A three-year-old Washington state law that allows whistleblowers to bring Medicaid fraud lawsuits is working. That’s according to a review by legislative auditors that urges lawmakers to renew the law before it expires next year.

Tony Schick / EarthFix

A federal jury in Washington has ruled that railroad company BNSF retaliated against a whistleblower who brought safety concerns to light. This week the court awarded the former employee $1.25 million in damages.

The former NAACP chapter president at the center of a controversy about her race also engaged in misconduct as the head of a police oversight committee.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown said the state IT manager who leaked thousands of her predecessor's emails should not be prosecuted.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

A seven month federal investigation into the firing of a top safety manager at Hanford came up inconclusive Monday.

It was supposed to reveal what really happened in the whistleblower’s case, and if her safety concerns had merit. But the Department of Energy’s inspector general said federal contractors at southeast Washington’s nuclear reservation refused to hand over documents.

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.

In Washington, D.C. Tuesday, Hanford whistleblowers Donna Busche and Walt Tamosaitis weren’t allowed to speak before a Senate hearing.

A prominent whistleblower was fired from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation's radioactive waste cleanup project on Tuesday.

Nuclear engineer Walt Tamosaitis says he was removed from his position because he brought up safety concerns.

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.