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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ALASKAN WAY Viaduct
2:57 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Future loss of parking challenging Pike Place Market

Site of the redevelopment dilemma facing Pike Place Market and the new waterfront once the Viaduct comes down.

The complete removal of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct is years away. The tunnel replacing it won’t open till 2015.

But this summer marks a crucial moment for the iconic Pike Place Market as the waterfront is redeveloped.

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Global Warming
9:50 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Study: Rising seas will hit Calif. hardest, but Washington still sees damage

As sea levels rise, waves will crash with greater intensity along the coast.
Photo by andreyphoto.com Flickr

Rising sea levels in the Puget Sound region may prove costly to taxpayers. A city like Olympia could have to re-build its sewer system. Other cities may find waterfront roads washed out.

The culprit is global warming. Warmer water expands, bringing sea levels higher. And glacial ice that is above water now is expected to chunk off and fall into oceans, causing additional sea level rise.

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Environment
4:33 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Water quality improving for Puget Sound shellfish

Recreational shellfish hunters are finding more areas open in Puget Sound.
zenobia_joy Photo Flickr

Good news for those who love local oysters and clams: the state Department of Health says there’s been a steady improvement in water quality for nearly a decade, leading to fewer closures of shellfish beds in Puget Sound.

The key measure is of fecal coliform bacteria, which lives in human and animal waste. Runoff from farms and leaky sewage systems carries the bacteria and contaminates shellfish beds. People who eat the polluted shellfish can get sick.

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Environment
12:11 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Seattle ban on plastic shopping bags kicks in soon

Sure they're useful, but you'll have to live without them in Seattle starting July 1.
Kris Flickr

They may be sorely missed by many dog owners in Seattle, who use them for cleaning up after fido. But they pollute our waterways, get stuck in the gears at recycling plants, harm marine wildlife and never break down completely. 

We're talking about thin plastic shopping bags, which are becoming a thing of the past at cash registers in Seattle, effective July first.

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Environment
10:50 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Puget Sound Energy target of 'Beyond Coal' campaign

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

The Pacific Northwest has made headlines for its efforts to become the first coal-free region in the United States. Washington’s last coal-fired power plant, in Centralia, is scheduled to be shut down by 2025.

Yet one of the region’s largest utilities still derives more than a third of its power from coal.

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Environment
5:00 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Greenpeace vs. Shell: Duelling vessels head for Arctic from Seattle

Greenpeace scientists will deploy research submarines to explore two of Shell’s planned Arctic drilling sites, the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.
Lindsay Lowe KPLU

Seattle’s Elliott Bay is the epicenter of a global energy fight.

The Shell Oil Company has two rigs docked here, the Kulluk and the Noble Discoverer. Also in Elliott Bay is the Greenpeace vessel, Esperanza.

As soon as the ice clears, Shell’s rigs will head out for the Arctic. They’ll be the first to conduct exploratory drilling there in more than two decades. Greenpeace plans to shadow them, using submarines.

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Emergency Preparedness
5:12 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Less than half in the NW, at best, prepared for earthquake

Ninth-grade students take part in a statewide earthquake drill in 2007 in Shoreline. Are you prepared?
The Associated Press

If you live in the Northwest, it's hard to escape the knowledge that the possibility of a major earthquake is real. 

Yet, far more than half of residents here are not prepared for such a disaster. Despite frequent campaigns encouraging homeowners to have at least a 3-day supply of emergency water, food and first aid on hand, authorities assume only 30-40 percent of us actually do.

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Urban Design
4:47 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Seattle's 'UpGarden' P-Patch takes community gardening to new heights

Photo by Nicole Kistler courtesy Kistler | Higbee Cahoot

It’s a first-of-its-kind in Seattle and perhaps even the country. Over the weekend, the city celebrated the opening of its first-ever rooftop community garden.  

Its design is garnering interest from around the region, as urban planners look for ways to integrate more open space and urban agriculture into increasingly dense neighborhoods.

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Environment
10:49 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Seattle packs EPA Hearing on Alaska's proposed Pebble Mine

Bristol Bay salmon that contribute more than $100 million annually to Washington's economy would be at risk, say opponents of proposed mining operations in the watershed.
toddraden Photo Flickr

It was standing room only at the federal building in Seattle, where the Environmental Protection Agency held its first hearing Thursday on Alaska’s Bristol Bay fishery.

At issue is the potential effects of a proposed gold and copper mine there. The assessment looks at mining in general, though concern has arisen over a huge project known as the Pebble Mine.

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I Wonder Why ... ?
6:00 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Why did blackberry brambles become such a NW problem?

Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

“It just doesn’t like to stop. It’s very tenacious.”

If you have property in the Pacific Northwest, there’s one plant you’ve most likely encountered … and battled – The Himalayan Blackberry.

It’s enemy No.1 in the Northwest. So, where did this plant come from and why did it become such a pervasive pain in the garden?

Read more on I Wonder Why...?

Energy
2:51 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Seattle gearing up to oppose coal exports from northwest ports

Seattle appears poised to vote against coal transports through the city.
The Associated Press

For some it’s the next big source of high-wage jobs; for others, an environmental nightmare: At least 9 trains a day could soon rumble through Seattle, carrying coal to export terminals in Washington and Oregon.

Cities from Missoula, Mont., to Edmonds have passed resolutions that call the idea into question. Seattle is now poised to join them with one of its own.

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Environment
10:44 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Blue Ribbon panel warns about dangers of ocean acidification

Declining PH levels in the world's oceans interferes with many species ability to form shells.
Photo courtesy of Washington State Dept. of Ecology

Carbon emissions are threatening Washington’s shellfish industry. That’s the concern of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, which meets today in Seattle.

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Environment
10:51 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Settlement on Seattle sewage overflows heads to council

Combined sewer overflows still threaten some Seattle beaches after heavy rains, closing them to recreation and violating the federal Clean Water Act.
Courtesy Seattle Public Utilities

A more efficient way to fix one of Seattle’s most embarrassing environmental problems – that’s the promise of a proposed agreement on meeting federal standards for clean water.

The problem is untreated sewage that flows into our lakes and other waterways after big storms.

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Seattle Center
1:01 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Chihuly Garden and Glass opens to the public

Dale Chihuly's new Glass House with Persian Glass framing the Seattle Space Needle.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Less than two years after the idea was pitched to the public, a new Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition opens today (Monday 11am) at Seattle Center.

It’s located at the foot of the Space Needle, where the kiddy rides and arcade games of the old Fun Forest once drew crowds.

Now, people are standing on tiptoes to peer in through the fence around the outdoor displays, which beckon with flashes of color.  

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Environment
10:12 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Proposed dam puts Skykomish on list of ten most-endangered rivers

The proposed site for a new dam on the South Fork of the Skykomish River
Photo courtesy of Jeff Smith Save the Skykomish River

It’s designated as a State Scenic Waterway and recommended for federal protection. Yet the south fork of the Skykomish River has just been named one of the ten most endangered rivers in the country by the national environmental group, American Rivers.

It’s because of a controversial proposal to build a new dam.

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