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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Transportation alternatives
5:50 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

AAA's roadside service goes electric

Seattle/Bellevue is getting one of AAA's new Electric Vehicle Charging trucks.
Bellamy Pailthorp Photo KPLU News

Driving an all-electric vehicle just got a bit more mainstream.

The AAA Auto Club of Washington has launched a new emergency roadside service for electric cars. It now has a truck with a generator on board that can rescue drivers in the greater Seattle area if they’ve run out of charge.

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Environment
7:53 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Want to explore state parks? There’s an app for that

Washington’s state park system boasts everything from coastal campgrounds to wooded hiking trails and historical buildings. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the choices, you might find help in the palm of your hand.

Just in time for Washington State Parks' centennial, the state has unveiled a new smartphone app that serves as an on-the-go interactive guide.

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transportation
5:00 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Bill calls for reports to lawmakers on costly WSDOT errors

Big mistakes made on the design and construction of pontoons for the new 520 floating bridge could lead to tougher reporting requirements for the Washington state Department of Transportation.

Lawmakers want more transparency and accountability when it comes to costly mistakes. Repairs to cracks in the new 520 pontoons, for example, are expected to cost tens of millions of dollars.

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Environment
5:04 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Sea lions vs. salmon: Annual clash resumes at Bonneville Dam

sea lion eats a salmon at Bonneville Dam near Cascade Locks, Ore., in this April 10, 2007 file photo.
Rick Bowmer Associated Press

It happens every spring. Hungry sea lions follow endangered salmon runs up the Columbia River and feast on them at the bottom of the Bonneville Dam. If they’re caught, they can be killed by state workers.

campaign to stop the killing is becoming an annual tradition as well.

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Alternative energy
10:06 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Federal bill would smooth way for small dams, hydropower

This weir at Youngs Creek, near Sultan, is situated above a waterfall, minimizing its impact on fish runs. The Hydropower Improvement Act of 2013 would ease federal licensing on small dams, if they generate less than 10 megawatts of power.
Courtesy Snohomish County PUD

Big dams that block rivers and salmon runs are out of vogue. But new legislation could clear the way for more small ones.

The removal of Washington’s Elwha dam — the largest dam removal in U.S. history — marked the end of an era in which big dams were embraced.

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Marijuana Legalization
5:33 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

ACLU, public health groups cautioning marijuana rulemakers

Backers of Washington's marijuana legalization law want public health concerns addressed in rules that will govern the new industry. One challenge is growing just the right amount to meet but not increase market demand.
Alexodus via Compfight Flickr via Compfight

How do you build a whole new industry – and undermine a black market -- without increasing its customer base?  

That’s the challenge state regulators are facing as they write the rules that will govern recreational marijuana in Washington. The American Civil Liberties Union is urging caution.

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Superfund cleanup
12:09 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Lower Duwamish Waterway plan open for public comment

You can see dredging equipment used in the earliest work on superfund cleanup of "hotspots" at Seattle's Duwamish Waterway Park, in Southpark.
Bellamy Pailthorp Photo KPLU News

Seattle’s Duwamish River was once a meandering estuary in the heart of the city. A century ago, it was transformed into an industrial waterway and used as a dumping ground for decades.

Now it’s a Superfund site – and the Environmental Protection Agency has released a plan to clean it up.

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Environment
3:01 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Confirmation hearing for Sally Jewell

Northwest native Sally Jewell faced nearly three hours of questions at a hearing in Washington DC on her nomination to become the next US Secretary of the Interior. If confirmed, she said she’d take a balanced approach to protecting ecosystems while expanding energy production on public lands.

As CEO of REI, Jewell has strong credentials as an environmentalist. Some say – too strong.

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Environment
5:46 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Seattle Mayor aiming high on green infrastructure for stormwater

This bioswale in Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood manages about 80,000 gallons of stormwater annually. It was installed as part of a pedestrian improvement project and exemplifies how the city says it will reach its new ambitious goal.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

When you look around the streets of Seattle, you can expect to see less concrete and more greenery being put in over the next 12 years.

The City is planning to dramatically increase its use of green infrastructure to treat stormwater runoff.

Stormwater runoff is acknowledged as the single largest source of pollution in Puget Sound.

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Law
5:01 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Statewide bus tour demands immigration reform

Xochitl Rojas joins the Keeping Washington Families Together Bus Tour this week with her father. She has deferred action status but wants comprehensive immigration reform.
Courtesy OneAmerica

Imagine living your life in a legal limbo, with fear of deportation looming and constant uncertainty about your future.

That’s the reality for many immigrants in Washington State. Several dozen of them are boarding a bus that will criss-cross the state this week to tell their stories and demand comprehensive immigration reform. 

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Crime Prevention
5:49 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Seattle, Tacoma rolling out new ‘predictive policing’ software

Mayor Mike McGinn introduced the new software at a press conference in Seattle on Wednesday.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Imagine you could predict crime the same way weather forecasters issue storm warnings.  

It’s happening – with new software recently deployed in Seattle and Tacoma. Police precincts in both cities hope it will help them allocate patrols more effectively.

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transportation
6:04 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

WSDOT admits big mistakes on 520 pontoons

Additional work on the 520 bridge pontoons could cost tens of millions of dollars extra and push back the new bridge's opening by six months, after an expert review panel found design flaws that must be fixed.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Big mistakes were made by the State Department of Transportation in its construction of the pontoons that will hold up the new 520 bridge across Lake Washington.

The agency says it is making repairs and design modifications to ensure the bridge will last the full 75 year lifespan promised.

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transportation planning
5:01 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Less guesswork: Seattle getting second electronic bicycle counter

Figuring out where to put more bike lanes in Seattle will get easier as the city gathers more data with electronic counters. A second one will be installed in South Seattle this spring.
clappstar Flickr

Five years ago, Seattle adopted a Bicycle Master Plan. It aims to triple the amount of bicycling in Seattle by the year 2017. But until just a few months ago, there was no way to accurately count cyclists. That’s changing.

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Environment
10:18 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Climate change pushing water system upgrades

Snowpack in the crest of the Cascade Mountains provides storage for Seattle's Cedar River watershed. Lowering snow levels are expected because of global warming, putting the supply at risk.
Credit Courtsey Seattle Public Utilities

Global climate change is a reality that few people now deny. 2012 was the warmest year on record. So what about Seattle’s water supply? 

Managers say they need to speed up about $30-million of investment in a backup plan.

About two thirds of Seattle’s water comes from one of the most pristine sources in the nation. The Cedar River Watershed lies in more than 90,000 acres of protected land southeast of the city, near North Bend.

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Environment
5:14 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

WA Toxics Coalition again seeking ban on flame retardant Tris

Five years ago, Washington became the first state in the nation to ban a class of toxic flame retardants known as PBDEs.

Now, evidence is mounting that a widely-used alternative is just as toxic.

A new bill before lawmakers in Olympia would ban the flame retardant called Tris from children’s products and household furniture.

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