Northwest News

DOT Funding
5:51 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Feds Warn Of Possible Highway Cash Holdback to Northwest States

The Idaho Department of Transportation has temporarily suspended advertising for bids for some highway projects.
Credit Chad Kainz / Flickr

The Idaho Department of Transportation has temporarily suspended advertising for bids for some highway projects. Oregon and Washington may soon do the same. That's all because of a standoff in Congress about how to replenish the money in the pot for highway construction.

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Washington Prisons
5:16 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Washington Prisons Will No Longer Punish Inmates For ‘Self-Harm’

The Department of Corrections said that it will no longer sanction inmates for cutting or other acts of self-injury.
Credit Ben / Flickr

Washington’s prison system has announced a major policy change when it comes to inmates who harm themselves. The Department of Corrections said Thursday that it will no longer sanction inmates for cutting or other acts of self-injury.

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Gas Prices
4:40 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Don't Expect Much Happiness In The Pursuit Of Cheap Gas This Weekend

This year Americans will see the highest Fourth of July gas prices they've seen in the last six years.
Credit Kristen Steele / Flickr

This year Americans will see the highest Fourth of July gas prices they've seen in the last six years. That's according to AAA . And as bad as it sounds, for Northwest drivers it even gets a little worse.

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Clean Water Act
7:35 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Farmers Urge EPA To "Ditch The Rule"

Angela Bailey farms decorative trees and shrubs near Gresham, Oregon.
Credit Photo by Chris Lehman. / Northwest News Network

And now a story about farmers and water. It’s a common and often contentious issue out here in the West. Well now farmers across the country are also riled up. That’s because the U.S. EPA wants to revise the clean water act. As Correspondent Chris Lehman explains depending on who you talk to these revisions are either a “land grab” under the “brute force” of the federal government or a simple clarification of rules that ensure all Americans have clean water to drink.

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Marijuana Licenses
7:24 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Washington Plans To Issue About 20 Pot Retail Licenses Monday

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Washington’s Liquor Board plans to issue about 20 marijuana retail licenses next Monday, July 7th. The first pot stores could open the next day – after a 24-hour waiting period. But the state cautions many stores may not be ready yet for customers and marijuana could be in short supply. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this update.

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Marijuana Supply
4:48 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Pot Supply Problems Expected To Resolve Over Summer

The Liquor Board plans to issue the first batch of marijuana retail licenses on July 7.
Credit Mark / Flickr

Few stores, high prices, pot rationing. That could be the scene next week as Washington’s legal, recreational marijuana market opens for business.

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Oregon GMO Labeling
4:45 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Oregon GMO Labeling Campaign Submits Signatures

Supporters of an initiative that would require labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients rally in front of the Oregon capitol Wednesday.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Oregon voters may get the chance to require food companies to label products that contain genetically engineered ingredients. Sponsors of an initiative to require that turned in more than 150,000 signatures Wednesday in an effort to make the ballot this November. Opponents have already denounced the measure.

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Railway Whistleblowers
7:43 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Workers Question Safety Culture Of Railroad Hauling Volatile Crude Oil

BNSF Railway, the second-largest freight network in the U.S., is at the center of the boom in crude by rail. The railroad touts its commitment to safety. Current and former workers question the safety culture on the ground.
Credit Michael Werner / EarthFix

Crude oil shipments by rail increased by more than 80 percent, nationally, last year.

Most of it is coming from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. That crude is more flammable than other types of oil, and has been shown to catch fire and explode when trains derail.

More than 15 trains of Bakken oil move through some parts of the Northwest each week, en route to refineries and terminals in Washington and Oregon.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway transports the majority of that oil.

The company regularly touts its commitment to safety.

But an EarthFix investigation reveals some troubling patterns in the way BNSF Railway deals with whistleblowers – particularly those who voice concerns about safety.

Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix. EarthFix’s Tony Schick contributed to the reporting for this story.

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Native American Tribes
5:27 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Proposed Tribal Recognition Changes Hold Promise And Pitfalls

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs wants to rewrite the rules for when a native tribe is officially a tribe in the eyes of the federal government.
Credit Theodore Scott / Flickr

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs wants to rewrite the rules for when a native tribe is officially a tribe - in the eyes of the feds. This again raises hopes for status and federal benefits among some unrecognized tribes in the West. Those hopefuls still face a bumpy road.

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Firefighting Safety
4:43 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Report: Lack Of Maps, Leadership Put Firefighters In Harm’s Way

Fire crews working the Trinity Ridge Fire near Featherville, Idaho, in 2012.
Credit Boise National Forest

A scathing new report by a group of veteran wildfire experts says too little has been done to improve firefighter safety since an Arizona fire killed 19 firefighters a year ago. They're asking national wildfire managers to implement a series of changes aimed at putting safety above saving property.

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