Environment

Rail Safety
2:41 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Oil Train Derailment Under Busy Seattle Bridge Highlights Safety Concerns

Derailed oil tanker cars beneath Seattle's Magnolia Bridge on Thursday, July 24, 2014.
courtesy Dana Robinson Slote Seattle City Council

Three tanker cars derailed at a Seattle rail yard early Thursday while carrying oil from North Dakota to a refinery in Anacortes.

No one was hurt and none of the oil spilled, according to Burlington Northern Santa Fe. But the incident spurred renewed calls from the city for a ban on oil train traffic near neighborhoods.  

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Oil Tankers
5:00 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Expansion Of 13-Year-Old Oil Terminal Just Now Getting Environmental Review

An expansion of the Northwest’s largest oil terminal will be the subject of a public hearing before the Army Corps of Engineers Thursday evening in Seattle. Environmentalists are calling for limits on oil tanker traffic at BP’s docks at Cherry Point, north of Bellingham. 

Environmental impact statements are usually heard before a project is built. But in an unusual twist, this hearing concerns a facility that’s been up and running for 13 years.

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Fish Consumption Rate
5:00 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Wash. To Host First Public Meeting On Inslee's Fish Consumption Rate Proposal

How much fish we eat — or the government's recorded assumption about our consumption — is one factor in an equation that determines how much water pollution industries are allowed to discharge.

Washington is slowly moving ahead with a long-delayed plan to update its water quality rules. Tuesday's will be the first public meeting on Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposal to dramatically increase the fish consumption rate, which determines how clean discharged water must be. But some say the proposal doesn’t go far enough.

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Alternative Energy
4:16 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Germany Provides Inspiration, Potential Market for Wash. Clean Tech Companies

Solar panels on the roofs of houses in the Bavarian village of Eitting near Munich, Germany.
Riex Flickr via Compfight

A delegation from Germany recently paid Washington’s clean tech lobby a visit. At a meeting in Seattle, the delegation, whose country's emphasis on renewable energy has made it a global leader in the sector, presented some of the lessons local companies are learning from the German example.

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Energy Exports
10:33 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Report Shows Coal, Oil Trains Would Quadruple Rail Traffic, Alarming Lawmakers

File image
AP Photo

Lawmakers are expressing concerns over an updated report outlining the combined impacts of coal and oil trains that would roll through the Northwest if plans for export terminals move forward.

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Wildlife
10:00 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Feds To Remove Fewer Wild Horses From Western Rangelands This Year

This file photo shows the August 2010 Wild Horse Gather by the Bureau of Land Management at the Stinkingwater Herd Management Area near Burns, Oregon.
Bureau of Land Management

The federal Bureau of Land Management plans to capture and remove fewer wild horses from Western rangelands this summer. An agency statement blames budget constraints and already-full holding pens.

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Beach Closures
11:26 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

As Temps Rise, Invasive Weed Prompts Closure Of Several Bellevue Beaches

Meydenbauer Beach Park
Kurt Clark Flickr

As temperatures hike into the high 80s this week, many will be flocking to beaches to cool down. But some swimming areas in Bellevue will be temporarily shutting down this week, specifically Bellevue’s Newcastle, Meydenbauer and Clyde beach parks.

The culprit for the closures is milfoil, an invasive weed that the state Department of Ecology views as the most problematic plant in Washington. The city of Bellevue and homeowners will be applying herbicide to shoreline areas adjacent to the three beach parks to control invasive milfoil blooms.

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Environment
1:12 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Inslee Proposes Higher Fish Consumption Rate As Part Of New Clean Water Plan

FILE - In a Sept. 28, 2011 file photo, a native fisherman displays a salmon he pulled from his net on the Duwamish River, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed dramatically increasing the fish consumption rate that drives clean water standards in the state.

Inslee said Wednesday he plans to set the fish consumption rate at 175 grams a day, which would protect people who eat about a serving a day of fish. Current water quality standards assume only one serving of fish per month, or 6.5 grams a day.

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Environment
5:00 am
Mon July 7, 2014

UW Study: Urban Fumes Cause Pollinating Moths To Fly Like 'Stumbling Drunks'

A pollinating moth Manduca sexta, this one with a wing span of about 4 inches, feeds from a Sacred Dutura, or Datura wrightii, flower.
Courtesy of Kiley Riffell

As much as one-third of our food supply depends on pollinators like insects and birds that fertilize plants when they fly between blossoms.

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Clean Waterways
1:39 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Farmers Object To EPA's Proposed Changes To Clean Water Act

Angela Bailey farms decorative trees and shrubs near Gresham, Oregon.
Chris Lehman

Farmers across the country are riled up over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to revise the 1972 Clean Water Act.

Depending on who you talk to, these revisions are either a “land grab” under the “brute force” of the federal government or a simple clarification of rules that ensure all Americans have clean water to drink.

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Marine Life
12:10 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

This Is What Puget Sound Orcas Sound Like When They Talk To Each Other

An endangered female orca leaps from the water while breaching in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 from a federal research vessel.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Ever hear an orca speak? Ken Balcomb, who many regard as the godfather of whale conservation, captured their chatter using a hydrophone on San Juan Island: 

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Environment
11:01 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Decade Of Research Reveals Iconic Orcas' Struggle

An endangered female orca leaps from the water while breaching in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 from a federal research vessel that has been tracking the whales.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Scientists studying southern resident killer whales for the past decade now know they are among the most contaminated marine mammals and prefer to eat Chinook salmon.

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Oso Slide
4:59 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Snohomish County Weighs Options To Tighten Land Use In Slide-Prone Areas

Snohomish County Flickr

Three months after a deadly landslide hit the town of Oso, Washington, Snohomish County is again looking at options to tighten land-use policy in slide-prone areas. 

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Environment
5:00 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Expo Showcases Wash. State Companies' Budding Clean Tech Economy

The Incycle Cup, made by Arlington-based Microgreen Polymers, is a clean tech success story many people are eager to tell. Airlines, including launch customer Alaska Air Group, say they save fuel because the cup is lighter than paper and can be recycled.
Bellamy Pailthorp

A cornerstone of Gov. Jay Inslee’s election campaign was the promise of new jobs in clean technology.

But how healthy is the sector in Washington and what’s still holding it back? Hard data on those questions is yet to come, but a visit to the state's inaugural Clean Technology Showcase provided some answers.

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Mapping the Volcano
5:00 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Researchers To Take 'CAT Scan' Of Plumbing Deep Inside Mount St. Helens' Gut

Don Ryan AP Photo

A group of Northwest scientists are sprinkling the landscape around Mount St. Helens with high-tech sensors as part of a new effort to map the volcano’s deep plumbing.

Scientists have a pretty good understanding of what’s happening right under the mountain, where a big chamber periodically fills up with magma before an eruption. Now they’re looking deeper — down dozens of miles — to the tubes and tunnels that feed that chamber.

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