Environment

KUOW's environment beat brings you stories on the ongoing cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, alternative energy, the health of the Puget Sound, coal transportation and more. We're also partnered with several stations across the Northwest to bring you environmental news via EarthFix.

Second Portland Glass-Maker Suspends Use Of Cadmium

1 hour ago

A second glass-making company in Portland has voluntarily suspended its use of cadmium in response to tests showing elevated levels of the metal in nearby moss.

Uroboros Glass in North Portland announced Thursday it would stop making red, yellow and orange glass colors because they rely on the use of cadmium, a heavy metal that can raise the risk of lung cancer at elevated levels of exposure.

State lawmakers this week began discussing a measure that could make Washington the first state to tax residents and businesses on their carbon emissions.

You can watch the two-hour work session, or watch the below video, which explains everything you need to know about carbon pricing in three minutes.

The Gulf of Mexico is now open for commercial fish farming.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last month that, for the first time in the U.S., companies can apply to set up fish farms in federal waters.

The idea is to compete with hard-to-regulate foreign imports. But opening the Gulf to aquaculture won't be cheap, and it could pose environmental problems.

The fastest land mammal in North America is again running free in north central Washington after a long absence. In late January, the Colville Tribes relocated 52 pronghorn antelope onto their reservation as part of a reintroduction effort.

In December, Congress adjourned without passing legislation to ratify a trio of agreements meant to end the long-standing water wars in the Klamath Basin. This essentially killed the deal, which was arrived at through years of painstaking negotiations between farmers, ranchers, tribes and other groups.

Now, there’s a move to demolish four dams on the Klamath River through a separate regulatory process, bypassing the need for Congressional approval. This unexpected turn could shape the ongoing Klamath saga.

Oregon conservation groups say volunteers are lining up to help reverse damage done to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during the ongoing occupation.

At the end of January, the Oregon Natural Desert Association put out a call for volunteers interested in doing environmental restoration at the refuge after the occupation is over. In just a week, more than 600 people from all over the Northwest have signed up.

A glass facility in Southeast Portland has suspended the use of cadmium and arsenic in its operations after testing found unhealthy levels of those metals in the air nearby.

Oregon health officials are warning of unhealthy levels of heavy metals in Southeast Portland's air. They found high levels of cadmium and arsenic at a monitoring station near SE Powell Boulevard and SE 22nd Avenue.

A few short months from now, federal and state foresters around the West will purposely set controlled burns to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires later. This is a regular practice in Oregon, Idaho and California, but much less common in Washington state.

Since construction workers discovered prehistoric mammoth bones under the end zone of Oregon State University's football stadium last week, thousands of extinct animal bones and fragments have been excavated.

But one last pile of dirt is still being explored by university students in an extraordinary on-campus assignment.

Canada's Great Bear Rainforest.
Flickr Photo/BC Gov Photos (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ubjonq

Bill Radke speaks with Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer about a new deal to protect millions of acres of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia.

The goats and their kids are a popular site in Washington state's enchantments.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Getting a permit to stay in one of Washington's most coveted backpacking areas will require more luck this year.

For decades, a growing number of consumers have turned to organic produce as a healthier alternative to vegetables and fruits grown with chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

It turns out that organic crops are better suited for farmlands subjected to drought conditions, according to a study published today in the the journal Nature Plants.

The state inspector thought his visit to Odessa, Washington, would be routine: a knock on the door, a chat with the operators, a look around the corrugated metal warehouse where they ran a biodiesel plant.

But when Jerry French arrived at the TransMessis Columbia Plateau facility in eastern Washington this past March, the door was locked. It seemed abandoned, but he could see chemical drums inside through the windows.

It just didn’t look right, he thought.

After getting the door unlocked, French discovered the mess.

Federal agencies and university scientists are making progress on the deployment of an earthquake early warning system for the West Coast. That was one of the messages from a half-day earthquake preparedness summit hosted by the White House Tuesday.

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