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.

The city of Ashland has a deer problem. At least that’s what some residents are saying after being intimidated, chased and occasionally attacked by the city’s resident deer.

After hearing complaints for years, the city held a “Deer Summit” Wednesday night to get feedback from the community. The standing-room-only crowd in the city’s courtroom told local leaders that something needed to be done to reduce conflict between humans and the deer.

David Hyde sits down with John Delaney, professor of oceanography at the University of Washington, to discuss what scientists are learning from a recent underwater volcano that erupted off the coast of Washington and Canada.

If you own a diesel-powered Volkswagen, you're well aware that this week the German car maker was exposed by federal regulators for equipping vehicles with a computerized “defeat device” that gave inaccurate emissions readings.

The cheat caused nearly a half-million of these diesel models since 2009 to emit low emissions during testing, but then turned off those emissions controls in actual driving situations – allowing the vehicles to get better gas mileage and performance while putting out more pollution.

The public is getting its first glimpse of the government’s killing of thousands of sea birds near Astoria.

The hunting is no longer happening under the cover of darkness, as it was when the culling program started. Government teams are now shooting cormorants in broad daylight.

Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
Flickr Photo/Ryan Raffa (CC BY SA 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1iMN9iL

Ross Reynolds talks to Emily Parkhurst, an editor for the Puget Sound Business Journal, about the University of Washington's new deal with Tsinghua University in Beijing to study clean energy technology.

A tall rectangular building juts out of a mountainside on a Norwegian island just 800 miles from the North Pole. Narrow and sharply edged, the facility cuts an intimidating figure against the barren Arctic background. But the gray building holds the key to the earth's biodiversity.

Sustainable, sustainable, sustainable.

Sustainable. Sustainable.


Oh, excuse me. I was just counting the number of times the word "sustainable" (and its close cousin, sustainability) appear in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that the U.N. will endorse this coming weekend.

I got 75. And I probably missed a few.

The SDGs, as they're called, aim to improve life on earth, especially in poor countries — no more extreme poverty, the eradication of "a wide range of diseases," education and equal rights for all, taking care of the planet.

US Rejects Protections For Greater Sage Grouse

Sep 22, 2015

The U.S. Interior Department says the greater sage grouse does not need federal protections across its 11-state western range. The long-awaited decision affects millions of acres across the Western states.

“Today I’m proud to mark a milestone for conservation in America, because of an unprecedented effort by dozens of partners in 11 western states, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the greater sage grouse does not require protection under the Endangered Species Act,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The administration of Washington Governor Jay Inslee has officially begun a rulemaking to cap greenhouse gas pollution from large industrial sources. Inslee is flexing his executive powers to bypass the state legislature, which has repeatedly chosen not to put a price on carbon.

Fire officials are starting to get a handle on the cost of Oregon's most destructive wildfires this year.

To date, the lightning-caused Canyon Creek Complex has cost about $30 million. The bill is shared between the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Oregon Department of Forestry.

"So we split that based on the number of acres across the entire incident," said Tracy Wrolson, who is the assistant district forester ODF's Central Oregon district. "ODF, private grounds had about 18 percent of the total acreage on Canyon Creek."

Cinerama preview of "Racing Extinction" raised money for Initiative 1401.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

University of Washington biologist Sam Wasser got a discouraging phone call last September.

“I got a call from our Fish and Wildlife agents on the border,” Wasser said. They said, “‘Sam, I am so frustrated because last week one ton of shark fins came through our port and I had to let it go.’”

rain gif
Bond Huberman

Ross Reynolds speaks with Cynthia Barnett, author of "Rain: A Natural and Cultural History," about the unexpected things she learned while writing a book about rain. The book has been longlisted for a National Book Award.

More people die prematurely because of the air they breathe than the 2.8 million who die each year of HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.

That's the startling statistic from a new study in this week's journal Nature. The annual global death toll from outdoor air pollution is 3.3 million. (Premature death is a medical term that means a usually preventable death that occurs before expected — for instance, earlier than the life expectancy of age 78 in the U.S.).

Walden Holds Fire Meeting In Canyon City

Sep 15, 2015

More than 50 people turned out Monday in Canyon City to discuss the Canyon Creek wildfire and forest policy. The meeting was convened by Republican Congressman Greg Walden.

Canyon City residents who lost homes or property in the fire still face uncertainties. Will the government provide aid for replanting and restoration? How much salvage logging can take place? Can rehabilitation be completed before winter rains begin?

David Calahan (left) and Chandra LeGue (center) hike up a trail in Southern Oregon. LeGue is carrying the Google Trekker to photograph the sights.
EarthFix Photo/Jes Burns

Earlier this summer, EarthFix reporter Jes Burns took us on a walk in the Southern Oregon woods with Oregon Wild. The conservation group had been chosen by Google to use a backpack-mounted Trekker camera. The plan was to document trails on Bureau of Land Management lands that could be affected by upcoming changes to how the forests are managed.