Puget Sound

Ready For Arctic Oil Spill
5:16 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Shell's Arctic "Beer Can" Passes Federal Test In Puget Sound

The Arctic Challenger lowering its containment dome into Puget Sound during tests in March
TJ Guiton

Shell Oil Co. had to postpone its Arctic drilling until 2014 after one of its oil rigs ran aground off the Alaska coast this winter, but Shell’s efforts to open a new frontier of oil exploration in the Arctic Ocean continue in Puget Sound.

The oil giant passed a key test with federal regulators in March in the waters off Anacortes, Wash., north of Seattle.

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Public Safety
9:00 am
Thu April 18, 2013

Behind The Scenes With SPD's Bomb Unit

A bomb squad exercise.
Credit Flickr Photo/Settsu

Investigators are trying to piece together this week's bombings at the Boston Marathon. What clues are they looking for? How are bombs detected and disarmed? Seattle Police Department explosives experts Randy Curtis and Craig Williamson join us with an inside look. Call with your questions to 206.543.5869.


VIDEO: Watch Dennis the SPD Bomb Dog In Action

Protecting Pacific Octopus
3:00 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

New Protections Proposed For Octopuses In Puget Sound

A giant Pacific octopus on display at the Seattle Aquarium. The species' population is considered healthy in Puget Sound. Public outcry over legal octopus hunting near Seattle's Alki Beach has prompted possible restrictions.
Flickr/canopic

Right now it’s legal to hunt octopuses in Puget Sound – unless you’re in a marine preserve or conservation area. In fact, if you have a state fishing license you can harvest one every day.

But the killing of a giant Pacific octopus off Alki Beach in Seattle last October prompted a public outcry. Hundreds of scuba divers and members of the public submitted petitions to the state of Washington asking for better protection for the giant Pacific octopus in Puget Sound.

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Derelict Vessel Removal
7:52 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Washington Set To Pass Legislation On Derelict Vessels, But Funding Problems Remain

Recreational boaters in Washington pay a registration fee, part of which covers clean up and removal of derelict vessels. Commercial vessels do not pay into that fund.
Ashley Ahearn

There are several hundred derelict and abandoned vessels dotting the waterways of Washington and Oregon. They can block navigation and pollute the environment, and they can also be very expensive to remove.

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Protective Status
6:25 am
Fri March 22, 2013

President Obama Set To Create National Monument In Washington’s San Juan Islands

More than 70,000 people visit Washington's San Juan Islands every year.
Ashley Ahearn

President Obama is set to announce the creation of several new national monuments on Monday. One of them will be in Washington’s San Juan Islands.

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Arctic Drilling
6:39 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Shell Ready To Try Again With Rebuilt Oil-Spill Dome

The Garth Foss tug and Shell's Arctic Challenger barge in Bellingham Bay
T.J. Guiton

The Arctic Challenger left Puget Sound's Bellingham Bay Wednesday night and arrived at a deep-water anchorage near Anacortes, Wash., Thursday morning. The barge is part of Shell Oil’s fleet of vessels aimed at exploring the Arctic Ocean for oil.

The Arctic Challenger’s oil-spill containment system failed its first field test off Anacortes in September. Since then, Shell has rebuilt a 20-foot oil-containment dome that was “crushed like a beer can” in the first test.

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Freedom Of Information
6:15 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

UPDATE: Congressman Seeks Answers In Arctic Oil-Spill Gear's Failure

Shell Oil's oil-spill containment dome, crumpled after a field test in Puget Sound
Credit BSEE (via KUOW FOIA request)

A KUOW investigation has led a top congressman to demand answers about Shell Oil's underwater accident this fall in Puget Sound.

As we reported on Friday, an underwater test near Anacortes left Shell's first-of-its-kind oil-spill equipment “crushed like a beer can.”

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Energy
6:52 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Sea Trial Leaves Shell's Arctic Oil-Spill Gear "Crushed Like A Beer Can"

The Arctic Challenger's containment dome, crumpled after a field test in Puget Sound
BSEE (via KUOW FOIA request)

UPDATE on Congressional interest in this story here.

Shell Oil has been building and testing equipment designed for the Arctic Ocean here in Puget Sound. In September, a key test of underwater oil-spill equipment was a spectacular failure.

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Environment
9:20 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Acidifying Water Takes Toll On Northwest Shellfish

Taylor Shellfish crews haul out oysters from Samish Bay that had been picked the night before. The Northwest's shellfish industry is one of the first to feel the impacts of ocean acidification.
Katie Campbell

Rescuing shellfish from the rising acidity in Puget Sound will require a wide-ranging response: everything from curbing greenhouse gases and controlling water pollution to growing more seaweed and putting restaurant-discarded oyster shells into shallow bays. Those are among the recommendations in a long-awaited report on ocean acidification that was delivered today to Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire by a blue-ribbon panel.

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Environment
4:00 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Octopus Killing Fuels Scuba Diver Activism

A giant Pacific octopus similar to the one that was killed recently at Cove 2 in Alki.
Credit Flickr/California Academy of Sciences

A scuba diving instructor recently encountered a diver who was in the process of killing an octopus at Cove 2, a popular West Seattle diving site. Photos of the incident spread online, prompting the local scuba dive community to seek marine protection status for Cove 2. 

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Environment
5:10 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

New Report: Puget Sound Ports Curb Emissions

Air pollution from the major shipping ports in Puget Sound has decreased, according to a new report released Tuesday. The 300-page report compared emissions of diesel particulates, greenhouse gases and other air pollutants in five Puget Sound ports from 2005 to 2011. Overall, emissions have gone down.

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Clean Water Act
9:41 am
Wed October 17, 2012

How We Got Into Such A Mess With Stormwater

Laura James swims inside a stormwater outfall in Puget Sound that she has come to call "The Monster" because of how much runoff billows from it when it rains.
OPB Photo/Michael Bendixen

The Clean Water Act took effect 40 years ago Thursday. In 1972, stormwater pollution was nowhere near a top priority. Today, it’s taken the lead as the top water contaminator. How bad is it? Puget Sound diver Laura James takes us where nobody wants to go — inside a stormwater outfall — to get an upclose look.

Read the full story on KUOW's EarthFix

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