environment

Environment
12:21 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Why Those Tiny Microbeads In Soap May Pose Problem For Great Lakes

Researcher Sherri Mason looks for microbeads in a water sample from Lake Michigan. Legislation to phase out products containing the beads is pending in New York and Illinois.
Cheryl Corley

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:19 pm

From the shoreline at North Avenue Beach in Chicago, the blue water of Lake Michigan stretches as far as the eye can see. But beneath that pristine image, there's a barely visible threat, says Jennifer Caddick of the Alliance for the Great Lakes: microbeads.

These tiny bits of plastic, small scrubbing components used in hundreds of personal care products like skin exfoliants and soap, can slip through most water treatment systems when they wash down the drain.

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EarthFix Reports
10:17 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Arrests Highlight Threat To Ancient Redwoods

File photo of a redwood burl. Burl thieves have been striking in Northern California's forests recently.
aefitzhugh / Flickr

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 7:43 am

Two northern California men have been charged with damaging old growth trees in the Redwood National and State Forest. The arrests are the first in response to a recent increase in illegal poaching of redwood burl.

You’ve probably seen countertops or furniture made from redwood burl. The richly colored, swirling grain is prized for its beauty and can fetch a hefty price. A coffee table or bar top can sell for thousands. That kind of money — combined with a largely unregulated market for the wood — has proved irresistible to poachers in the northern California forests.

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'Smells Like A Toilet'
8:20 am
Mon May 19, 2014

New Organic Fertilizer Less Smelly, More Popular With Farm Workers

Alan Schreiber is an organic and research farmer. He’s testing a new better-smelling organic liquid fertilizer at his farm near Eltopia, Washington.

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 6:35 pm

When you think organic, you probably visualize fresh, sweet-smelling fruits and vegetables. But what makes that delicious organic produce grow?

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EarthFix Reports
7:40 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Local Coal? A Mom And Pop Coal Mine Near Seattle Looks To Get Back To Work

This photo, probably taken between 1905 and 1910, shows a group of coal miners at the early entrance of a mine near Newcastle, Washington. Coal mining could return to eastern King County under a proposal that many residents oppose.
Museum of History & Industry, Seattle http://digitalcollections.lib.washington.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/imlsmohai/id/7029/rec/5

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 5:27 pm

BLACK DIAMOND, Wash. -- Environmentalists have launched a full-on offensive against coal export terminals proposed for Washington and Oregon, but they might want to take a look closer to home.

A small open pit coal mine just outside of Seattle is looking to get back in business.

The John Henry Mine, formerly the Black Diamond Mine, has been in operation on and off since the late 1800s, but it closed down in 1999.

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Environment
7:39 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Public Voices Concerns Over WA Birth Defect Increases

At a meeting in Kennewick, the health department asked people to raise concerns about a rare birth defect that officials may not have considered yet. Twenty-three babies were born with anencephaly in Central Washington from 2010-2013.
Courtney Flatt

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 10:29 pm

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Over the past three years, a rare birth defect has shown up Central Washington at a rate that's four times the national average. Now, the state health department is turning to the public for clues about what’s causing the fatal condition.

Anencephaly is a rare, fatal birth defect. During the fourth week of pregnancy, the baby’s brain and skull don’t form completely. If babies survive the pregnancy they often live for only a few days.

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Don't Feed The Animals
7:37 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Ilwaco Retiree Could Be First Charged Under New Law Banning Feeding Of Bears

File photo of an American black bear

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 9:38 am

The bears have woken up and once more that’s creating conflicts around the region. Washington Fish and Wildlife police are recommending that an Ilwaco woman face charges for allegedly feeding wild bears.

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EarthFix Reports
9:22 am
Tue May 13, 2014

New Study: Glacial Collapse In Antarctica 'Unstoppable'

Flickr Photo/goneforawander

New research from the University of Washington and other institutions provides detailed predictions for the collapse of an ice shelf in West Antarctica.

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EarthFix Reports
8:05 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Oregon's Wandering Wolf May Have Met His Mate

Remote camera photo of OR7 captured May 3 on U.S. Forest Service Land in southern Oregon's Jackson County.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 2:45 pm

Oregon's famous lone wolf isn't so lonely anymore.

Biologists say it appears the wandering wolf OR-7 has found himself a mate.

Their evidence came from trail cameras set up in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Southern Oregon.

The cameras captured an image of a black wolf in the area where they've been tracking OR-7 with a GPS collar. Then they captured an image of that same wolf squatting to pee.

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Pollution Limit
8:21 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Inslee Predicts Washington Will Adopt Controversial Fuel Standard

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 8:59 am

Washington will likely adopt a pollution limit on gasoline and other transportation fuels. That’s the prediction from Democratic Governor Jay Inslee. He recently ordered a feasibility and cost study of a low-carbon fuel standard.

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Week In Review
2:56 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Billy Frank Jr. Remembered, White House Climate Report, And Metro's Funding 'Plan C'

Billy Frank, Jr., a veteran of the fish wars, died at the age of 83, leaving a lasting legacy for tribal rights and the Northwest environment.
Flickr Photo/Ecotrust

A White House report foretells more rain, droughts and  big storms due to climate change; Nisqually Indian civil rights leader and environmental activist Billy Frank, Jr. dies; and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray comes out against a city-only initiative to fund bus service in Seattle.

Steve Scher recaps the news of the week with Crosscut's Knute Berger, news analyst Joni Balter, The Stranger's Eli Sanders and LiveWire host Luke Burbank.

Week In Review Extra

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Mudslide
1:12 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

After Oso: The Emotional Phases Of A Disaster

In the entryway to the Darrington Community Center, Red Cross Volunteer Christine Dahl works through the list of area residents seeking gas cards to help with the cost of traveling the two and a half hour detour created by the devastating mudslide.
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

Aid agencies are reducing their presence in Oso and Darrington, a month and a half after a landslide hit the small community there, killing at least 41.

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EarthFix Reports
11:02 am
Fri May 9, 2014

School Districts Explore Solutions For Too Many Portable Classrooms

Students examine a SEED portable classroom recently installed at the Perkins School in North Seattle.
Credit EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

SPOKANE, Washington — Teachers at Spokane’s Jefferson Elementary don’t have to look far to know what they left behind.

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Central African Republic
8:25 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Civil War Invades An Elephant Sanctuary: One Researcher's Escape

A female forest elephant charges, in Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve in the Central African Republic.
Michael K. Nichols National Geographic/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 7:14 am

Ivory poachers are killing some 22,000 African elephants a year. Among the recent casualties was a group of rare forest elephants in the Central African Republic.

Those elephants were featured in an NPR program, Radio Expeditions, in 2002, when former NPR host and correspondent Alex Chadwick and sound engineer Bill McQuay went to central Africa to record them.

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EarthFix Reports
8:23 am
Thu May 8, 2014

States Don't Limit Use Of Portable Classrooms

Workers at Blazer Industries push a half-built portable classroom out the door of the modular building manufacturing plant in Aumsville, Oregon.
Credit EarthFix Photo/Cassandra Profita

AUMSVILLE, Oregon – After affixing the roof to the walls, five workers push a half-built classroom out the door of the Blazer Industries manufacturing plant. Clearly, this is a portable classroom.

It’s one of about 130 portables Blazer has been contracted to build this year. Most will go to overcrowded schools in Washington state, and most will be built in four to seven days. Inside this warehouse, the company has built entire schools, churches, hospitals and high-end homes — one truckable piece at a time.

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Threatened Species
8:13 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Lone Caribou Herd In Lower 48 Keeps Federal Protection

A Woodland Caribou from the Southern Selkirk Mountains population.

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 5:29 pm

Officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday, a small herd of mountain caribou found in the Northwest will retain federal protection, but it will be as a threatened species rather than endangered.

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