pipes in 2001. But that decision put the city ahead of the curve — allowing it to avoid the lead water contamination that is plaguing cities like Flint, Mich., now.

Madison started using copper instead of lead water pipes in the late 1920s. The bulk of the lead lines were located in the older part of the city, which is downtown near Wisconsin's state Capitol.

Aubrey Fletcher knew she wanted to work on a dairy farm ever since she was a little girl.

"I do remember my mom asking, 'Are you sure that's what you want to do?' " Fletcher recalls. She knew the work would be tough — she grew up milking cows every day. But it's what she wanted.

So she and her husband's family collaborated to start Edgewood Creamery outside of Springfield, Mo., last August. They recently opened a storefront on the farm selling their milk and cheese.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Water safety concerns aren't just in Flint, Mich., these days. Communities in three states in the Northeast have found elevated levels of a suspected carcinogen — perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA.

Used to make Teflon, the chemical has contaminated water supplies in New York, New Hampshire and Vermont.

After a four-month ban in the village of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., the New York State Department of Health declared the water safe to drink and cook with again on Wednesday. A temporary filtering system has brought PFOA levels down to nondetectable levels for weeks.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

On a cold night in January 2012, Dustin Bergsing climbed on top of a crude oil storage tank in North Dakota's Bakken oil field. His job was to open the hatch on top and drop a rope inside to measure the level of oil. But just after midnight, a co-worker found him dead, slumped next to the open hatch.

Massive 'Bleaching' Affects Great Barrier Reef

Mar 29, 2016

Huge areas of the Great Barrier Reef are experiencing "the worst, mass bleaching event in its history" according to Australia's National Coral Bleaching Task Force, which has just completed an aerial survey of the more than 500 individual reefs that make up the northern part of the reef.

Adopt A Beehive — Save A Beekeeper?

Mar 29, 2016

Beekeeper Nick French never knows what he'll find when he opens up his hives for the first spring inspections. Of the 40 hives he manages in Parker, Colo., French loses about one-quarter of his colonies every year.

"I work all summer long to raise healthy bees, but there are no guarantees they'll make it through the winter," says French, founder of Frangiosa Farm.

Some parts of Oklahoma and Texas now have about the same risk of an earthquake as parts of California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The big difference is, the quakes in Oklahoma and Texas are "induced" — they're caused by oil and gas operations that pump wastewater down into underground wells.

Organic food has gone majorly mainstream, right? Wal-Mart has been driving down the price of organic with an in-house organic line. Whole Foods has begun experimenting with cheaper stores to catch up.

People in Flint are still lining up for bottled water. Two years ago, the city switched its drinking water source to the Flint River. But the water wasn't properly treated, damaging city pipes, which have been leaching lead into the drinking water ever since.

Now Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says he has a plan.

On Monday, he released a 75 point-plan to target short-term, intermediate-term and long-term needs in Flint.

Japanese Fleet Kills 333 Whales In The Antarctic

Mar 25, 2016

Japan's whaling fleet has returned to base with the carcasses of 333 minke whales, in apparent violation of a ruling by the International Court of Justice.

Reuters quoted a statement by Japan's Fisheries Agency that said 103 male and 230 female whales were caught during the fleet's summer expedition to Antarctic waters. Ninety percent of the mature females were pregnant.

The Department of Labor is issuing a long-awaited and controversial rule Thursday aimed at better protecting workers from inhaling silica dust.

The new rule dramatically reduces the allowed exposure limits for workers in a slew of industries, from construction to manufacturing to fracking.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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