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.

Ways to Connect

kaylaword / Flickr

Air pollution caused by wood stoves in Washington is in line with federal clean air requirements for the first time in seven years.

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency lowered its limits on air pollution. For most of Washington state, that wasn’t a problem. But the air in Pierce County was too polluted from wood stove smoke. The fine particulate from that smoke has been linked to asthma and heart attacks and high blood pressure.

Binsar Bakkara / Associated Press

An international report on the health risks of a commonly used herbicide is raising special concerns about farmworkers and cancer.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the weed-killer Roundup. A study by the World Health Organization has found limited evidence that glyphosate is probably capable of causing cancer in humans.

Chuck Benbrook studies pesticides at Washington State University. He said the new report could be bad news for farmworkers.

Flickr

A grain handling facility in Eastern Washington has been leaking chemicals into the only source of drinking water for a local school district. The Environmental Protection Agency now wants to add it to the Superfund list of hazardous waste cleanup projects.

Jes Burns / EarthFix

In the world of nuclear power, one technology is generating debate: factory-produced reactors that are no bigger than a house.

Yellowstone National Park

Would you like to see more grizzly bears in Washington’s North Cascades? That’s what the federal government is asking during informational meetings across the state. A plan is in the works to consider adding more grizzlies to Washington’s dwindling population.

Okanogan is a small town nestled in the foothills of Washington’s North Cascade mountains. It’s surrounded by rangeland, apple orchards, and hiking trails. Ranches and homesteads butt up to the Okanogan National Forest and other public lands.

Washington Department of Ecology

Emergency crews responded to a 1,500 gallon oil spill in Central Washington’s Yakima River.

The used motor oil has threatened wildlife since it escaped Sunday from an above-ground storage tank at the site of a former feedlot. The heavy oil flowed across a paved area and into an irrigation ditch.

An environmental clean up company is using vacuum trucks to remove the oil.

Joye Redfield-Wilder is a spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Ecology. She said the amount of oil spilled is concerning.

Wikimedia Commons

Keeping cool may soon take a lot less energy. Northwest researchers have developed a new air cooling system that could be used in cars, buildings, and the navy’s front lines.

A new air chilling system designed by researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, could soon be helping to keep troops and cargo cool while they’re at sea.

EarthFix

Bluebird skies, warming temperatures, and snow-free terrain might have you itching to hike your favorite trail.

Tony Schick / EarthFix

This week’s fiery oil train derailment in West Virginia has lawmakers thinking about oil-by-rail safety through the Northwest. There has been a dramatic increase in oil trains traveling through the region to reach West coast refineries.

Kasey Myers / Flickr

Wolves in the eastern third of Oregon have reached a key milestone in the state’s recovery program. Officials have confirmed seven breeding pairs. It’s the third year in a row a healthy number of pups have survived. Those two indicators of a recovering wolf population trigger phase two in the state's wolf reintroduction plan.

Oregon’s wolf program coordinator Russ Morgan spoke Wednesday on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s talk show, Think Out Loud.  Morgan said one of the big takeaways is that ranchers can now kill wolves that are chasing livestock on their properties.

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