environment

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

As we bid the tourists adieu, we welcome back the cranes and construction.

Season 2 of Seattle’s waterfront development project starts Wednesday. It includes work from Colman Dock to the Aquarium, and holes in the ground already show the concrete face of the 1930s-era seawall, soon to be demolished. 

Why The Northwest Is the New Frontier For Geothermal Energy

Sep 29, 2014

PORTLAND -- The Geothermal Energy Association chose to hold its annual meeting in Portland this year, and leaders say that's in part because they see the Pacific Northwest as a new frontier for the industry.

Lakeview Biofuel Plant Proposal Raises Air Quality Concerns

Sep 26, 2014

A project proposed in Lakeview, Oregon, would turn woody biomass from logging into biofuels for Southwest Airlines, the U.S. Navy and Marines.

The biofuel would have fewer greenhouse gas emissions than traditional jet fuel and diesel, but some worry the project might add to existing air quality problems in southern Oregon.

Red Rock Biofuels of Fort Collins, Colorado, received a $4.1 million design and engineering grant from the U.S. Department of Defense earlier to help develop the project.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell toured southern Oregon’s high desert Thursday. The trip focused on efforts to conserve greater sage grouse.

The birds live in sagebrush country. But their habitat is shrinking in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and other states – because of people, wildfires, and invasive species. The birds don't like fragmented habitat and need wide-open spaces.

Swinomish Tribe Prepares For A Changing Climate

Sep 26, 2014

La Conner, Wash. -- The Swinomish people have lived near the mouth of the Skagit River north of Seattle for thousands of years. Now, climate change threatens their lands with rising seas and flooding.

The Obama administration recently awarded the tribe a large grant to help cope with climate change.

The entire Swinomish reservation is pretty much at sea level, on a spit of land tucked into Skagit Bay.

Flickr Photo/UN University in Bonn (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with Dr. Koko Warner, lead author of the adaptation section in the latest UN report on Climate Change, about a new University of Washington study this week that found no evidence that weather patterns in the Northwest so far have been influenced by human greenhouse gas emissions.

They also discuss a New York Times story which suggested the Pacific Northwest would be a good place to be when climate change hits because there will be less extreme heat and plentiful water.

According to Warner, if you feel relief with these reports, you are mistaken. Reynolds spoke to her at the UN Climate summit this week.

The coast has generally been considered the area of the Northwest most at risk for a catastrophic oil spill. But the rise in oil moving through the region by rail has raised the stakes for some inland areas.

People of the Methow Valley and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation were hoping for more money to rebuild hundreds of lost homes and livelihoods.

California billionaire and climate activist Tom Steyer has dumped $1 million into Washington state.

Portland Wins International Climate Leadership Award

Sep 24, 2014

The city of Portland is one of nine cities worldwide to receive an international City Climate Leadership Award.

The awards honor cities for urban sustainability and leadership on climate change on behalf of the climate leadership group C40 and the Berlin-based engineering firm Siemens. Winners were selected from a pool of 87 applications.

Going For Launch With The Salmon Cannon

Sep 24, 2014

WASHOUGAL, Wash. -- Salmon may soon have a faster way to make it around dams. There’s a new technology that’s helping to transport hatchery fish in Washington. It’s called the salmon cannon -- yes, you read that right.

First, let's set the record straight: there’s not really an explosion. But the salmon cannon does propel fish from one spot to another.

That was demonstrated Tuesday, when the salmon cannon transported fish from southwest Washington’s Washougal River to a nearby hatchery. The goal is to make the move easier on the fish, in three steps.

Earth Ministry's Facebook page

Marcie Sillman speaks with Jessie Dye, outreach director for Earth Ministry, about the 2014 UN Climate Summit and the involvement of religious groups in environmental work.

Biologists Try To Figure Out Large Fall Chinook Runs

Sep 23, 2014

Thousands of fall chinook salmon are swimming up the Columbia River every day right now. This year’s migration is expected to be one of the largest in recent years. Researchers aren’t sure exactly why fall chinook have made such a big comeback.

Salmon and steelhead restoration has been a big push throughout the Northwest -- from Puget Sound to coastal streams to the Columbia-Snake River Basin -- where fall chinook were nearly extinct by the 1960s.

SEATTLE – Changing wind patterns are the primary cause of warming temperatures in the Northwest, according to a study published Monday.

The authors lined up historical wind data with coastal sea surface temperature in the Northeastern section of the Pacific Ocean since the beginning of the 20th century. They found that up to 90% of the warming in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California is driven by changes in wind patterns.

SEATTLE -- The Northwest's biggest oil-by-rail transporter is giving its assurances that it can safely move millions of gallons of volatile crude through the city of Seattle.

BNSF Railway's letter describing its safety measures follows a report by Seattle public safety agencies highlighting several weaknesses in the city’s ability to respond to an oil train accident.

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