News

EarthFix Reports
6:36 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Authorities Relieved As Flow Levels Return To Normal Post-Landslide

On Saturday, March 22, a massive mudslide blocked both directions of State Route 530 near the town of Oso, Wash.
Washington State Department of Transportation

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 3:25 pm

Authorities are breathing a small sigh of relief, amidst all the destruction from the fatal landslide on the Stillaguamish River.

They’re relieved because the river flow is getting back to normal.

When the landslide blocked the Stillaguamish River, water began to collect above all the muck and debris, causing flow rates down river from the landslide to plummet.

"It was a pretty quick drop, like turning off the faucet, not turning it off all the way but letting it drip a little bit," said Marijke van Heeswijk, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Read more
Wanapum Dam
5:36 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Irrigators Struggle To Secure Fish Screens And Water In Time

Many irrigation pipes don’t reach the lowered Columbia River behind the cracked Wanapum Dam
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 4:53 pm

Dozens of central Washington fruit farmers are still high-and-dry without water for their valuable fruit trees.

Read more
World TB Day
11:16 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Former TB Patient On Time In Local Sanatorium: 'I Look Back On It Very Sweetly'

Alice Brannman was diagnosed with bone TB in 1947. She spent two years at Firland Sanatorium in Shoreline.
Credit Courtesy of TB Voices Project

Some people may think tuberculosis has been wiped out, but the disease still infects one third of the world’s population.

Closer to home, tuberculosis is on the rise in Washington state, after years of decline. There were 209 tuberculosis cases reported last year.  

These days the disease is treated with oral medication.

But there was time, not too long ago, when TB patients were quarantined in sanatoriums, sometimes for years.   

Read more
Oso Landslide
10:21 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Mudslide Witness: There Were 'Belongings All Over The Road'

A house is seen destroyed in the mud on state Route 530 next to mile marker 37 on Sunday, March 23, 2014, the day after a giant landslide occurred near Oso, Washington.
Credit AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Lindsey Wasson, Pool

Search and rescue crews enter their third day after the 1-square-mile mudslide wiped out dozens of homes in Oso — a town of about 200 people between Arlington and Darrington in Snohomish County.

As of Monday morning, officials said they have recovered eight bodies and will continue to search for dozens of people still missing.

Read more
EarthFix Reports
9:00 am
Mon March 24, 2014

EarthFix Conversation: 25 Years Later, Scientists Remember The Exxon Valdez

Killer whales swimming in Prince William Sound alongside boats skimming oil from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Scientists report that orca populations there have not recovered and oil is still being found.
Credit Courtesy of State of Alaska/Dan Lawn

Twenty five years ago today the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, Calif., ran aground in Prince William Sound.

Eleven million gallons of oil spilled out, polluting 1,300 miles of Alaska’s coastline.

Read more
Plane Crash
4:53 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Analysis Shows Flight 370 'Ended' In Indian Ocean, Malaysia Says

Relatives of passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 embrace each other in a Beijing hotel after learning of news today that the flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
Rolex Dela Pena EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 5:14 pm

This post was updated at 8:14 p.m. ET.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said Monday that new analysis of the flight path of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 showed that it "ended in the southern Indian Ocean."

Read more
Ukraine Pullout
4:17 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Ukraine Orders Its Troops Out Of Crimea As G-7 Meets On Crisis

President Obama tours the Rijksmusuem with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (left) and others ahead of the G-7 summit in The Hague, Netherlands, which is certain to focus on the situation in Crimea.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 10:12 am

Ukraine announced the pullout of its troops from Crimea after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula and took control of the military bases there. The decision comes as President Obama arrived in the Netherlands on Monday for a summit of the G-7 group of industrialized nations that is certain to focus on discussion of the international crisis.

Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said Monday that the Defense Ministry has been ordered to redeploy Ukrainian servicemen from the Crimea to Ukraine's mainland, in remarks confirmed by his office.

Read more
Nuclear Waste
4:14 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Washington State Orders Hanford Managers To Empty Leaking Tank

View inside the space between the two walls of Tank AY-102 at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
U.S. Department of Energy

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 8:37 am

The state of Washington has ordered the federal government to start pumping out a leaking double-shell tank of waste at Hanford by September 1.

Read more
Tobacco Sales
4:10 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Study: Cigarette Tax Evasion Sky-High In Washington, Idaho A Big Supplier

Tax Foundation/Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 9:23 pm

Nearly half of the cigarettes smoked in Washington went untaxed by the state according to an estimate from a new study by two think tanks.

Read more
Exxon Valdez
2:07 am
Mon March 24, 2014

25 Years After Spill, Alaska Town Struggles Back From 'Dead Zone'

Orca Inlet, Cordova's fishing harbor, on a blustery day this month. Commercial fishing is the small Alaskan town's primary industry.
Marisa Peñaloza NPR

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 9:25 am

On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the pristine water. At the time, it was the single biggest spill in U.S. history. In a series of stories, NPR is examining the lasting social and economic impacts of the disaster, as well as the policy, regulation and scientific research that came out of it.

It's a blustery, snowy March day when Michelle Hahn O'Leary offers a tour of Cordova, Alaska, situated on the eastern shore of Prince William Sound.

Read more
Geology
8:06 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

Site Near Oso Had Previous Landslides, Potential For More

An image from Google Earth, taken before the current slide, shows the scars from a landslide that took place at the same spot in 2006.
Credit Google Earth

Satellite images show the area on the Stillaguamish River near Oso, Washington, experienced a landslide in 2006. According to the Sliding Thought Blog, the "Hazel Landslide" that year was caused by groundwater and erosion by the north fork of the river.

Read more
Safer Streets
9:18 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Seattle To Let Pedestrians Walk More Slowly

Cars and pedestrians compete for space in a busy Rainier Valley crosswalk.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The city of Seattle is re-timing traffic signals throughout the city to make crosswalks safer for all pedestrians.

A study conducted by a group of graduate students at the University of Washington School of Public Health in 2013 found that traffic signals in Rainier Valley force pedestrians to cross faster than signals on Market Street in the wealthier and whiter neighborhood of Ballard.

Read more
Affordable Care Act
8:59 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Independent Audit Outlines Problems At Cover Oregon

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber called the audit of Cover Oregon a ' sobering critique' of the state's health insurance exchange.
Office of the Governor

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 2:53 pm

According to a scathing audit from an independent consultant, Oregon's health insurance exchange was riddled with internal conflict and unrealistic expectations.

Read more
Cost Savings
7:53 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Washington Reports An 'Unprecedented' Drop In Medicaid ER Visits

Flickr Photo/Micheal J (CC BY-NC-ND)

A year after hospitals began discouraging Medicaid patients from making unnecessary emergency room visits, the results are promising. A new state report shows the number of unnecessary visits to ERs in Washington fell by 10 percent last year.  

“A 10 percent reduction is almost unprecedented,” said Dr. Nathan Schlicher, an ER physician at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma.

Read more
EarthFix Reports
7:29 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Puget Sound Tidal Energy Project Approved By Feds

A crew deploying a "sea spider" in 2011 to collect data from the floor of Puget Sound in Admiralty Inlet. That test was one of many steps that led the way to federal energy regulators' approval of a tidal energy project in that location.
Credit EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Puget Sound tides may soon be generating power. A proposal for the world’s first grid-connected tidal energy project received a federal license Thursday. The project has been almost eight years in the making.

Read more

Pages