environment

Forestry
7:55 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Start A Wildfire? Expect A Bill

File photo of 2013's Little Queens Fire near the town of Atlanta, Idaho.

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 4:54 pm

Whether it’s due to negligence or arson, thousands of wildfires each year are caused by humans. And the person or business who starts a fire can expect a bill.

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Environment
7:54 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Study Finds Forests Recover 'Quickly' After Fire -- In Tree Years Anyway

Odessa Lake and subalpine forest in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 5:12 pm

Fire season has come alive in the Northwest. On Monday, 20 homes in Idaho's Sun Valley area were briefly under evacuation when a fire broke out in a nearby canyon. A 5,000-acre fire north of Wenatchee, Washington, continues to threaten houses in the area.

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EarthFix Reports
7:34 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Washingtonians Could Safely Eat More Fish Under New Water Pollution Rules

Pollution standards introduced by Gov. Jay Inslee would allow Washington residents to safely eat more fish.
Flickr Photo / Michael B

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 1:45 pm

Washington's pollution standards would be made much tougher -- making water clean enough that people can safely eat a daily serving of locally caught fish and shellfish -- under a plan laid out by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The governor announced Wednesday that he wants Washington to set the same fish-consumption standards that guide water pollution rules in Oregon.

As a consequence, waters in Washington would be clean enough that people can consume 175 grams of fish a day, up from the current standard of 6.5 grams a day.

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Fish Industry
2:09 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

'American Catch': How Fish Go From Sea To Table

David Hyde talks to author Paul Greenberg about his book about fish production called "American Catch."

Environmental Health
9:16 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Governor Inslee Proposes New Water Quality Standards

Marcie Sillman speaks with KUOW reporter Ashley Ahearn about the specifics of Governor Jay Inslee's long-awaited proposal for how to improve water quality in Washington.

EarthFix Reports
7:45 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Poll: Most Northwest Residents Support Oil Trains But Don't Know Much About The Issue

Tank cars carrying petroleum crude oil are stationed at BNSF Railway's Willbridge Yard in Northwest Portland. The train come into Portland through the Columbia River Gorge, headed for a terminal in Clatskanie, Oregon.
Tony Schick

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 1:00 am

A 56-percent majority of Northwest residents support the transportation of oil by rail to reach West Coast refineries, with the refined oil being used for domestic purposes, according to a new DHM Research poll for EarthFix.

However, a 54-percent majority said they have heard or read little or nothing about oil trains.

The poll surveyed 1,200 residents across the Northwest – 400 each in Oregon, Washington and Idaho from June 25-30. The margin of error for each state’s results was 4.9 percent. the three-state regional results had a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

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Industry Regulations
2:50 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Can A 'Bigger Hammer' Stop Oil Refinery Accidents?

Ross Reynolds talks with Dave Fehling, energy and environment reporter for StateImpact Texas, an NPR reporting project, about oil refinery accidents and what happens when they're criminally prosecuted.

Environment
2:44 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

History Of The EPA: From Bipartisan To Polarized

Marcie Sillman talks with Georgetown law professor Lisa Heinzerling about the history of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the change of its scope over time. 

EarthFix Reports
8:28 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Euthanized Cougar In Portland Reawakens Regional Debate

This cougar was captured after several sightings in a Northeast Portland neighborhood. It was eventually euthanized.
Courtesy of the Portland Police Bureau

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 5:29 pm

A decision by state officials to euthanize a cougar in east Portland last week is drawing criticism from some wildlife experts – and raising questions on how concerned residents should be.

Brooks Fahy is the executive director of Predator Defense, a conservation group based in Eugene.

He says Portland residents shouldn’t be too surprised by a cougar sighting.

“Cougars have been moving through East Portland and Northwest Portland ... it’s nothing new,” Fahy said.

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EarthFix Reports
7:39 am
Mon July 7, 2014

A Northwest Utility Steps Back From Coal, Pivots To Natural Gas

Portland General Electric's Carty Generating Station will come online in two years. The natrual gas plant will power up to 300,000 homes.
Courtney Flatt

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 7:17 am

BOARDMAN, Ore. -- Even before the Obama administration’s recent proposal to curb carbon from coal-fired plants, some utility companies were turning away from coal and using more natural gas.

Exhibit A: Portland General Electric’s plans for its Boardman, Oregon location. It’s building a natural gas plant while shutting down its coal plant.

Construction crews are busy at PGE’s newest natural gas generating station. They’re getting ready to pour a concrete foundation for the plant.

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Climate Change
4:55 am
Sun July 6, 2014

Study Shows Penguins Endangered By Waning Antarctic Ice

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 9:50 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. A study published in the journal "Nature Climate Change" says, the population of Emperor penguins in Antarctica is in danger. Hal Caswell is a scientist emeritus at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He co-authored the report. And he joins us from Amsterdam. Welcome.

HAL CASWELL: Thank you.

WERTHEIMER: You've been studying the Emperor penguin population in Antarctica. What's happening to them?

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EarthFix Reports
10:25 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Rail Workers Raise Doubts About Safety As Oil Trains Roll On

Tank cars, many of them placarded as holding crude oil and other hazardous materials, sit in a BNSF yard in Northwest Portland.
Credit EarthFix Photo/Tony Schick

Curtis Rookaird thinks BNSF Railway fired him because he took the time to test his train’s brakes.

The rail yard in Blaine, Washington, was on heightened security that day, he remembers, because of the 2010 Winter Olympics underway just across border in Vancouver, B.C.

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Author Interview
3:55 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Here's Why The Great Barrier Reef Matters To You, In Seattle

A turtle swims in the Great Barrier Reef.
Credit Flickr Photo/University of Denver (CC-BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with author Iain McCalman about his new book, “The Reef — A Passionate History: The Great Barrier Reef from Captain Cook to Climate Change.”

Water
3:58 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Could Limiting Evaporation Help With Drought?

Water levels have dropped at Lake Travis because the drought, May 16, 2011. (Lower Colorado River Authority)

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 12:06 pm

Most of the southwestern U.S. is in the midst of some level of drought. Parts of California, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas are all seeing extreme drought, as rainfall and winter snowpacks have been far below average.

One of the biggest factors affecting water supplies in these hot, dry places is evaporation. Reservoirs can lose as much water to evaporation as the water that’s actually pumped out of them for drinking water.

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Radke In The Morning
3:12 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

How A Melting Glacier Can Mean Lower Sea Levels (For A While)

new report funded by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg says climate change is bad for business, with up to $100 billion in coastal real estate underwater by 2050. 

The report projects Seattle's sea level to rise as much as three feet by the end of this century. That’s not because nearby Alaskan glaciers are melting, however. Taken by themselves, those melting Alaskan glaciers could actually cause sea level to drop in the short term.

KUOW's Bill Radke talks with Climate Central scientist Ben Strauss about how that works.

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