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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Environment
12:22 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Loggers and tree huggers united: feds rewarding cooperation in U.S. National Forests

Restoration projects in Eastern Washington’s Colville National Forest are a model for the nation; that was the word from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack two years ago.  

And now those efforts are netting nearly a million dollars in new federal funding.

At the same time, funding has been renewed for another project in Washington: the Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative, near Yakima.

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Redesigning Transit
8:20 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Bus route spared after public outcry; Metro adjustments enacted

Public outcry may rescue a popular South Seattle bus line. An amendment to the transit re-alignment plan passed by the King County council late Monday afternoon has temporarily spared the route.

Ten other bus lines that are considered inefficient have been eliminated.

It’s the first phase of a voter-approved plan to make King County's  Metro Transit agency more efficient.

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Environmental Law
12:44 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Tougher rules for oil spill prevention - hearings underway

On Oct. 13, 2004, about 7,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a ConocoPhillips oil tanker. The slick spread quickly and covered much of Colvos and Dalco Passage and Quartermaster Harbor in Puget Sound.
Courtesy of Washington Department of Ecology

Washington State already has some of the highest oil spill readiness standards in the country – if not in the world.

An update to those regulations is raising that bar even higher.

The tightening is in response to the catastrophic BP oil spill nearly two years ago in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The new law places new requirements on oil companies operating in Puget Sound or on the Columbia River.

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Environment
4:04 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Audubon map – new Puget Loop unveiled as enviro groups strategize

Stormy weather is not the best recipe for bird watching.

But that’s not stopping environmentalists from getting together in Olympia to set their legislative priorities.

And among the festivities celebrating the Washington Conservation Voters’  day of lobbying is the unveiling of a colorful new, hand-drawn bird-watching map.

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Other News
3:32 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

More of the mysterious Mima Mounds slated for protection

Mima Mounds
Wash. Department of Natural Resources

The Mima Mounds Natural Area, southwest of Olympia, may soon get bigger.

Not the tell-tale mounds themselves – the part of the the geologically unique landscape that’s protected by the state. Right now, the Department of Natural Resources manages just over 600 acres of it. A private party is donating 100 more to the preserve.

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Winter Storm
5:45 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Utility crews struggling to keep up with ice storm

Upwards of 250,000 homes served by Puget Sound Energy are without power – and some of the outages are expected to last a long as 4 days. Two of the region's other utilities were also reporting outages, bringing the total to about 280,000.

The ice storm is causing road closures and power outages all over the region.

Pierce, Thurston and Northeast King County are hardest hit.

As wet snow melts and then re-freezes, its weight is breaking tree limbs near roads or pulling entire trees out of the ground.

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Winter Storm
9:45 am
Thu January 19, 2012

Fast melt could pose environmental challenges

Brian Scollard takes a break from shoveling outside his house in Bothell. He likes the de-icer Seattle has been using, but isn't sure if it's good for the environment.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

It’s a tough commute out there for anyone who has to drive. Snow is melting fast, and ice is a big danger.

But in Seattle at least, the consensus seems to be that the city has improved a lot in keeping main arterials clear, by deploying trucks that preemptively spray de-icer and sprinkle rock salt on the roads when it snows.

It’s not without environmental risks, but officials say they’re doing what they can to strike the balance between maintaining public safety and limiting the risks from polluted runoff.

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Winter Weather
4:31 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Bothell taking snow in stride

Matthew Ortiz and his sons, Lorenzo (l) and Carlos leave a sledding hill near Meridian Street
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Northshore School District took a snow day today after seven inches of snow in the Bothell area on Sunday and a few more in the days since. 

Snowplows have been out, so the main roads are mostly clear, but many back roads and cul-de-sacs can be trickier to navigate.

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Job Creation
11:55 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Local aerospace still strong, but sector must not rest on its laurels

An employee works on the engine of a Boeing Co. 737 airplane last summer at the company's assembly facility in Renton, Wash.
Associated Press

Washington State inspires envy all over the globe for the large and growing number of high-wage jobs located in the Puget Sound region.

At the heart of our economy is Boeing and the aerospace sector that has grown up around it. Government leaders, unions and policy experts have been patting themselves on the back lately for keeping and growing these jobs.

They also know the competition never rests.

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I Wonder Why ... ?
4:30 am
Fri January 13, 2012

Mima Mounds continue to mystify scientists

Aerial photo of some Mima Mounds, courtesy of the WA Dept. of Natural Resources.

There’s a large swath of native prairie southwest of Olympia that’s very strange looking. So strange, in fact, that some have even said it was created by aliens. 

What makes it strange are “things” called The Mima Mounds.

We can tell you some things they are not, but we can’t tell you what they are. In fact, people have been trying to figure them out for centuries.

“It’s probably one of the most poorly understood phenomena in earth science,” says Paul Butler, professor emeritus of Earth Science at the Evergreen State College.

Read more on I Wonder Why ... ?

Economic Recovery
10:19 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Improving economy predicted for the Puget Sound

Are happier days just around the corner?
Flickr

"It is a sunny day, with some clouds," says Dick Conway, a Puget Sound Economic Forecaster. "The more I study the Puget Sound economy, the more I am struck by the fact that the more it changes, the more it stays the same."

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Traffic news
7:19 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Tolls on I-90 – probably just a matter of time

Surrounded by news media, Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond says she thinks automated tolls should be collected on both floating bridges across Lake Washington, not just on SR-520. (Ultimately, the state Legislature decides.)
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Many drivers seem to be avoiding the new tolls on the 520 bridge by taking I-90 instead. That’s not unexpected.

But don’t get used to calling the other bridge across the lake “The Freeway.” Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond says she wants tolls on both floating bridges.

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Traffic News
3:47 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

520 Tolls – Drive around or pay? Many are driving around

Consumers must choose how to allot their time and money when deciding how to handle automatic tolls in place on the SR 520 bridge. You can save money by registering with the state's Good to Go system, but must choose a transponder and set up an account.
WSDOT photo

Today is the first big day for car commuters since automatic tolling went live on the 520 bridge across Lake Washington.

It’s viewed as the start of the first really meaningful data-set for people who crunch numbers behind the scenes of the State Department of Transportation.

So far, the commute has pushed traffic to the south, with the I-90 bridge seeing more congestion … and more room created on 520, where drivers now have to pay to cross.

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Environment
4:33 am
Thu December 29, 2011

What's the best way to dispose of a Christmas tree?

Don't burn your tree outside! It's better to dissect it and re-use in the yard, if you can. Better yet, ecology experts say, don't buy one at all: rent instead.
CocteauBoy Flickr

Statewide, recycling for Washington State has reached the highest rates ever.  The biggest areas in which people are doing more are in reusing construction materials and composting food waste…and then there are those pesky Christmas trees.

Recycling rates have grown to 49% statewide – higher than ever. It’s an increase of 14% more than the prior year. 

But even though we’ve all become great at composting, many people still aren’t sure how to dispose of their Christmas trees.

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transportation choices
4:33 am
Wed December 28, 2011

520 Tolls starting tomorrow

Tolling rates for the 520 bridge. You can save money by registering with the state's Good to Go system. Drivers without transponders will pay the highest rates
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Tomorrow (Thursday, 12-29-11), electronic tolls will kick in on the 520 bridge across lake Washington.

A series of technical glitches caused multiple past delays.  But now, the reader boards are going live and billing drivers on the most popular route between Seattle and the east side.

There are many creative ways to get around the tolls, but you’re bound to have to pay, sooner or later.

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