A small percentage of trains carrying hazardous materials are inspected as they move through Oregon and Washington. Safety advocates and legislators are more concerned about what federal regulations allow than the fewer than 1 percent of cars found with safety violations.
HOOD RIVER, Ore. — For 20 years, Victor Gonzales has traveled the West picking crops. In the Northwest that means pears, cherries and apples.
Right now, he’s working at a Hood River pear orchard. In the summer, temperatures here can reach 100 degrees. Gonzalez remembers one day when he’d been working really hard, sweating more than normal.
Gonzales felt like he was going to pass out. He was shaky and very sleepy, he says through a translator. Instead of sleeping, he went to the farmworker housing unit and drank a lot of water and rested until he recovered.
Maureen Ryan scales rocky trails at 5,000 feet elevation as nimbly as the mountain goats that wandered through camp earlier this morning.
The researcher of amphibians leads her team of scientists down off a ridge line in the Seven Lakes Basin of Olympic National Park to her “lab,” you might call it. It’s a series of pothole wetlands cupped in the folds of these green, snow-studded mountains: a perfect habitat for Cascades frogs (Rana cascadae).
Ryan, a researcher with the University of Washington, is an expert on alpine amphibians. She’s also part of a group of scientists from around the region, coordinated by the Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative at the USGS, who are trying to understand and project how the warming climate will affect these frogs’ ability to feed, mate, and ultimately, survive.
The weekend’s deadly oil-train derailment and explosion in the Canadian province of Quebec has raised concerns in the Pacific Northwest, where there are several proposals to increase the amount of oil transported into to the region by train.
By Monday afternoon the confirmed death toll had reached 13, with 50 people still missing after Saturday’s derailment of more than 70 tanker cars. They were filled with oil from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota — home of the largest oil boom in recent US history.
From the Duwamish River cleanup efforts to coal terminals to chuckling frogs; David Hyde talks with KUOW and EarthFix reporter Ashley Ahearn about the latest in Northwest environmental news. Plus, Ahearn talks about EarthFix’s upcoming documentary, "Voices of Coal: And EarthFix Multimedia Special."
From where Mike McHenry stands he can see several gray, torpedo-shaped bodies moving slowly through the brown water of this side channel of the Elwha River, not too far from the site of the largest dam removal project in US history.
One of the two dams on the Elwha River has been completely removed and there are about 50 feet of the remaining Glines Canyon dam left. Already so much sediment has been released that it's clogged up and shut down one of the water treatment plants in nearby Port Angeles, temporarily halting the largest dam removal project in US history.