North Dakota is booming. The state's unemployment rate is just 3.2 percent — well below the national average of 7.9 percent. Officials are trying to keep pace with a population surge brought on by oil industry jobs that have made North Dakota the country's number two oil-producing state. But what will extracting millions of barrels from the Bakken oil field mean for the region's environmental and economic future? Writer and reporter Richard Manning joins us with the story of North Dakota's oil boom.
Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 2:54 pm
RICHLAND, Wash. – A tank full of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington may be leaking. Friday the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors say liquid levels in an underground radioactive waste tank are going down.
The single-hulled tank is called T-111. It’s located in central Hanford in a group of tanks called T-farm. The Department of Energy reports the rate of loss is about 150 to 300 gallons of liquid a year.
Al Gore has been delving into the future. The former vice president and media mogul (he just sold his Current TV network to Al-Jazeera English) says we are at the dawn of a new era.
In his new book, “The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change,” he takes an in-depth look at major shifts occurring in the world: globalization linked to automation and digital connections that are shaping a world where fewer workers are needed; population growth coinciding with a widening gulf between the haves and have-nots; new biological breakthroughs that are bringing humans into control of evolution.
UPDATE: Shell plans to use three tugs to tow the damaged Kulluk oil rig to Dutch Harbor in Alaska's Aleutian Islands, where it will await a longer trip to an unnamed Asian drydock. Shell and the US Coast Guard have disbanded the joint command formed after the Seattle-bound rig broke free from its sole tugboat, then ran aground. Officials said the Kulluk's outer hull was damaged but not breached. They did not specify the degree of damage, saying only, "The outer hull did receive damage as expected with a vessel being aground during adverse weather."
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says he wants to defeat climate change. Rather than taxing carbon or pursuing a cap-and-trade system to restrict the emission of greenhouse gases, the Democratic state executive wants more clean energy research and development.
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 5:07 pm
RICHLAND, Wash. - A bipartisan group of senior senators is drafting a bill to overhaul the U.S. nuclear-waste program. The group, which includes Oregon’s Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, is aiming to find a permanent home for the nation’s radioactive waste.
A new poll suggestions Washington residents are leaning in favor of export terminals in the Longview and Bellingham areas. If built, these facilities could be the destinations for trains like this one hauling coal out of a mine in Wyoming
Washington’s coal export terminal proposals are winning the battle for public opinion, a new survey finds. It shows half the state’s residents supporting coal exports and one-third opposed — but the results are nuanced.
Snohomish County Public Utility District wants to put two turbines 150 feet below the waves near Whidbey Island. The pilot project would generate enough power for about 20 homes annually. The new report from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says that the project will not harm the environment.
Energy expert Amory Lovins says the United States can replace all oil and coal by the year 2050, without nuclear power, new federal taxes or subsidies, or new inventions. At the same time, we can grow the US economy by 158 percent.
The American marten is a small elusive member of the weasel family. People trap them and sell their pelts on the fur market where they’re known as “sable.” Their numbers are healthy across places like Canada and northern parts of the US, but scientists worry that marten populations have severely declined in coastal mountain ranges -- like the Olympic National Forest -- but they don’t know for sure. A group of volunteers is working with scientists to help monitor the martens and gather data to help determine their future.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 5:26 pm
A dock that washed ashore on a remote Washington beach last month is now confirmed as debris from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan. This news comes just as the federal government requests bids from salvage companies to get rid of the huge hulk.
This year we could be voting on an initiative requiring labeling of all food that contains genetically modified food, what critics call Frankenfood. Backers have turned in what they say are the necessary signatures to get it on the ballot.
Environmental activist Mark Lynas was an adamant opponent of genetically modified foods. He wrote in 2008, "The technology moves entirely in the wrong direction intensifying human technological manipulation of nature when we should be aiming at a more holistic ecological approach instead."
Mark Lynas was one of the first people to break into fields that scientists had planted with genetically modified test crops — and then rip them out of the ground. Ross Reynolds talks with Mark Lynas about what changed his mind about GMOs.
Think you’ve seen a healthy ocean in your lifetime? You probably haven’t. National Geographic's explorer-in-residence Dr. Enric Sala studies marine ecosystems to understand the past and present ocean, and to plan for the future. He also works to protect pristine seas that still exist. How are the world's oceans doing? And what can be done to reverse the damage? We’ll find out what’s missing from the ocean landscape.