May 17, 1955: The U.S. Forest Service establishes the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire. The 3,000-acre forest becomes a cornerstone in research to define and curb forest damage from acid rain.
May 17, 1969: The Hudson River sloop Clearwater is christened by folksinger Pete Seeger and other activists. For more than four decades, the Clearwater (at right in 2006) has sailed in the name of a clean Hudson River. The Hudson has bounced back from serious problems with industrial pollution and sewage, but the riverbed is still contaminated with PCBs dumped from two upstate New York factories.
May 17, 1999: Reviving a native tradition, whalers at the Makah Indian Reservation kill their first gray whale in 70 years.
May 17, 2010: The Cape Wind project gets Federal Aviation Administration approval to build 130 wind turbines off Cape Cod. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had signed off on the project in April, but opponents had appealed to the FAA, claiming the project would interfere with radar and air navigation. The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, bankrolled in part by coal magnate Bill Koch, continues to oppose the project in court and in other public arenas.