Environment

Hanford Nuclear Reservation
2:27 pm
Fri March 18, 2011

Hanford watchdog sues for more plutonium fuel documents

The nuclear reactor crisis in Japan is prompting more scrutiny of the nuclear power plant near Richland in southeast Washington. Thursday a Seattle-based Hanford watchdog sued Energy Northwest. The group is demanding the power supplier turn over more documents on the possibility of the plant using plutonium for reactor fuel.

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Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement
7:41 am
Tue March 15, 2011

McGinn: Take the viaduct down by next year

Traffic at left heads northbound on Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct, above the southbound lanes below, through downtown.
AP

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says he thinks the city’s waterfront viaduct poses an earthquake risk and should be taken down next year.

That's a good four years before the viaduct's planned replacement -- a deep-bore tunnel under downtown -- would be ready.

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Environment
12:07 am
Mon March 14, 2011

Snake, Columbia dams to open after long closure

The second leaf of the new The Dalles downstream navigation lock gate is lowered into position on March 5.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers will open for barge traffic soon. Locks were closed for several months during repairs.

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Air Pollution
4:11 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Auto emission testing changes under consideration

Washington's auto emissions program is being changed to make it more cost effective

For most drivers in Washington’s most-populated areas, getting your car’s emissions system tested is an every-other-year ritual. Now, state environment officials are proposing to make changes they say will streamline the process without compromising the region’s air quality.

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Japan Quake
2:00 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Tsunami waves not visible to the eye on coast

Tidal gauges detected a tsunami wave along the Washington and Oregon coasts Friday morning. But the swell, up to 1.5 feet, went unnoticed by coastal residents who chose not to evacuate.

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Endangered Species
8:39 am
Mon March 7, 2011

Iconic killer whale is missing

The last known photo of the killer whale known as J-1, foraging at Constance Bank near Victoria, B.C. on November 21, 2010.
Mark Malleson Courtesy of orcanetwork.org

The oldest and perhaps most-recognizable of the local killer whales is missing and researchers fear he may have died over the winter.

The orca known to researchers as J-1 was last seen on November 21st near Victoria, B.C. Also known as “Ruffles,” for the wavy edge to his distinctive six-foot-tall dorsal fin, J-1 was believed to be about 60 years old. He was one of the first individual orcas to be identified by researchers in the early 19-70s.

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Cleaner Energy
7:50 am
Mon March 7, 2011

Northwest’s largest coal-fired power plant agrees to shut down by 2025

The owner of the largest coal-fired power plant in the Northwest has agreed to phase out coal-burning by the end of 2025.

Washington’s governor and environmental groups announced an agreement with TransAlta Corporation Saturday. Within hours, the Washington State Senate passed a bill to turn the deal into law.

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Environment
8:47 am
Thu March 3, 2011

Wolverines stage comeback in Northwest, but for how long?

Remote camera photo of a wolverine from Okanogan National Forest. Click on the photo to scroll through other pictures of the
USFS

One of the rarest mammals in North America is staging a comeback here in the Northwest. Wildlife biologists have tracked wolverines on mountainsides where they haven't been seen in many decades. But several new studies also suggest the recovery could be short lived if mountain snowlines retreat due to global warming.

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Coal Exports
5:01 pm
Tue March 1, 2011

Feds fine partner in Longview coal terminal $4 million

Proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals site is shown on the lower left along the Columbia River.
Photo: Brett VandenHeuvel Miningconnection.com

A major partner in a controversial Northwest coal port proposal has been fined $4 million for violating clean water laws in its Appalachian mining operations.

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Bus Rapid Transit
8:36 am
Tue March 1, 2011

Congressional cuts threaten Metro’s RapidRide bus service

A RapidRide bus running the "A" Line on Pacific Highway South.
Atomic Taco Flickr

The red-and-yellow buses of King County’s new RapidRide system may stall before they have a chance to really get going. The Seattle Times reports that budget cuts proposed by House Republicans may leave the new Bus Rapid Transit program without promised start-up funds

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Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement
2:24 pm
Mon February 28, 2011

Seattle City Council overrides mayor’s tunnel veto, groups push for public vote

Supports and opponents of the planned deep-bore tunnel replacement for Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct pack the city council chamber
King5 TV

If you’re waiting for the final chapter in the saga of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement, don’t hold your breath. The latest action by the city council has triggered an effort to put the question to the voters again.

In an often-raucous council chamber packed with both supporters and opponents of the planned deep-bore tunnel project, the City Council decisively overturned Mayor Mike McGinn’s veto of a set of agreements between the city and the state that would facilitate the tunnel.

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10 Year Anniversary
10:15 am
Mon February 28, 2011

The Nisqually Earthquake: Ten Years After

Road failure at Sunset Lake, Tumwater
Steven Kramer University of Washington

Ten years ago today, the Puget Sound region was rocked by a powerful earthquake. The magnitude 6.8 quake brought down brick facades, damaged Seattle’s waterfront viaduct and split the Capitol dome in Olympia. The ground shook for about 45 seconds and tremors were felt as far away as Salt Lake City.

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Environment
10:01 am
Sun February 27, 2011

Freight train derails near Tacoma; at least 50 gallons of lye spilled

Crews work to pull away collided trains and get four overturned cars off the beach at Chambers Bay, near Tacoma, where two freight trains sideswiped, toppling several cars of sodium hydroxide (lye) Saturday evening.
Dan gigharbor.patch.com

Updated 12:15 p.m. Sunday, February 27: Authorities report the leak has since been repaired, according to a statement from West Pierce Fire & Rescue Sunday as reported by Q13 FOX TV. Authorities confirmed that about 50 gallons of sodium hydroxide spilled. Amtrak passenger service between Seattle and Portland has been suspended because of the accident.

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Environment
4:36 pm
Thu February 24, 2011

Clean up continues after fuel tanker spill on Olympic Peninsula

This image was captured by a WSDOT worker at the site of a tanker fuel spill near the Olympic Peninsula town of Forks on Wednesday. Clean up continues there.
WSDOT Flickr

An estimated 4,300 gallons of fuel spilled Wednesday when a tanker truck overturned on U.S. Highway 101 about 25 miles south of Forks. Work continues at the site today to contain the spill as quickly as possible.

Kim Schmanke of the state's Department of Ecology says crews righted the damaged trailer late Wednesday afternoon. The State Patrol says the truck driver wasn't injured in crash yesterday morning. 

Schmanke says response agencies and cleanup contractors are working to recover the spilled fuel and assess environmental impacts.

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Environment
2:15 pm
Wed February 23, 2011

Electric car study volunteers get home charging stations

A Nissan Leaf
Tom Banse N3

Starting this week, the first of roughly 900 electric car owners in the Northwest will each have a free charging station built into their garages. The deal comes with a catch though.

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