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.”


2012 Elections
4:34 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

State liquor board chair: First question is how to grow legal marijuana

“We are in new territory," said Sharon Foster of the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
Rusty Blazenhof Flickr

Washington voters have approved the recreational use of marijuana. Many questions remain about how this will work, since it’s still a federal crime to use pot. But the state agency that will regulate the industry is getting into gear.

The law making it legal to possess up to an ounce of pot takes effect one month after Election Day, on Dec. 6. And the state liquor board has a year after that to write the rules that will oversee marijuana production and sales.

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2012 Elections
4:54 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Excuses, excuses: Seattle's last-minute voters explain why they waited

20-year-old Seattle voter Tajanna Stinn says she's excited to be voting for the first time, but needed time to decide how to vote on the initiative that would allow charter schools in Washington. She hand-delivered her ballot to the drop box in Ballard.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

This election is the first one in which Washington voters can only vote by mail. For those who are running late or want to save a stamp, there are official drop boxes, which are staffed by elections workers. They’re open till 8pm tonight. King County has eight locations.

KPLU  went to the one outside the public library in Ballard, to find out why voters there waited till the very last few hours to get their ballots in.

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8:05 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Study: Cherry Point coal terminal would snarl Seattle traffic, cause dangerous delays

The City of Seattle continues to build its case against huge new coal
trains that would rumble through town if an export terminal is built
in Bellingham.

The Mayor of Seattle has released a new study that ups the pressure on
the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Ecology, who are
responsible for the environmental impact study of the proposed
terminal at Cherry Point.

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3:29 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Bats are beneficial, says rehab volunteer

Roberto, an educational brown bat, lives in Bothell, WA
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

It’s Halloween – a time when black cats and bats are demonized or depicted as scary. But bats are actually one of the most unique mammals on the planet. Scientists say they’re vital to the health of our ecosystem.

So today, KPLU environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp met with a woman who has taken it upon herself to re-habilitate as many injured bats as she can find.

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Power management
4:46 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Smart Grid: Possible ointment for sting of deadly power outages

The lights on the Brooklyn Bridge stand in contrast to the lower Manhattan skyline which has lost its electrical supply, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 after megastorm Sandy swept through New York.
The Associated Press

The images are everywhere: whole sections of lower-Manhattan dark, the electric grid blown out by Hurricane Sandy.

It shouldn’t be that way, say some northwest technology experts, who want to see the modernization of our electric utilities. Their answer? Something called the “smart grid."

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5:27 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Big day in Bellingham for anti-coal activists and job seekers

Coal shipment protesters projected words on the side of the old Granary Building in Bellingham's Old Town, along the waterfront last night. BNSF mainline tracks are in the foreground.
Paul Anderson

Environmental activists are gathering in Bellingham for a big rally tomorrow. They’re trying to stop construction on a proposed shipping terminal at Cherry Point. It would handle millions of tons of coal from western states, to be used as a power source in China.

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2012 Elections
5:00 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Inslee vs. McKenna: Down to the wire on environmental issues

Current Attorney General Rob McKenna and former U.S. Congressman Jay Inslee are both vying for voters who care about the earth.
The Associated Press

For residents of The Evergreen State, the economy and the environment are two of the most important issues. They're shaping arguments in the hotly-contested race for Washington's next Governor.

So, if you’re choosing a candidate, who’s the greenest?

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Energy Efficiency
5:00 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Smart grid pilot project debuting at University of Washington

A smart grid meter developed by grad students at the University of Washington. It can be remotely controlled by an app, via cell phone or computer.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Most people who pay their own energy bills know that power is expensive. But where it’s coming from and how much it costs is often more mysterious.

That could change if technology that’s part of a demonstration project at the University of Washington catches on. It’s co funded by the US Department of Energy. The U-dub is the largest of 16 demo sites creating a new Pacific Northwest Smart Grid.

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Tunnel Safety
10:44 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Preparedness and special equipment make Seattle tunnels safe, say fire chiefs in Satsop

Seattle Firefighters testing their mettle in a tunnel at Satsop Business Park, west of Olympia. The never-finished power plants and underground water pipes here are used for safety drills by firefighters from around the country.
Jason Bauscher photo KPLU News

This week, the Seattle Fire Department has been in training for what might be a nightmare scenario: the possibility of fire inside a deep-bore tunnel.  A technical rescue team has been practicing at the unfinished nuclear power plant in Satsop, west of Olympia.

About a dozen firefighters are in a huddle at the base what was designed to be a cooling tower. It’s been re-purposed into one of the nation’s premiere training grounds for urban firefighters.

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Crime in Seattle
8:52 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Coalition concerned about public safety Downtown

Recent violence against tourists and residents in downtown Seattle is putting pressure on the city council to put more cops on the street.

The council received a letter from a large coalition of businesses and organizations concerned about public safety downtown.

The letter is signed by nearly 160 organizations and entities in Seattle, including several hotels, restaurants and the downtown Seattle Association. Its president, Kate Joncas, says they kept hearing from people about aggressive panhandling and open air drug dealing.

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7:52 am
Wed October 10, 2012

One month left for comments on spotted owl recovery plan

One of the northwest’s most controversial birds is still ruffling feathers. The elusive spotted owl was at the heart of the timber wars here in the 1990s. Some scientists are criticizing the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s plan to log some of the bird’s habitat.

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If Its Legal...?
6:00 am
Tue October 9, 2012

How will marijuana products be sold, and will they be safe?

In the modern marijuana market, there are many more products for sale than just the plant used for smoking.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

If Washington voters approve a ballot measure this fall legalizing marijuana, it would bring big changes – not just in the justice system, but in our communities. In our series “If it’s legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life,” we consider some ways things could change for all of us, even people who never smoke pot. Today we look at the industry for making, selling and regulating marijuana products that will spring up … if it’s legal.

The closest thing to a legal marijuana store right now is a so-called medical marijuana dispensary. They’re all over Seattle. Tacoma has a few as well. And you can go see what kind of products they have.

You just ring the doorbell outside a forest green storefront and you’ll be greeted warmly. At least, that’s what happened to me one recent morning, at the Center for Palliative Care in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. It’s called “the CPC” for short.

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5:59 am
Wed October 3, 2012

East Coast author defending salmon, speaking out against Alaska's Pebble Mine

"Eat some sockeye" says New York Times contributor Paul Greenberg, if you want to help sustain the future of wild salmon.
Courtesy Paul Greenberg

The future of food is a subject writer Paul Greenberg has explored extensively in his NYTimes bestselling book, called Four Fish. It’s also something that interests him deeply as a lifelong fisherman. He grew up in Connecticut, where he discovered this passion as a youngster.

KPLU’s Bellamy Pailthorp invited him into our studios for an interview about his last book, as well as a new one he's been researching in the Pacific Northwest. (You can hear the interview by clicking on the "Listen" icon above. )

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10:44 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Seattle's free-ride zone is ending; 'funeral' is set for Friday

Members of the Transit Riders Union shown earlier this month. The group has been protesting the elimination of the ride-free area.
Jake Ellison KPLU

A cultural shift is taking place in Seattle. It’s the elimination of a free-ride zone downtown, for bus riders.

It’s been in place for four decades. And on Friday (Sept. 28) it will go away. 

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Superfund Cleanup
12:22 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Companies' volunteers and Forterra helping clean up Duwamish

“Volunteers pulling invasive Himalayan Blackberry”
courtesy Forterra

People power is helping to clean up one of Seattle's most polluted rivers.  On Friday, about a hundred volunteers who work for the Boeing Employees Credit Union pitched in along the Duwamish in Tukwila. They’ve set a five-year goal of cleaning up two miles of shoreline. 

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