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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2012 Elections
5:00 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Inslee vs. McKenna: Down to the wire on environmental issues

Current Attorney General Rob McKenna and former U.S. Congressman Jay Inslee are both vying for voters who care about the earth.
The Associated Press

For residents of The Evergreen State, the economy and the environment are two of the most important issues. They're shaping arguments in the hotly-contested race for Washington's next Governor.

So, if you’re choosing a candidate, who’s the greenest?

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Energy Efficiency
5:00 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Smart grid pilot project debuting at University of Washington

A smart grid meter developed by grad students at the University of Washington. It can be remotely controlled by an app, via cell phone or computer.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Most people who pay their own energy bills know that power is expensive. But where it’s coming from and how much it costs is often more mysterious.

That could change if technology that’s part of a demonstration project at the University of Washington catches on. It’s co funded by the US Department of Energy. The U-dub is the largest of 16 demo sites creating a new Pacific Northwest Smart Grid.

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Tunnel Safety
10:44 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Preparedness and special equipment make Seattle tunnels safe, say fire chiefs in Satsop

Seattle Firefighters testing their mettle in a tunnel at Satsop Business Park, west of Olympia. The never-finished power plants and underground water pipes here are used for safety drills by firefighters from around the country.
Jason Bauscher photo KPLU News

This week, the Seattle Fire Department has been in training for what might be a nightmare scenario: the possibility of fire inside a deep-bore tunnel.  A technical rescue team has been practicing at the unfinished nuclear power plant in Satsop, west of Olympia.

About a dozen firefighters are in a huddle at the base what was designed to be a cooling tower. It’s been re-purposed into one of the nation’s premiere training grounds for urban firefighters.

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Crime in Seattle
8:52 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Coalition concerned about public safety Downtown

Recent violence against tourists and residents in downtown Seattle is putting pressure on the city council to put more cops on the street.

The council received a letter from a large coalition of businesses and organizations concerned about public safety downtown.

The letter is signed by nearly 160 organizations and entities in Seattle, including several hotels, restaurants and the downtown Seattle Association. Its president, Kate Joncas, says they kept hearing from people about aggressive panhandling and open air drug dealing.

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Environment
7:52 am
Wed October 10, 2012

One month left for comments on spotted owl recovery plan

One of the northwest’s most controversial birds is still ruffling feathers. The elusive spotted owl was at the heart of the timber wars here in the 1990s. Some scientists are criticizing the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s plan to log some of the bird’s habitat.

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If Its Legal...?
6:00 am
Tue October 9, 2012

How will marijuana products be sold, and will they be safe?

In the modern marijuana market, there are many more products for sale than just the plant used for smoking.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

If Washington voters approve a ballot measure this fall legalizing marijuana, it would bring big changes – not just in the justice system, but in our communities. In our series “If it’s legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life,” we consider some ways things could change for all of us, even people who never smoke pot. Today we look at the industry for making, selling and regulating marijuana products that will spring up … if it’s legal.

The closest thing to a legal marijuana store right now is a so-called medical marijuana dispensary. They’re all over Seattle. Tacoma has a few as well. And you can go see what kind of products they have.

You just ring the doorbell outside a forest green storefront and you’ll be greeted warmly. At least, that’s what happened to me one recent morning, at the Center for Palliative Care in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. It’s called “the CPC” for short.

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Sustainability
5:59 am
Wed October 3, 2012

East Coast author defending salmon, speaking out against Alaska's Pebble Mine

"Eat some sockeye" says New York Times contributor Paul Greenberg, if you want to help sustain the future of wild salmon.
Courtesy Paul Greenberg

The future of food is a subject writer Paul Greenberg has explored extensively in his NYTimes bestselling book, called Four Fish. It’s also something that interests him deeply as a lifelong fisherman. He grew up in Connecticut, where he discovered this passion as a youngster.

KPLU’s Bellamy Pailthorp invited him into our studios for an interview about his last book, as well as a new one he's been researching in the Pacific Northwest. (You can hear the interview by clicking on the "Listen" icon above. )

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Transportation
10:44 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Seattle's free-ride zone is ending; 'funeral' is set for Friday

Members of the Transit Riders Union shown earlier this month. The group has been protesting the elimination of the ride-free area.
Jake Ellison KPLU

A cultural shift is taking place in Seattle. It’s the elimination of a free-ride zone downtown, for bus riders.

It’s been in place for four decades. And on Friday (Sept. 28) it will go away. 

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Superfund Cleanup
12:22 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Companies' volunteers and Forterra helping clean up Duwamish

“Volunteers pulling invasive Himalayan Blackberry”
courtesy Forterra

People power is helping to clean up one of Seattle's most polluted rivers.  On Friday, about a hundred volunteers who work for the Boeing Employees Credit Union pitched in along the Duwamish in Tukwila. They’ve set a five-year goal of cleaning up two miles of shoreline. 

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Killer whales
4:32 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Survival of male orcas depends on older females, study shows

A baby orca, sex unknown, was seen swimming between its mother and grandmother in Puget Sound in August.
James Maya Maya's Westside Charters

Researchers in the San Juan Islands say the survival of older female Orcas, after they go through menopause, helps younger males stay alive longer.

That might not surprise many humans, but scientists well-versed in the behavior of Orca whales say it’s a relatively new conclusion. And, in many species, females don’t live long after the end of their reproductive life.

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Environment
4:40 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

People for Puget Sound shutting down this fall

A major environmental group, People for Puget Sound, has been shut down by its board because of finances. The organization is being absorbed by two other environmental groups.

People for Puget Sound was founded in 1991 by a charismatic woman named Kathy Fletcher.

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Medical marijuana
3:06 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Seattle seeks to close medical pot loophole with zoning rules

To close a loophole in state law and further control the growth of the medical marijuana industry, the city of Seattle is proposing to tighten its zoning laws.

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Diversions
4:23 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Do you want Seattle to beat the record for days without rain?

Seattle and environs seen yesterday afternoon. We're closing in on the all-time record for sunny/dry days.
Jake Ellison KPLU

Hard to know what to root for – a record dry spell or the return of rain.

Our weather expert and University of Washington professor Cliff Mass says the race is on, and it’ll be close.

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Greening pro Sports
11:08 am
Wed September 5, 2012

M’s out to improve (enviro) average, change peanut packaging

Will this packaging help the Mariners reach a goal of 90 percent recycling at Safeco Field? The team's operations manager says plastic films that enclose snacks are a missing link in their strategy for responsibly disposing of fans' trash.
Courtesy of the Mariners

The Mariners might not be topping their league for play this season. But when it comes to sustainability, they say they’ve got a winning team.

Right at the top of the lineup for dealing with trash is a chemical company that has a new formula for packaging the peanuts you buy at the ballpark. It's BASF. Remember the cassette tapes they used to make? The German chemicals giant is a big sponsor now of the Mariners. Local compost producer Cedar Grove is also in on the deal.

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Gardens and Technology
1:00 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

'Cropswap' website takes barter between home gardeners online

A budding friendship between happy traders. Connie Parsons, co-founder of the Cropswap website, and Scott Shaffer expect they'll trade gardening tips via the site as well as continue trading for home-grown goods.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

What do you do when you’ve got a bumper crop of zucchini or lettuce? Or flower bulbs that have multiplied like rabbits? Many people give their extras away. And in the down economy, more and more hobby gardeners are trading their bounty at swap meets. 

A new website from a team in Seattle and Tacoma makes those transactions easier.

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