environment

EarthFix Reports
8:54 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Group Calls For Expanding Killer Whale Habitat Protection

The Center for Biological Diversity is asking for a major expansion in the protected habitat for Puget Sound's killer whales.

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:26 pm

An environmental group is calling for a major expansion in habitat protection for Puget Sound's killer whales.

Research shows the endangered orcas that live in Puget Sound in the summer are venturing up and down the West Coast in the winter to forage for food. Scientists tracking these southern resident orcas have followed the whales as far north as Alaska and as far south as Monterey, Calif.

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Washington Legislature
10:16 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Genetically-Modified Labeling Fight In Washington Continues With New Bills

Washington lawmakers will hear a bill to label genetically engineered salmon. The proposed bill would also ban transgenic salmon production in the state.
Credit Flickr Photo/Katrine Kaarsemaker

When Rep. Cary Condotta campaigned for labeling genetically modified food last fall, he noticed reactions were different depending on the type of food: fish or plant. “When you start talking about modifying animals to grow faster and larger, boy, they light up,” he said. “People go, really? They’re not doing that, are they?”

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EarthFix Reports
9:22 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Spill Plan For Columbia River Oil Terminal Lays Out Worst-Case Scenarios

An oil terminal at the Port Westward Industrial Park near Clatskanie, Ore., submitted its spill contingency plans to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality this month.
Flickr Photo/Sam Beebe

The worst-case environmental scenario at an oil terminal on the lower Columbia River means 3.8 million gallons of crude spilling into sensitive wildlife habitat and shutting down a public drinking water intake, according to a draft response plan facility managers filed with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

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Animals
2:23 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

To Save Threatened Owl, Another Species Is Shot

A northern spotted owl in a Redwood forest.
Michael Nichols Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:19 am

In desperation to save the rare northern spotted owl, biologists are doing something that goes against their core — shooting another owl that's rapidly taking over spotted owl territory across the northwest.

"If we don't do it, what we're essentially doing, in my view, is dooming the spotted owl to extinction," says Lowell Diller, senior biologist for Green Diamond, a timber company.

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EarthFix Reports
12:36 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Scientists: Stop Worrying About Fukushima Radioactivity In Fish

Pete Knutson and his son Dylan sell wild salmon at farmers markets around Seattle. "We had people passing on our fish this year. It was directly because they were worried about Fukushima," Pete Knutson said.
Credit EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Following the 2011 tsunami in Japan, a nuclear reactor released hundreds of millions of gallons of radioactive water into the ocean. That sparked fear that contaminated water would reach the West Coast, but three years later, scientists say that radiation in our waters isn’t necessarily linked to the nuclear reactor. 

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Environment
9:02 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Researchers Detect and 'Count' Fish From Just A Glass Of Water

Study co-author Kevan Yamahara collects a water sample at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Jesse Port Center for Ocean Solutions

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 4:55 pm

It's not something we often think about, but as we go about daily life, we're constantly shedding little flakes of skin. So are animals and fish.

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News From Canada
10:50 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Neil Young‘s Opposition To Oil Sand Mining In Canada

Musician and Canadian Neil Young.
Flickr Photo/NRK P3

Marcie Sillman talks over the news from Canada with Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer, including Neil Young’s environmental stance, issues with the flu season, and effects of the latest exchange rate.

Radioactive Waste
9:05 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Hanford Contractor Fails To Check Radioactive Tanks For Months

Tobin Fricke Wikimedia

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:09 pm

For eight months, a federal contractor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation failed to check some single-shell radioactive waste tanks for the buildup of hydrogen gas.

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EarthFix Analysis
6:00 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Few Railcars Carrying Flammable Oil Get Inspected

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.
Credit Flickr Photo/Russ Allison

As we researched a recent story about train shipments of oil, we asked Washington and Oregon officials: How many of the trains coming through the Northwest are inspected?

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Cannabis Runoff
8:09 am
Mon January 13, 2014

California's Pot Farms Could Leave Salmon Runs Truly Smoked

This dead juvenile coho salmon was found in a tributary of California's South Fork Eel River. About 20 large-scale marijuana farms are located upstream from the watershed pictured. All of them divert water from the stream.
Courtesy Scott Bauer

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 2:08 pm

For many users and advocates of marijuana, the boom in the West Coast growing industry may be all good and groovy. But in California, critics say the recent explosion of the marijuana industry along the state's North Coast — a region called the "emerald triangle" — could put a permanent buzz kill on struggling salmon populations.

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Clean Rigs
12:12 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Immigrant Investors Could Finance Green Trucks For Green Cards

Paul Jerry Wikimedia

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:46 am

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has approved an unusual way for prospective immigrants to earn a U.S. green card and permanent residency.

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EarthFix Reports
10:06 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Oil, Rail Companies Offer Little Information About Shipments

Rail and oil companies do not have to disclose how many DOT-111 tanker cars travel through the Northwest. DOT-111 tanker cars, which exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, and killed 47 people, have a design flaw and are easily punctured.
Credit Transportation Safety Board of Canada

The oil-by-rail boom is underway, and with that, several high-profile, fiery derailments.  

But state officials don't have the information they need to prepare for an oil train mishap because railroad and oil companies are not required to disclose much on shipments or response strategies.

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Circle Of Life
12:00 am
Fri January 10, 2014

When Big Carnivores Go Down, Even Vegetarians Take The Hit

Ask not for whom the wolf stalks ...
Holly Kuchera iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 9:45 am

Big, fierce animals — lions and tigers and bears, for example — are relatively scarce in nature. That's normal, because if you have too many, they'll eat themselves out of prey.

But top predators are now so rare that many are in danger of disappearing. That's creating ripple effects throughout the natural world that scientists are still trying to figure out.

What they're exploring is ecology — the interplay of animals and plants in nature. It's not rocket science. It's harder.

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Transportation
2:44 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

More Pathways Needed To Cross The Ship Canal

The Ship Canal Bridge with downtown Seattle in the background.
Flickr Photo/Seattle Munincipal Archives

Marcie Sillman talks with Ben Schiendelman about the growing need for increased transportation across the Lake Washington ship canal.

Environment
2:44 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

How Far Along Is Puget Sound Partnership In Cleaning Up The Sound?

A view of Puget Sound from above.
Flickr Photo/David Prasad

Ross Reynolds talks with Joan Crooks, executive director of the Washington Environmental Council, about the progress made by the Puget Sound Partnership in restoring the health of Puget Sound.

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