Environment

Hanford Nuclear Reservation
2:08 pm
Mon August 29, 2011

Hastings pushes bill to preserve Hanford reactor

Hanford's "B Reactor can be seen between the water towers on the right side of this World War II photo.
Courtesy of the Department of Energy.

RICHLAND, Wash. — U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings says he is pursuing legislation to recognize the world's first full-scale nuclear reactor as a national historic park.

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Environment
5:09 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Grizzly bear killing in Idaho gets political

Idaho politicians are questioning the federal government's decision to press charges against a man for killing a grizzly bear near his house. Governor Butch Otter sent a letter to the Department of the Interior asking Secretary Ken Salazar to look into the north Idaho case. Senator Mike Crapo is also pushing for answers from the Interior Department.

Thirty-three-year-old Jeremy Hill faces up to a year in prison and a $50,000 fine for killing a grizzly bear. The grizzly is a threatened species.

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Environment
5:06 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Battelle researchers study efficient carbon capture

RICHLAND, Wash. – Researchers recently received a grant to develop a better process to capture carbon dioxide that could save more than half of what coal-fired power plants now spend on the technology.

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Environment
4:37 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Portland's underwater cleanup clay used in other states

An oil-loving clay used to sop up creosote in the Portland Harbor has been so successful that it will be applied to a much larger project this fall on the Grand Calumet River in Gary, Indiana.

University of Texas Professor Danny Reible worked on the Willamette River cleanup site. Thousands of tons of a specially-formulated clay were used to cap the sediment.

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mustard agent
4:24 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Depot burning chemical weapons at quicker pace

The Umatilla Chemical Depot.
Sam Beebe Flickr

The U.S. Army says its contractors have quickened the pace of weapons incineration at the Umatilla Chemical Depot. Fewer than 400 ton-sized containers of deadly liquid mustard agent remain at the northeast Oregon site.

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Transportation Funding
3:36 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

It's (finally) official: Tolls on SR-520 Bridge start in December

An example of the signs that will be installed to let drivers know the SR 520 bridge is a toll bridge - starting in December. A trip during rush hour will cost $3.50 each way.
WSDOT photo

Get ready to pay if you drive on the floating bridge across Lake Washington. The state Department of Transportation has announced the much-delayed tolls on the 520 bridge will start in December.

Tolling on the bridge was originally set to begin this spring, then that was bumped to this summer. Now, the state says the all-electronic system will be up and running four months from now. 

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Environment
3:16 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

UW study finds toxins emanating from dryer vents

Researchers have found plenty of pollutants in dryer exhausts.
Kerry Lannert KPLU

The sweet smell from your dryer vent could contain toxic pollution.

A new study from the University of Washington found hazardous chemicals in the air after clothes were laundered with scented detergents and dryer sheets. At least two of the chemicals are considered carcinogens by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Environmentally friendly
5:21 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

King County wants you to camp out in a cargo shipping container

One of the designs submitted for the King County Parks’ Little Footprint Big Forest project.

Imagine you’ve spent the day hiking trails in the woods and roasting s’mores. Now imagine you’ve left your tent at home, only to take shelter in a cargo shipping container. That’s the challenge King County Parks hoped would inspire designers to blend the outdoor experience with eco-friendly containers. 

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
4:15 pm
Mon August 22, 2011

Bechtel to conduct survey on safety culture at Hanford

RICHLAND, Wash. – A key contractor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation said Monday it will have nuclear experts review its safety culture. Bechtel has been under fire at the southeast Washington nuclear site since a high-level manager was taken out of his position after raising safety concerns.

Bechtel is building a $12 billion factory to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. But recently the federal Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board came to the conclusion that the project’s safety culture is "flawed."

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Environment
11:27 am
Mon August 22, 2011

Elwha River dam removal historic, but not explosive

The 108-foot tall Elwha Dam is the smaller of the two dams on the Elwha River slated for demolition.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

PORT ANGELES, Wash. – Seattle's Kingdome collapsed with a bang. Explosive demolition experts also brought down the cooling tower at the former Trojan nuclear plant. But if you're hoping for the same excitement from the upcoming destruction of two big hydropower dams on Washington's Elwha River, you'll be disappointed.

The history-making dam removal that begins in September will happen slowly and methodically.

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Environment
9:20 am
Mon August 22, 2011

Illegal crab activity Puget Sound put crab populations at risk

With more people taking up crabbing in Puget Sound, the people who police the harvest are seeing an uptick in illegal activity. Officials say the illegal activity is a major threat to future crab populations.

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Environment
6:02 pm
Sun August 21, 2011

Enviro groups say Clean Water Act is under attack

Joost Nelissen Flickr

Nearly 40 years ago, the U.S. government began setting federal standards to clean up water pollution with the passage of the landmark Clean Water Act. Now, many environmental groups say that law is under attack and they’re worried about consequences.

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Strange substance
1:33 pm
Thu August 18, 2011

Not extraterrestrials after all: Orange goo in Alaska fungal spores

The only mystery remaining about the orange substance that showed up in this Alaska village is what kind of fungal spore it is, ruling out mysterious eggs and extraterrestrials (never really taken seriously).
Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Scientists say an orange-colored goo that streaked the shore of a remote Alaska village turned out to be fungal spores, not millions of microscopic eggs as indicated by preliminary analysis.

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Environment
1:09 pm
Thu August 18, 2011

It's about saving greenbacks, not just being green in the NW

Battery powered Nissan Leafs in the Seattle city motorpool
Mayor McGinn's photostream flickr.com

When it comes to fuel efficiency, Northwest drivers are apparently motivated more by their wallets rather than a desire to be green.

A poll commissioned by Seattle based PEMCO Insurance finds 83 percent of drivers here save fuel mainly because they want to save money. Only 14 percent said they saved fuel primarily to cut down on pollution and carbon emissions.

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NOAA leaves seattle
9:43 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Newport, Ore., prepares to welcome NOAA

Newport has been rolling out the welcome mat for NOAA's new facility.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

NEWPORT, Ore. – A fleet of federal research ships is moving from Seattle to the Oregon coast. This weekend, state and local leaders in Newport are celebrating the transition with festivities. The state of Oregon kicked in nearly $20 million to help Newport lure the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific operation center from its long-time home.

From the Yaquina Bay Bridge, a huge bridge over the harbor, you can get a good view of the new NOAA pier. It can hold up to a half-dozen ocean-going ships.

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