WASHINGTON DEPT. OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Olympia Seeks Answers - And Maybe A Ban - On Atlantic Salmon Farms

Officials with the company that spilled nearly 160,000 Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound in August say there has been no evidence the spill has done damage to the sound. State officials agreed with that assessment at a legislative hearing in Olympia.

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Democratic Senator Patty Murray had tough words Thursday for federal Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. She's angry over the decision by the Obama Administration to take Nevada's Yucca Mountain off the table as a possible nuclear waste storage site. Murray says that decision could push back cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Or she says it could mean Hanford becomes a permanent storage site for dangerous nuclear waste.

Photo taken by the Department of Ecology for Washington State

The lack of snow pack this winter in the Northwest could spell problems for irrigators. That is especially true in areas that have had long term problems with water supply, like the Yakima basin.

The Yakima basin is an agricultural region that has dealt with water shortages for many years. The U.S. bureau of Reclamation serves several irrigation districts in the region, but while much of the water comes from the Yakima River, Reclamation spokeswoman Wendy Christiansen says a good portion is dependent on mountain snow pack.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The water system is sick in a huge swath of Eastern Washington -- from Union Gap near Yakima to Benton City near the Tri-Cities. State and federal officials announced Thursday that much of the ground water in the lower valley is dangerous to drink. Correspondent Anna King reports. 

The Yakima Valley is like a multi layered cake punched with a network of drinking straws. There are irrigation drainage pipes, farm canals, deep wells, really old shallow wells, aquifers and rivers all coming. Somehow lots of nitrates and bacteria are getting into the ground water.

HAMBURG, Germany – It's no accident that roughly half of the world's installed solar panels aim at the sky in this relatively cloudy, northern country. Investors in German solar power arrays, wind farms and methane digesters can count on significantly higher rates-of-return than alternative investments such as bonds or savings accounts.

OLYMPIA, Wash. --Millions of Northwest electricity customers have the option to pay a little bit extra on their monthly bills to support “green energy.” In the coming years, that voluntary option could take a back seat to a mandatory, but invisible charge on electric bills. Policymakers along the West Coast are working on a new green energy incentive. It relies not on tax dollars, as is traditional, but rather on ratepayer dollars. Correspondent Tom Banse reports on how it would work.

What do Nike, R-E-I, the Vancouver Olympics, and the Washington State government have in common? They've all promised to eliminate their impact on the climate by going 'carbon-neutral'. R-E-I aims to have zero output of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide by the year 2020. But since REI set the zero-impact goal, its emissions have been heading rapidly in the opposite direction.

What do Nike, R-E-I, the Vancouver Olympics, and the Washington State government have in common? They've all promised to eliminate their impact on the climate by going 'carbon-neutral'. R-E-I aims to have zero output of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide by the year 2020. But since REI set the zero-impact goal, its emissions have been heading rapidly in the opposite direction.

RICHLAND, Wash. – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu named a blue ribbon panel Friday to find a final resting spot for the nation's nuclear waste and spent fuel. It has just two years to come up with an alternative to Nevada's Yucca Mountain. As Richland Correspondent Anna King reports, the commission's findings have big implications for how the Hanford Nuclear Reservation deals with its high-level radioactive sludge. 

WA Outlaws Cigarette Company

Jan 21, 2010

OLYMPIA,Wash. -- Wrangler cigars, Bronco cigarettes and other products by the firm General Tobacco, will be prohibited in Washington state beginning in February. The company owes the state millions in late payments.

In 1998, Washington signed on to a national tobacco settlement agreement. One of the outcomes: tobacco companies compensate states for money spent on patients with tobacco-related illnesses.

Washington state attorney, David Hankins says General Tobacco hasn't paid up since July of 2009.

Recently, Northwest Public Radio aired a profile about a family dairy as part of a series on the Northwest economy.It resulted in a flurry of comments from representatives of the dairy industry, and it spurred questions about the practices of pasteurization and homogenization. Mary Hawkins took the opportunity to speak with leading dairy expert, Stephanie Clark.Formerly with Washington State University, Dr. Clark is now an associate professor at Iowa State University, specializing in food science with a focus on dairy foods.

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