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.

Northwest tribes took part in a national gathering Wednesday for native leaders in Washington, D.C., where top federal officials told them they stand together in opposing climate change and supporting treaty rights.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was among those who addressed the annual White House Tribal Nations Conference.

"There’s a saying: 'we don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.'" she said. "So that’s what climate change is all about. We have an earth that is in trouble."

Jewell’s comments were met with applause.

The rain California is getting lately may seem significant, but the state’s historic drought is far from over. One way water companies are nudging homeowners to use less water is by asking them to get rid of their lawns.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Daniel Potter of KQED reports that in some places, they’re even paying people to do it.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District pays homeowners $2 per square foot to tear out their lawn and plant something less thirsty.

Any parent of a rambunctious youngster can tell you trouble might be afoot when things go quiet in the playroom. Two independent research initiatives indicate there is a comparable situation with the Cascadia earthquake fault zone.

The EPA's final decision will cost the responsible parties $342 million and will cover 177 acres of the lower Duwamish River. 960,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment will be dredged from the bottom of the river, and 24 acres will be capped with clean sediment to lock away contaminants below the surface of the riverbed.

KUOW Photo/Matthew Streib

Marcie Sillman talks with Roxanne Fonder Reeve, who, along with a slew of volunteers, is building a trash studio in her Columbia City driveway to teach people how they can build environmentally sustainable housing out of found materials.

Isoseismal map of the event.
Wikimedia Commons

In 1872, a mass earthquake rocked the Northwest. It’s on record as one of the most widely felt temblors in the Pacific Northwest.

But the location of the fault line that caused the quake has been a mystery for more than a century. They didn’t even know which side of the Cascades the fault fell.

SEATTLE -- Macklemore rolls up in his signature old black Cadillac, sporting black Ray-Bans and big boots.

He’s late. “Google took us on a bit of a joy ride this morning,” explains the rapper (real name: Ben Haggerty).

But fortunately, Seattle’s beloved star hasn't left concert-goers in a lurch. He's not here to perform. He’s come to this heavily industrial and polluted part of South Seattle to go for a paddle on the river he’s made his cause celebre: the Duwamish.

Food compost.
Flickr Photo/szczel (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Karen May, program manager of King County's Food: Too Good To Waste program, about food waste. 

Some of the world’s largest Christmas tree farms are right here in the Northwest. Some are harvesting about 20,000 trees a day.

The movie “Wild” hits select theaters Friday, December 5. It's based on a memoir by a Portland author who made a life-changing trek on the Pacific Crest Trail.

WINTHROP, Wash. -- This summer, the Carlton Complex wildfire swept through central Washington’s Methow Valley. The fire consumed more acres than any other fire in the state’s history. Now, ecologists are trying to make forests more sustainable to help prevent these large-scale fires.

Fire ecologist Susan Prichard was driving from Seattle to her home in Winthrop just as the Carlton Complex fire picked up.

Northwest lawmakers voted along party lines as the U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to reject a plan to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

This is the second part of a three-part series, “What A Waste: Why We Have To Stop Throwing Food Away.”

A pile of food waste can make rich compost for the garden. But some Northwest companies are going beyond composting. We discovered three companies that are turning it into energy to power homes, race cars and city buses.

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.

SEATTLE -- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee took the handoff Monday for his latest run at putting a price on carbon emissions.

It happened at a gathering at Seattle City Hall, where the chair of his task force on climate change, Ada Healey, delivered a set of options to the Democratic governor.

"Here you go, there’s a bow on it. It’s red," she joked.

Options put forward for Inslee's consideration include a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade system. The task force did not make recommendations on either approach to reducing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.

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