environment

Greens Disappointed
7:16 am
Fri March 15, 2013

US Blames Shell For Mishaps, Remains Committed To Arctic Drilling

The Kulluk drill rig arriving in Dutch Harbor, in western Alaska, on Mar. 5. From there, it will be loaded on a heavy-lift ship and hauled to a dry dock in Asia.
KUCB Photo/Stephanie Joyce

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had some tough words for Shell Oil Thursday as he announced the results of an investigation into Shell's Alaskan accidents in 2012. But he did not announce the tough consequences that environmentalists were hoping for in the wake of Shell’s year of Arctic mishaps.

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Environment
12:01 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Where Do You Stand On The Coal-Terminal Debate?

Dust comes off a coal train in Campbell County, Wyo. The question is, what might coal dust from increased train traffic through the Northwest do to the environment?
EarthFix Photo/Michael Werner

Environmental reporter Ashley Ahearn has been covering the different sides of the coal debate over the last year and today on The Conversation we want to hear what you think. Ross Reynolds sits down with Ashley Ahearn to parse out the arguments for and against the proposed coal terminals in Washington, and takes listener calls. 

Coal Export Terminals
9:17 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Coal Dust’s Environmental Impacts In Pacific Northwest

A coal train travels along Puget Sound.
Katie Campbell

There are five proposed coal export terminals under consideration in Washington and Oregon. They would be built to transfer coal off of trains from Wyoming and Montana mines and on to ships bound for Asia. Some coal dust will escape along the journey from mines to terminals. In the second part of our series, Ashley Ahearn looks at the environmental impacts of coal dust.

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Coal Dust Impacts
7:52 am
Mon March 11, 2013

What Coal-Train Dust Means For Human Health In Pacific Northwest

The Westshore Terminal near Vancouver, B.C. handles about 30 million tons of coal per year, loading it onto ships for export. Westshore spent $7 million upgrading pumps, rain guns and misting devices around the site used to dampen and control coal dust.
Katie Campbell

With five coal export terminals under consideration in Washington and Oregon, Northwest residents are grappling for the first time with issues that are old hat in coal states like West Virginia and Kentucky. One of those issues: coal dust. How much of it will escape along the journey from mines in Wyoming and Montana to proposed export terminals on the West Coast? And what might that dust mean for public health?

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Hanford Cleanup Timeline
7:29 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Inslee: Leaking Tank Waste Removal Can't Begin For Years

Office of the Governor

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 10:21 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says it may take two to four years to begin removing liquids from leaking tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The Democratic governor made the comments Wednesday after a tour of the southeast Washington site.

The governor told reporters on the tour that there is no technology that can stop the leaks.

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Environment
12:54 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Bullitt Center: A Building That Functions Like An Organism

The Bullitt Center on Madison Avenue in Capitol Hill.
John Stamets

This Thursday the Bullitt Foundation moves into their new offices on Capitol Hill — a brand new building they’re touting as the greenest in the world. The Bullitt Center is a “living building” that will generate all its own electricity and water. Last week the head of the Bullitt Foundation and coordinator of the first Earth Day, Denis Hayes, took Ross Reynolds and his crew on a tour of the Bullitt Center.

The Bullitt Center grand opening is April 22, 2013 — Earth Day.

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Energy Secretary Nominee
8:49 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Energy Secretary Nominee No Stranger To Hanford Tank Leaks

White House

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 7:35 am

RICHLAND, Wash. – President Obama’s nominee for the next federal Energy Secretary is no stranger to the cleanup work at the Northwest’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Ernest Moniz was Energy undersecretary during the Clinton Administration and back in the late '90s he faced scrutiny about tank leaks at Hanford.

The problem -- and question then -- was whether about a million gallons of leaked radioactive tank waste had reached the groundwater and was headed toward the Columbia River. Or if it was staying put in a dry layer of soil, above the groundwater.

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Caps A Year Of Mishaps
4:52 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Shell Cancels Arctic Drilling For 2013

The Shell's Kulluk oil rig, with three tugboats and an escort ship, on its way from Kodiak Island to Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
U.S. Coast Guard Photo/Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis

Shell Oil Co. has put Arctic drilling on hold. The company announced Wednesday that it will not attempt to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean this year. The announcement comes after a year of accidents and setbacks for Shell’s Arctic drilling efforts.

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Radioactive Waste Update
8:53 am
Tue February 26, 2013

DOE: Hanford Tanks Leaking Less Than 3 Gallons Per Day

Department of Energy

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:15 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – A new detail has emerged on the leaking tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The federal Energy Department acknowledged last week that six single-shelled tanks are holding less radioactive waste than they used to. Monday the agency said those tanks are losing less than three gallons a day.

Worst case: Three gallons per day adds up to 1,095 gallons of radioactive waste per year. The Department of Energy says it doesn’t know yet how long these tanks might have been seeping waste.

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Environment
10:00 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Borge Ousland: Adventures In Polar Exploration

A safety sign at Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station.
Credit Flickr Photo/Eli Duke

Global warming and melting ice are rapidly changing the landscape of the Earth's polar regions. What will it mean for life at the poles, and for the rest of the world? Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland has seen this environmental transformation for himself. He’s the first person to complete solo expeditions across both the North and South Poles. In 2010, he completed the Northern Passage – a circumnavigation of the entire Arctic ocean. He joins us to talk about his adventures in the vast, frozen tundra of the poles.

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Mislabeling Of Seafood
8:56 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Conservation Group: Fish Fraud A National Problem, But Less Severe In The NW

Sushi venues were the least accurate among retailers when it came to accurately labeling the fish they sold, according to Oceana. Of the samples tested nationally, 74 percent of the fish at sushi bars wasn't what it was labeled as.
Flickr/Oceiana

Seattle and Portland are among the best cities to dine on seafood if you want the salmon, sole or halibut you order to actually be salmon, sole or halibut. The two Northwest cities emerged from a national report Thursday with some of the lowest rates of “fish fraud” in the country.

According to the research project by the marine conservation group, Oceana, 33 percent of the 1,215 samples of fish it had analyzed were not actually the fish that they were labeled as by the sushi bars, restaurants and retail outlets selling them.

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Alternative Energy Sources
8:00 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Harvesting Wind Power With Philip Warburg

Windmills capturing wind energy.
Credit Flickr Photo/Alex Abian

Wind can be a very significant power provider in the United States, especially in the Midwest. Environmental lawyer and writer Philip Warburg talks about wind as a resource, including how it relates to the economy and climate change. He spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on December 4, 2012. The talk was introduced by Denis Hayes, CEO of the Bullitt Foundation and coordinator of the first Earth Day.

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Energy & Environment
9:00 am
Thu February 21, 2013

The Price Of North Dakota's Oil Boom

A winter sunrise across an oil field in North Dakota.
Credit Flickr photo/Adam Schreiner

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.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
2:03 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Possible Leak At Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Department of Energy

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.

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Environmental Future
9:00 am
Thu February 14, 2013

A Conversation With Al Gore

Former Vice President Al Gore speaking at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

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.

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