environment

Hanford Cleanup Update
9:26 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Massive Hanford Waste Dump Reaches 15 Million Ton Mark

Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 4:52 pm

Managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation say crews have cleaned up 15 million tons of radioactive soil and debris from near the Columbia River. It’s gone to a massive dump at the center of the site.

In central Hanford, a ceremonial load of soil marked 15 million tons of waste disposed of at the 52-football-field-sized dump called ERDF. Dozens of truck horns blared in response.

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Puget Sound Movement
1:24 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Ghost-Net Busters

Credit flickr photo / Jennyvids

Lost and abandoned fishing nets kill untold numbers of sea creatures around the world every year. But there's a growing global movement to remove what are known as "ghost nets" and prevent new ones. And it's starting in the Puget Sound.

Full list of stories on KUOW Presents, July 9:

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Oil Transportation
10:31 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Canada's Oil Train Disaster Sparks Northwest Concern

Freight train burning in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.
Flickr Photo/Transportation Safety Board of Canada

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.

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Car Talk
12:04 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Why Don’t Americans Choose Diesel?

Flickr Photo/Jeff Turner

  Only three percent of American cars are diesel, a fraction compared to 50 percent of European cars, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. Gasoline has always been the choice of fuel for Americans. But popular car makers like Audi, Chevrolet and Mazda are offering more diesel options this year. KUOW’s Arwen Nicks talked with Mark Rechtin, West Coast editor for Automotive News to ask why Americans avoid diesel.

Columbia River Treaty
10:39 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Canada Defends Hydropower 'Entitlement' From U.S. Northwest

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 2:50 pm

Here's a little known fact that may affect your power bill: Every year, public utilities in the Northwest give British Columbia several hundred million dollars worth of electricity. That's to compensate Canada for managing the upper Columbia River to minimize flooding and maximize hydropower downstream.

Americans are pushing for a better deal, but the B.C. government is preparing to defend what's now considered an entitlement.

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Blackfeet Indian Reservation
10:38 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Hoof-To-Ground: Bringing Wild Bison Back To The West

Sandy White Shield Inter Tribal Buffalo Council

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 9:37 pm

Northwest Montana’s Blackfeet Indian Reservation stretches across 1.5 million acres. But it turns out that isn’t enough room for the free-roaming bison herd that tribes are attempting to establish. Northwest Native Americans are hoping restored buffalo herds may reopen ancient trade and cultural traditions.

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Irrigation Control
11:25 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Controversy In The Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Plan

 The Yakima Basin Water Plan includes one of the biggest land purchases in Washington state history: 50,000 acres in Upper Kittitas County. But it also includes some projects such as a dam on Bumping Lake that some people are not at all happy about. Ross Reynolds talks with Chris Maycut, president of the organization Friends of Bumping Lake about his issues with the water plan.

Irrigation Control
12:15 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Washington’s $100 Million Land Purchase In Upper Kittitas County

The large land purchase approved by Gov. Jay Inslee is designed to protect water sources.
Flickr Photo/Jay Inslee

Yesterday, Governor Inslee put the final stamp of approval on one of the biggest land purchases Washington state has ever seen. The state budget includes $100 million for 50,000 acres in Upper Kittitas County, at the headwater of the Yakima River Basin. Officials say protecting this land will be a big step towards securing water supplies in the region. Ross Reynolds talks with columnist Joel Connelly about the significance of this land purchase.

Hanford Fined
9:51 am
Tue July 2, 2013

EPA Fines Hanford For Improperly Handling Radioactive Waste

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 10:52 am

The U.S. Department of Energy has agreed to pay $136,000 in fines for allegedly mishandling waste left over from plutonium production at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The penalty comes from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Department of Energy doesn’t agree with EPA's findings.

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Fire Season Northwest
9:49 am
Tue July 2, 2013

19 Firefighter Deaths Send Chill Through Northwest As Heat Wave Strikes

National Interagency Fire Center

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 4:53 pm

The loss of 19 firefighters in Arizona is sending a chill through the firefighting community in the Northwest. Fire season is about to begin here -- ushered in by a heat wave sweeping the region.

Word spread fast among wildland firefighters in the Northwest. “We are saddened but [must] honor our fallen by continuing with the job at hand,” wrote the hotshot crew out of Union, Ore., on Facebook.

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Fighting Fires
11:28 am
Mon July 1, 2013

How Wildfires Get Out Of Control

In Washington, we're accustomed to forest fires every summer. Already this year crews had to fight the C-Line fire in Capitol State Forest, which was first reported on May 4.
Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Natural Resources

  Nineteen firefighters died fighting a wildfire in Arizona yesterday. The Arizona forestry department is still investigating how the crew died, but many suspect that the blaze was just too quick and unpredictable. Washington state has also lost firefighters to fast spreading wildfires in the past. In 2001, four firefighters died in the Thirty Mile Fire in the Okanogan National Forest. Ross Reynolds talks to Peter Goldmark, the Commissioner of Public Lands at the Department of Natural Resources, about how wildfires get out of control so quickly.

Earthquake Research
10:04 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Research Cruise Investigates 'Lock Zone' Of Dangerous Offshore Fault

Matt Cooper University of Oregon

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 3:37 pm

This week a research ship is retrieving dozens of seismometers that have spent the last year on the ocean floor off the Northwest coast. Earthquake scientists hope the data they're about to get will shed more light on the structure of the offshore Cascadia fault zone. That plate boundary will be the source of the Big One whenever it rips.

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Mass Extinction
8:00 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Surviving Earth's Next Major Disaster With Annalee Newitz

Annalee Newitz's book "Scatter, Adapt, and Remember."

We’re long overdue for a catastrophic disaster based on studies of Earth’s past. Scary? It probably should be, considering that during our most recent disasters, more than 75 percent of the planet’s species died out. 

Annalee Newitz is a journalist and editor of the science website i09.com. She’s also the author of “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction.” Annalee Newitz talks about how, even though catastrophe may be inevitable, humanity's chances for survival are better now than ever. She spoke at Seattle’s Town Hall on May 22.

Seattle Rattlesnake Captured
3:01 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Non-Native Rattlesnake Captured In Seattle

The Western Rattlesnake captured by Seattle Animal Control awaits transfer to Eastern Washington
Credit Seattle Animal Control

A rattlesnake is something that you’re not supposed to see in Seattle. But one was spotted this week around North 120th and Fremont Avenue North, sunning itself on a rock wall.  Don Jordan, director of the Seattle Animal Shelter says an animal control officer was able to bag it and take it back to the shelter.

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Sanctuary Shortage
11:38 am
Thu June 27, 2013

No Room In Northwest For Hundreds Of Retiring Research Chimps

Thomas Lersch Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 3:08 pm

The National Institutes of Health Wednesday announced it will retire the great majority of chimpanzees used in federally-supported medical research.

The institute director says the use of our closest animal relative for invasive studies can no longer be justified in most cases. That means more than 300 chimps are headed into retirement. But neither of the two chimpanzee sanctuaries here in the Northwest say they're prepared to take new chimps.

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