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.

Shell Oil wants to build more tracks at its refinery in Anacortes, Washington, to receive oil by rail. At a packed hearing in Skagit County on Thursday, more than 100 people turned up to comment on the proposal.

Shell's refinery in Anacortes is the last of Washington's five oil refineries to apply for permits to receive oil by rail from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota.

Government agriculture officials will kill up to 5,000 ducks, geese, chickens, pheasants and turkeys due to a bird flu outbreak at a hunting operation Washington's Okanogan county.

The Port of Seattle could soon host drill rigs and barges belonging to Shell Oil.

Earlier this month the Port Commission voted to lease Terminal 5 in West Seattle to Shell to moor and perform maintenance on drilling equipment during the winter months.

On Wednesday, EarthJustice and eight other environmental groups called on the port to reconsider its decision.

Marijuana growing operations can be major power hogs. Now that they're legal in Oregon and Washington, experts are looking for ways to make them more energy efficient.

Indoor pot growing operations use as much electricity per square foot as data centers, according to energy attorney Richard Lorenz with Cable Huston.

"Just growing four marijuana plants uses as much energy as running 29 refrigerators," he said. "The carbon output is incredible."

You want a cup of decaf. Your significant other is craving the fully caffeinated stuff. With the simple push of a button, Keurig's single-serving K-Cup coffee pods can make both of you happy.

But those convenient little plastic pods can pile up quickly, and they're not recyclable. And that's created a monster of an environmental mess, says Mike Hachey. Literally.

Wolves are a frequent topic of discussion in the Pacific Northwest and in 2015 Oregon will begin changing how these animals are managed. In 2005, The Oregon Department Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) introduced the Wolf Conservation Management Plan to help stabilize the states' wolf population. The plan is reviewed every five years and is set to be reviewed again this year.

It's been 75 years since salmon and steelhead last swam into the upper reaches of the Columbia River above Grand Coulee Dam.

Flickr Photo/Kartik Ramanathan (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A night so black you can’t see your hand waving in front of your face. So dark you could just reach out and grab a star.

True darkness is daunting and mesmerizing. For city slickers, it can be terrifying. And according to author Paul Bogard, it is necessary.

Solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, geothermal and waste-to-energy electricity production could account for 98 percent of Oregon’s and Washington’s electricity needs in just 15 years, according to two new reports.

The reports from the Wind Energy Foundation's Renewable America project, which promotes wind development, say developing renewables would create hundreds of thousands of jobs for the region.

Gov. Jay Inslee has been pushing for a “polluters pay” carbon reduction plan for the majority of his time in office. Tuesday marked the first time that plan went before the state legislature, when the House Environment Committee held a hearing of HB 1314. The bill, which was drafted by the governor’s office, has 37 sponsors, all Democrats.

Some people ride a bike instead of driving a car to reduce their contributions to climate change. Others shrink their carbon footprint by installing solar panels on their rooftops. Now, a Portland brewery has another suggestion: Drink low-carbon beer.

Migration Brewing introduced its new low-carbon brew on Thursday. It's a variation on the brewery's longtime red beer Blood, Sweat and Red, with half the carbon footprint. They call it the Little Foot Red.

Flickr Photo/Barnaby Wasson (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Tonight on KUOW Spotlight, we present the latest episode of Reveal.

Part 1: The Murkiness Of American Day Care Reports

State inspection reports of day care providers are public record, but accessing them is still a problem for many parents. Washington state posts records online, but more than a dozen states don’t.

A new distillery in the Tri-Cities is hoping to solar power your alcohol.

The founders of Solar Spirits are planning to distill vodka, gin and eventually whiskey – they would become one of the first distilleries in the Northwest to use solar power. The group calls their process “craft tech.”

Ever since residents in a Southern Oregon community near Gold Beach claimed weed killer sprayed from a helicopter poisoned them in late 2013, the Eugene-based environmental group Beyond Toxics has been pushing hard for stricter rules governing aerial spraying.

Now it has company.

The Obama administration is proposing new protections for large portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The U.S. Department of Interior says it's the first time it's recommended additional protections and that their new recommendations have the potential to be one of the largest conservation measures "since Congress passed the visionary Wilderness Act over 50 years ago."

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