Environment

Environment
5:25 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

House Dems remove fish-consumption study from budget

jpellgen Flickr

Washington state House Democrats removed funds for a fish-consumption study from the final budget. That went against the wishes of one of the state's biggest business interests, Boeing.

The state Department of Ecology currently assumes that people in Washington eat about one meal of fish a month. But the state acknowledges the standard is out of date; many people eat a lot more fish than that.

Tribes and environmental groups have been urging the state to update its standard and require stricter regulation of water pollution. But that has been met with resistance from businesses, including Boeing.

Read more
bottled water ban
5:01 am
Mon July 1, 2013

WWU to become largest public college in U.S. to ban bottled water

Anna Amundson, a WWU alumnae and past president of Students for Sustainable Water fills up at one of three grant-funded hydration stations students have spearheaded to replace use of water in disposable plastic bottles.
courtesy Carolyn Bowie

Western Washington University is poised to become the largest public university in the country to ban sales of bottled water. The school joins Evergreen State College and Seattle University in making the move.

For many young environmentalists, saying no to bottled water and yes to public taps is an easy choice and a cause they can get passionate about.

Read more
Environment
11:22 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Obama's climate speech renews call for utilities to divest from coal

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

“It’s the change we have been waiting for.” That’s the response from the Sierra Club to President Obama’s speech on climate change. A major part of his action plan is new limits on carbon emissions from power plants.

The local chapter of the club says even though no new policies will take effect for several years, utilities need to start adjusting now.

Read more
Living with animals
5:01 am
Mon June 24, 2013

For 'refugees from urban farming craze', a backyard to call home

One of Tiffany Young's ducks drying off after a swim.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Urban farming sounds like a great idea to many people. You can grow your own vegetables and put in a chicken coop, or keep some ducks to make it all come full circle.

But a Seattle woman behind an operation called Ducks and Clucks says many folks are biting off more than they can chew when it comes to the birds. It is she who often comes to their rescue.

Read more
Transportation alternatives
5:01 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Cycling symposium: Seattle’s primer for more urban biking

Craig Damlo Flickr

Experts on urban cycling are convening at the University of Washington this week to talking about how to get more people out of cars and onto bikes. And the experts say Seattle is poised to get to the next level.

Seattle is about half way through its ten-year Bicycle Master Plan. An update is under way and expected to be approved by the Seattle City Council this fall.

Read more
Environment
5:00 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Proposed hydro-energy project has Index saying ‘no dam way’

Snohomish County PUD wants to install a small, inflatable dam at this bend on the south fork of the Skykomish River.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

At a time when Washington state has been making headlines for the largest dam removal project ever on the Elwha River, Snohomish County is proposing a new one.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District says the proposed dam’s modern low-impact design would help the county diversify its energy portfolio and meet the future power demands of a growing population.

But the location of the proposed dam—on a wild and scenic stretch of the Skykomish River near the small town of Index—has many locals banding together against the project. 

'No dam way'

Read more
Coal Exports
3:52 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Army Corps: No environmental study for Northwest coal terminals

In this photo taken Oct. 23, 2012, train tracks run through a wooded area near the site of a proposed coal exporting terminal Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Ferndale, Wash., near Bellingham, Wash.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dealt a big blow to environmental groups fighting proposed coal export terminals in the Northwest.

During testimony before Congress, an official with the agency said the Corps is not planning a broad environmental study on the impact of coal exports, meaning the proposed terminals' effects on climate change won’t be considered during the review process.

Read more
Water pollution
5:00 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Human fecal bacteria confirmed in Seattle’s Thornton Creek

Fecal coliform bacteria has been found at several locations in the Thornton Creek watershed. A new study confirms the source is in large part human sewage.
courtesy Seattle Public Utilities

Scientists with the city of Seattle are narrowing in on the source of polluted water that flows through the city’s largest watershed. With a new study, they’ve confirmed human fecal bacteria are likely entering Thornton Creek at multiple locations near Northgate and Lake City Way.

Read more
Electric Cars
11:02 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Fueling Up For 84 Cents Per 'eGallon'

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 4:04 pm

Imagine paying less than a dollar per gallon for your commute, compared to today's statewide averages of $3.84 in Oregon and Washington and $3.80 in Idaho for a gallon of gas. Eighty-four cents in Idaho and Washington -- or 96 cents in Oregon -- per gasoline gallon equivalent is how much the US Department of Energy figures it costs to recharge an electric car in each state.

The agency's assistant secretary David Danielson announced an online cost comparison calculator Tuesday for what he calls the "eGallon."

Read more
Environment
5:01 am
Mon June 10, 2013

FERC hearing on proposed Skykomish River hydro project

A view upstream from the site on the south fork of the Skykomish River, where an intake structure and underwater cavern would go for a new dam
courtesy Andrea Matzke

Federal officials will be in Index this week to hear from the public about a controversial proposal for a new dam on the Skykomish River.

Representatives from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will tour the proposed dam site at Sunset Falls, and take public comments as part of the licensing process.

Read more
Hanford nuclear reservation
10:50 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Swallows Bring Radioactive Soil Into Hanford Waste Plant

Bechtel

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 10:07 am

Workers are back on the job at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant. Work stopped this week when radioactive soil was found under the nests of some swallows.

Swallows used some radioactive mud to make nests on exposed beamwork in Hanford’s waste treatment plant. That’s the $12 billion factory designed to bind-up radioactive sludge in glass logs. The nests were found during routine tests, but this is the first radioactive contamination of the new plant.

Read more
Coal Exports
5:59 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Sierra Club sues BNSF over coal dust from trains

Coal dust mingles with grass in Wyoming.
Eli Nixon photo Flickr

A coalition of environmental groups led by the Sierra Club has filed suit against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and five energy companies.

The plaintiffs say coal dust flying out of uncovered train cars is polluting Washington rivers and Puget Sound, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

Read more
Environment
5:01 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Sediment health declining in central Puget Sound

Environmental specialist and lead taxonomist Kathy Welch examines a sediment sample pulled from Elliott Bay. A new study of the sediments shows a dramatic decline in the health of benthic invertibrates over a ten-year period, despite lower toxin levels.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Scientists examining the health of Puget Sound have uncovered a new mystery involving the very bottom of the food chain.

A new study from the state Department of Ecology shows toxins in sediments have declined over the past decade. But it also found declining health of the creatures that live in the sediment. 

Read more
Global warming
4:36 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Promise of the Arctic conference points to opportunities and risks

A polar bear on one of the last ice floes floating in the Arctic sea in June 2008.
Gerard Van der Leun photo Flickr via Compfight

The Arctic is getting hotter faster than any part of the globe. Experts predict the region will be free of sea ice during the summer within about 20 years. 

That’s creating a gold-rush mentality among many shipping and energy companies eager to capitalize on new trade routes or tap new sources of oil and gas.

Read more
Disease prevention
5:01 am
Tue May 28, 2013

State seeking volunteers for bird flu tests on backyard flocks

istockphoto.com

State officials are urging owners of backyard chicken to sign up their flock for bird flu testing.

The state is trying to prevent an outbreak of a new strain of bird flu like the one recently seen in China. At least 36 people have died of the disease since March.

Read more

Pages