environment

Last Public Hearing
10:45 am
Thu May 30, 2013

EPA’s Duwamish Cleanup Plan Draws Skepticism

“I want to say no. I want to be able to go and fish in that river. I know many of our community members do," said Paulina Lopez, a resident of South Park, at the final public hearing on the EPA's proposed cleanup plan for the Duwamish River.
Ashley Ahearn Earthfix

The final hearing on Wednesday regarding a cleanup plan for one of the Northwest’s most polluted rivers brought out concerns that it doesn’t do enough to protect fish, wildlife and human health.

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Tree Roots Revealed
8:57 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Scientists Peek Into The Hidden World Of Tree Roots

Tree roots snake through the forest
Buzz Hoffman

When you think of a tree, you probably think of the trunk and all those parts you see above ground. But there’s a whole lot more going on under the soil than meets the eye. Scientists are now digging into the hidden world of tree roots in an effort to illuminate some unexplained mysteries.

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Federal Sequester Budget Slash
12:02 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

How Will Federal Budget Cuts Affect Forest Firefighting In Washington State This Season?

Flickr Photo/US Department of Agriculture (CC-BY-NC-ND)

 State officials are predicting another challenging wildfire season this year. Fighting those fires may be more difficult due to the federal sequester, which slashed nearly 8 percent from the Forest Service’s budget. Ross Reynolds interviews Washington State’s Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark.

Habitat Protection
10:26 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Federal Protection For Bladderpod Plant Pushed Back

Carrie Cordova US Fish and Wildlife Service

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 4:34 pm

The federal government has pushed back the possible threatened listing of two rare plants that could affect farmers in southeast Washington. Umtanum desert buckwheat and the White Bluffs bladderpod have become very controversial, because part of the plants’ habitat spans valuable crop ground.

It’s a big topic of conversation at the Country Mercantile restaurant where many Franklin County farmers lunch. Ami MacHugh is an area cherry and horse farmer whose land could be affected by the possible federal protections.

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Turning To Public For Help
7:22 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Crowdfunding Coal Science In Pacific Northwest

Dan Jaffe, UW-Bothell professor, is using crowdfunding to raise money to study how passing coal trains impact air quality.
Katie Campbell Earthfix

Crowdfunding campaigns are popular ways to raise money for fledgling businesses and independent projects — and now scientific research. As state and federal agencies begin the environmental review process for the largest coal export terminals on the West Coast, some scientists are turning to the public for help with research of their own.

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Rejecting The Mainstream
10:28 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Portland Voters Keep Fluoride Out Of Drinking Water

Dentist Jay Levy, organizer Kim Kaminski, and volunteers with Clean Water Portland, which opposed adding fluoride to Portland water.
Oregon Public Broadcasting Photo/April Baer

Voters in Portland, Oregon have decide not to add fluoride to their municipal drinking water. Seattle and most other large cities in the US added the chemical decades ago to prevent cavities in children.

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Tsunami Recovery
12:57 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Japanese Officials Visit Hanford For Nuclear Cleanup Strategies

Mark Triplett Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 7:33 am

The people overseeing the cleanup of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster are learning some valuable lessons from the long-running cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. A Japanese government delegation recently toured some of the southeast Washington site.

In Japan, workers in gloves and masks are grinding down sidewalks and roads, wiping down rooftops and bagging contaminated soil. Now, the problem is where to put all that radioactive waste from Fukushima.

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Renewable Energy
10:38 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Wash. Rated First In Renewable Energy, But Will State Meet Its 2020 Renewable Energy Goals?

Flickr Photo/Isaac Viel

  Washington state ranks number one in the nation for our use of renewable energy sources according to an analysis by Slate Magazine. The ranking includes hydroelectric power but the state’s own 2020 renewable energy goals do not. Ross Reynolds speaks with Jessica Finn Coven, the director of Climate Solutions, about whether Washington’s on track to meet our 2020 renewable energy goals.

The High Cost Of Lost Nets
9:06 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Vanquishing Zombie Fishing Nets In Puget Sound

Ghost nets keep capturing fish even after they're lost. These nets cost the dungeness crab industry hundreds of thousands in estimated lost revenue every year.
Ashley Ahearn Earthfix

Doug Monk has been a commercial diver on the Olympic Peninsula for some 20 years, harvesting shellfish and sea cucumbers. But for the past decade, he’s been after a different harvest: ghost nets.

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Puget Sound
12:42 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Dipping Below The Surface Of Puget Sound

An octopus in Puget Sound
Credit Flickr photo/ cwilso

Most of us walk around on the surface of the earth, thinking that's all there is. But divers know better. There's just as much going on under the water as there is on land. We hear how dipping below the surface completely changed one diver's perspective.

This unusual interview comes from the podcast Here Be Monsters. Its creator, Jeff Emtman, is one of the recipients of KUOW's Program Venture Fund. He'll be moving to Seattle to do some reporting for us this summer.

Full list of stories from KUOW Presents, May 20:

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Endangered Fin Whales
8:45 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Underwater Earthquake Recordings Reveal Mysterious Whale Calls

A fin whale is the second-largest animal after the blue whale. Researchers from the University of Washington have discovered that earthquake-detecting sensors off Vancouver Island also help monitor fin whale swimming patterns.
Aqqa Rosing-Asvid Flickr

The blue whale is believed to be the largest animal ever to exist. But nobody remembers number two. Fin whales are the second-largest animals on the planet, weighing in at around 80 tons.

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Auto Industry
8:53 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Nissan Electric Car Sales Booming In Pacific Northwest

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 7:37 pm


The automaker Nissan says sales of its fully electric Leaf compact surpassed all other Nissan models at dealers in the Seattle and Portland areas this spring. The announcement Wednesday runs counter to the prevailing wisdom that adoption of plug-in cars has been sluggish.


At Nissan USA headquarters, electric vehicle marketing & sales director Erik Gottfried says he's scrambling to ship enough Leafs to meet demand in the Pacific Northwest. The car maker juiced its plug-in sales by slashing the sticker price and offering low-cost leases.

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Energy
8:53 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Northwest Nuclear Plant Scores Higher Safety Rating

Energy Northwest

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 3:59 pm

Federal regulators say the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant is now back on course after an 11-year safety miscalculation. The new designation means the Columbia Generating Station in southeast Washington gets a more relaxed inspection and oversight status.

Between 2000 and 2011, workers at the nuclear plant used faulty estimates for how much radiation could escape during a crisis. That mistake and others were found in an inspection just last year.

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Hanford Cleanup
11:26 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Some Hanford Water Cleanup Exceeds Expectations

CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 5:02 pm

Cleanup of a hazardous chemical called hexavalent chromium in the groundwater at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington is going faster than expected.

Hexavalent chromium is the nasty stuff that made Erin Brockovich famous down in California. The chemical was used to inhibit rust in coolant water in Hanford’s reactors. But that water was dumped into the desert, and now the cancer-causer is making its way toward the Columbia River in large groundwater plumes.

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Duwamish Contamination
10:44 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Time To Speak Is Now On $305 Million Duwamish Cleanup Plan

People in communities along Seattle's Lower Duwamish River, a superfund site, came together to learn about the EPA's proposed cleanup plan, open for public comment until June 13.
Earthfix / Ashley Ahearn

A century’s worth of contamination in Seattle's only river is about to get a $305 million cleanup. Before finalizing a decision on the proposed plan, the Environmental Protection Agency is asking the public to weigh in.

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