environment

Mark Herren / Flickr

Coal has been transported around the country by rail for decades. But very little research has been done on what coal does to the environment when it escapes from trains.With two large coal export terminals proposed for Washington state, one federal agency is hoping to add good science to the debate over coal in the Northwest.


U.S. Fish & Wildlife

The resort town of Ketchum, Idaho is asking the state to back off on killing wolves. They say it’s bad for business. Last night, the Ketchum City Council passed a resolution urging wildlife managers to use non-lethal tactics to control the wolf population.


USDA / Northwest News Network

Four environmental groups say they will sue the government to stop what they call the unlawful killing of wildlife in Idaho. They say tactics like shooting wolves from helicopters, blowing up beaver dams and spraying lethal chemicals in the wild have caused widespread damage.

The groups sent notice that they intend to sue the USDA's Wildlife Services program.

Travis Bruner heads the Hailey, Idaho-based Western Watersheds Project. It's one of the groups that joined the impending lawsuit.

King County / http://www.kingcounty.gov/

Seattle-area officials say they're improving their plan to clean up the Duwamish and Green River watershed.

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced plans Monday that they say will boost cleanup efforts.

The strategy calls for coordinating the work of governments, non-profits, and businesses already involved in the cleanup.

Constantine says bringing all the players together will improve the chances that the cleanup will work, permanently.

U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers / Northwest News Network

In Eastern Washington, an epic swim hole and university party spot on public land was just closed down. This past weekend, nearly 2,000 people mobbed the spot. The horde littered the place known as “The Dunes” with trash, adult-beverage containers and … well, other leavings. 

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

The helicopter shooting of a wolf in northeastern Washington didn’t go as planned. A sharp shooter took out the livestock-killing pack’s alpha female. Officials worry that could lower the pack’s chances of survival.

Serge Melki / Flickr

KING 5 reports that a federal contractor hired to kill wolves hunting Washington sheep has accidentally killed the pack's alpha breeding female.

The pack, known as the Huckleberry Pack, has been preying on sheep in northern Stevens County.

Katie Campbell / EarthFix

More oil trains traveling along the Columbia River and Puget Sound mean an increased risk for oil spills. Conservation groups worry methods to clean up those spills could harm sensitive wildlife.

The Golden Anniversary For Wilderness In America

Sep 2, 2014
David Steves / EarthFix

When you consider how long mountains, forests and deserts have been a part of the American landscape, 50 years is the blink of an eye.

But it’s something of a milestone when a law protecting these places turns 50. That’s happening this week.

To kick off our series on Wilderness, David Steves from our EarthFix team hiked into Washington’s Cascade Mountains. He brings us this report on what a half-century of wilderness protection has meant for a place called the Goat Rocks.

EPA Says Idaho Must Clean Up The Air In The Silver Valley

Aug 20, 2014
MegLearner / pixabay

The EPA has given the state of Idaho notice that a corner of the Idaho panhandle isn't meeting stricter new air quality standards. The agency intends to change that by forcing the state to reduce what are called “fine particulates” in the air.

Oregon Denies Permit For Controversial Coal Export Dock

Aug 19, 2014
Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission

The state of Oregon Monday denied a controversial permit for a coal export dock on the Columbia River. For EarthFix, Cassandra Profita reports.

Report Raises Safety Concerns About Oil By Water

Aug 7, 2014
Kill van Kull / Flickr

Many communities across the Northwest are worried about the safety risks of shipping crude oil by rail. But a new report raises safety concerns about another shipping method: Oil by water. For EarthFix, Cassandra Profita reports.

Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

Drones could soon be the newest gadgets in forest conservation. A group of Washington college students recently built and tested a drone that will survey the health of the forest. The hope is that drones will speed up restoration efforts and save some money. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Oregon Ponders Smoking Ban At All Beaches

Jul 25, 2014
Mark Hogan / Flickr

Oregon could become the first West Coast state to ban smoking on all of its beaches. The Oregon State Parks Department is seeking public input on the proposal.

Seattle Considers Fining Residents For Failure To Compost

Jul 24, 2014
normanack / Flickr

A growing number of cities in the Northwest – including Seattle and Portland – give residents the option of putting household food waste in a curbside compost bin. But in a push to boost recycling rates, the city of Seattle is rethinking the optional part.

New Safety Rules Proposed To Curb Oil Train Fires

Jul 23, 2014
Paul Sullivan / Flickr

The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed a comprehensive set of rules Wednesday in response to fiery crashes involving trains carrying crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota.

Scientists Say Earlier Slide Set Up Oso Disaster

Jul 22, 2014
Dave Norman / Washington DNR

A small landslide in 2006 set the stage for the catastrophe that claimed 43 lives in Oso, Wash. this past March. A panel of scientists says that first slide left a loosely packed mass of debris suspended above the Steelhead Haven development and its neighbors.

Martin D. Adamiker / Wikimedia

Today President Obama announced several initiatives to help prepare for a warming climate. He said wildfires, heat waves and rising sea levels brought on by climate change threaten public safety.

MTSOfan / Flickr

The federal Bureau of Land Management plans to capture and remove fewer wild horses from Western rangelands this summer. An agency statement blames budget constraints and already-full holding pens. Correspondent Tom Banse has more.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

The federal government led a bus load of journalists to points across the Hanford nuclear site. Officials wanted to show off what they’re doing to keep workers safe from chemical vapors. Since the spring a run of workers have needed medical attention from vapor exposure. Correspondent Anna King was on the bus, and files this report.

Bureau of Land Management / Flickr

The wildfire season is off a slow start in the U.S. and in the Northwest. Numbers from fire mangers show total fires and the number of acres burned are well below the 10 year average.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise says so far this year the number of fires is down by nearly 30 percent, and the number of acres burned is down by about 60 percent compared to the 10 year average.

Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

It’s back to court for the federal government and salmon advocates. Fish supporters Tuesday once again challenged the government’s plan to manage dams on the Columbia River and protect endangered salmon and steelhead. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Redwood Burl Poaching Spreads To Oregon

Jun 13, 2014
Michael Schweppe / Wikimedia

Redwood burl poaching has long been an issue in the Redwood National Park in California. But now a conservation group says it’s spotted evidence of this type of tree damage in a national forest in Oregon.

Not Much Refuge In Klamath Basin For Migratory Birds

Jun 11, 2014
EarthFix

A prolonged drought is putting pressure on water supplies for the Klamath Basin’s wildlife refuges.

EarthFix’s Devan Schwartz reports on how the nation’s original waterfowl refuge may be too dry this summer to provide a stopover for millions of migratory birds.

Devan Schwartz / EarthFix

What could be the largest carp removal project in history is underway at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Oregon.

EarthFix’s Devan Schwartz reports on the attempts to curb the invasive fish that has destroyed bird habitat for decades.

David T. Hanson / EarthFix

The Obama administration’s new rules to cut CO2 emissions sparked some interesting conversation in Seattle this week. At a conference held downtown, leaders in the energy sector gathered to talk about the future of coal in the West. Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix.

FlickrLickr / Wikimedia Commons

Northwesterners love their diesel pickups. A new report by a diesel industry group shows Oregon and Idaho are in the top ten when it comes to highest rates of diesel vehicle ownership in the nation. But the overall rate pales in comparison to other parts of the world. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Malcolm / Wikimedia

This time of year, young Northwest cougars are getting kicked out of the nest by their mother cats. That means many of these young adults are looking for their own home range. But these rookie hunters are in a cat-crowded field. That sometimes ends in trouble.

Oregon Landowners Agree To Protect Sage Grouse

May 21, 2014
Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

One county in Southeastern Oregon has announced one of the largest land conservation agreements in the state to protect greater sage grouse. The birds live in sagebrush country, but their habitat is shrinking because of people, wildfires and invasive species.

Central Oregon Grapples With Rising Oil Train Safety Risks

May 20, 2014
Friends of the Gorge

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden will meet with emergency officials in Central Oregon this week to talk about oil train safety. For EarthFix, Cassandra Profita reports.

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