Environment

Hanford Nuclear Reservation
1:59 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Wash. State Slaps Fine For Mishandled Waste At Hanford

File image
AP Photo

  

Over the last several years, Hanford Nuclear Reservation managers have mishandled barrels and boxes of hazardous and radioactive waste in the central part of the southeast Washington site.

The state of Washington last Friday slapped the U.S. Department of Energy with a $15,000 fine.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
5:07 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Hanford Lays Off The Layoffs, Keeps 300 Workers After Congress Approves Budget

File image
AP Photo

About 300 workers who were told they'd be laid off can now keep their jobs at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. 

Because Congress approved the 2014 federal budget for 2014 last week, layoffs announced last year can be avoided.

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Environment
3:50 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Cantwell Urges White House To Stop Alaska Pebble Mine Project, Protect Fishermen

People pray at Fisherman's Terminal in Seattle before the start of a rally opposing a mining project in western Alaska. Fishermen in Washington say the project threatens salmon in Bristol Bay, where about 1,000 Washingtonians have permits to fish.
Ed Ronco KPLU

Sen. Maria Cantwell is sending a letter to the White House, asking the president to stop a mining project in Alaska.

About 1,000 Washington residents hold permits to fish for salmon in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Not far from there, an organization called the Pebble Partnership wants to open a gold and copper mine.

That’s a bad idea, said people gathered outside Seattle’s Fisherman’s Terminal on Thursday.

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Radiation Rumors
5:01 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Seattle Fishmonger: No Need To Worry About Radiation In Pacific Salmon

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Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Scientists have said it's safe to eat fish caught in the Pacific Ocean in the wake of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, but rumors continue to circulate on the Internet. 

To quell these false claims and put consumers at ease, a Seattle fish company has conducted independent tests to prove Pacific salmon is safe for consumption.

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Renewable Energy
4:59 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Biodiesel Industry Puzzled By Loosening Of Alternative Fuel Standard

As the biodiesel industry convenes for a national conference in San Diego today, one of the topics of discussions will be the loosening of the renewable fuel standard.

Among the participants will be Seattle-based General Biodiesel, a company that turns used cooking oil into vehicle-grade fuel. The company 's CEO is upset over backpedaling by the federal government on incentives for more use of alternatives.

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Environment
1:43 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Group: Protect Orcas In West Coast Waters

FILE - In this file photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and shot Oct. 29, 2013, orca whales from the J and K pods swim past a small research boat on Puget Sound in view of downtown Seattle.
AP Photo/NOAA Fisheries Service, Candice Emmons

A conservation group is asking federal officials to protect endangered killer whales in the marine waters off the West Coast.

The Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to designate critical habitat for orcas along the coast of Washington, Oregon and California.

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Environment
11:27 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Environmental Coalition Pushing Bill To Protect Residents From Risk Of Oil Spills

A train carrying crude oil heads west through the small town of Shelby, Mont. on Nov. 7, 2013.
Matthew Brown AP Photo

Last year’s fires aboard oil-carrying trains in Quebec and North Dakota have spurred environmentalists into action here in Washington state.

Figuring out how to keep Washington families safe from oil spills is one of two top-line issues backed by more than 20 groups in the Environmental Priorities Coalition this legislative session.

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Big Picture In Small Places
9:43 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Researchers Detect and 'Count' Fish From Just A Glass Of Water

Sardines, tuna and turtles are among the species in the Monterey Bay Aquarium Open Sea tank where scientists successfully used the latest DNA techniques as a new way to tally the fish in the tank.
Randy Wilder Monterey Bay Aquarium

It's not something we often think about, but as we go about daily life, we're constantly shedding little flakes of skin. So are animals and fish. This fact now makes it possible to estimate which species are most plentiful in a lake or bay.

University of Washington professor Ryan Kelly is jazzed.

"This is about the coolest project I have been involved in,” Kelly said.

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Smart-Grid Technology
5:01 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Fox Island Utility's Smart-Grid Technology Aims To Save Energy, Save Money

A grid-friendly appliance controller; this PNNL-developed computer chip can make most household appliances (including water heaters) “smart.”
courtesy PNNL

When you turn on your tap or shower in the morning or run your washing machine at night, you probably aren’t thinking much about how many other people in the area are doing the same thing.

But when it’s cold outside, use of electric heaters for hot water often pushes peak loads to the brink for local utilities.

That’s where so-called smart-grid technology could come in and save the day. The idea, which increases energy efficiency and saves everyone money, is being put to the test on Fox Island, near Tacoma.

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Immigration & Emission
7:01 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Immigrant Investors Could Finance Green Trucks For Green Cards

FILE - Truck driver Earliest Madir inspects his truck while waiting for a load at a truck stop Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Atlanta.
David Goldman AP Photo

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has approved an unusual way for prospective immigrants to earn a U.S. green card and permanent residency. They can loan money to independent Northwest truckers who want to upgrade to less-polluting rigs.

The idea was the brainchild of Bellingham immigration attorney David Andersson and a cross-border association of state Legislatures and parliaments called the Pacific Northwest Economic Region.

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Snowpack
2:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Year Starts With Wash. Snowpack At 45 Percent

Mount Rainier is seen in this photo taken Wednesday, June 19, 2013,
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

A dry start to winter has left the snowpack in Washington far short of normal.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's snow survey office in Mount Vernon says as of Jan. 1, snowpack readings were 45 percent of normal for that time of year.

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Environment
12:49 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Arsenic Tests Show Geoducks Safe To Eat

File image
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Washington state health officials say its own arsenic testing has confirmed that geoducks harvested from a Puget Sound bay are safe to eat and don't pose a health concern.

Officials say they're hoping the test results will help persuade China to lift a ban it imposed last month on the import of clams, oysters, mussels and scallops harvested from Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Northern California.

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Crowdsourcing Science
4:32 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Calling Citizen Photographers: Help Researchers Visualize Future Sea Level Rise

Jamie Mooney with Washington Sea Grant demonstrates "citizen science" at Myrtle Edwards Park in Seattle.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

Researchers want you to grab the camera, head to the beach and capture this weekend's king tide.

The highest tides of the year are taking place, and the state is asking citizens to help document potential impacts of rising sea levels. 

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Fault Line
1:14 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Researchers See Evidence Of Earthquake Fault In Spokane

Scientists who have been studying a swarm of small earthquakes that shook Spokane in 2001 say they may have evidence of a new fault in the area. 

On Friday, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey announced an airborne survey of the Spokane area revealed clues that look to be connected to a so-called swarm of small earthquakes that struck in 2001.

The swarm was actually several small quakes, the largest of which registered a 4.0-magnitude quake on Nov. 11 of that year.

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On Perseverence
4:29 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

A Modern Greek Saga: Sisyphus And The Ivy

Volunteer Kevin Head clears ivy in the pre-dawn darkness.
Tom Banse

Some causes just seem hopeless some days. Like world peace. Or ending poverty. Or in a different vein, getting rid of non-native plants.

But you've no doubt met people who insist on tackling intractable problems here locally and around the world. One particularly dedicated fellow wages a solo fight each weekday morning against English ivy.

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