Ashley Ahearn

Ashley Ahearn / EarthFix/KUOW

More than 1600 acres of old growth rainforest have burned in Washington’s Olympic National Park.

Firefighters are mounting a difficult response in a remote river valley.

This is the largest fire in the park’s history, but it’s not the first to burn in the rainforests of the Olympics.

Tyler Bell / Flickr

Pinto abalone were poached almost to extinction by the end of the 90s. The tasty meat of this shellfish, combined with its mother of pearl shell, made pinto abalone a target for illegal harvest, and a delicacy in Asia. Thousands upon thousands of them were taken from Puget Sound.

Washington Department of Ecology

Water managers had hoped late snows or heavy spring rains would help fill reservoirs and streams after a largely snow-free winter in the Northwest. But that’s not how things turned out. New data shows precipitation levels in the Northwest were 40 percent below normal last month, with snowpack pretty much  disappeared.
Backbone Campaign / Flickr

  

Seattle City Council members heard testimony on a resolution today.

The resolution urges the Port of Seattle to reconsider its controversial decision to host Shell Oil’s arctic drill rigs.

The resolution warns that allowing Shell to use Terminal 5 in West Seattle will cause: “disruption, division and direct conflict with the Port’s stated values and policies.”

At the hearing, environmentalists made their opposition to the Shell lease known. But others who testified felt differently.

Joshua Berger represents the Washington Maritime Federation.

Masaaki Tsuyuguchi / Flickr

Shellfish growers in Washington’s Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay are canceling plans to spray their shellfish beds with pesticides. The state granted the growers the permits to spray last month, prompting a public outcry.

Google Images

Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer, is expected to arrive Friday in Port Angeles, Washington.

Shell has just received the necessary federal permits to drill for oil in the Arctic and will be staging its fleet in Seattle, despite a lawsuit filed by environmental groups and an investigation launched by the Seattle City Council.

Activists have warned of a flotilla of kayaks that would extend a less-than-warm welcome to Shell when it arrives at the Port of Seattle.

Michael Werner / EarthFix

A Puget Sound tribe filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court to stop oil trains from traveling through its reservation north of Seattle.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway’s train tracks cross the top of the Swinomish Reservation in Skagit County. In recent years they’ve been used to move oil from North Dakota to two refineries in Anacortes.

In 1990 BNSF and the Swinomish reached a settlement that required the railroad to regularly update the tribe on the type of cargo moving through the reservation. It also limited traffic to two 25-car trains per day.

Kristen Steele / Flickr

If you’re at the Seattle Mariner’s game Monday afternoon you might run into some folks with clipboards. They’re gathering signatures for a new initiative for 2016 that would tax carbon emissions.

Ashley Ahearn

The Port of Seattle will host Shell Oil’s arctic drilling fleet. That includes ships and drilling rigs. The Port signed a lease earlier this month that has caused a stir among some citizens and elected officials, who say the lease goes against the Port and city’s commitment to green leadership.

The room was packed when a group of graying ladies who call themselves “the raging grannies” took the microphone to sing their testimony.

Panda Poles / Flickr

The Northwest’s record-low snowfall has delivered a frustrating ski season this winter. And when summertime comes, the thin snowpack could make for low stream levels and tinder-dry forests.

But people who manage the Northwest’s biggest dams say they’re not worried.

"We’re doing just fine at the moment," Mike Hanson said.

Hanson is a spokesman for Bonneville Power Administration. It operates 31 federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, and provides about one-third of the electricity for the Northwest.

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