Environment

plastic bag ban
2:40 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Olympia Becomes 10th Wash. City to Ban Plastic Bags

Starting in July, Olympia will ban single-use plastic bags like these

Olympia has become the tenth city in Washington to ban disposable plastic bags from retail stores.

A unanimous vote from the Olympia City Council means starting in July, shoppers will have to bring their own reusable totes or pay 5 cents for a paper bag. Olympia joins nearby Tumwater and unincorporated Thurston County in enacting the ban.

Katrina Rosen, field director with Environment Washington, says the news is evidence of the growing movement spreading in the south Sound.

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snow on the trail
4:44 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Snow Stalls Hikers on Increasingly Popular Pacific Crest Trail

PCT thru-hikers struggling through several feet of snow on the trail earlier this week, north of Stevens Pass.
Kayla Bordelon

Bad weather is posing a hurdle for dozens of long-distance hikers determined to finish the Pacific Crest Trail. 

Rescuers are searching for two hikers stranded in snow in Skamania County. A Coast Guard helicopter rescued two other hikers stranded on the trail on Tuesday night. And many more hikers are trying to decide whether to continue on, or give up.

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Shipwreck
3:54 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

99-Year-Old Tugboat Sinks Off of Bainbridge, Leaking Fuel

The Chickamaugan or "Sea Chicken" was the first diesel-powered tug on the West Coast, and possibly in America.
IMLS DCC Puget Sound Maritimne Historical Society

A historic tugboat has sunk off Bainbridge Island, spilling fuel into the waters of Eagle Harbor. The tug Chickamauga is 99 years old, and it’s thought to be the first diesel-powered tugboat on the West Coast, according to the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society.

Bainbridge Firefighters got a call that it was sinking at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, and quickly deployed booms and other containment equipment.

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Navy Sonar Use
11:27 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Judge Wants Feds to Reassess Navy Sonar Permits

File image
Hugh E. Gentry AP Photo

A judge is requiring federal regulators to reassess permits that allow the Navy's expanded use of sonar in training exercises off the West Coast.

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Environment
5:00 am
Thu September 26, 2013

B.C. First Nations Dig in Heels on Northern Gateway Pipeline

 

An alliance of aboriginal groups in British Columbia has told federal officials that if Ottawa wants to get tribal cooperation on energy development, they'll have to kill a controversial oil pipeline proposal.

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Environment
5:49 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Watchdog Group Appeals Shoreline Permits, Urges Better Marine Habitat Protection

Timber-pile bulkheads built to protect residential property from erosion on the west side of Whidbey Island, Puget Sound. This type of beach "armoring" can impact nearshore fish habitat.
Hugh Shipman, Washington Department of Ecology

A recently-formed environmental watchdog group is appealing nearly a dozen permits issued for development along the Puget Sound shoreline. Sound Action says too many permits are being issued without the restrictions the law requires to protect important fish species.

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Fish Consumption
11:55 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Warning: Some Columbia River Fish Not Safe to Eat

WSK_2005 Flickr

Some fish in the Columbia River aren’t safe to eat, according to advisories issued Monday by health officials in Washington and Oregon.

The warnings do not apply to ocean-going fish like salmon and steelhead.

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Environment
5:01 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Bill McKibben of 350.org to Lead Climate Change Rally in Seattle

Steve Liptay Photo

This Saturday, environmental activist and author Bill McKibben will lead a rally against fossil fuel exports and the Keystone XL pipeline in Seattle. 

Known as one of the first voices to warn of the dangers of global warming, McKibben is on tour with his new book, Oil and Honey. He is also the founder of an international organization called 350.org, which he created to fight climate change. 

McKibben says 350 is "the most important number in the world, but nobody knew it until 2008, when Jim Hansen and his team at NASA published a paper saying we now know enough about carbon to know how much in the atmosphere is too much." 

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climate change
4:27 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Cantwell Grills NOAA Nominee on Ocean Acidification Funding

Cantwell says Washington's $270 million shellfish industry is at risk without adequate funding for monitoring of ocean acidification.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Ocean health is at stake as Congress decides whether to confirm the next head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The nominee faced tough questions from Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, about funding for research of and adaptation to ocean acidification.

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Environment
5:01 am
Wed September 18, 2013

As Fatal Epidemic Looms, Bat Walk Showcases Local Species

6-year-old Lucinda Purdy gets a close view of a preserved bat carcass from Professor Bassett's collection.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Two times this summer, rabid bats have been found in Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood. Health officials say it was an unusual coincidence, not a sign of an outbreak. But it doesn’t help the reputation of a creature that’s facing an epidemic. White-nose syndrome has been spreading westward from New York. 

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Environment
5:05 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Dam Dispute Surfaces in Salmon Policy

Pink salmon running in the Skykomish River at Sunset Falls.
Andrea Matzke at Wild Washington Rivers

The road map for balancing environmental needs with the need to generate power from the Northwest's hydroelectric dams is being revised. And the move has some people worried it could open the door to destructive dam projects on Washington rivers.

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Northwest coal
5:02 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Hearings Begin in Environmental Review of Longview Coal Terminal

A coal train along the Columbia River, near Vancouver, WA
Erin Hennessey photo KPLU News

Scoping hearings begin tomorrow on a proposed coal export terminal in Longview, near the Columbia River.  It’s one of two Washington terminals that would ship coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming to Asia.

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megaloads
3:35 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Federal Judge Halts ‘Megaloads’ on Idaho Highway

A 255-foot-long piece of water purifying equipment bound for Canada waits on Highway 12 near Lewiston, Idaho for transport.
Jessica Robinson

A federal judge has halted so-called “megaload” traffic through a wild and scenic corridor in Idaho. The ruling issued Friday orders the Forest Service to close a section of highway to an Oregon company trying to move oil equipment to Canada. 

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bio-fuel research
12:30 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

WSU Tri-Cities to Head Federal Jet Bio-fuel Research Center

Washington State University will lead a new federal research center focused on finding new biofuels for jet airplanes.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., made the announcement Friday at the university’s new science labs in the Tri-Cities.

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Environment
4:41 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Ouch! Yellow Jackets Having 'Banner Year' in Northwest

GeorgiaOnMyMind Flickr

Still smarting from a wasp sting this summer? You're not alone. It has been a banner year for yellow jackets in the Northwest by many accounts.

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