Environment

Transit Cuts
3:18 pm
Fri April 8, 2011

Snohomish Community Transit faces more service cuts

CT

If you ride Community Transit buses, brace yourself for longer waits and fewer trips. For the second year in a row, bus service in Snohomish County is facing a 20 percent cut.

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Air Pollution
4:05 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Groups seek regulation for livestock air pollution

EPA.gov

If you put thousands of cows or chickens or hogs in a confined area, it’s likely to produce a powerful aroma. But can it harm your health?

A coalition of community and environmental groups says "yes." And they're asking for regulations on high-intensity livestock operations they say violate air pollution standards.

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Environment
2:11 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Washington milk is safe

Bottoms up!
Flickr user purplemattfish/Matthew flickr.com

Worried about radiation from Japan contaminating milk here at home? The Washington state departments of Agriculture and Health say the latest tests show no sign of any radioactivity in milk sampled in Tacoma and Spokane.

Last week, the EPA announced that trace amounts of radioactive Iodine-131 were detected in a sample from Spokane, but at levels 5,000 times below anything that would be remotely dangerous. Officials say drinking a pint of milk with radiation levels that low would amount to less than half of the exposure you would get in a five hour plane flight.

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Passenger Rail
4:56 am
Mon April 4, 2011

Washington hopes to benefit from rejected Florida rail funds

The Amtrak Cascades passenger train running along the bottom of a steep bluff near Steilacoom
WSDOT

Today is the deadline for Washington and other states to apply for a share of more than $2 billion in federal high-speed rail money that Florida rejected. State officials hope to use some of that money to tackle landslides that have made rail travel this winter unreliable.

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Public Health
2:40 am
Mon April 4, 2011

Northwest very familiar with Iodine-131

An alfalfa field near Richland, Wash., Mar. 30, 2011.
Anna King Northwest News Network

The small amounts of radioactive Iodine-131 found in milk in Spokane has been causing ripples of concern throughout the Northwest. Officials say the tiny amounts of radiation found in the milk were probably blown over from Japan’s stricken nuclear plants.

Just outside the Tri-Cities, Drex Gauntt’s alfalfa fields roll out like a plush emerald shag carpet. One of the ways that cows can pass Iodine-131 into their milk is by eating grass or hay that’s been contaminated with the radioactive isotope. Gauntt says he’s not too concerned.

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Spring Rains
11:38 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Snoqualmie Falls shows off its majesty as flood waters crest

The Snoqualmie River is cresting at the falls this morning. These two videos were shot by Carol Wells yesterday on an Android-platform smart phone. 

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Environment
8:42 am
Thu March 31, 2011

Some river flooding, road closures after rains

A road near the Carnation Golf Course is covered with water Thursday morning, March 31, 2011, in this Twitpic image from KING-TV's Chris Daniels.
ChrisDaniels5 Twitpic

Some major western Washington rivers are expected to flood today, including "major" flooding forecast along the Snohomish and Snoqualmie, according to the National Weather Service.

Heavy rains the past few days, with heavy concentrations in the Cascades and Cascade foothills, and warmer mountain temperatures, have produced rapid runoff.

Flood warnings are issued for these rivers in Snohomish and King counties:

  • Snohomish
  • Skykomish
  • Snoqualmie
  • Tolt
  • Stillaguamish (north and middle forks)
  • Green (middle reach upstream of Auburn)
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Environment
3:39 pm
Tue March 29, 2011

Organic farming down in Washington despite growing demand for organic foods

Picking organic Gala apples near Royal City.
David Granatstein Washington State University

As sales of organic foods continue to climb across the country, organic farming in Washington has decreased. That surprised some researchers for a state that's one of the country’s top producers of organic produce.

While people in the agriculture industry expect certain crops to go through challenging cycles now and then, an annual study of the state’s organic farms shows "significant" declines in the past year, according to David Granatstein. He's sustainable agriculture specialist at Washington State University.  Granatstein co-authored a new study that found decreases in the number of organic producers, acreage and farm gate sales. 

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Puget Sound
9:05 am
Tue March 29, 2011

Pier Peer: Discovering the Creatures of the Night

Naturalists and curious youngster gather at night on a dock at Seattle's Elliott Bay Marina. They're studying the sea life drawn to an underwater light bulb.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News

What with theaters, concerts and clubs, Seattle has a pretty lively night life. But as a group of people gathers after dark at a marina on Elliot Bay, they’re looking for a completely different kind of thrill.

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Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement
7:22 am
Tue March 29, 2011

Tunnel vote likely in Seattle, but it may not resolve anything

A conceptual drawing of the proposed deep bore tunnel slated to replace Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct.
WSDOT

Opponents of the tunnel proposed to replace Seattle’s aging Alaskan Way Viaduct say they’ve gathered more than enough signatures to force a public vote. But a new poll suggests that won’t settle the contentious issue. 

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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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Spring migration
9:17 am
Mon March 28, 2011

Bird watchers (and sandhill cranes) flock to eastern Washington

Sandhill cranes in flight above the fields and reservoirs near Othello, in eastern Washington.
Courtesy Othello Sandhill Crane Festival

Thousands of their fans will greet them, but the onlookers will be outnumbered by approximately 25,000 to 35,000 sandhill cranes making a stop in eastern Washington.  The birds stand up to 4 feet tall, and stop in the Othello area every March at the Columbia National Wildlife refuge on their way to summer breeding grounds in Alaska.

For the past 14 years Othello has celebrated the rite of spring and welcomed birdwatchers with the annual Othello Sandhill Crane Festival. The video below is from the festival's web site.

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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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Environment
3:25 pm
Tue March 22, 2011

Group pushes for Northwest to ban bottled water

At events in Olympia and Salem Tuesday, an activist group called on Washington and Oregon's governors to stop spending taxpayer dollars on bottled water.

Organizer Sriram Madhusoodanan, with the group Corporate Accountability International, says those little plastic bottles, sometimes available at public meetings and events, create unnecessary waste and undermine confidence in the quality of public water supplies.

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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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