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environment

A temporary freeze on grants and a halt on communications at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have left Northwest tribes, state agencies and nonprofits uncertain about the future of their environmental programs, which rely on hundreds of millions of federal dollars.

That freeze was in place for several days before the Trump administration lifted it Friday. But regulators at state agencies in Oregon and Washington have received little guidance on changes from EPA headquarters or the White House and are now questioning the future availability of federal money and data.

"Rogue" accounts that have the look of those by real federal agencies are spreading like wildfire on Twitter.

The AltUSNatParkService Twitter account has gained more than 1 million followers and inspired the creation of many more "unofficial resistance" accounts for specific national parks and other entities, including accounts like Rogue NASA and AltUSForestService.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Some Democrats in Congress say President Donald Trump's administration has broken the law in its handling of the Environmental Protection Agency.


The company that wants to build the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline says it has submitted a new permit application to the U.S. State Department.

The TransCanada announcement came just two days after President Trump took executive actions to speed the approval process for both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.

This week, President Trump's transition team put new restrictions on government scientists' freedom to communicate. The restrictions are being characterized as temporary, and some have already been lifted.

An underground pipeline that runs through multiple Midwestern states has leaked an estimated 138,000 gallons of diesel fuel, according to the company that owns it, Magellan Midstream Partners.

Clay Masters of Iowa Public Radio reported diesel leaking from a 12-inch underground pipe was initially spotted in a farm field in north-central Worth County, Iowa, on Wednesday morning. Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Iowa Department of Natural Resources joined representatives of Magellan and other local officials at the site, Masters reported.

If Twitter accounts fall silent in the woods, can they still make a sound? Turns out, yes — lots.

Tuesday afternoon, a new Twitter account called "AltUSNatParkService" appeared and began tweeting out facts about climate change, support for the National Parks and comments in opposition of President Trump, who has called climate change a hoax created by China.

Colin Curwen-McAdams opens the door to his greenhouse in Mt. Vernon, Washington, and a rush of warm air hits our faces.

“Basically, it’s summer all year long here,” he jokes.

This is the greenhouse where Curwen-McAdams, a PhD student at Washington State University, and WSU professor Steven Jones developed a new species, which they call Salish Blue. It’s a cross between wheat and its wild cousin, wheat grass. Their goal was to make something that’s like wheat but grows back year after year.

There have been no executive orders yet to undo President Barack Obama's signature climate plan, but many officials and environmental groups consider it as good as dead. The Clean Power Plan is on hold while a legal battle plays out, and even if an appeals court upholds it — a decision could come any day — the Trump administration is likely to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The state of New York decided to forge ahead anyway. Like a number of other mostly liberal states, it is continuing with efforts to drive down the carbon emissions that drive climate change.

Opponents who spent months resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline were disheartened by President Trump's decision Tuesday to "expedite" construction of the controversial project. Dave Archambault, the chairman of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, called the move "reckless and politically motivated." Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil Liberties Union said it was "a slap in the face to Native Americans." Earthjustice, the law firm that represents the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, described it as "legally questionable at best" and vowed to take the Trump administration to court.

Democrats in the Washington Legislature are looking to bolster the state’s oil spill prevention efforts.

An expansion of a Kinder Morgan oil pipeline through British Columbia is expected to increase oil tanker traffic in Washington’s Salish Sea sevenfold. Meanwhile, Washington’s Department of Ecology estimates a shortfall of $4 million in its oil spill prevention program.

Bill Radke talks with Seattle Times environment reporter Lynda Mapes about the Dakota Access Pipeline. President Trump signed an executive order to resurrect the pipeline, which was given an indefinite hold in December. Mapes says Trump will face legal obstacles to construct the pipeline and protestors will continue to fight, in court and in person. 

White House advisor and former Washington state Sen. Don Benton is part of the team implementing the president’s agenda at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Benton was sworn in as senior advisor Saturday, he said. The job is a temporary position, but could be extended. During the campaign, Benton served as Trump’s campaign chairman in Washington.

The Trump administration is pushing forward with plans for two major oil pipelines in the U.S., projects that sparked nationwide demonstrations and legal fights under President Barack Obama.

President Trump on Tuesday gave the go-ahead for construction of two controversial oil pipelines, the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access.

As he signed the paperwork in an Oval Office photo op, Trump said his administration is "going to renegotiate some of the terms" of the Keystone project, which would carry crude oil from the tar sands of western Canada and connect to an existing pipeline to the Gulf Coast.

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