Columbia River

SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Senate has voted to approve funding for that state’s share of the Columbia River Crossing. It would connect Portland and Vancouver, Washington.

House Bill 2800 authorizes $450 million in bond funding for the project. Supporters believe the I-5 bridge replacement will provide seismic stability and boost commerce. Opponents considered the Columbia River Crossing too costly. Environmental impacts were also a concern.

But Democratic Senator Lee Beyer urged his colleagues to get down to the bottom line.

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon House has signed off on what's shaping up to be the most expensive single public works project in the state's history. Lawmakers voted Monday to approve $450 million for a new Interstate 5 bridge across the Columbia River.

The new bridge would replace a pair of aging, congestion-prone spans between Portland and Vancouver, Washington. If all goes according to plan, Oregon's portion of the funding would be matched by a similar amount from state lawmakers in Olympia, along with federal cash and money from drivers in the form of tolls.

Governor John Kitzhaber signed a plan that will move several eastern Oregon water projects one step forward.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In her final state of the state speech, outgoing Washington Governor Chris Gregoire urged lawmakers to fund schools and roads. The two-term Democrat delivered her farewell address Tuesday to a joint session of the legislature.

Gregoire told the assembled legislators they should come up with an additional $1 billion for schools in the next budget to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling.

“There is no free lunch," the governor said. "We cannot cut our way out of this. We cannot save our way out of this.”

Canadian Smelter Found Liable For U.S. Pollution

Dec 14, 2012
kootenayvolcano / Flickr

A federal judge Friday found a Canadian smelter responsible for the millions of tons of pollutants it dumped into the Columbia River.

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.

Colin Fogarty

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is stepping up the pressure on state lawmakers to make funding a new I-5 bridge over the Columbia River a top priority. The Democrat made his case for a new span between Portland and Vancouver at a gathering of business leaders Monday.

Photo courtesy Teck Resources, Ltd.

A case involving cross border pollution of the Columbia River rests in the hands of a federal judge today. A Native American tribe and the state of Washington have sued to hold a Canadian mining giant responsible for smelter waste that washed downriver from British Columbia into Washington. Correspondent Tom Banse reports on the latest go-around in U.S. District Court in Yakima.

kootenayvolcano / Flickr

Wednesday, a federal judge in Yakima will consider a long-running case about cross border pollution in the Columbia River. The Colville Tribes and the state of Washington are trying to force cleanup of heavy metals dumped in the river for nearly a hundred years by a Canadian smelter.

Just as Washington environmental regulators finish up a series of meetings on oil spill readiness, a half-mile sheen appeared on the Columbia River near Longview. Contractors quickly contained the diesel spill this week. It's one of about 1,800 spills in Oregon and Washington each year.

President Obama has announced that the Columbia River Crossing -- and three other infrastructure projects around the nation -- will be expedited.

Daily Inter Lake / FWS

Oregon is moving ahead with a proposed phase-out of commercial gillnetting along the Columbia River. A state fish and wildlife panel Tuesday gave the initial go-ahead to the proposal made by Gov. John Kitzhaber. The action comes as the governor tries to head off a more restrictive ballot measure.

Only one of the Northwest’s various coal export proposals would rely on two different ports. That has residents in a pair of Columbia River towns in wondering if coal will be good for their communities. EarthFix reporter Courtney Flatt has the first part of our story in Boardman.

Riccardo Rossi / Wikimedia Commons

You might remember predictions of really high spring Chinook runs this year. But, turns outs, after spring salmon runs wrapped up, the numbers were not as high as everyone had hoped.

Photo courtesy of USGS

Giant smoke stacks and industrial dump sites are no longer the only water quality problem on the Columbia River. a recent study has found that our day to day life has a major impact as well.

U.S. Geological Survey researchers looked at nine cities along the river, from Wenatchee to Longview, Wash. They detected hundreds of contaminants flowing from wastewater treatment plants and stormwater runoff.

Hydrologist Jennifer Morace says the toxic contaminants included things like shampoo and pharmaceuticals.

Northwest News Network

A pipe failure on Monday in British Columbia has released an estimated 1.2 million gallons of raw sewage into the Columbia River. Emergency crews from the British Columbia Ministry of Environment stopped the flow  Tuesday afternoon.

Wikimedia user: TobinFricke / Wikimedia Commons

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Department of Energy is starting work on a plan to build a 30-mile natural gas pipeline to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant. The announcement Monday includes few details but the pipeline would likely go under the Columbia River.

Hanford’s waste treatment plant is going to need a lot of power. After all, its purpose is to mix radioactive sludge with glass material to form molten liquid. That brew, once cooled, would form huge glass logs for long-term storage.

Hanford.gov / U.S. Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s tank farms in southeast Washington may have much more plutonium than earlier estimated. That’s according to a report by a Hanford contractor that’s just been leaked to public radio. As Anna King reports, At least one high-level Hanford official worries the findings could mean a massive waste treatment plant’s design might need to be altered.

A watchdog group is crying foul on the federal government's plan to pump more water out of the Columbia River in Eastern Washington. The government plans to build a massive pipeline near Moses Lake with federal stimulus money. Richland Correspondent Anna King explains. 

At issue is the federal government's plan to build a massive pipeline near Moses Lake to pull more water out of the Columbia River to help irrigate crops. Rachael Paschael Osborn with the group Center for Environmental Law & Policy says she became concerned with the pipeline when she realized how large it was.

Pages