News
5:07 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

BP Refinery Shutdown Starting To Look Lengthy

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 12:00 am

The oil company BP is zeroing in on a cause for last week's explosion at its big Cherry Point refinery near Ferndale, Washington. But the investigation and repairs are moving slowly. That doesn't bode well for gasoline prices in Western Washington and Oregon.

In a memo to the refinery's neighbors, BP said it has isolated the source of last week's explosion. It blames a "failure" in something called the Crude Vacuum Unit. BP says it needs to figure out how to make sure the failure doesn't happen again before it restarts production.

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Washington State Legislature
5:04 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Wash. House passes bill pressuring sex ad sellers

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington state Legislature has passed a bill going after classified advertising companies that don't demand ID before allowing sex-related ads to be posted online. The measure is primarily targeted at Backpage.com.

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Election 2012
3:51 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Inslee defends election strategy, says he'll stay in Congress and run for governor

Rep. Jay Inslee speaking at a manufacturing facility earlier this month in Seattle.
The Associated Press

Despite trailing Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna in several polls and grumbling from within the Democratic party that he focus on the governor’s race, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) says his campaign for the governor's mansion is on track. 

About remaining in Congress while the election for Washington state's top seat heats up in earnest, Inslee said: “Listen, that did not stop me from putting out my job creation agenda. … Yes, I've got some responsibilities in Washington D.C., but we are pursuing a very vigorous effort to [get] people back to work.”

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Environment
1:50 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Puget Sound 'tub' tainted by industrial residue of toxic dioxin

A dioxin survey map from the EPA, establishing baseline data through sampling by the research vessel Bold. Sediment samples were collected and analyzed at 70 locations throughout the Sound.
US EPA image

When you think about Puget Sound, a bathtub might not be the first image to come to mind.

But that’s one way environmentalists and scientists sometimes describe it, because the shape of Puget Sound is an important factor when it comes to keeping it clean.

A long-awaited report from the Environmental Protection Agency on the health effects of dioxin is confirming what many experts have known for a long time. 

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Washington, D.C., correspondent for KPLU online. You can email Jake Ellison, Online Managing Editor, at jellison@kplu.org for information.

Salmon virus
1:19 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Canadian gov. defends actions in dustup over salmon virus

Scientists testify at the Cohen Commission in Vancouver, B. C., in December. One scientist testified that she feared the government would remove salmon samples from her lab if she reported her findings suggesting a virus was present.
Craig McCulloch KPLU

Widespread concerns that Canadian officials are silencing scientists have not been assuaged by a detailed government response to the accusations. The battle over “muzzling” Canadian scientists has been broiling for months after it was revealed that a virus deadly to salmon might have been discovered in salmon returning to the Fraser River.

The January response crafted by the Canadian government and submitted to the Cohen Commission after three days of hearings in December absolved officials for not reporting “suspected detection” of Infectious Salmon Anemia, or ISA, in waters off the Pacific Northwest.

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John T. Williams
11:52 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Update: John T. Williams totem pole raised

Roughly 90 people carried a totem honoring slain First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams from the Seattle Waterfront to Seattle Center on Sunday.
Erin Hennessey KPLU

A 34-foot totem pole honoring slain First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams was carried from the Seattle Waterfront to Seattle Center and raised by some 90 people on Sunday. The pole was carried to its final destination with traditional singing, drumming, and dancing. 

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Food and the law
11:22 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Judge dismisses organic farmers' case against Monsanto

Farmer Alan Madison fills a seed hopper with Monsanto hybrid seed corn near Arlington, Illinois, U.S. A group of organic and other growers say they're concerned they'll be sued by Monsanto if pollen from seeds like these drift onto their fields.
Daniel Acker Landov

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 8:37 am

A New York federal court today dismissed a lawsuit against agribusiness giant Monsanto brought by thousands of certified organic farmers. The farmers hoped the suit would protect them against infringing on the company's crop patents in the future.

The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and several other growers and organizations do not use Monsanto seeds. But they were betting that the judge would agree that Monsanto should not be allowed to sue them if pollen from the company's patented crops happened to drift into their fields.

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Experiments in journalism
11:04 am
Mon February 27, 2012

PLU symposium: Water is rare, scary and flows to the powerful

In the Student Forum: PLU senior Stena Troyer, current sustainability director, talks about the environmental impact reusable bags can have on reducing the amount of plastic bags our society uses.
Igor Strupinskiy PLU student

Students journalists covering "Our Thirsty Planet," a symposium about water put on by Pacific Lutheran University’s Wang Center for Global Education, have wrapped up their coverage on "Water For Thought," a Website created for KPLU's experiment in student-sourced journalism.

With videos and stories, the students review the impact of the symposium and new perspectives on water. Below are headlines and highlights:

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Street work
10:10 am
Mon February 27, 2012

104 pedestrians killed in 8 years; more Seattle streets should be on a diet, advocates say

Cyclist riding in Stone Way's bicycle lane created when that Seattle street was put on a diet.
SDOT

Cars and pedestrians collided fatally in Seattle 90 times between 2001 and 2009 – killing 104 pedestrians. The advocacy group Walking in Seattle reports that 28 of the fatal incidents could have been prevented by rechannelization or road diets.

The pedestrian-friendly group says Seattle should consider putting the streets where these 28 collisions occurred on a road diet. The city of Seattle has one street on the books.

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