pollution

Several dairies accused of polluting the groundwater in Washington’s Yakima Valley will now start handling their waste more carefully. That’s because a federal judge has approved an order between environmental groups and dairies. Environmental groups had sued the dairies because they worried about pollution leaking into water supplies.

The Department of the Interior has unveiled new regulations on hydraulic fracturing operations that take place on federal lands, requiring companies using the drilling technique to ensure wells are safe and to disclose chemicals used in the process.

The rules change follows a more than three-year review process and will affect the 90 percent of oil and gas wells on federal lands that now use so-called fracking to extract oil and gas.

Washington regulators say the region's biggest oil-train operator should be penalized after failing to comply with reporting requirements following 14 spills of hazardous materials, including crude oil.

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission said Thursday an investigation had found that between Nov. 1 of last year and Feb. 24, BNSF Railway committed 700 violations of the state's reporting requirement for railway spills of hazardous materials. Four of those spills involved trains carrying crude oil through Washington state.

New Oregon Rules Require 10 Percent Cleaner Fuels

Jan 8, 2015

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission voted 4-1 Wednesday to pass new rules that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels by 10 percent over a decade.

The rules require companies that import fuel into Oregon to reduce the carbon intensity of their fuel mix. That will mean substituting alternative fuels such as biofuel, natural gas, propane or electricity for gasoline and diesel.

Flickr Photo/Ilja Klutman (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds interviews Denis Hayes about the forthcoming book he co-wrote with his wife, Gail Boyer Hayes, called “Cowed: The Hidden Impact of 93 Million Cows on America’s Health, Economy, Politics, Culture, and Economy.”

The couple was on a driving tour of Great Britain when they noticed many small herds of cattle. That got Denis Hayes, an environmentalist who organized the first Earth Day and now heads the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation, thinking about the impact of cows.

The EPA has given the state of Idaho notice that a corner of the Idaho panhandle isn't meeting stricter new air quality standards. The agency intends to change that by forcing the state to reduce what are called “fine particulates” in the air.

Chinese Goverment Moves To Curb Air Pollution

May 22, 2014
Flickr Photo/Francisco Anzola (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher talks to energy expert Mikkal Herberg about  China's proposed crack down on air pollution.

RICHLAND, Wash. — A new climate study says pollution in Asia can influence weather over much of the world.

Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory helped develop a new type of climate model that was used to develop the study. It was published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey/John Pritz

Some bad news for backcountry in the West: Some of the fish in the region’s wild alpine lakes contain unsafe levels of mercury, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Nitrate air pollution is higher in the Yakima Valley than many other places in Washington. The state Department of Ecology noticed the pocket of unusually high amounts of nitrate air pollution and commissioned researchers at Washington State University and Central Washington University to determine its source.

These fine particulates are so tiny that you can't see them, but if you breathe them in at high concentrations, they can cause heart and respiratory problems.

NASA/NOAA

Westerly winds can carry air pollution from China across the Pacific Ocean in just a few days.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers in the United Kingdom, China and the U.S.

EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Following the 2011 tsunami in Japan, a nuclear reactor released hundreds of millions of gallons of radioactive water into the ocean. That sparked fear that contaminated water would reach the West Coast, but three years later, scientists say that radiation in our waters isn’t necessarily linked to the nuclear reactor. 

Clifton Herrmann

A wide array of tiny marine critters are struggling to survive in Bellingham Bay, according to a recently released report from the Washington Department of Ecology.

Glaciers in the Alps of Europe pose a scientific mystery. They started melting rapidly back in the 1860s. In a span of about 50 years, some of the biggest glaciers had retreated more than half a mile.

But nobody could explain the glacier's rapid decline. Now, a new study from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory uncovers a possible clue to why the glaciers melted before temperatures started rising: Soot from the Industrial Revolution could have heated up the ice.

The Business Of Toxic Fish

Apr 1, 2013
Flickr Photo/Steve Snodgrass

For almost 20 years Washington's Department of Ecology has known that the state's water pollution limits have meant some Washingtonians regularly consume dangerous amounts of toxic chemicals in seafood from local waterways.

The Environmental Protection Agency has urged the state to fix the problem. The Department of Ecology was close last year when Boeing and other business interests began lobbying against the changes. Robert McClure from Investigate West uncovered the story through interviews and government document requests and he gives an update to Ross Reynolds.

Pages