Bellamy Pailthorp

Environment Reporter

Bellamy Pailthorp joined the staff of KPLU as a general assignment reporter in 1999 and covered the business and labor beat for more than a decade. She now covers the environment beat. She was raised in Seattle, but spent 8 years in Berlin, Germany freelancing for NPR and working as a producer for Deutsche Welle TV after receiving a Fulbright scholarship in 1989. She holds a Bachelors degree in German language and literature from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and a Masters in journalism from New York's Columbia University, where she completed the Knight-Bagehot fellowship in business reporting in 2006.

Bellamy's most memorable KPLU radio moment: “Seeing the INS open a shipping container at the Port of Seattle that contained stowaways from China, three of whom died en route of seasickness. Harrowing stuff, with global economics and inequity at its root.”

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Jeff Barnard / AP Photo

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story quoted Rep. Gael Tarleton, who said, "Oregon has a moratorium" on suction dredge mining. She also said, "The state of Idaho has banned suction dredging under the Clean Water Act." The state of Oregon does not have a moratorium though it does restrict the practice, and the state of Idaho has banned the practice only in some waters, including all areas designated as critical habitat for endangered salmon. 

Washington is the only state left in the Pacific Northwest where people mining for gold and other minerals are allowed unrestricted use of motorized vacuums in riverbeds.

The practice is known as suction dredge mining, and some are concerned it’s harmful to endangered fish. A bill before the legislature would place new restrictions on it while its impacts are studied.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The CEO of the Port of Seattle has signed a lease agreement that will allow the Shell Oil Company to base part of its Arctic drilling fleet in West Seattle despite the threat of a lawsuit from a coalition of environmental groups.

Orlin Wagner / AP Photo

The changing composition of crude oil could have big consequences for the future of the Pacific Northwest economy. That’s one of the key ideas behind a Freedom of Information Act request filed Tuesday by three environmental nonprofit groups. It has to do with exceptions being made to the nation’s 40-year policy of banning most exports of crude oil.

Tim Durkan

Keep your rain gear handy.

The record rain that hit Seattle and drenched the Olympic Mountains Thursday will keep pounding the region for most of the weekend, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Courtesy Peter Steinbrueck /

It’s been 20 years since Seattle adopted a growth management strategy based on so-called “urban villages.”

Those are neighborhoods targeted for high density to help reduce urban sprawl. A new report gives the city a mixed review. Among the critiques: people aren’t living close enough to where they work.

Tim Durkan

Dense fog blanketed much of the region Friday morning, but it burned off quickly, though morning fog is in the forecast again Saturday.

“Strangely enough, that’s a good sign,” said KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Matthew Brown / AP Photo

An overflowing crowd turned out to testify in Skagit County Thursday on plans to add an oil-train facility to Shell’s refinery in Anacortes.

The company says it needs to be able to receive Bakken crude by rail to remain competitive. 

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Environmentalists turned out in full force Wednesday to voice their opposition to a Port of Seattle agreement allowing Shell Oil to base its 26-ship Arctic drilling fleet in West Seattle.

A coalition of state and national groups is threatening to sue the Port over its agreement to lease the currently-vacant Terminal 5 to the oil company for up to four years.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Governor Jay Inslee’s plan to put a cap on carbon emissions and make big polluters pay got its first hearing in Olympia today. The bill would charge the state’s top emitters for each ton released, starting in July 2016. 

Elaine Thompson / AP

A proposed law that’s making its way through the state legislature could change the way first responders are mobilized during major emergencies, such as floods and landslides. Because the slide that devastated Oso last March wasn’t a fire, state crews were slow to help local teams.

Steve Mohundro / Flickr

Western Washington has been warmer than normal lately. People were shedding layers as the mercury hit temperatures in the 50s this week.

KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says that pattern will continue and intensify this weekend, especially on Sunday. Records will be broken.

SDOT / Flickr

The lethal effects of urban runoff that kills some salmon and their prey can be reversed by filtering the water through a common soil mix, according to new research by state and federal scientists.

When it rains or people wash their cars, the water that runs over pavement picks up toxic chemicals such as oils, heavy metals and residue from car emissions. This can go straight into our waterways.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

In the wake of the deadly landslide in Oso, Washington state lawmakers are considering a bill that would create a statewide database for geological hazard mapping figures.

Information is an important resource when it comes to preparing for potential hazards such as landslides or earthquakes. 

Ted S. Warrena / AP Photo

KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says his email inbox has been full of questions about when the snow will return to western Washington, especially in the mountains and ski areas.

“In fact, things are not great right now,” Mass said. And extended forecasts indicate it’s unlikely to improve much this year.

Tim Durkan

The mild winter weather will continue through the weekend, and a burst of rain expected Saturday should die down in time for the Seahawks game, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

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