Ashley Ahearn

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Jellyfish Populations
5:53 am
Mon April 23, 2012

New Report: Jellyfish Populations Increasing Globally

Jellyfish populations are on the rise, globally. That’s according to a new study from the University of British Columbia. But, as Ashley Ahearn reports, it’s too soon to say if that’s the case in the Northwest.

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B.C. Pipeline Expansion
6:22 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Washington Not Ready For Implications Of B.C. Pipeline Expansion

In a typical crude oil spill floating boom is used to corral the oil, which collects in a sheen on the surface. But what happens if the oil sinks?
Photo credit: Ashley Ahearn KUOW

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Canadian pipeline operators are considering expanding the line that brings oil from the Alberta Oil Sands to western British Columbia. Environmentalists and others say that raises the potential for oil spills in Northwest waters and, it involves a different type of oil.

Right now the Trans Mountain pipeline moves 300,000 barrels of oil per day to an export terminal near Vancouver, B.C. If the Canadian government approves the expansion that amount could almost triple. More oil in the pipeline means more oil loaded onto large tanker ships. Those ships will eventually head out the Strait of Juan De Fuca to the Pacific.

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Orca Death Investigation
4:31 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Investigation Launched Into February Orca Death

There is an investigation into an orca that washed onto a Washington beach..
Photo credit: Wikimedia user Kalev Kevad Wikimedia Commons

Officials have launched an investigation into the death of a young female orca from a pod of the endangered marine mammals in Puget Sound. The orca washed up near Washington’s Long Beach in February. The cause of her death is controversial.

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Northwest News
10:02 am
Mon April 2, 2012

On The Ground In Grays Harbor

Tom O'Connor, a member of the Longshoreman's Union in Grays Harbor, standing at the site of the proposed new terminal.
Ashley Ahearn N3

Six ports in the Northwest are now considering building export terminals to bring American coal to Asian markets. One of those ports is Grays Harbor – west of Olympia. 5 million tons of coal could move through that port each year. If that coal is burned in places like China that would be the same as putting about two and a half million new cars on the road. But the new terminal represents much-needed jobs in this county – and that has people talking.

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San Juan Conservation
5:20 am
Thu March 29, 2012

One Thousand Acres Up For Conservation In The San Juan Islands

More than 70,000 people visit the San Juan Islands every year.
Photo by Ashley Ahearn Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA -- Washington Senator Maria Cantwell has introduced a bill to get one thousand acres of the San Juan Islands declared a National Conservation Area. Ashley Ahearn reports.

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The Salt
2:06 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Battling 'Red Tide,' Scientists Map Toxic Algae To Prevent Shellfish Poisoning

An oyster shucker on Samish Island, Wash. on Puget Sound. The state is frequently forced to close beaches to oyster gatherers because of the risks of harmful algae blooms.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 11:14 am

Public health officials have their hands full keeping your clam chowder and raw oysters safe. That's due, in part, to red tides.

Red tides happen nearly every year as coastal waters warm, killing fish and poisoning shellfish along U.S. coasts. They're not actually tides; they're huge blooms of naturally occurring toxic algae.

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Washington Coal Terminal
5:27 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Coal Train Traffic Increase Could Be Bad News For Human Health

Trains line up at the rail yard in Spokane, WA. More than 100 million tons of coal could pass through this rail yard if new export terminals are approved on the Northwest coast.
Photo by Courtney Flatt Northwest News Network

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- There are now six new export terminals proposed to be built along the Northwest coast. The goal? To bring American coal to Asia, via train and ship.

If these terminals are approved that could mean more than 100 million tons of coal traveling by rail across Idaho, Washington and Oregon every year.

The potential for more train traffic has public health experts concerned. EarthFix reporters Ashley Ahearn and Courtney Flatt have the story.

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Bellingham Export Terminal
5:34 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Review Process Kicks Off For Gateway Pacific Terminal In Bellingham

Some protestors wore gas masks in opposition to a proposed bulk export terminal in Bellingham.
Photo by Ashley Ahearn Northwest News Network

BELLINGHAM -- SSA Marine has submitted a permit application to build a bulk export terminal in Bellingham.

If approved, the terminal will be large enough to handle up to 54 million metric tons per year.

That could include wheat and grains but the majority will be coal. It will be delivered by train from mines in Wyoming and Montana – and then shipped out of Washington to Asian markets.

Ashley

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Navy Sonar Testing
3:33 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Navy Looks To Renew Permits for Sonar Testing In The Northwest

Naval Aviation Electronics Technician performing a sonar test.
Photo courtesy of US Navy 2008

Right now the Navy is allowed to use sonar for testing and training exercises off the Northwest coast and down to Northern California. There is evidence that using sonar may interfere with marine mammal behavior – and even damage hearing and cause stranding. But the Navy’s use of sonar could change if it doesn’t get its permits renewed by 2015.

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Geoduck Poaching
6:49 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Millions Of Dollars in Geoducks Stolen From Wash. Waters

This geoduck is about 40 years old. These clams can live to be upwards of 150 years old and spend their whole lives in the same place.
Photo credit: Katie Campbell Photo courtesy Northwest News Network

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Here’s some trivia – name the natural resource that provided 28 million dollars to the state of Washington last year. Nope, not timber.

Think shellfish… but not just any shellfish. Geoducks. These huge, funny-looking clams are harvested wild from below the surface of Puget Sound - and they’re fetching high prices in Asia. Ashley Ahearn reports.

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