Environment

Northwest Coal
4:32 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

King County Council Resolution Calls for Coal Ban in Wash. State

Elaine Thompson Associated Press

King County is poised to join the city of Seattle and several other municipalities in passing a resolution banning the burning and the transportation of coal in Washington state. 

King County Council member Larry Philips is leading the charge to bring the county on board with what towns and cities all over the region have already done: saying loud and clear that coal is not the answer to the future of energy. The opponents are calling for a comprehensive environmental review of the effects of a proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham. 

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Environment
5:01 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Feds testing drones for scientific and environmental missions

The Puma AE unmanned aircraft system, shown during a pre-flight check for tests in NOAA's marine research missions from La Push, on the Olympic Penninsula. It launches without a runway, making it ideal for NOAA's missions at sea, the agency says.
Bellamy Pailthorp Photo KPLU News

They’re the tools of modern-day warfare: unmanned aircraft systems better known as drones.

They’re also being tested to help carry out important scientific missions, including surveys of wildlife and marine debris in the National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula.

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Science
10:05 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Scientists solve mystery of the mounds under Hood Canal

Mystery mounds were definitely not caused by whales.
The Associated Press

Washington scientists guessed that mysterious mounds hundreds of feet below the surface of Hood Canal were deposited by Ice Age glaciers or built up by natural gas seeps or geothermal vents.

After taking a closer look with a remote control camera they have another theory.

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Environment
4:00 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Sea Level Rising Much Faster Than U.N. Projections

A swan swims near the flooded home of the Maziekien family on November 21 in Mantoloking, New Jersey. Mantoloking was one of the hardest hit areas by Superstorm Sandy.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 6:27 am

A new peer-reviewed study by climate scientists finds the rise in sea level during the past two decades has been 60 percent faster than predictions from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The scientists also found that IPCC's estimates for warming temperatures was just right.

NBC News explains:

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Environment
7:37 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Supreme Court upholds stricter mine permitting

HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a judge's ruling that a mining company must go through a stricter permitting process before it can build a copper and silver mine in northwestern Montana.

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Environment
8:33 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Sweden wants your trash to generate energy

In May 2011, uncollected rubbish piled up in Naples, Italy. Sweden hopes Italy might be willing to export the problem.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 10:59 am

Move over Abba, Sweden has found new fame. The small Nordic country is breaking records — in waste. Sweden's program of generating energy from garbage is wildly successful, but recently its success has also generated a surprising issue: There is simply not enough trash.

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Environment
4:14 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Coastal marshes yield history of Northwest quakes, tsunamis

PSU archaeologist Sarah Sterling (right) and Simon Fraser University Prof. Ian Hutchinson examine possible tsunami deposits near the mouth of Salt Creek, Clallam County, Wash.

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 5:32 pm

PORTLAND - Native American legends collected on the Pacific Northwest coast speak of battles between supernatural beings that made the ground shake and caused great floods. Those stories can't tell us how often great earthquakes occur here or how high tsunami waves have reached. Now, researchers from Portland State University have found fresh evidence of tsunami waves more than 26-feet high that washed more than three miles inland.

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Environment
8:42 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Judge to consider cross-border Columbia River pollution case

A lead and zinc smelter in Trail, British Columbia dumped millions of tons of refining waste into the Columbia River between 1896 and 1995. Photo by kootenayvolcano via Flickr

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 11:49 pm

YAKIMA, Wash. - Wednesday, a federal judge in Yakima will consider a long-running case about cross border pollution in the Columbia River. The Colville Tribes and the state of Washington are trying to force cleanup of heavy metals dumped in the river for nearly a hundred years by a Canadian smelter.

Lawyers for Teck Metals, the Colville Tribes and state of Washington have agreed on some basic facts. Namely, that Teck's lead and zinc smelter in Trail, British Columbia dumped millions of tons of refining waste into the Columbia River between 1896 and 1995.

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Environment
11:37 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Wash. Supreme Court says pollution tax constitutional

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The state Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the state's existing hazardous substances tax, which was approved by voters in 1988, is constitutional.

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washington agriculture
9:43 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Northwest farmers plant wheat in dust, hope for rain

The National Weather Service says the Northwest will likely see below normal precipitation through December. Photo by Scott Butner via Flickr

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 7:43 am

PROSSER, Wash. – Most of us may be enjoying the fall sunshine, but Northwest wheat farmers are instead wishing for a little rain.

Nicole Berg digs her clean-up-to-now nails into the dry crusty soil on her farm.

About four to five inches down, there still isn’t any hint of past rain.

A few farmers did get some showers. Despite high-tech forecasts, Berg says often knowing when to plant still comes down to a hunch, decades of experience and an old wheat farmer adage.

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agriculture
4:32 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

WSU study: GMO crops need more herbicide to fend off 'superweeds'

Charles Benbrook is a researcher with Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources. Photo courtesy of WSU

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 4:10 pm

According to a new study out of Washington State University, farmers of genetically engineered crops are dramatically increasing their use of herbicides. Researchers say farmers are spraying more in response the rise of so-called “superweeds.”

The new study analyzes 16 years of federal data on the nation’s corn, soybean and cotton fields. It finds growers with crops engineered to be herbicide resistant are now putting millions more pounds of weed killer on their fields than farmers who grow the non-modified variety.

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Environment
2:13 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Study: Hatchery fish can succeed if bred from wild

A Chinook salmon at Dagger Falls, Idaho.
The Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – New research has found that a hatchery using wild salmon to spawn the next generation can help rebuild endangered salmon runs without passing on genetic problems that threaten future generations.

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Environment
6:18 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Scientist cleared in polar bear controversy popularizing global warming

Polar bears in the Beaufort Sea in northern Alaska. Scientist Charles Monnett caused a stir with a 2006 report on polar bears that were drowning, apparently owing to a lack of ice.
Steve Amstrup Fish and Wildlife Service

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 4:56 pm

A long, controversial investigation of a polar bear scientist has ended with his government employer saying it does not look like he engaged in any scientific misconduct.

Charles Monnett is a wildlife researcher with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, part of the Department of the Interior. He and a colleague, Jeffrey Gleason, wrote an influential 2006 report describing apparently drowned polar bears floating in the Arctic, which they saw during a routine aerial survey of whales.

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Environment
4:18 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Scientist who reported drowned polar bears reprimanded

This undated file photo shows a polar bear in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Subhankar Banerjee AP

JUNEAU, Alaska – An Alaska scientist whose observations of drowned polar bears helped galvanize the global warming movement has been reprimanded for improper release of government documents.

An Interior Department official says emails released by Charles Monnett were cited by a federal appeals court in decisions to vacate approval of an oil company's Arctic exploration plan.

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Environment
10:52 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Tree cutting by heli-skiing outfit criticized

MAZAMA, Wash. — Officials say numerous high elevation trees – some of them apparently hundreds of years old – were cut down or topped in the North Cascades last winter by a Mazama-based helicopter skiing company.

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