environment

The armed militants occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon come from as far away as Texas and Montana. But they are hardly the refuge's first out-of-state visitors.

A few days back, All Tech got a question from an NPR listener that got us curious.

Tim Callahan from Seattle wrote:

"A friend asked how texting — in all its forms (admittedly a squishy thing to corral) — is contributing to global warming? After saying, 'minimally...', I thought about how to answer that question. Putting aside the sunk contribution caused by the manufacture and transport of the device you text with, how much does the battery emit / generate while a person does a typical or somehow average text? ... Can you help quantify?"

More than two months after a natural gas storage well in Southern California began uncontrollably spewing methane gas, the governor of California has declared a state of emergency.

With the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge ongoing in Eastern Oregon, there’s been renewed attention on federal grazing policy — and attempts to understand where the root of these rural frustrations lie.

Quite a bit has been said about what a deep discount ranchers are getting to graze their livestock on public lands — and how the U.S. taxpayer is essentially subsidizing those who do. But as often is the case, the truth isn’t so cut and dry.

So why the talk about how cheap it is for ranchers to graze cow and sheep on federal lands?

Oregon Utilities Agree To Phase Out Coal-Fired Power

Jan 6, 2016

Oregon utilities have agreed to support a bill that would phase out coal-fired power in Oregon by 2030.

The agreement follows negotiations with the backers of a proposed ballot measure that set the same target for eliminating coal from the state's electrical supply.

The proposed legislation would only affect Pacific Power and Portland General Electric, which together serve about 70 percent of Oregon's electricity. It also calls for doubling the amount of renewable energy the utilities generate by 2040.

New carbon pollution rules in Washington will pack the biggest wallop for cement makers, oil refiners and paper mills.

These are among the industrial manufacturers that will be required to lower their greenhouse gas emissions under the draft rules released Wednesday by Washington. Gov. Jay Inslee’s administration.

Thousands of tremors have happened north of Seattle since last week.

This burst of underground activity is part of trend that started two weeks ago under Vancouver Island. It's called slow-slip, and occurs about every 14 months in the Puget Sound region.

Hundreds of people showed up to speak Tuesday at a hearing on the controversial Vancouver Energy oil terminal.

Tesoro Corporation and Savage Companies have proposed building what would be the largest oil-by-rail terminal in the country at the Port of Vancouver in Washington.

Supporters of the project welcome the jobs and economic development that would come along with the terminal. Opponents say shipping that much oil is too dangerous and they'd rather see the port develop cleaner energy.

Most ranchers aren’t taking the same hardline, anti-government stance as the armed militants who took over Eastern Oregon's Malheur Wildlife Refuge headquarters.

Still, their dissatisfaction and distrust of federal land managers are deep running and deeply rooted in environmental conflict.

Native American tribes, cattle barons, trappers, farmers and wildlife advocates have all fought over what’s now known as Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon for centuries.

On the eve of opening day at Mount Hood Meadows, the ski resort sounded like a construction site.

A front-end loader scooped snow from the parking lot, its over-sized tire chains chinking as it crossed the pavement and emptied its load into a rubber-tracked dump truck. After a few more scoops, both machines rumbled toward a nearby chairlift to drop their haul.

In the ski industry, they call this "snow harvesting": Moving snow from the parking lots to the lower lifts and slopes so people can start skiing sooner.

Anti-federalist militants continue to hold the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., as law enforcement officials keep their distance. But they say they're willing to leave if local residents ask them to, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports.

Volkswagen's use of a "defeat device" to fool U.S. regulators has resulted in a federal lawsuit against the company. Volkswagen has acknowledged that millions of its diesel cars worldwide relied on a ruse to skirt emissions controls.

The civil complaint was filed in federal court in Detroit, with the Department of Justice acting on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency — which says it hasn't yet reached an acceptable agreement with Volkswagen over how to handle a recall.

From a hot, dry summer to a wet and snowy December, 2015 was a year of extremes for Northwest weather. And 2016 could be full of surprises, too.

This winter’s heavy snows have brought hungry elk and deer down out of the hills into Northwest towns. That’s a recipe for trouble.

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