environment

Sea Turtles Recovering In Oregon Coast Aquarium

Dec 19, 2012

Two endangered turtles are recovering at an Oregon aquarium. Storms washed them Monday onto Northwest beaches far from their warm ocean habitats. One is a loggerhead and the other a green sea turtle. Both turtles are in critical condition at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport.

Lance Beck is with the aquarium. He explains how warm-water turtles react to Oregon’s colder waters.

Beck: “They don’t technically hibernate, but they shut down their systems to survive, and that’s when they end up floating ashore at that point.”

Photo courtesy University of Washington

Researchers have discovered something they didn’t expect in the air above an Oregon mountain: hundreds of tiny organisms from Asia. The study suggests the atmosphere is filled with life capable of traveling long distances. Jessica Robinson reports.

Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy

The federal government is reviewing three years of payments to a major contractor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The review follows growing concerns about a nuclear waste treatment plant at the southeast Washington site. Correspondent Anna King explains.

Photo courtesy National Parks Service

Redwoods grow where heavy fog rolls in from the Pacific. From Big Sur, California to Brookings, Oregon. Scientists don’t have a clear picture of how climate change will affect that coastal fog, and the giants that depend on it. But a group called Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has come up with an unusual plan to help the redwoods. It’s planting clones of some of the world’s largest trees. Amelia Templeton of EarthFix reports.

Photo courtesy Hanford.gov

When Governor Chris Gregoire leaves office in January, she’ll take with her nearly a quarter-century’s worth of expertise on one of the most contaminated places on Earth.

Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Environmentalists, farmers and irrigators could play a bigger role in creating long term management policies for Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead. The government has asked two university programs in Oregon and Washington to act as mediators over the next six months, talking with more than 200 organizations, states and tribes in order to find a better way of managing fish.

Canadian Smelter Found Liable for U.S. Pollution

Dec 17, 2012

A federal judge Friday found a Canadian smelter responsible for the millions of tons of pollutants it dumped into the Columbia River. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

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.

Not Easy To Find Room For Ocean Energy

Dec 13, 2012
Photo courtesy OPT

It goes without saying that the Pacific Ocean is vast. So it may come as a surprise to hear the sea described as "crowded." Perhaps even too crowded to make room for the nascent industry of wave and tidal energy. Taxpayers and investors have pumped tens of millions of dollars into finding ways to turn the ocean's power into electricity. Correspondent Tom Banse reports high stakes negotiations to identify wave energy sites on the Oregon Coast are finally getting somewhere.

Seattle Firm Wins Grant To Build Offshore Wind Platform

Dec 13, 2012

Seattle company Principle Power wants to take turbines out to sea. The feds today awarded the company 4 million dollars to design an offshore wind power facility. It would be anchored off the Oregon coast near Coos Bay. Amelia Templeton reports.

Coal Export Opponents Dominate Vancouver Hearing

Dec 13, 2012

About 700 people gathered in Vancouver, Washington, Wednesday to comment on a coal export terminal that could be built near Bellingham.

Where Coal Divides, Community Remains

Dec 12, 2012
Photo by Ashley Ahearn

The largest coal export facility on the West coast is proposed to be built near Bellingham, WA. Some people see it as an opportunity to create jobs. Others worry about the potential environmental impacts of dusty coal trains and climate change. It’s an issue that’s dividing communities around the Northwest.

EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn went to Bellingham, Washington to visit one community at the center of the coal export debate.

NOAA Asks for Input From NW Salmon Stakeholders

Dec 12, 2012
Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Environmentalists in the Northwest are being offered an expanded role in shaping the long-term recovery plan for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin.

Earthfix reporter Aaron Kunz has more.

Mt Hood National Forest Withdraws Thinning Sale

Dec 12, 2012

The Mt. Hood National Forest has withdrawn a decision to thin trees in the upper Clackamas River watershed. Reporting for EarthFix, Amelia Templeton has the story.

Oregon Considers Limits On Rodent Killing Devices

Dec 11, 2012
Wobbyball / Wikimedia Commons

An Oregon man injured by an explosive rodent killing device is pushing lawmakers to regulate the machines. The issue was the subject of a hearing at the state capitol Tuesday.

U.S. Department of Energy

Washington environmental regulators say a new 6,000 page plan for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is very useful. But it lacks a definitive path forward for treating a large part of the radioactive sludge there.

Kim Flotlin, FWS / Wikimedia Commons

For the third time this fall, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to add a Northwest meadow critter to the endangered species list. This time, it's the Mazama pocket gopher. But, the listing is fairly limited.

Lull Or Tail End Of Japanese Tsunami Debris?

Dec 6, 2012
Photo by Tom Banse

It’s been more than four months since the last confirmed piece of Japanese tsunami debris washed ashore on the Pacific Northwest coast. Even sightings of suspected disaster debris have tapered way off in recent months. Does that mean we’re just in a lull or past the worst of it? Correspondent Tom Banse reports from the coast.

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (via KUOW Freedom of Information request)

Oil-spill equipment designed to support drilling in the Arctic Ocean was damaged badly in its first field test this fall in Puget Sound near Anacortes. A public radio investigation revealed just how badly. Now a top Congressman is seeking answers, too. Seattle correspondent John Ryan reports.

U.S. Department of Energy

The federal government plans to release a major document early next week that could guide a couple of decades worth of cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. This is important because it maps out decisions like where to bury the radioactive waste, and how much to leave in place.

First Morrow Pacific Meeting Kicks Off

Dec 5, 2012
Photo Credit: Antti Leppänen/Wikimedia Commons

A series of public meetings about a proposed coal export terminal kicked off last night [Tuesday] in Boardman, Oregon.

Oil Trains On The Rise In The Northwest

Dec 5, 2012
Photo Credit: Carl Chapman/Wikimedia Commons

Regulators in the region are weighing the potential impacts of trains full of coal moving along the Columbia River and the shores of Puget Sound. Meanwhile, trains full of Oil are quietly on the rise.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a case from Oregon over water pollution from logging roads. Amelia Templeton of EarthFix reports a last minute rule change may have made the case moot.

Photo courtesy Link Transit

In the last couple years, you've seen mass-produced, 100 percent electric cars take to the streets in the Northwest. In the same vein, now come the first battery powered buses. And we're not talking about trolley buses that get juice from overhead wires, as correspondent Tom Banse explains.

The environmental review process for the largest coal export terminal on the West Coast is underway. Public meetings are being held around the state to get feedback from citizens. EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn was at the most recent hearing in Ferndale, Washington, which took place Thursday night.

John and Karen Hollingsworth / Wikimeda Commons

The new map of protected habitat for the northern spotted owl affects far more state forestland in Oregon than in Washington or California.

Photo Credit: Peter Gugerell/Wikimedia Commons

Governor Chris Gregoire has just released a long awaited report on ocean acidification.

Pessimist / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Chris Gregoire has just released a long awaited report on ocean acidification. At a public ceremony today she announced major funding for the execution of some of the report’s recommendations.

Gus Van Vliet / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction halting 11 timber sales in Oregon’s state forests. The state is being sued by three conservation groups who say the logging projects imperil a federally protected seabird.

U.S. Dept. of Energy

A Hanford watchdog group is concerned with what it calls a “revolving door” for top managers at the nuclear site in southeast Washington.

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