environment

There Is Still Some Winter In The Methow Valley

Mar 6, 2015

Marcie Sillman talks to James DeSalvo, the executive director of the Methow Trails, about the winter weather in the Methow Valley.

Bamboo, 47, an Asian elephant, walks toward people watching her at the Woodland Park Zoo Nov. 19, 2014.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Seattle officials did not stand in the way of the decision to send Woodland Park Zoo's elephants to Oklahoma, should they have? How important is it when a state lawmaker refers to "colored people"? Will too little winter snow mean summer drought? And can we compost the dead?

Bill Radke discusses the week’s top stories with The Stranger’s Dan Savage, Seattle Channel’s Joni Balter and Crosscut’s Knute Berger.

How Big Of A Risk Are Oil Trains?

Mar 6, 2015
oil train, transportation
Flickr Photo/Russ Allison

Ross Reynolds speaks with Lisa Copeland, of the Washington State Department of Ecology, about the risk oil trains could pose to the state.

Also, Reynolds speaks to Kevin Book, an analyst from ClearView Energy Partners in Washington, D.C, and with Kristen Boyles, attorney for environmental law firm Earth Justice, about the implications of oil trains in our region.

The orcas commonly spotted in the waters of Puget Sound during the summer lead a much more mysterious life in the winter time.

But a team of researchers has just returned from a three-week cruise following orcas along the coast of the Northwest and British Columbia. And they brought back some clues to help demystify the orcas' winter activities.

After five hours of debate Wednesday, the Oregon House of Representatives approved a controversial bill that would extend a state effort to reduce carbon emissions from transportation fuels.

The bill passed 31-29 after several failed Republican motions to replace the bill, send it back to committee and postpone it indefinitely.

It’s truffle season in Oregon’s forests. On a recent weekend, forager Eric Lyon leads a big black Labrador into a stand of Douglas fir trees near the town of Banks.

"Where's the truffle?" he says to the lab named Leroy.

Leroy keeps his nose close to the ground. He's on the scent of a truffle.

"There’s maybe six, 10 inches of the soil that has truffle aroma," explains Lyon, "but they can isolate the exact spot and I just use my little spoon and pop it out."

Leroy stops and digs gently with one paw. "Great aroma! Oh, that's a good one Leroy," Lyon says.

Northwest Officials Unite Against Coal And Oil Trains

Mar 4, 2015

More than 150 elected officials from across the Northwest have teamed up to speak out against coal and oil trains. Their new group, the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance, held its third meeting in Portland Tuesday.

Washington's King County Executive Dow Constantine has stepped up to chair the group. It includes officials from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British Columbia.

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is one of the most contaminated sites on earth. And Susan Leckband is using her natural curiosity to help clean it up.

Tom Kitchar has a theory of mining. It goes something like this:

Way, way back, when humans first came down from the trees, someone picked up a certain rock and realized it was useful.

It was heavy or sharp or easy to grip and use. It was a weapon. It was some sort of tool.

Soon everyone wanted one of these rocks. And those who went out to find and collect them were the first miners.

The Navy uses EA-18G Growlers in electronic warfare.
Flickr Photo/U.S. Pacific Fleet (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Washington state has told the U.S. Navy it can’t use state land to conduct electronic-warfare training on the Olympic Peninsula.

The state Department of Natural Resources gave no reason for the denial, simply saying in a letter that the agency preferred not to partner on the project.

The Navy wants to use mobile electronic emitter trucks on 15 sites on the Olympic Peninsula. The trucks would emit electromagnetic signals for Navy pilots in radar-jamming planes to detect.

Crews Work To Clean Up Yakima River Oil Spill

Mar 2, 2015

Emergency crews are responding to a 1,500-gallon oil spill in Central Washington’s Yakima River.

The used motor oil has threatened wildlife since it escaped Sunday from an above-ground storage tank at the site of a former feedlot. The heavy oil flowed across a paved area and into an irrigation ditch, known as Sulphur Creek, which drains into the Yakima River. An oil sheen flowed as south as Prosser, about 25 miles away.

One of Mt. Hood's glacier caves, Snow Dragon, has partially collapsed, according to Glacier Caves Explorers. Sometime between November 2014 and the end of January, the roof caved in near the entrance.

Brent McGregor of Glacier Cave Explorers said two skylights opened in the cave in November, and last month about hundred feet collapsed, possibly due to warm air entering through the skylights. This has also been a historically low snow year for Mt. Hood.

You might call it the forester's version of Google Earth: new satellite mapping that's giving scientists a clearer view of insect outbreaks in Northwest forests.

A study published this week describes how scientists with Oregon State University have combined new satellite imagery with older data from airplane and ground surveys to show in unprecedented detail where insects are damaging trees in the region.

Jay Julius is a member of the Lummi Tribe and an outspoken defender of his people's fishing rights
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Jeannie Yandel talks with Bob Anderson, director of the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington, about a dispute over fishing rights which went to the federal court in Seattle Monday.

The Makah, the Quileute, and the Quinault Nations disagree over who has the right to fish in territories off the west coast of Washington.

Seattle trash filled with coffee cups.
Flickr Photo/Velo_Montana (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Heather Trim, Zero Waste Seattle leader, about what it would take for the city to be trash free. 

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