Now to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Workers are readying pumping equipment at a slow-leaking radioactive waste tank in case the leak gets worse. A newly released report details why the tank became unstable.

Rancher Brings Pollution Battle To WA Supreme Court

Nov 14, 2012
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Washington Supreme Court heard arguments today Tuesday that will decide how much control environmental regulators have over runoff pollution.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Last week, power company PacifiCorp quietly announced it had finished removing the Condit dam in southwest Washington. It’s the second largest dam removal ever in the United States, and it’s revealed a stretch of the White Salmon River that was lost for 100 years.

Undammed White Salmon River Opens To Paddlers

Nov 12, 2012
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A new stretch of whitewater opened this month on the White Salmon River in Southwest Washington. It’s a river that used to be blocked by the Condit Dam.

Photo Credit: Richard Webb/Wikimedia Commons

Government regulators want to know how exporting coal from Northwest ports could affect the environment. They are looking at several projects individually. A lot of people want them to conduct one big study. They want to know how the entire region would be affected if all the coal export terminals are built.

Bechtel National, Inc.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu is bolstering the scientific brain power at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant. A memo released to employees Thursday says the aim is to solve nagging technical problems at the plant more quickly.

Photo Credit: James Allan/Wikimedia Commons

Public officials are considering permits for coal export terminals in the Northwest.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Idaho voters Tuesday passed an amendment that adds the right to hunt, fish and trap to the state constitution.

Governmental agencies have begun the environmental review process for the largest proposed coal export terminal in the Northwest. It would be located near Bellingham, Washington. If it’s built the Gateway Pacific Terminal would draw trains from across the region, carrying coal from Wyoming and Montana to be exported to Asia.

And those trains would come through Seattle. That would lead to more traffic, according to a new report from the Seattle Department of Transportation. Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix.

Cleaning Up Legacy Mines, One at a Time

Nov 5, 2012

The Pacific Northwest is scattered with thousands of abandoned mines. Most have been abandoned for more than 50 years. But hard metals are still leaching out from some sites. Things like arsenic and lead. The U.S. Forest Service is working to clean up these mines. One-by-one. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt visited one of Washington’s abandoned mining cities.

U.S. Department of Energy

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation needs new storage tanks for radioactive waste, now that one of the aging double-hulled tanks has been found to be leaking. That was the consensus Friday of a board that advises federal Hanford managers.

Puget Sound Ports Curb Emissions

Oct 31, 2012
Photo Credit: Joe Mabel/Wikimedia Commons

Air pollution from the major shipping ports in Puget Sound has decreased, according to a new report released Tuesday.

Salmon the Focus of Northwest Rivers Initiative

Oct 30, 2012
Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Dams, agriculture, urban development -- they’ve all contributed to the loss of quality habitat for Northwest salmon. EarthFix reporter Aaron Kunz recently visited an Idaho river where a historic gold mine has left problems behind for salmon and steelhead. Here’s his report on what’s being done to clean things up.

The Salmon River is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the Pacific Northwest. The mountains, clean water and abundant fish and wildlife have attracted hundreds of people like Jerry Meyers, who calls this place home.

Photo Credit: Brian Atwater

Researchers have found fresh evidence of 26-foot-high tsunami waves that washed more than three miles in to the Olympic Peninsula.

New 'Megaload' To Travel Idaho Scenic Route

Oct 22, 2012

A 260-ton piece of equipment is winding its way through the inland Northwest this week. The Idaho Department of Transportation gave the green light to a shipper moving water purification equipment into Canada.

The environment hasn’t been a big issue during this presidential campaign. It mainly comes up in the context of energy independence.

Photo Credit: Aaron Kunz

A gold miner who got the go-ahead to dredge a half mile section of the Salmon River in Idaho may be calling it quits.

Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

40 years ago Thursday, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to reduce pollution in America’s waterways. Even four decades later, hundreds of towns across the Northwest are failing to meet clean water standards for their wastewater treatment plants. For most, that means costly upgrades and higher fees for households and businesses. The southern Idaho town of Burley is no exception. EarthFix reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

Photo Credit: Ashley Ahearn

Human beings are really good at paving stuff. Such as parking lots and roads.  Our development patterns have very real effects on water quality.

Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Natural gas production in North America has increased so dramatically that no fewer than 17 companies have now applied to export the fuel overseas. Two gas export terminals are proposed in the Northwest - one near Coos Bay, Oregon, and the other at the Port of Astoria. This week, federal energy regulators are getting an earful of public testimony. Correspondent Tom Banse reports on the possible effects all this could have on the price you pay for natural gas.

The prospect of coal exports has stirred controversy in the Northwest this year. But near Astoria last night, it was natural gas exports that drew a capacity crowd. Correspondent Tom Banse reports what happened when federal regulators invited comment on a proposed natural gas export terminal at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Biologists say the sea lions that scoop up fish at the foot of Bonneville dam on the Columbia river have killed more sturgeon this year than salmon. Amelia Templeton reports.

Jason Baker

The King County Council and Seattle City Council both gave the go-ahead for an agreement to build a new professional basketball and hockey arena in Seattle. Meantime the Union that represents Longshore workers plans to file a lawsuit to stop it.

Judge Dismisses Hanford Whistleblower Case

Oct 12, 2012
Anna King / Northwest News Network

A federal judge this week dismissed a lawsuit by a high-level whistleblower against a contractor at the Hanford nuclear site. A former manager there had voiced safety concerns about the design of a plant meant to treat millions of gallons of radioactive waste.

Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

An alliance of Northwest power utilities kicked off a campaign this month to curb energy use by college football fans. EarthFix Reporter Aaron Kunz has more.

A fire that burned roughly 250 acres in Mason County last week has been put out. Now biologists are concerned about the potential impacts on local salmon runs. Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix.

The Oregon Court of Appeals has agreed to hear a climate change lawsuit brought by two teens from Eugene.

One of the two plaintiffs, 16-year old Kelsey Juliana, is featured in a recent short film--

Kelsey Juliana: "Climate change is affecting Oregon because we're seeing droughts, we're seeing warmer temperatures and also we're seeing more fires."

Report: Hanford Unprepared For Early Start On Cleanup

Oct 9, 2012
U.S. Department of Energy

A new report says plans to get an early start at cleaning up some radioactive waste at Hanford may not work the way managers envisioned. The document is the latest criticism of a project to treat waste at the southeast Washington nuclear site.

Burn Ban Extended In Washington

Oct 8, 2012

A statewide burn ban has been extended through mid-October due to the long stretch of unusually dry weather. Washington had no measurable rain in August, and September was the third driest on record.

The director of Washington's Fish and Wildlife Department Friday said he hopes never again to have to order the killing of an entire wolf pack, as happened last month. In Olympia Friday, cattlemen and wolf lovers offered the agency radically different ideas for how to avoid a repeat.