environment

Oregon fish and wildlife commissioners decided Friday that it's time to consider whether gray wolves have recovered enough to take them off the state's list of endangered species.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission launched a public process to decide if the wolf population is robust enough to remove state endangered species protections. A final decision on the issue won’t likely be made until later this summer.

In 1946, that state considered itself rid of wolves. That was the year when the last bounty was claimed for a wolf killed in the state.

The debate is beginning once again over endangered species habitat and county budgets in Oregon.

On Friday the Bureau of Land management released draft options to manage its public forests.

Shell's oil rig Kulluk became stranded in Kodiak, Alaska two years ago. This photo of the stranded vessel  was taken  Jan. 7, 2013.
Flickr Photo/U.S. Pacific Command (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Alexandra Gutierrez, reporter for Alaska Public Radio, about the resolution scolding Washington for protesting the Shell Artic drilling rig's arrival to Washington waters amid serious budget talks.

William Shatner.
Flickr Photo/Brian Wilkins (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Why is William Shatner coming for our water? Does Seattle need rent control? Can a new policing plan tackle drug dealing downtown? Is tipping on the way out?

David Hyde sits in for Bill Radke to review the week’s news along with Crosscut’s Knute Berger, 'The C is For Crank' blogger Erica C. Barnett and former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna.

Managers of Portland's largest commercial buildings will start tracking their energy use under a new city policy approved Wednesday.

Portland is joining 12 cities that already use the Energy Star reporting system, run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Participating buildings have cut energy use by an average of more than 2 percent, just by monitoring and reporting, according to Alisa Kane with Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

A proposed natural gas facility near Troutdale poses big risks to airplanes landing at the nearby regional airport - according to new modeling.

The Oregon Pilots Association is contesting the Troutdale Energy Center proposed for industrial land owned by the Port of Portland.

The pilots say their modeling shows severe turbulence from emission plumes would threaten one in 100 flights.

The pilots' association president, Mary Rosenblum, said the emissions would hit planes at low altitudes.

Styrofoam would leave many Oregon school cafeterias under a bill that passed the House of Representatives Wednesday. Lawmakers voted 47 to 10 to phase out plastic foam by 2021. School districts that aren't sure they can make that deadline can get state permission to take longer.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Rob Nosse, D-Portland, credits students at Sunnyside Environmental School who first advocated a ban on plastic foam in public schools.

Seattle Suspends $1 Fine For Failure To Compost

Apr 22, 2015
From left, Janet Gwilym, a resident of Beacon Hill, with her children, Morgan Gwilym-Tso, Alana Gwilym-Tso. Behind them, Mayor Ed Murray and Cortona Café co-owner Jason Davison.
KUOW Photo/Sara Bernard

Breathe easy, Seattle. The proposed fines for not following Seattle’s new food composting rule have been delayed.

The fines were originally scheduled to start July 1. But on Wednesday, Mayor Ed Murray said he would suspend those fines for the rest of the year. The earliest they could go into effect -- and that's a big if -- is January 2016.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee used Earth Day to chastise state lawmakers for their environmental record.

The Americas are seen from space on Earth Day 2014 in a photo captured by NOAA's GOES-East satellite.
NASA/NOAA/GOES Project

Marcie Sillman talks with Denis Hayes, local environmental activist and founder of Earth Day, about how the perfect name for the day was determined.

One year after an avalanche killed 16 Nepalese Sherpas, 30-year-old Melissa Arnot hopes to become the first American woman to reach the top of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen, and without using a Sherpa as porter.

She tells Here & Now’s Robin Young that “walking away at this really critical time would be somewhat irresponsible,” and she can “help usher Everest into a more sustainable climb” by “giving something to this place, and not just taking.”

A symbolic funeral for Earth Day.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

The idea for Earth Day was first announced at a conference in Seattle 45 years ago.

It’s still going strong, with Earth Day events sometimes spanning all of April. KUOW Reporter Liz Jones stopped by two different events in Seattle on Tuesday and has this audio postcard. She started at a symbolic funeral downtown, then head over to a spiritual summit at Seattle University.

The small, rarely-seen member of the weasel family known as the fisher may be even rarer in the Northwest because of the prevalence of illegal marijuana grow operations here.

Humpback whales feed in Southeast Alaska.
Flickr photo / jerseygal2009 (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Humpback whales have rebounded so successfully that federal wildlife managers say most should be removed from endangered species protection – with a caveat for whales off Washington state.

That's a bit of good news for this Earth Day. Below we've  summarized the debate over the status of a few other threatened or endangered species in Washington state.

Palm oil is in everything, from pizza dough and chocolate to laundry detergent and lipstick. Nongovernmental organizations blame it for contributing to assorted evils, from global warming to human rights abuses.

But in the past year, this complex global industry has changed, as consumers put pressure on producers to show that they're not destroying forests, killing rare animals, grabbing land or exploiting workers.

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