Courtney Flatt

Multimedia Journalist - Based in Richland, WA

Courtney Flatt began her journalism career at The Dallas Morning News as a neighbors editor. There, she also wrote articles for the Metro section, where she reported on community issues ranging from water security to the arts. Courtney earned her master’s in convergence journalism at the University of Missouri and developed a love for radio and documentary film. As a producer at KBIA-FM she hosted a weekly business show, reported and produced talk shows on community and international issues. Her work took her from the unemployment lines, to a Methamphetamine bust, to the tornado damage aftermath in Joplin, Mo.

What I cover
Energy, climate change and the Columbia Basin

Soon to be favorite outdoor activity
Having never lived so close to mountains before, I am determined to learn to snowboard this winter.

A funny thing happened one day in the field...
It was an icy winter morning, and I was trying to get some ambient sound of the Missouri River, which seemed easy enough. I had to make it over a pile of cement rocks to reach this one sandbar. (And if you know me, you know I’m a walking example of Murphy’s Law.)

Realizing this, I securely attached every piece of equipment to my body. Everything except my extra mic. I had climbed halfway across the cement pile when, woosh! My mic fell through a small hole covered by leaves. The mound was probably 10 feet tall.

As I peered down, a fisherman wandered by. He helped me lift a few of the blocks – they probably weighed 50 pounds each. But the mic wasn’t anywhere near the top. Every time I saw the pile after that day, I wondered where my mic wound up.

Likes
Farmers markets, traveling, tea and painting (though I’m pretty bad at it)

Dislikes
There’s not much… Maybe traffic?

If I weren't a journalist, I would be...
Working on an organic farm in Spain. I actually joined the WOOF program right before graduation. Then I got a job.

Pages

Northwest Wind Company
6:20 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Report: Chinese Companies Consider Vestas Takeover

A prominent wind energy company – with North American headquarters in the Pacific Northwest – may be acquired by a rival Chinese corporation. Correspondent Courtney Flatt has more.

A Danish newspaper is reporting that two Chinese companies are considering takeover bids for Vestas Wind Systems. The Danish firm’s North American headquarters are based in Portland.

Vestas has faced financial trouble over the past year. The company’s chairman and chief financial officer resigned in February.

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Washington Energy Efficiency
5:18 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Energy Efficient Controls Cut Costs for Building Owners

A large industrial air conditioning unit (file photo) [Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0].
Photo by Ildar Sagdejev Wikimedia Commons

RICHLAND, Wash. – New research has found that commercial building owners can chop their heating and cooling costs nearly in half by implementing a few energy efficient controls.

Those big rooftop heating and cooling systems you see on top of supermarkets and strip malls could produce big savings for building owners. Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., studied buildings across the country. They used computer simulations to find an average savings of 25 to 35 percent after retrofitting existing systems. Srinivas Katipamula led the study.

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Geothermal Industry Expanding
4:20 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Report Geothermal Industry Is Expanding

Illustration of geothermal energy methods.
United States Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – A new report says the geothermal industry is steadily growing. projects are planned throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Although renewable energy development faces uncertainties with production tax credit extensions, the Geothermal Energy Association says its industry is expanding. A new report found about 150 projects in the works in the western United States.

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Hanford Vegetation
5:27 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Tribe Works to Revegetate Hanford Site

A greenhouse used to grow plants for the Hanford site.
Photo by Courtney Flatt Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. -- The Hanford cleanup has been hard on the area’s ecosystem, It disturbs habitat and native vegetation that can be difficult to replant. But as correspondent Courtney Flatt reports, one local tribe is working to grow native plants at formerly contaminated areas.

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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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Wind Power Record
5:40 am
Thu March 22, 2012

BPA Wind Power Sets New Record

Wind farms like this one in California are a growing part of Northwest energy production.
Photo by James McCauley Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – Wind farms have generated a record-breaking amount of power this month. As correspondent Courtney Flatt reports, the Bonneville Power Administration is hoping to avoid over-generation problems that happened last spring.

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Cattle Air Pollution
6:24 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Yakima Valley Dairies Causing Air Pollution

Cattle raised on dairy farms can be a cause of air pollution.
Photo by Brian Robert Marshall Northwest News Network

OUTLOOK, Wash. – A recent study is raising questions about the air quality in the Yakima Valley. The area has a high concentration of large-scale dairies. As Courtney Flatt reports, residents living near the dairies have noticed respiratory problems as more dairies moved in.

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Tribal Fishing
6:32 am
Mon March 5, 2012

Ceremonial Fisheries Culturally Important to NW Tribes

Chinook salmon swimming upstream
Photo by: Dan Cook U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

DALLESPORT, Wash. – Columbia River Indian tribes are keeping their ancient traditions alive in the coming weeks with ceremonies to open their spring fisheries. As Courtney Flatt explains, predictions of strong salmon runs are giving the tribes extra reason to celebrate.

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Non-Native Fish
7:43 am
Tue February 21, 2012

Slowing the Northern Pike Population Expansion

Large northern pike captured in Box Canyon Reservoir in 2008.
Photo source: Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife

Non-nativSPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – The northern pike population has exploded in eastern Washington’s Box Canyon Reservoir. These non-native fish have gone from a few hundred to around 10-thousand over the past five years. As correspondent Courtney Flatt reports, the increasing numbers can damage native fish populations, like salmon and steelhead.

Throw your line out in Box Canyon Reservoir, and you’ll likely find a northern pike on the other end. Over the past several years, the northern pike population has increased so rapidly that it’s hard to catch anything else.

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Washington Wind Farm
6:14 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Conservation Group: ‘Take Permit’ Needs More Data

A Texas wind farm.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia user Leaflet Wikimedia Commons

RICHLAND, Wash. – A national bird conservation group is asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collect more information before it issues a permit for wind farms to kill golden eagles. Correspondent Courtney Flatt has more.

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