Greg Schechte, GregTheBusker

Way up in the mountains of the Northwest you’ll find a little amphibian known as the Cascades Frog. This frog thrives in alpine wetlands, which are dependent on snowmelt. But snowpacks are decreasing across the West. And scientists are trying to figure out how the frogs will adapt to their shrinking habitat. And they’re using some pretty interesting research methods to do that.

The national debate over oil development took an unusual turn on an Idaho highway early Tuesday morning. For nearly two hours, members of the Nez Perce Tribe blocked the passage of a giant water evaporator headed for the oil sands of Alberta, Canada.

Wyden Looking For Klamath Basin's Solution

Aug 2, 2013

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden says he’s looking for permanent solution to the Klamath Basin’s regional water crisis in southern Oregon. And he says he wants it on his desk by September tenth. A group charged with finding those answers met Thursday in Klamath Falls.

Falling Tree Kills Firefighter In Central Oregon

Aug 2, 2013
Mary R Bernsen

Authorities are identifying the wildland firefighter who was killed Thursday outside the town of Sisters as John Hammack of Central Oregon. Another firefighter was injured in the accident and was taken to a local hospital. 

Oregon Zoo

A polar bear at the Oregon Zoo are helping researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey study how climate change is affecting wild Arctic polar bears. For EarthFix, Cassandra Profita reports.

Vancouver Oil Terminal Lease Would Allow Exports

Jul 30, 2013

The Port of Vancouver has released copies of the lease agreement Port commissioners approved last week for a controversial oil terminal. EarthFix reporter Cassandra Profita reports the lease does not restrict terminal developers from exporting oil overseas.

Tom Banse

This week, technicians in southeast Washington continue a field test to show how carbon dioxide could be injected and trapped deep underground. It's an experiment led by the Pacific Northwest National Lab. Injection of fifty tanker truck loads of CO2 will take about four weeks. Then comes about a year and a half of monitoring to see if the global warming gas stays locked away forever beneath ancient lava flows.

April Baer

Hundreds of people came to Vancouver's waterfront Saturday for a sun-baked demonstration against the fossil fuel industry, and its projects in the Northwest. April Baer reports.

You’ve seen the Adopt-A-Highway signs by the side of the road. But have you ever seen a volunteer group picking up trash? In the past three years, Washington state has purged nearly 700 inactive organizations from the program – and taken down their signs. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has the story of Washington’s effort to clean up this long neglected volunteer program.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The White Bluffs bladderpod is a small flower facing some big issues.  It’s a short plant with bright yellow flowers and small inflated pods – hence its name.  At first glance, there’s nothing special about it.  It isn’t edible and doesn’t have any herbal use that we know of.   But the bladderpod is rare.  It appears to grow only in a 17 mile long strip of federal lands in the Columbia Basin.  Right now, U.S. Fish and Wildlife lists the bladderpod as “threatened.”  They would like to list it as “endangered.” 

Northwest News Network

Washington State is home to two key players when it comes to national environmental policy. Sally Jewell is the Interior Secretary and a Seattle resident. Doc Hastings is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and a Republican from Pasco. They faced off for the first time on Capitol Hill.

Ashley Ahearn

Gumbo and Jambalaya may not be at the top of traditional Northwest menus, but if the invasive red swamp crayfish has its way, that could change. The crayfish – also known as a crawfish or crawdad – is native to the Southeastern U.S. and the Gulf Coast.

But over the past decade this firey-clawed, and delicious, crustacean has moved in on Northwestern lakes. Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix.

There are now 15 confirmed deaths in the oil train explosion that rocked a small town in Quebec Province over the weekend.

The tragedy has given the commissioners of the Port of Vancouver in Washington pause as they consider a proposal for a terminal to move oil from trains onto ships. Ashley Ahearn reports.

Amelia Templeton

More than a million visitors have ridden the chair lifts at the famous Whistler resort in British Columbia. That figure doesn’t count skiers or snowboarders- it’s just the number of mountain bikers there. The brisk business at Whistler has inspired ski areas from Stevens Pass in Washington to Mount Bachelor in Oregon to build their own summer bike parks. But Amelia Templeton of EarthFix reports, some environmental groups say mountain biking isn’t an appropriate activity in alpine meadows.

Cassandra Profita

Coal opponents danced, waved banners and cheered Tuesday outside a Portland hearing about a proposed export terminal. It was a quieter scene inside the meetings in Eastern and Western Oregon, where officials heard hundreds of public comments.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada

A train loaded with oil exploded in Eastern Canada over the weekend. There are 13 confirmed deaths and dozens more missing. The train was carrying oil from the massive Bakken Oil Fields of North Dakota.

A new battery power storage system that may provide some long term solutions to storing power from the electrical grid is being tested in the Tri-Cities. Steve Jackson reports.

Washington Supreme Court Hears Wind Farm Case

Jul 1, 2013

The Supreme Court of Washington Thursday heard arguments in a case about a controversial wind farm in the Columbia River Gorge. Then-Governor Chris Gregoire approved the project more than a year ago. Environmentalists say it will harm wildlife, recreation, and scenic views. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

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.

A new survey finds support for coal export terminals has dropped over the past year among Northwest residents. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Sound Tracker In Race Against Silence

Jun 18, 2013
Tom Banse

The man who identified the quietest place in the Lower 48 - dubbed the "One Square Inch of Silence" - is going deaf. This Olympic Peninsula fellow campaigned against noise pollution, particularly at his symbolic spot in the Hoh Rain Forest. The self-described "Sound Tracker" is now in a race to edit his life's work before he loses more of his hearing. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Climate Change Concerns Enter Into Coal Export Debate

Jun 18, 2013
Katie Campbell

There are now three coal export terminals under consideration in the Pacific Northwest.

The prospect of exporting coal from Wyoming and Montana to be sold on the Asian market has many raising questions about the local and regional environmental impacts of moving that coal through the Northwest.

Ashley Ahearn reports on how that issue is playing into the debate over coal exports in Washington and Oregon.

Ernest Moniz, the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy visits Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington on Wednesday. Among the issues he will have to deal with are the leaking underground tanks of radioactive waste and the troubled waste treatment plant.

From his resume, it appears Moniz isn’t short on brainpower. He’s been on the faculty of MIT since 1973. Secretary Moniz received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in physics from Boston College and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University.

Rusty Blazenhoff / Flickr

Monday, the Seattle City Council is expected to endorse a Climate Action Plan to make Seattle “carbon neutral” by the year 2050. It’s looking to reduce energy use to meet that goal. But the council is also considering zoning for a new power-hungry business: indoor marijuana growing. 

Where you are in Idaho will determine your wildfire risk this summer. Fire officials gave their predictions Tuesday on what fire seasons will be like around the state. If you’re in southern Idaho you shouldn’t see the type of catastrophic wildfires we had last year.

US Fish And Wildlife Propose To Delist Gray Wolf

Jun 10, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Friday it plans to stop protecting the gray wolf and put the states in charge of managing these predators. But the plan is already facing some tough opposition from wolf advocate groups that say it’s too early for this discussion. EarthFix reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

Advocates For Klamath Dams' Removal Rally In Portland

May 31, 2013

Groups from Southern Oregon and Northern California rallied outside Senator Ron Wyden’s office in Portland Thursday.

Environmental groups have gone to court again to stop the export of liquefied natural gas from the Port of Coos Bay.

Coos Waterkeeper, the Sierra Club and other groups filed a petition with Oregon’s Court of Appeals Tuesday. They’re asking the court to reverse a judge’s decision last month to allow the port to dredge a waterway deep enough for large vessels that could haul LNG and bulk commodities like coal.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made her first public stop in the Northwest in Portland today, six weeks into the job. Amelia Templeton from our EarthFix team reports that local activists wanted to know how she will handle coal leases on federal land.

The number of coal export terminals proposed for Oregon and Washington has dropped from six to three. But a dozen Northwest groups aren’t backing down from their call for a regional impact study of the coal projects.

The groups filed a legal petition Wednesday with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They want the corps to study the environmental impacts of transporting coal by train and barge from mines in Montana and Wyoming to shipping terminals.

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