environment

SALEM, Ore. - Many of Oregon's major transportation corridors would be impassable if a major earthquake hit. That's the upshot of a study released today by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

ODOT engineers used a new computer simulation program to subject Oregon bridges to hypothetical major earthquakes. The result? Many bridges along the state's biggest highways would be out of commission for months, if not longer, if a huge quake hit. That includes Interstate 5, according to ODOT's Dave Thompson:

Oregon is pushing its coastal counties to standardize the sound of tsunami warning sirens. Washington state has already done so. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Oregon's Emergency Management Office uses the words “mish mash” to describe the current array of tsunami warning sounds. Seaside, Oregon for example has used a steady siren wail during evacuation drills.

Columbia and Snake River irrigators have run out of patience with the state of Washington's slow work to increase irrigated acreage that was agreed to in 2006, according to Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association leaders.

If the state will not support efforts to allow irrigators to use some of the water freed up by conservation efforts, irrigators will no longer be willing to support the state's other conservation projects, said Darryll Olsen, a consultant to the irrigators association, during a meeting with the Herald editorial board.

photo by Ray Bosch, U.S. F&WS

The federal government today removed brown pelicans from the endangered species list. Nowadays, the migratory seabird is a common sight along the Oregon and Washington coasts between June and October. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the pelican was declared endangered in the early 1970's.

HELENA — A new federal Environmental Protection Agency study shows concentrations of toxic chemicals in fish tissue from lakes and reservoirs in nearly all 50 states, though those levels aren't considered dangerous in the Montana lakes tested.

According to the agency, the study marks the first time the EPA has been able to estimate the percentage of lakes and reservoirs nationwide that have fish containing potentially harmful levels of chemicals such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

Today in northeastern Washington, state attorneys will try a man accused of buying gall bladders that were taken from bears. Authorities say the organs are popular items on the black market. The practice of buying and selling bear parts is illegal in Washington, as Inland Northwest Correspondent Doug Nadvornick reports.

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