UK Ministry of Defence

Managers at a military drone maker in the Columbia River Gorge say they see great potential for civil and commercial uses for their best known aircraft. But realizing that promise requires the federal government to finalize rules for drones in the national airspace.

David T. Hanson / EarthFix

The Obama administration’s new rules to cut CO2 emissions sparked some interesting conversation in Seattle this week. At a conference held downtown, leaders in the energy sector gathered to talk about the future of coal in the West. Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix.

African-American hair stylists are asking the Oregon legislature to scale back the rules surrounding traditional braiding techniques. The Oregon House is set to vote Monday on a measure that would ease the training requirements for hair treatments that don't involve chemicals.

Pot possession is now legal in Washington. But city and state regulators are drawing the line at marijuana use in bars and coffeeshops. KUOW’s Amy Radil reports.

Amy Radil / Northwest News Network

Kids in daycamps and childcare programs in Washington are spending less time airborne these days. New state regulations forbid childcare providers from using trampolines and inflatable bouncy houses. State officials say the rule change was based on safety concerns. But doctors say bouncy houses don’t pose the same risks as trampolines. KUOW’s Amy Radil reports.

A Long Road To Food Safety

Mar 28, 2013

The Food and Drug Administration recently proposed the most sweeping changes to food safety rules in 70 years. Now it wants to hear from the public. The new rules were triggered by a series of foodborne illness outbreaks. Twenty years ago Seattle was at the epicenter of one of the earliest and most notorious. Hundreds of people got sick from eating contaminated burgers. Ruby de Luna has this story of one family’s experience.

Oregon Takes Aggressive Approach To Water Pollution

Mar 8, 2013

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is taking a more aggressive approach to stop water pollution from farms. Instead of waiting for complaints to come in from the public, the state is going to begin looking for polluters.

Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper's task force on recreational marijuana wrapped up it’s work last night. We now have a better idea of what the industry will look like, who can buy marijuana, and how to protect kids. That is: if the recommendations are adopted by the State legislature. Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus reports.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Research shows if you use a tanning bed before the age of 35, you are more likely to get skin cancer. That’s why legislators in Washington, Oregon and Idaho have been considering proposals to bar teenagers from indoor tanning salons. A bill in the Washington legislature to do this has died for the fourth year. But the idea is still alive in Salem and Boise.

Jessica Hewlett is just 22 years old and already a cancer survivor. Last March, her primary doctor sent her to a dermatologist because of a mole on her stomach.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - What if you could just start your car, tell it where you want to go and then sit back and relax until you get there? Well, Google and many automobile manufacturers are hard at work on self-driving "robocars." Now lawmakers in Salem and Olympia are trying to figure out how to update the rules-of-the-road to keep pace with the cars of the future. But automakers are flashing a stop sign, saying it's too soon for new regulation.

Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Mining pumps on average nearly a billion dollars into Idaho’s economy every year. Idaho, along with Nevada and Utah are considered mining friendly states. But the industry is frustrated that it can take years before permits are issued and work can get underway. That’s why mining officials appealed to state lawmakers this week to help speed up the regulatory process. As Earthfix reporter Aaron Kunz explains it’s a proposition that has environmentalists worried.

Sticky Rules On Pot Brought Up At Hearing in Spokane

Feb 14, 2013

Tuesday night in Spokane about 450 people showed up to a hearing about the state’s marijuana market. The state liquor control board held the forum as part of their research in implementing the sale of recreational marijuana. Paige Browning reports.

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.

Gold mining with small dredges is popular in the rural Northwest. Today, the 9th circuit court ruled that the Forest Service has to strengthen its regulation of this kind of mining in salmon streams. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports.

CDC Cuts Lead Poisoning Threshold

May 17, 2012

Correspondent John Ryan of Seattle station KUOW has been investigating lead pollution in the Northwest. Lead has been known for centuries to be a powerful poison. Even small concentrations can lower children's IQs and cause permanent brain damage. As John reports, the federal government now says children's brains are even more sensitive to lead than previously thought.