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

Climate Care
7:26 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Obama Highlights Carbon Storage, Northwest Researchers Hope For More Funding

One of the less-talked-about points in President Barack Obama’s climate change plan is capturing and storing carbon before it’s released from power plants. Research is taking place in the Northwest to keep carbon out of the atmosphere by injecting it permanently underground.For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

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Wheat Investigation
5:57 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Inspectors Take Wheat Seed Samples From Wash. Distributors

Federal inspectors have taken seed samples from a distributor in Walla Walla, Wash., as part of their investigation to find out how genetically modified wheat wound up in an Oregon field. That’s according to a news report published by the Capital Press.

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GMO Wheat
5:27 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

How GMO Crops Could Affect Weeds

Jointed goatgrass is a weed that mingles with wheat in fields across the Northwest.
Credit Matt Lavin / Wikimedia Commons

After unauthorized, genetically modified wheat was found in an Oregon field, scientists have been trying to figure out what that means for wheat crops. Beyond farmers’ fields, a few pesky plants could also benefit as more genetically modified crops come into play.

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Compressed Air
4:48 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Compressed Air Technology To Store Wind Energy

Renewable energy storage is one step closer becoming a reality in the Northwest. Researchers are proposing a new system that could store enough wind energy to power 80,000 homes for a month. But researchers aren’t proposing fields lined with batteries. They’re using some of the Columbia River Basin’s natural geography and compressed air.

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Golf Course Case
5:25 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Washington Supreme Court Hears WSU Golf Course Case

Homeowner Scotty Cornelius says WSU’s golf course is improperly draining the aquifer he relies on for water.
Courtney Flatt Northwest Public Radio

The Supreme Court of Washington heard oral arguments in a case that could change how cities, towns and universities manage water. Northwest conservation groups are suing Washington State University. They say it’s draining the region’s aquifer.

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Fish Screens
4:30 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Fish Screens Help Farmers, Save Fish

Washington and Oregon require fish screens when water is being pumped out of streams, rivers, and lakes.
Credit Courtney Flatt

If proper equipment isn’t installed on irrigation pipes and pumps, fish can get sucked into farmers’ fields and drainage ditches. That clogs pipes and kills fish. A new fish screen was just installed on a Central Washington River to prevent this from happening. It’s the first of its kind in the state.

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Portable Turbines
6:49 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Portable Wind Turbines Bring Renewable Energy To Cities

Tall, noisy wind turbines may not go over well in some urban areas. A Northwest company has developed residential-sized turbines to push renewable energy to cities. The portable turbines could also generate power during disasters.

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No New Wind Turbines
9:16 am
Thu May 9, 2013

No New Wind Farm Construction In PNW This Year

You may have seen wind turbines springing up all over the Pacific Northwest in the past decade. So far this year, the region’s wind industry has faced a different story. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

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Cleaning Oil from Trains
9:04 am
Thu May 9, 2013

How To Clean Up A Crude Oil Spill From Trains

Pacific Northwest refineries have been getting their crude oil for years from tankers and pipelines. Last September, trains began shipping crude oil into the region by rail. EarthFix reporter Courtney Flatt explains what that means for emergency crews.

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Golf Course Lawsuit
6:58 am
Thu May 2, 2013

What A Golf Course Could Mean For Washington’s Groundwater

WSU officials say, even though the university is growing, it’s using less water now than 30 years ago. They say that's due in large part to conservation efforts.
Credit Courtney Flatt / EarthFix

Northwest conservationists are suing Washington State University. They say the groundwater used to irrigate the University’s golf course is draining the region’s aquifer. But this case is about more than just watering the fairways and putting greens. It could change how cities and towns manage water for future development. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

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