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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Fish Consumption Rates
6:59 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

State to Lay Out Options for Clean Water, Fish Consumption Updates

What does the amount of fish people eat have to do with whether big employers thrive in Washington state?

Fish consumption is at the heart of the state Department of Ecology's quest for compliance with the federal Clean Water Act, which aims to protect human health. Fish absorb toxins from polluted water. So when people eat it, their health might be at risk. That risk increases with more fish in their diet. 

Right now, the state Department of Ecology officially assumes that people eat only about one meal of fish per month—a standard that’s known to be outdated and insufficient to protect human health.

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Champion of Change
5:15 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

White House to Honor Seattle Vet for Advancing Clean Energy

Avi Jacobson rappels off a building in 2012 for the “Over the Edge” benefit at the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.
WSHFC

Avi Jacobson was serving his first tour in Iraq in 2007 when he noticed his own unit's heavy reliance on a single generator. 

Jacobson’s Air Force base ran almost solely on the generator, which was overworked with computers and air conditioners almost daily. When the usage hit the generator’s tipping point, Jacobson said, “everything would die," triggering an eerie silence.

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Disaster Preparedness
8:03 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Worried about Flooding? There's an App for That in King County

King County's Flood Warning App showing recent data from the Snoqualmie River at high flow.

King County has released an app that puts flood warning information at residents' fingertips. The smartphone- and tablet-friendly app displays real-time flooding information on major rivers in the county.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:48 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Mass: Friday is the Calm before First Big Storm of Season

File image
Tim Durkan

Listen to Cliff's forecast for the week ahead, as well as his discussion of lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, which happened a year ago this week.

"Today is the calm before the storm," says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

The first big storm of the season will hit the Northwest on Saturday, and it's expected to produce winds strong enough to cause power outages and trigger snowfall in the mountains at elevations low enough to cover the passes.

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Puget Sound Health
5:01 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Small Steps, but Much Work Ahead for Puget Sound Health

The 40-year-old seawall at Burien's Seahurst Park is an example of development that prevents salmon and other sensitive species from thriving in Puget Sound.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

With its rocky beaches and abundant sea life, Puget Sound is at the heart of western Washington’s identity. Yet we are falling behind on the work needed to restore its health, following years of pollution from industry and a growing population.

The Puget Sound Partnership has released its latest progress report. And though there is some improvement, the challenges are still numerous. 

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Flood Forecast
5:50 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

National Weather Service Says Big Floods Likely This Winter

Major flooding in 2007 shut down 20 miles of I-5 in central Washington and left five people dead.
WSDOT

November, which marks the start of flood season in the Northwest, is just around the corner. And the National Weather Service says there is high potential for rivers to burst their banks from now through February.

This winter will bring what is known as a “neutral” weather pattern; we won't see the milder El Niño nor the wetter, windier La Niña this winter. But that hardly means we get a break.

A neutral winter can mean trouble for those who live or work near flood plains in western Washington as it brings the highest number of so-called “Pineapple Express” events during which an atmospheric river forms off the coast. 

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deciphering coastal history
5:11 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

UW Researcher: Redwoods Reveal Years of Coastal Climate History

Michael Schweppe Flickr

Count the rings on a tree trunk to figure out its age.

Or, if you’re University of Washington climatologist Jim Johnstone, study the molecules of a redwood trunk and crack the code for natural weather data that could date back more than a thousand years.

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climate change
5:19 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

West Coast States, B.C. Join in Fight Against Climate Change

Efforts to combat climate change got a boost from the West Coast as the leaders of Washington, Oregon, and California as well as the premier of British Columbia signed a new pact Monday.

Under the new plan, called the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, Washington and Oregon have agreed to adopt policies similar to those already in place in British Columbia and California. B.C. put a tax on carbon emissions in 2008, and California adopted a cap-and-trade system early last year.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
2:12 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

Mass: Blame the Boa Constrictor-Like High Pressure for Fogtober

Tim Durkan

Why did we have such a long stretch of fog? Blame the inversion, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Foggy days in the fall aren’t uncommon in the Northwest, but the recent long stretch—the so-called “Fogtober” and “Fogmageddon” that Mass said will finally leave us Sunday—is quite rare.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:38 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Fogmageddon Ending; Sunshine, then Return to Normal

Tim Durkan

Fogmageddon will end on Sunday, “pretty much guaranteed,” says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.  

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Coal Exports
5:01 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Whatcom County Council Races Attracting Big Money Over Coal

Elaine Thompson Associated Press

An unprecedented amount of outside money has been pouring into local elections in Whatcom County to fund both sides of the fight stemming from the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point.

Four of the county council's seven seats are up for grabs. And two political action groups have formed to try and tip the balance in the Gateway Pacific project north of Bellingham. 

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Election 2013
5:01 am
Fri October 25, 2013

I-522: Looking to the European Union for a Real-Life Example

Spaniard Victoria Alonso searches for the "genetically modified" label on corn and soy products in a Barcelona supermarket.
Gerry Hadden

Should consumers have the right to know what’s in the food they eat?

That’s the question at the heart of Initiative 522, which would require labeling of genetically-engineered foods and seed sold in Washington. 

Most people want the choice, but whether the initiative would actually give shoppers useful information is up for debate. One place to look for answers is the European Union, where the world’s first GE labeling requirements took effect nearly two decades ago.                 

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:58 am
Fri October 18, 2013

No Rain in the Forecast This Week, but More Fog, Afternoon Sun

Keith Seinfeld

The very dense fog hanging around the region this morning bodes well for a long sunny day ahead, and the week will continue with that pattern, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“As I mentioned before, that’s a tremendously good sign,” said Mass, who teaches Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. He says the densest fog usually means the sunniest afternoons.

“The clouds, the cold air, that low foggy layer is actually very shallow today and I expect it to burn out much quicker than it has in the past,” he said, predicting that it should be completely sunny outside by 11 this morning, with temperatures going up to around 60.

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Protecting Fish
9:01 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Watchdog Group Concerned about Hydraulic Code Update

Any construction that touches the state's waterways is subject to regulation under Washington's Hydraulic Code
philsnyder Flickr via compfight

Proposals to streamline permitting for development in and around state waters have some environmental groups worried. The groups are concerned the changes could weaken crucial protections for fish and their habitat. 

The law in question is the state’s Hydraulic Code, which dictates how permits are issued for any project that touches a waterway—things like docks, culverts, and bulkheads. The law’s main aim is to protect fish and their habitat.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:00 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Why the Fall Brings Dense Fog, and Why That’s a Good Thing

A foggy October sunrise over Seattle, Lake Washington, Bellevue, and the Cascade Mountains.
Tim Durkan

Late September and early October are the foggiest time of the year in the Northwest, according to Cliff Mass, KPLU weather expert and professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Why is that? Mass says fall in the Northwest brings all the right ingredients.

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