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.”


government shutdown
5:26 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

King County WIC Workers Get Advance Layoff Notices

File image
Rogelio V. Soli AP Photo

At least 82 King County workers have received advance layoff notices as a result of the partial federal government shutdown. The workers administer food assistance to women, infants, and children through the program known as WIC. That food aid is in jeopardy as the shutdown continues.

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oil transportation
12:03 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Wash. State Pulls Permits for 2 Oil Train Terminals

  Officials are rejecting permits for two major oil-train terminals in Southwest Washington after deciding the projects should face more environmental scrutiny.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:13 am
Fri October 4, 2013

First Frost Today, But a Sunny Weekend Ahead

dorena-wm photo Flickr via compfight

The first frost of the season hit the northwest Friday morning on both sides of the mountains, but skies will be sunny for much of the weekend.

Enjoy it while it lasts, since it will turn rainy again on Monday, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

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snow on the trail
4:44 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Snow Stalls Hikers on Increasingly Popular Pacific Crest Trail

PCT thru-hikers struggling through several feet of snow on the trail earlier this week, north of Stevens Pass.
Kayla Bordelon

Bad weather is posing a hurdle for dozens of long-distance hikers determined to finish the Pacific Crest Trail. 

Rescuers are searching for two hikers stranded in snow in Skamania County. A Coast Guard helicopter rescued two other hikers stranded on the trail on Tuesday night. And many more hikers are trying to decide whether to continue on, or give up.

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11:39 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Tornado Knocks over Rail Cars, Uproots Trees in Frederickson

Rail cars are overturned near Boeing's Frederickson facility in Puyallup, Wash., Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 after a tornado came through the area earlier in the morning.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

A tornado touched down in the Pierce County town of Frederickson early Monday, knocking over rail cars, uprooting dozens of trees, and taking several cars for a spin.

Ted Buehner, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle, said the Level EF-1 tornado appears to have touched down at 7:20 a.m. The twister, whose winds reached 110 mph, was 75 yards wide and left behind damage estimated at $25,000. Tornados are divided into six categories of intensity, with EF-0 being the weakest and EF-5 the strongest with winds topping 200 mph.

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same-sex couples
3:36 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Seattle Ranks #1 for Same-Sex Households, Tops San Francisco

Dan Savage, left, and his husband Terry Miller are handed flowers after their wedding at Seattle City Hall, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Seattle is already known as the number one “chill city.” It also ranks first among best cities for college grads, new businesses, and tech jobs.

And now, we have overtaken San Francisco as the top big city in the nation for the percentage of same-sex couple households.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:48 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Mass: Jaw-Dropping Front to Make for Wet, Windy Weekend

Jonathan Cooper

Cliff Mass says his jaw dropped when he looked at the satellite image of an approaching system.

That wet front due to arrive on Saturday is “so extensive, so wide, and so intense” for a September storm, says Mass, KPLU weather expert and professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

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5:01 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Bill McKibben of to Lead Climate Change Rally in Seattle

Steve Liptay Photo

This Saturday, environmental activist and author Bill McKibben will lead a rally against fossil fuel exports and the Keystone XL pipeline in Seattle. 

Known as one of the first voices to warn of the dangers of global warming, McKibben is on tour with his new book, Oil and Honey. He is also the founder of an international organization called, which he created to fight climate change. 

McKibben says 350 is "the most important number in the world, but nobody knew it until 2008, when Jim Hansen and his team at NASA published a paper saying we now know enough about carbon to know how much in the atmosphere is too much." 

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climate change
4:27 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Cantwell Grills NOAA Nominee on Ocean Acidification Funding

Cantwell says Washington's $270 million shellfish industry is at risk without adequate funding for monitoring of ocean acidification.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Ocean health is at stake as Congress decides whether to confirm the next head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The nominee faced tough questions from Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, about funding for research of and adaptation to ocean acidification.

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5:01 am
Wed September 18, 2013

As Fatal Epidemic Looms, Bat Walk Showcases Local Species

6-year-old Lucinda Purdy gets a close view of a preserved bat carcass from Professor Bassett's collection.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Two times this summer, rabid bats have been found in Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood. Health officials say it was an unusual coincidence, not a sign of an outbreak. But it doesn’t help the reputation of a creature that’s facing an epidemic. White-nose syndrome has been spreading westward from New York. 

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Northwest coal
5:02 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Hearings Begin in Environmental Review of Longview Coal Terminal

A coal train along the Columbia River, near Vancouver, WA
Erin Hennessey photo KPLU News

Scoping hearings begin tomorrow on a proposed coal export terminal in Longview, near the Columbia River.  It’s one of two Washington terminals that would ship coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming to Asia.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:49 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Mass: Blue Skies, then Beginning of End of Summer this Weekend

Mark Grealish photo Flickr

Good news: summer's not over just yet! There are still some blue skies left in the forecast, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. 

"About two and a half days, to be exact," says Mass, who teaches Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

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GMO food labeling
9:14 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Seattle City Council Votes to Support I-522, GMO Labeling

File image
Damian Dovarganes AP Photo

The Seattle City Council has voted, 8 to 1, to support Initiative 522, which would  require labels on food products that have been genetically modified or contain genetically-modified ingredients.

The council's decision comes ahead of the general election when voters will decide whether to approve the initiative. 

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Weather with Cliff Mass
2:04 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Unusual Culprit Led to 'Tens of Thousands' of Lightning Strikes

Jeff Abel Photography

“It was one of the most extraordinary displays of lightning that I can remember," said KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. "There were tens of thousands, not thousands ... of lightning strike yesterday over the region. Just startling."

What caused the atypical show? Not the usual culprit, says Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. 

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:15 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Mass: The Worst Is Over, and Summer Isn't Over Yet

Jonathan Cooper

The worst is over is now, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“The heaviest rain, and certainly the lightning is over for the time being,” said Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

And the good news, says Mass, is that things will get better—eventually.

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