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.

Gabe Galanda is an attorney specializing in Native American law
KUOW Photo/Caroline Chamberlain

Bill Radke sits down with Seattle-based lawyer Gabe Galanda to talk about the protests surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Galanda opposes the pipeline and joined the protests in North Dakota earlier this month.

He also helped draft a resolution in opposition to construction of the pipeline that was introduced at a Seattle City Council meeting Monday.

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Andrew Cullen/Reuters

For weeks, members of the Standing Rock Sioux have gathered in Cannonball, North Dakota standing against what's known as the Dakota Access pipeline.

The 1,172-mile pipeline is a $3.7 billion dollar project that would carry about 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois.

Its route would take the pipeline under the Missouri River, just upstream from the Standing Rock reservation, and Sioux tribal members say this would threaten their drinking water and sacred sites.

KUOW environment report Ashley Ahearn speaks with Carol Bogezi about how growing up on a farm in Uganda lead her to studying human-carnivore relationships at University of Washington and working with ranchers and wolves in Eastern Washington. Bogezi is the recipient of a $100,000 award for environmental leadership from Seattle’s Bullitt Foundation.

In North Dakota, work has stopped on one section of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Still, over the weekend protesters continued to stream into camps set up near the construction site.

One protest camp is about an hour's drive south of Bismarck. A prairie there is covered with tepees, tents and RVs. Flags from tribes around the country line the dirt road into the camp.

Sound board studio
KUOW Photo

How should Seattle use millions of dollars to end homelessness in the city? According to two new reports, it should redirect resources from transitional housing to more permanent housing programs. How will the city tackle these recommendations?

Meanwhile, Seattle City Council is considering a controversial ordinance that would change how the city conducts homeless encampment evictions. What is the conversation around these evictions really about?               

Alarmed Russians are sharing photos on social media of a Siberian river that has suddenly and mysteriously turned blood red.

Russian authorities are trying to determine the cause of the ominous change to the Daldykan River, located above the Arctic Circle and flowing through the mining town of Norilsk. Photos posted on Facebook by the Association of the Indigenous Peoples of the Taimir Peninsula clearly show the river has turned a vivid red.

Seattle is making strides in reducing its carbon footprint. A new report from the city finds that greenhouse gas emissions fell by 6 percent over a six-year period.

The report was prepared by the Stockholm Environment Institute. It looked at the years between 2008 and 2014. Energy-efficient homes and vehicles were among the biggest factors in curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

A plan to make room for more oil trains in the Columbia River Gorge is moving closer to a decision.

The Wasco County Planning Commission heard testimony Tuesday on a proposal to build a second set of Union Pacific Railroad tracks along the Oregon side of the Columbia River.

Most populations of humpback whales no longer need endangered species protections, according to a decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The U.S. government listed all humpback whales as endangered back in 1970, after commercial whaling had drastically reduced their numbers.

The humpback whale has made a significant recovery since being listed as endangered nearly 50 years ago. But a federal review issued Tuesday indicates Northwest humpbacks are still showing signs of trouble.

The review evaluated the Endangered Species Status of the whale worldwide. This time around, U.S. fisheries managers did something very different.

Green Crab Invaders Show Up in Puget Sound

Sep 6, 2016

Sean McDonald’s heart sank when he got the text last week.

“I was shocked and dismayed,” said the University of Washington shellfish and crab expert, “I was really hoping that we’d have more time.”

Citizen scientists volunteering with the Washington Sea Grant had found an adult male green crab on a routine sampling trip to San Juan Island’s Westcott Bay.

Canvas bags may have a worse effect on the environment than plastic ones.
Flickr Photo/Karin Beil (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/5R6Qsb

Bill Radke speaks with Noah Dillon, author of a recent Atlantic article about the perils of owning (and not using) canvas grocery totes.

When the iconic sandstone formation known as "the duckbill" collapsed, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department wasn't suspicious.

Erosion happens. Rocks fall. The stretch of cliff where the formation was located, in Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, was so unstable it was fenced off to keep visitors away. There seemed to be no mystery: The 7- by 10-foot pedestal on the coast probably collapsed on its own.

Then a man named David Kalas said it wasn't time and weather that brought down the rock. It was vandals.

And he had video.

New rules are taking effect in Washington that require railroads to prove their readiness for an oil train spill.

The rules, adopted this week, will require railroads to file plans informing the state Department of Ecology of the steps they will take if an oil train derails and spills. The state then reviews those plans and puts railroads through drills to test their preparedness.

Spill planning was a longtime gap in oil train safety.

Railroads in Washington must now meet the same planning requirements as other forms of oil transport such as pipelines and ships.

The Washington Department of Ecology issued a $444,000 fine Thursday to Total Reclaim, the state’s largest electronic waste recycler.

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