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.

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

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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website

Biologists released more than 100 pygmy rabbits into the wild this summer. Now, as temperatures drop and snow falls, they’re out tracking the rabbits to find out how many of the endangered species have survived.

Courtney Flatt

Imagine never having to change your light bulbs. Researchers are testing a new L.E.D. bulb that they jokingly say could be written into your will. It could last that long.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Washington dairy industry is fighting a report from the Environmental

Protection Agency. The report found that dairies are likely contaminating residential wells in the Lower Yakima Valley.

Goleh / Wikimedia Commons

Warmer winters caused by climate change could make it more difficult to operate ski resorts in the Northwest. That’s according to a new study.

Callum Black / Wikimedia Commons

A series of public meetings about a proposed coal export terminal kicked off Thursday night in Boardman.

There’s not enough water in eastern Oregon for farmers and fish. Gov. John Kitzhaber designated one basin as a place to try a possible solution to this problem. At the Oregon Leadership Summit Monday, farmers and environmentalists talked about what’s being done.

High-tech batteries could be a solution to storing renewable energy. They could also help electric cars drive farther before needing to recharge. A Washington laboratory is joining a nationwide team of scientist and industry professionals to advance battery performance.

Northwest Public Radio

About half of the energy you use comes from heating and cooling your home. So, what if a smart thermostat could help you use less? An energy innovation can help you change your thermostat even if you’re miles away from home.

Basher Eyre / Wikimedia Commons

Updating your home can have a dramatic effect on energy savings. One Central Washington couple reduced their energy use by about one-third.

Scientists recently looked at what urban development is doing to streams in Portland and eight other U.S. cities. They found that urban development can mean trouble for invertebrate species.

A global wind company with offices in the Pacific Northwest has announced more layoffs. Vestas says it will cut an additional 3,000 jobs by the end of next year. That nearly doubles the number of jobs the wind turbine company had planned to eliminate.

Researchers at Washington State University are hoping to make some economic and social predictions about climate change.

In Northwest streams, high temperatures and low flow levels are creating harsh conditions for fish. That’s the finding of a new study.

Photo Credit: Courtney Flatt

Those giant wind turbines that line ridges across the Northwest have brought green energy and construction jobs to many rural areas. But some of those jobs could disappear next year. That’s if Congress does not extend a tax credit that expires in December. Wind developers say the money is critical to the burgeoning industry. But critics say taxpayers should not subsidize wind energy.

Northwest states lead the nation in energy efficiency, according to a new report out today.

Jarek Tuszynski / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeal to the so-called Roadless Rule. The law bans development on nearly 60 million acres of national forest land.

Tedder / Wikimedia Commons

President Obama has blocked a Chinese company from building wind farms in northeastern Oregon. the president cited national security concerns at a nearby Navy facility.

Photo Credit: Andre Engels

GRANGER, Wash. – A federal agency has concluded that dairies in the Yakima Valley are likely contaminating residential wells. Scientists and other officials presented the information this week to local residents.

Oregon will soon be home to the first large-scale wave research site in the United States. A $4 million grant from the Department of Energy is helping fund the facility.

The project will be connected to the electrical grid on-shore so that researchers can test how much power the buoys convert into electricity. Belinda Batten is with Oregon State University and will direct the facility. She says the project will help developers make wave energy more commercially available with large-scale technology.

Research in the Northwest is finding new evidence that a chemical used to harden plastics can damage female reproductive systems.

Photo Credit: Paul Anderson/Wiki Commons

A wind tower manufacturer in Richland, Wash. says it’s closing plants in Washington and Nebraska.

Photo by Courtney Flatt / EarthFix

A plan to manage central Washington’s water is not sitting well with some cabin owners. The water plan aims to enlarge a lake that would flood a small, shoreline community. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt takes a look at how environmental planners balance the wish of some against the need of many.

Annawjacbos / Wikimedia Commons

A wind tower manufacturer says it’s closing plants in Washington and Nebraska. Manufacturing company Katana Summit is looking for a buyer for its operations in the two states. If that doesn’t happen by November 1, the plants will shut down.

Light bulbs that rely on LED technology may soon be the best way to light your home. Courtney Flatt checked into a study that says LED light bulbs are becoming the best environmental choice.

Columbia River Indian tribes are opposing a ballot measure that would ban commercial gillnet fishing in Oregon. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Photo by Wikimedia user: Nieuw / Wikimedia Commons

Upgrading your windows may be one way to significantly lower your energy bill. Researchers in Richland, Washington, are comparing two homes to find out how much you can save. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has this report.

A wind company with operations in the Pacific Northwest has announced more layoffs this year as the industry prepares for the expiration of tax credits at the end of the year.

Photo by Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

There’s been some speculation over the years as to how wind farms would hold up in the event of a large wildfire. Now, the verdict is in. From EarthFix, Courtney Flatt reports a central Washington wind farm was not damaged.

Scorched earth surrounds wind turbines just outside Cle Elum, Washington. A fire that drove through over the last week and a half destroyed more than 50 houses and has burned an estimated 23,000 acres. It did not burn 48 wind turbines.

Operations manager Eric Melbardis says gravel landscaping protected the turbines from the fire.

Fire bosses say a blaze in central Washington is 90 percent contained. That’s while large fires continue to burn in Idaho and California. Getting these wildfires under control marks the beginning of a new problem: soil erosion.

Extreme heat from wildfires destroys trees and ground cover. That means plants no longer keep soil from sliding down hillsides and into streams.

Residents near the Taylor Bridge Wildfire could see more sediment on roads and in creeks. They also might notice wind kicking up extra dust.

Photo courtesy Wash. Department of Natural Resources

Dramatic images of destruction from a central Washington wildfire this week haave prompted an overwhelming flood of donations to fire victims. So much that the state of Washington is urging well meaning donors to stop giving food and clothing and donate money instead. In Cle Elum, correspondent Courtney Flatt checked out the brimming donation centers.