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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Living with animals
5:01 am
Mon June 24, 2013

For 'refugees from urban farming craze', a backyard to call home

One of Tiffany Young's ducks drying off after a swim.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Urban farming sounds like a great idea to many people. You can grow your own vegetables and put in a chicken coop, or keep some ducks to make it all come full circle.

But a Seattle woman behind an operation called Ducks and Clucks says many folks are biting off more than they can chew when it comes to the birds. It is she who often comes to their rescue.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:23 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Why summer solstice doesn't really mean sunshine, warmth in Seattle

This photo, titled "Raven and the Sun", is the work of Tim Durkan, a Seattle resident.

Listen to Cliff Mass' weather forecast for the weekend, plus an explanation of why weather experts say the summer solstice doesn't mark the true beginning of summer, meteorologically-speaking.

It may be summer solstice, but summer isn’t quite here yet, says Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington and KPLU's weather expert.

The reason, says Mass: “Summer solstice … is astronomical summer. It is not necessarily meteorological summer,” said Mass.”

“And in the profession, we all joke—and it’s not much of a joke—that summer starts here in Seattle on July 12. And in fact, there’s a lot of truth to that,” he said.

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Transportation alternatives
3:14 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Expert: Downtown Seattle streets 'extremely dangerous' for bicyclists

Craig Damlo Flickr

Seattle consistently ranks high on top-10 lists for bike-friendly cities. But the keynote speaker at an urban cycling symposium taking place at the University of Washington this week gives Seattle a scathing review.

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Transportation alternatives
5:01 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Cycling symposium: Seattle’s primer for more urban biking

Craig Damlo Flickr

Experts on urban cycling are convening at the University of Washington this week to talking about how to get more people out of cars and onto bikes. And the experts say Seattle is poised to get to the next level.

Seattle is about half way through its ten-year Bicycle Master Plan. An update is under way and expected to be approved by the Seattle City Council this fall.

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Environment
5:00 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Proposed hydro-energy project has Index saying ‘no dam way’

Snohomish County PUD wants to install a small, inflatable dam at this bend on the south fork of the Skykomish River.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

At a time when Washington state has been making headlines for the largest dam removal project ever on the Elwha River, Snohomish County is proposing a new one.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District says the proposed dam’s modern low-impact design would help the county diversify its energy portfolio and meet the future power demands of a growing population.

But the location of the proposed dam—on a wild and scenic stretch of the Skykomish River near the small town of Index—has many locals banding together against the project. 

'No dam way'

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Coal Exports
3:52 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Army Corps: No environmental study for Northwest coal terminals

In this photo taken Oct. 23, 2012, train tracks run through a wooded area near the site of a proposed coal exporting terminal Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Ferndale, Wash., near Bellingham, Wash.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dealt a big blow to environmental groups fighting proposed coal export terminals in the Northwest.

During testimony before Congress, an official with the agency said the Corps is not planning a broad environmental study on the impact of coal exports, meaning the proposed terminals' effects on climate change won’t be considered during the review process.

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Water pollution
5:00 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Human fecal bacteria confirmed in Seattle’s Thornton Creek

Fecal coliform bacteria has been found at several locations in the Thornton Creek watershed. A new study confirms the source is in large part human sewage.
courtesy Seattle Public Utilities

Scientists with the city of Seattle are narrowing in on the source of polluted water that flows through the city’s largest watershed. With a new study, they’ve confirmed human fecal bacteria are likely entering Thornton Creek at multiple locations near Northgate and Lake City Way.

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Environment
5:01 am
Mon June 10, 2013

FERC hearing on proposed Skykomish River hydro project

A view upstream from the site on the south fork of the Skykomish River, where an intake structure and underwater cavern would go for a new dam
courtesy Andrea Matzke

Federal officials will be in Index this week to hear from the public about a controversial proposal for a new dam on the Skykomish River.

Representatives from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will tour the proposed dam site at Sunset Falls, and take public comments as part of the licensing process.

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Coal Exports
5:59 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Sierra Club sues BNSF over coal dust from trains

Coal dust mingles with grass in Wyoming.
Eli Nixon photo Flickr

A coalition of environmental groups led by the Sierra Club has filed suit against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and five energy companies.

The plaintiffs say coal dust flying out of uncovered train cars is polluting Washington rivers and Puget Sound, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

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Environment
5:01 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Sediment health declining in central Puget Sound

Environmental specialist and lead taxonomist Kathy Welch examines a sediment sample pulled from Elliott Bay. A new study of the sediments shows a dramatic decline in the health of benthic invertibrates over a ten-year period, despite lower toxin levels.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Scientists examining the health of Puget Sound have uncovered a new mystery involving the very bottom of the food chain.

A new study from the state Department of Ecology shows toxins in sediments have declined over the past decade. But it also found declining health of the creatures that live in the sediment. 

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Business
5:19 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Fast-food workers walk out during job, demand better pay

Workers and their supporters rally for better pay and the right to organize,outside Qdoba on Broadway in Seattle.
Bellamy Pailthorp Photos KPLU News

Workers at fast-food restaurants all over Seattle walked off the job Thursday and rallied outside, taking part in a national movement calling for better wages and the right to organize.

The workers walked out of Taco Bell in Ballard, Burger King in Lake City, Taco Del Mar in the U-District, and Arby’s in Georgetown. During the lunch hour on Broadway, dozens of workers and their supporters waved signs outside an empty Qdoba franchise, demanding a living wage of $15 per hour. 

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Global warming
4:36 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Promise of the Arctic conference points to opportunities and risks

A polar bear on one of the last ice floes floating in the Arctic sea in June 2008.
Gerard Van der Leun photo Flickr via Compfight

The Arctic is getting hotter faster than any part of the globe. Experts predict the region will be free of sea ice during the summer within about 20 years. 

That’s creating a gold-rush mentality among many shipping and energy companies eager to capitalize on new trade routes or tap new sources of oil and gas.

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Disease prevention
5:01 am
Tue May 28, 2013

State seeking volunteers for bird flu tests on backyard flocks

istockphoto.com

State officials are urging owners of backyard chicken to sign up their flock for bird flu testing.

The state is trying to prevent an outbreak of a new strain of bird flu like the one recently seen in China. At least 36 people have died of the disease since March.

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Could you do it?
6:14 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Exhibit inspires woman to try to avoid buying plastics for a month

A look at the accumulation of plastics that crept into Sam Porter's life, despite her pledge not to use or buy any new plastics for a month.
courtesy Burke Museum

Plastics have only been in wide use since the 1940s, yet they are everywhere, from sandwich bags to phones, to keyboards, to rain gear. Even the cans of soup in the grocery aisle are lined with it.

It's hard to imagine a world before these conveniences. What would your life be like without plastics?

Seattle resident Samantha Porter decided to find out. She works behind the scenes of the Burke Museum, which is hosting an exhibit titled "Plastics Unwrapped."

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green design
5:01 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Latest in 'living building' green design: Self-sustaining classroom

The lab area inside the new SEEDclassroom in Seattle, which is aiming to become the first portable to meet the strict sustainability criteria of the "Living Building Challenge."
Bellamy Pailthorp Photo KPLU News

A prototype of a self-sustaining portable classroom has arrived at a parking lot in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

The classroom is meant to set a higher bar for schools by demonstrating they can meet the highest standard of green building design, the Living Building Challenge, fairly quickly. 

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