Liam Moriarty

Environment Reporter

Liam Moriarty started with KPLU in 1996 as our freelance correspondent in the San Juan Islands. He’s been our full-time Environment Reporter since November, 2006. In between, Liam was News Director at Jefferson Public Radio in Ashland, Oregon for three years and reported for a variety of radio, print and web news sources in the Northwest. He's covered a wide range of environment issues, from timber, salmon and orcas to oil spills, land use and global warming. Liam is an avid sea kayaker, cyclist and martial artist.



Liam's most memorable KPLU radio moment: "Recording a musician swapping songs with killer whales from a boat in the middle of Johnstone Strait in British Columbia."

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Japanese nuclear crisis
5:25 pm
Mon March 28, 2011

Japanese order huge amounts of bottled water from B.C.

The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan are reverberating across the Pacific in a variety of ways. Now, a Vancouver B.C.-area bottled water company finds itself at the center of efforts to cope with the latest turn of events.

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Renewable energy
3:59 pm
Thu March 24, 2011

Clash over changes to renewable energy law

hippyshopper.com

An effort in Olympia to broaden Washington’s renewable energy law is running into opposition.

Green energy groups say the proposed change would weaken the voter-approved Initiative 937.

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Marijuana legalization
7:50 am
Tue March 22, 2011

Hempfest says it's a 'go'

The 2008 Hempfest in Seattle.
MaplessinSeattle Flickr

Seattle’s on-again-off-again festival celebrating all things cannabis seems to be on again.

Officials with Seattle Hempfest say they’ve resolved their dispute with the city and the event will be held as scheduled in mid-August at Myrtle Edwards Park. 

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Greening Professional Sports
5:26 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

Northwest sports teams commit to deepening green efforts

Scott Jenkins heads operations at Safeco Field. Last year, the Seattle Mariners recycled 70 percent of the waste generated at their home games.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News

Major league sports teams in the Northwest have been recycling, composting food waste, cutting their power use and more.

Consider the Mariners. From 2006-2009, the team:

  • reduced natural gas use by 60 percent
  • reduced electricity use by 30 percent
  • reduced water use by 15 percent

Now, the Mariners and other teams from Seattle, Portland and Vancouver B.C. are forming a non-profit with the goal of spreading the green gospel to stadiums nationwide.

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Business
5:18 pm
Fri March 18, 2011

Seafood industry braces for Japan crisis impact

The earthquake, tsunami and radiation leaks in Japan are having a ripple effect on the trans-Pacific seafood trade.

In Seattle, Sushi Kappo Tamura chef and owner Taichi Kitamura is worried now that a big chunk of the Japanese fishing industry damaged or destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami. Along with sushi, Kitamura's menu also features some traditional recipes that use Japanese fish.

"Consistency in availability is very important because you have a menu and you have to keep certain items on the menu," Kitamura says.

Kitamura is also worried about the safety of the seafood he imports. South Korea, Singapore and other Asian countries are already testing Japanese food imports for radiation. Japanese authorities say the levels of radiation released from the crippled nuclear reactors don't pose a public health risk. But Kitamura says skittish customers might decide to stay away.

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Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement
7:41 am
Tue March 15, 2011

McGinn: Take the viaduct down by next year

Traffic at left heads northbound on Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct, above the southbound lanes below, through downtown.
AP

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says he thinks the city’s waterfront viaduct poses an earthquake risk and should be taken down next year.

That's a good four years before the viaduct's planned replacement -- a deep-bore tunnel under downtown -- would be ready.

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Air Pollution
4:11 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Auto emission testing changes under consideration

Washington's auto emissions program is being changed to make it more cost effective

For most drivers in Washington’s most-populated areas, getting your car’s emissions system tested is an every-other-year ritual. Now, state environment officials are proposing to make changes they say will streamline the process without compromising the region’s air quality.

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Endangered Species
8:39 am
Mon March 7, 2011

Iconic killer whale is missing

The last known photo of the killer whale known as J-1, foraging at Constance Bank near Victoria, B.C. on November 21, 2010.
Mark Malleson Courtesy of orcanetwork.org

The oldest and perhaps most-recognizable of the local killer whales is missing and researchers fear he may have died over the winter.

The orca known to researchers as J-1 was last seen on November 21st near Victoria, B.C. Also known as “Ruffles,” for the wavy edge to his distinctive six-foot-tall dorsal fin, J-1 was believed to be about 60 years old. He was one of the first individual orcas to be identified by researchers in the early 19-70s.

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Coal Exports
5:01 pm
Tue March 1, 2011

Feds fine partner in Longview coal terminal $4 million

Proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals site is shown on the lower left along the Columbia River.
Photo: Brett VandenHeuvel Miningconnection.com

A major partner in a controversial Northwest coal port proposal has been fined $4 million for violating clean water laws in its Appalachian mining operations.

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King County Government
7:41 am
Tue March 1, 2011

Constantine touts progress on budget, reform

Seattle's South Park Bridge was declared unsafe and was closed last summer. Now, a combination of federal and local money is slated to build a new $131 million replacement.
AP

King County is in good shape and getting better.

That’s the message from County Executive Dow Constantine during his “State of the County” speech Monday. Speaking from the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, Constantine touted progress in taming the county’s budget problems and making county government more efficient. 

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Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement
2:24 pm
Mon February 28, 2011

Seattle City Council overrides mayor’s tunnel veto, groups push for public vote

Supports and opponents of the planned deep-bore tunnel replacement for Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct pack the city council chamber
King5 TV

If you’re waiting for the final chapter in the saga of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement, don’t hold your breath. The latest action by the city council has triggered an effort to put the question to the voters again.

In an often-raucous council chamber packed with both supporters and opponents of the planned deep-bore tunnel project, the City Council decisively overturned Mayor Mike McGinn’s veto of a set of agreements between the city and the state that would facilitate the tunnel.

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10 Year Anniversary
10:15 am
Mon February 28, 2011

The Nisqually Earthquake: Ten Years After

Road failure at Sunset Lake, Tumwater
Steven Kramer University of Washington

Ten years ago today, the Puget Sound region was rocked by a powerful earthquake. The magnitude 6.8 quake brought down brick facades, damaged Seattle’s waterfront viaduct and split the Capitol dome in Olympia. The ground shook for about 45 seconds and tremors were felt as far away as Salt Lake City.

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Winter Weather
5:37 pm
Wed February 23, 2011

Getting ready for the storm

Transit agencies are grearing up to handle the snow that's predicted to hit the Puget Sound region this evening
Erin Hennessey KPLU News

With frigid temperatures and up to six inches of snow bearing down on the Puget Sound region, transit agencies are getting ready.

The latest forecast says the snow is likely to arrive a little later than previously thought. That means evening commuters may escape the brunt of the blast.

Tom Pearce -- with Snohomish Community Transit -- says its buses are operating on regular routes, for now …

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Shoreline impacts
8:25 am
Tue February 22, 2011

King tides: a "teachable moment?"

A king tide in Budd Bay in Olympia in 2005.
Kay Schultz DOE Flickr feed

Shorelines around Washington are experiencing extreme high tides through the end of the month. Known as “king tides,” they’re a natural wintertime phenomenon in the Northwest. But they may also provide a glimpse into our future.

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Reflections on the water
2:29 am
Tue February 22, 2011

Returning the bones: Darren Blaney, keeping faith with tradition

Darren Blaney is a former chief of the Homalco First Nation, the northern-most of the Salish Sea tribes, near Campbell River, B.C.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News

The northern tip of the Salish Sea is the place where the Campbell River on Vancouver Island empties into Georgia Strait. 

In the final segment in our series “Reflections on the Water,” KPLU environment reporter Liam Moriarty talks with Darren Blaney, a wood carver and former chief of the Homalco First Nation, which is based in Campbell River.

Read more ...

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