Bellamy Pailthorp

Environment Reporter

Bellamy Pailthorp joined the staff of KPLU as a general assignment reporter in 1999 and covered the business and labor beat for more than a decade. She now covers the environment beat. She was raised in Seattle, but spent 8 years in Berlin, Germany freelancing for NPR and working as a producer for Deutsche Welle TV after receiving a Fulbright scholarship in 1989. She holds a Bachelors degree in German language and literature from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and a Masters in journalism from New York's Columbia University, where she completed the Knight-Bagehot fellowship in business reporting in 2006.

Bellamy's most memorable KPLU radio moment: “Seeing the INS open a shipping container at the Port of Seattle that contained stowaways from China, three of whom died en route of seasickness. Harrowing stuff, with global economics and inequity at its root.”

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energy efficiency 2.0
8:13 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Seattle, Microsoft team up to make buildings more energy-efficient

The Seattle Sheraton Hotel, one of four buildings that are part of the city's High-Performance Building Pilot Project. The aim is to use real-time data to reduce energy use by 10 to 25 percent without reducing worker productivity.
mage courtesy of Sheraton Seattle Hotel Facebook page.

Already known as a leader in sustainable architecture, Seattle is teaming up with Microsoft to take green building to the next level with the help of big-data computing.

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Environment
5:01 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Feds testing drones for scientific and environmental missions

The Puma AE unmanned aircraft system, shown during a pre-flight check for tests in NOAA's marine research missions from La Push, on the Olympic Penninsula. It launches without a runway, making it ideal for NOAA's missions at sea, the agency says.
Bellamy Pailthorp Photo KPLU News

They’re the tools of modern-day warfare: unmanned aircraft systems better known as drones.

They’re also being tested to help carry out important scientific missions, including surveys of wildlife and marine debris in the National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula.

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regulating nightlife
7:52 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Belltown ruckus renews call for staggered closing times

By state law, bars in Washington have to stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m. And when bars close down, people who’ve been drinking hit the streets all at once. In Seattle last weekend, that phenomenon became extreme in the Belltown neighborhood, reviving a public policy debate.

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bottled water ban
5:01 am
Mon July 1, 2013

WWU to become largest public college in U.S. to ban bottled water

Anna Amundson, a WWU alumnae and past president of Students for Sustainable Water fills up at one of three grant-funded hydration stations students have spearheaded to replace use of water in disposable plastic bottles.
courtesy Carolyn Bowie

Western Washington University is poised to become the largest public university in the country to ban sales of bottled water. The school joins Evergreen State College and Seattle University in making the move.

For many young environmentalists, saying no to bottled water and yes to public taps is an easy choice and a cause they can get passionate about.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:32 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Ahead: Temps in the 90s, then a pleasant Fourth of July

Expect progressively warmer weather over the weekend and through Tuesday, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, says the heat wave hitting the western U.S. is heading our way. He expects highs around 90 on Monday and Tuesday from Seattle to Bellingham, and temperatures in the lower 90s in the south Sound.

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Environment
11:22 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Obama's climate speech renews call for utilities to divest from coal

Eastern Montana's Colstrip Power Project is the single largest power-generating facility PSE owns. Coal comprises about 35% of PSE's energy portfolio.
Puget Sound Energy

“It’s the change we have been waiting for.” That’s the response from the Sierra Club to President Obama’s speech on climate change. A major part of his action plan is new limits on carbon emissions from power plants.

The local chapter of the club says even though no new policies will take effect for several years, utilities need to start adjusting now.

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Living with animals
5:01 am
Mon June 24, 2013

For 'refugees from urban farming craze', a backyard to call home

One of Tiffany Young's ducks drying off after a swim.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Urban farming sounds like a great idea to many people. You can grow your own vegetables and put in a chicken coop, or keep some ducks to make it all come full circle.

But a Seattle woman behind an operation called Ducks and Clucks says many folks are biting off more than they can chew when it comes to the birds. It is she who often comes to their rescue.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:23 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Why summer solstice doesn't really mean sunshine, warmth in Seattle

This photo, titled "Raven and the Sun", is the work of Tim Durkan, a Seattle resident.

It may be summer solstice, but summer isn’t quite here yet, says Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington and KPLU's weather expert.

The reason, says Mass: “Summer solstice … is astronomical summer. It is not necessarily meteorological summer,” said Mass.”

“And in the profession, we all joke—and it’s not much of a joke—that summer starts here in Seattle on July 12. And in fact, there’s a lot of truth to that,” he said.

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Transportation alternatives
3:14 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Expert: Downtown Seattle streets 'extremely dangerous' for bicyclists

Craig Damlo Flickr

Seattle consistently ranks high on top-10 lists for bike-friendly cities. But the keynote speaker at an urban cycling symposium taking place at the University of Washington this week gives Seattle a scathing review.

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Transportation alternatives
5:01 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Cycling symposium: Seattle’s primer for more urban biking

Craig Damlo Flickr

Experts on urban cycling are convening at the University of Washington this week to talking about how to get more people out of cars and onto bikes. And the experts say Seattle is poised to get to the next level.

Seattle is about half way through its ten-year Bicycle Master Plan. An update is under way and expected to be approved by the Seattle City Council this fall.

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Environment
5:00 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Proposed hydro-energy project has Index saying ‘no dam way’

Snohomish County PUD wants to install a small, inflatable dam at this bend on the south fork of the Skykomish River.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

At a time when Washington state has been making headlines for the largest dam removal project ever on the Elwha River, Snohomish County is proposing a new one.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District says the proposed dam’s modern low-impact design would help the county diversify its energy portfolio and meet the future power demands of a growing population.

But the location of the proposed dam—on a wild and scenic stretch of the Skykomish River near the small town of Index—has many locals banding together against the project. 

'No dam way'

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Coal Exports
3:52 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Army Corps: No environmental study for Northwest coal terminals

In this photo taken Oct. 23, 2012, train tracks run through a wooded area near the site of a proposed coal exporting terminal Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Ferndale, Wash., near Bellingham, Wash.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dealt a big blow to environmental groups fighting proposed coal export terminals in the Northwest.

During testimony before Congress, an official with the agency said the Corps is not planning a broad environmental study on the impact of coal exports, meaning the proposed terminals' effects on climate change won’t be considered during the review process.

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Water pollution
5:00 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Human fecal bacteria confirmed in Seattle’s Thornton Creek

Fecal coliform bacteria has been found at several locations in the Thornton Creek watershed. A new study confirms the source is in large part human sewage.
courtesy Seattle Public Utilities

Scientists with the city of Seattle are narrowing in on the source of polluted water that flows through the city’s largest watershed. With a new study, they’ve confirmed human fecal bacteria are likely entering Thornton Creek at multiple locations near Northgate and Lake City Way.

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Environment
5:01 am
Mon June 10, 2013

FERC hearing on proposed Skykomish River hydro project

A view upstream from the site on the south fork of the Skykomish River, where an intake structure and underwater cavern would go for a new dam
courtesy Andrea Matzke

Federal officials will be in Index this week to hear from the public about a controversial proposal for a new dam on the Skykomish River.

Representatives from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will tour the proposed dam site at Sunset Falls, and take public comments as part of the licensing process.

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Coal Exports
5:59 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Sierra Club sues BNSF over coal dust from trains

Coal dust mingles with grass in Wyoming.
Eli Nixon photo Flickr

A coalition of environmental groups led by the Sierra Club has filed suit against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and five energy companies.

The plaintiffs say coal dust flying out of uncovered train cars is polluting Washington rivers and Puget Sound, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

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