environment

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.

Conservationists in Washington’s Tri-Cities are nearing a deal to secure a trail right-of-way on a scenic peak. That would get closer to the goal of establishing a 20-mile trail that could offer sunny, dry hiking at times of year when most trails elsewhere in the Northwest are muddy or snow covered.

Oregon’s controversial decision to take gray wolves off the state’s endangered species list is headed to court.

Three environmental groups filed a legal challenge of the decision Wednesday under the state’s Endangered Species Act.

The lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild claims the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife violated its own laws by failing to use the best available science and prematurely removing protections for Oregon’s 81 gray wolves.

Northwest Snow Piles Up Ahead Of Schedule

Dec 29, 2015

Oregon and Washington have above-average snowpack levels basically everywhere, according to numbers released this week.

The color-coded maps from the National Weather Service in Portland range from light to dark blue for nearly all of Oregon and much of Washington. That means snowpack is at least 130 percent of average.

Poor Start To Whale Watching Season

Dec 28, 2015

Winter storms and rain have reduced visibility at the coast this season — meaning the whale watching hasn’t been so good.

But Oregon State Park Ranger, Luke Parsons, expects that to change this week as clear skies and calmer weather are in the forecast.

He says up to 20,000 whales will swim by during the migration.

“They weigh anywhere between 20 and 40 tons each and so when you see a whole group of these go by, it’s pretty awe inspiring just to see that type of sea life, this close to us in Oregon," said Parsons.

About 10,000 people visit southeast Washington state’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation every year. And after a few hours on the bus, some are dazed like tourists who’ve seen one Italian cathedral too many.

On those tours, they have guides. But even folks who don’t come to Hanford’s physical site have a "tour guide" -- someone who can translate the language of Hanford and its nuclear legacy: Liz Mattson.

It’s been a difficult couple weeks for the small Southern Oregon community of Glendale.

“The weather hands us unexpected things from time to time, and you just manage it and deal with it in as quick and best a fashion you can,” says Mayor Adam Jones.

After days of heavy rains in mid-December, the amount of wastewater coming through the city’s treatment plant exceeded capacity. Raw sewage overflowed into Cow Creek, a tributary of the Umpqua River.

New Oso Analysis Sheds Light On Landslide Risks

Dec 23, 2015
A massive mudslide on March 22, 2014 in Oso, Washington killed 43. Pictured here is the mudflow taken on Monday, March 24, 2014.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Big landslides like the one in Oso that killed 43 people last year are fairly common in Stillaguamish Valley. According to a new study from the University of Washington, one occurs about every 140 years. 

David Hyde talks to UW geology professor David Montgomery about what the research means for politicians and where people decide to build and live.

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