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.

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EarthFix Report
3:46 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

China To Lift Ban On West Coast Shellfish

Last year the United States exported more than $500 million worth of shellfish with China as its biggest customer.
Katie Campbell

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 1:53 pm

China will lift its ban on imports of geoduck clams and other shellfish from the West Coast, according to a statement from Washington Congressman Derek Kilmer.

“The lifting of this ban is great news for shellfish growers and businesses in our region,” Kilmer said Friday in a statement. “China is a key export market for our region’s shellfish and this news means greater economic stability for the workers and families in our region.”

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Environment
3:00 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Traces Of Drugs In Water: What's The Impact?

Penn State graduate student Alison Franklin holds up one of five prescriptions in her medicine closet. (Katie Colaneri/WHYY)

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 3:28 am

Scientists have known for a long time that the water coming out of your faucet at home might contain traces of drugs prescribed to people you've never met.

Research shows no one is getting a full dose of say, Prozac, from drinking tap water. But scientists do wonder whether pharmaceuticals in water supplies may be having more subtle, long-term impacts on human health and aquatic life.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Katie Colaneri of WHYY reports.

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C02 Reductions
12:59 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Chinese Goverment Moves To Curb Air Pollution

Downtown Tianjin, China.
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.

Summer Forecast
9:35 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Long, Warm Summer On Tap According To Weather Service Outlook

National Weather Service is forecasting a strong probability of above-normal temperatures in June, July and August for most of the Northwest.

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 4:28 pm

The supercomputers at the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center have crunched long-term trends to produce an outlook for June, July and August. For most of the Northwest, the forecast gives a strong probability of above-normal temperatures.

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Cascadia Fault Line
3:36 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

New Research Takes Us A Step Closer To Understanding Earthquakes

The Cadillac Hotel in Seattle suffered severe damage in the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake.
Credit Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives

Ross Reynolds talks to Dr. John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, about new research on predicting earthquakes.

EarthFix Reports
7:49 am
Wed May 21, 2014

SolarWorld Among Victims of Alleged Chinese Hacking

Entrance to SolarWorld in Hillsboro, Oregon. The company is among victims in a cyberspying campaign the U.S. Department of Justice say Chinese officials used to steal trade secrets.
Oregon Department of Transportation

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 3:28 pm

SolarWorld, a solar panel manufacturer with its U.S. operation in Hillsboro, Oregon, is among the companies listed as victims in an alleged cyberspying campaign carried out by the Chinese government.

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EarthFix Reports
7:49 am
Wed May 21, 2014

A Wild and Scenic Underground River In Southern Oregon?

The River Styx could become the nation's first underground Wild and Scenic river with a proposed expansion of the Oregon Caves National Monument.
National Park Service

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 2:14 pm

A proposed expansion of Oregon Caves National Monument would make the River Styx the nation’s first underground river to receive Wild and Scenic status.

The River Styx flows through the main cave system of the national monument in Southern Oregon. The water drains into the Illinois River before joining the Rogue River.

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EarthFix Reports
7:49 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Yakama Nation Protests Coal Export Terminal

Yakama Nation fishers and tribal leaders hopped on boats to the fishing site. As a protest, they dropped a net right next to the proposed Morrow Pacific coal export facility.
Courtney Flatt

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 5:44 pm

BOARDMAN, Ore. -- Yakama Nation tribal members took to the Columbia River Tuesday to protest a proposed coal export facility in eastern Oregon. The tribe says the export facility would cut fishers off from treaty-protected fishing sites along the river.

More than 70 people held signs and waved flags on the banks of the Columbia River, just downstream from the proposed Morrow Pacific coal export terminal.

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Environment
12:21 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Why Those Tiny Microbeads In Soap May Pose Problem For Great Lakes

Researcher Sherri Mason looks for microbeads in a water sample from Lake Michigan. Legislation to phase out products containing the beads is pending in New York and Illinois.
Cheryl Corley

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:19 pm

From the shoreline at North Avenue Beach in Chicago, the blue water of Lake Michigan stretches as far as the eye can see. But beneath that pristine image, there's a barely visible threat, says Jennifer Caddick of the Alliance for the Great Lakes: microbeads.

These tiny bits of plastic, small scrubbing components used in hundreds of personal care products like skin exfoliants and soap, can slip through most water treatment systems when they wash down the drain.

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EarthFix Reports
10:17 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Arrests Highlight Threat To Ancient Redwoods

File photo of a redwood burl. Burl thieves have been striking in Northern California's forests recently.
aefitzhugh / Flickr

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 7:43 am

Two northern California men have been charged with damaging old growth trees in the Redwood National and State Forest. The arrests are the first in response to a recent increase in illegal poaching of redwood burl.

You’ve probably seen countertops or furniture made from redwood burl. The richly colored, swirling grain is prized for its beauty and can fetch a hefty price. A coffee table or bar top can sell for thousands. That kind of money — combined with a largely unregulated market for the wood — has proved irresistible to poachers in the northern California forests.

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'Smells Like A Toilet'
8:20 am
Mon May 19, 2014

New Organic Fertilizer Less Smelly, More Popular With Farm Workers

Alan Schreiber is an organic and research farmer. He’s testing a new better-smelling organic liquid fertilizer at his farm near Eltopia, Washington.

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 6:35 pm

When you think organic, you probably visualize fresh, sweet-smelling fruits and vegetables. But what makes that delicious organic produce grow?

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EarthFix Reports
7:40 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Local Coal? A Mom And Pop Coal Mine Near Seattle Looks To Get Back To Work

This photo, probably taken between 1905 and 1910, shows a group of coal miners at the early entrance of a mine near Newcastle, Washington. Coal mining could return to eastern King County under a proposal that many residents oppose.
Museum of History & Industry, Seattle http://digitalcollections.lib.washington.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/imlsmohai/id/7029/rec/5

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 5:27 pm

BLACK DIAMOND, Wash. -- Environmentalists have launched a full-on offensive against coal export terminals proposed for Washington and Oregon, but they might want to take a look closer to home.

A small open pit coal mine just outside of Seattle is looking to get back in business.

The John Henry Mine, formerly the Black Diamond Mine, has been in operation on and off since the late 1800s, but it closed down in 1999.

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Environment
7:39 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Public Voices Concerns Over WA Birth Defect Increases

At a meeting in Kennewick, the health department asked people to raise concerns about a rare birth defect that officials may not have considered yet. Twenty-three babies were born with anencephaly in Central Washington from 2010-2013.
Courtney Flatt

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 10:29 pm

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Over the past three years, a rare birth defect has shown up Central Washington at a rate that's four times the national average. Now, the state health department is turning to the public for clues about what’s causing the fatal condition.

Anencephaly is a rare, fatal birth defect. During the fourth week of pregnancy, the baby’s brain and skull don’t form completely. If babies survive the pregnancy they often live for only a few days.

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Don't Feed The Animals
7:37 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Ilwaco Retiree Could Be First Charged Under New Law Banning Feeding Of Bears

File photo of an American black bear

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 9:38 am

The bears have woken up and once more that’s creating conflicts around the region. Washington Fish and Wildlife police are recommending that an Ilwaco woman face charges for allegedly feeding wild bears.

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EarthFix Reports
9:22 am
Tue May 13, 2014

New Study: Glacial Collapse In Antarctica 'Unstoppable'

Flickr Photo/goneforawander

New research from the University of Washington and other institutions provides detailed predictions for the collapse of an ice shelf in West Antarctica.

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