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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Water safety
3:44 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

With boating season comes risk of cold water shock

Wearing a lifejacket might not be a reflex in Washington, but authorities say it should be. Last year, 32 people died from drowning. Cold water shock response is thought to be the cause of many nearly immediate deaths.
sea turtle photo Flickr

Boating season opens this weekend and the weather forecast predicts mostly clear skies and temperatures in the upper 70s.

The warming temperatures have authorities concerned about water safety and the potential for deadly drowning incidents. Last year, 32 people died from drowning, and more than a third of them in the spring.

Wade Alonzo with the State Parks Boating Safety Program says Washington certainly sees cold water, even when the weather is fair.

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shopping green
4:14 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Want to be green? Have your groceries delivered

Amazon Fresh is one of the grocery delivery options in Seattle. Others include Safeway.com and the new Seattle startup, Geniusdelivery. Google is testing a service in the San Francisco area. FreshDirect serves New York City.
leff Flickr

Having your groceries delivered might seem like a self-indulgent luxury.

But researchers at the University of Washington have found that, most of the time, you can feel good about doing something for the environment when you order your groceries online and have them delivered instead of making a trip to the store.

“We like to call it 'the bus for groceries,'” said Anne Goodchild, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at UW.

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toxins in fish
1:41 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

How much fish is healthy? Wash. tribes push for updated standard

jpellgen Flickr

How much fish should you eat? The state Department of Health recommends two meals of fish a week. But the Department of Ecology assumes people eat far less, about the equivalent of one meal per month.

That’s because it uses those assumptions to calculate how much water pollution can be legally allowed in Washington—pollution that ends up in the fish we eat.

Efforts to change that standard have stalled, and Washington's tribes, fed up, are calling on federal authorities to intervene.

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Light Rail expansion
5:01 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Tacoma City Council favors Hilltop area for light rail extension

City of Tacoma

Tacoma is on the brink of more than doubling the length of its Sound Transit Link Light Rail line.

Under a plan just recommended by the Tacoma City Council, the current starter line between the Tacoma Dome and the city's downtown would extend north into the Hilltop neighborhood. 

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Marijuana Legalization
8:01 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

4/20 a special day for pot fans

JosephAdams Photo Flickr

Fans of recreational marijuana are expected to light up in record numbers Saturday. That’s because the date—April 20 or 4/20—is also slang for the time of day when many pot-users like to get high.

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urban planning
10:48 am
Thu April 18, 2013

Micro-housing boom has some Seattle neighborhoods up in arms

DarthNick photo Flickr

New buildings packed with dorm-like rooms for rent have been popping up in Seattle’s densest neighborhoods.

A grey area in the law is allowing these so-called “micro-housing” projects to go up without neighborhood comment. A brown-bag discussion on the issue of takes place at City Hall today.

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wastewater settlement
1:35 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Seattle, King County to spend $1.5 billion on wastewater upgrades

Concrete culvert with street sewer water draining from an embankment into Seattle's Carkeek Park.
Wonderlane photo Flickr

The city of Seattle and King County will spend $1.46 billion on upgrades to public sewer systems aimed at reducing the amount of polluted water entering the Puget Sound and other waterways, according to a federal settlement filed under the Clean Water Act. 

Under the agreement, the city and county will also pay $750,000 in fines for dumping raw sewage into the Sound and several lakes. 

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parenting for same-sex couples
5:00 am
Fri April 12, 2013

From 1983 to grandparenthood, lesbian group's shared history

The moms' group in the late 1980s
Courtesy Sunny Rivera

It all began in 1983 in the basement of a church.

They were a dozen or so lesbians in committed relationships who wanted to be good mothers. Some already had children, and some were still figuring out how to make it happen.

One woman even handed out mimeographed instructions on how to artificially inseminate with a syringe and sperm from a donor.

During a recent weekend, 10 of those women filled the living room of a home in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood.

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Shoreline protection
6:01 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

New environmental group to serve as Puget Sound watchdog

Sound Action says it will protect shoreline habitat by honing in on existing state law.
zenobia_joy photo Flickr

With its eelgrass beds and rocky beaches, Puget Sound’s shoreline is frequented by hundreds of species of fish and other creatures. State and federal agencies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on its restoration.

But Amy Carey, Executive Director of a new group called Sound Action, says the marine ecosystems that support sensitive species are still declining.

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Environment
10:27 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Opposition stirring against plans for big bottling plant in Anacortes

EJP Photo Flickr via Compfight

In the city of Anacortes, plans are underway to build what might become the biggest beverage bottling plant in the country.

Some residents are worried the scale of the operation will ruin their quality of life and put undue strain on the area’s water supply. Skagit County is considering a zoning change tonight to make room for the plant - and activists are planning to turn out against it.

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transportation planning
5:11 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Metro warns of major cuts to bus service unless lawmakers act

King County Metro

Facing a $75 million shortfall, Metro Transit says it will have to slash its bus service by 17 percent next fall unless the Legislature intervenes.

The cuts would mean the elimination of 65 bus lines; another 86 would have to run on reduced schedules.

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Environment
5:01 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Mount Rainier National Park poised to ban sales of bottled water

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most recent federal properties to ban bottled water sales. Before doing so, they had to install a siuffient number of filling stations like this one.
Courtesy Think Outside the Bottle

The disposable plastic water bottle is known for clogging landfills and choking marine life. As a result, 14 national parks no longer sell bottled water. And it looks like Mount Rainier National Park might be next.

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Environment
5:42 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Report: More illness, shorter lifespans in Duwamish River valley

This map shows the cumulative health impact scores for 10 of Seattle's zip codes.
Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition

A new report shows residents of Seattle’s Duwamish River valley are exposed to more pollution, have greater vulnerability to pollution-caused illnesses and live shorter lives than residents in other areas of Seattle and King County.

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Environment
6:07 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Governors' letter reignites NW coal exports debate

The debate over proposed coal export terminals in the Northwest is heating up again after the governors of Washington and Oregon sent a letter to the White house on the issue.

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Environment
8:05 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Gov. Inslee's climate change bill passes, controversy continues

A bill put forward by Gov. Jay Inslee directing the state to figure out how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has passed both houses of the Legislature.

The passage is a big step forward for the environmental lobby and the governor, who has championed clean energy. But there is still a lot of pushback in Olympia.

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