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.”


Weather with Cliff Mass
9:58 am
Fri October 18, 2013

No Rain in the Forecast This Week, but More Fog, Afternoon Sun

Keith Seinfeld

The very dense fog hanging around the region this morning bodes well for a long sunny day ahead, and the week will continue with that pattern, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“As I mentioned before, that’s a tremendously good sign,” said Mass, who teaches Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. He says the densest fog usually means the sunniest afternoons.

“The clouds, the cold air, that low foggy layer is actually very shallow today and I expect it to burn out much quicker than it has in the past,” he said, predicting that it should be completely sunny outside by 11 this morning, with temperatures going up to around 60.

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Protecting Fish
9:01 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Watchdog Group Concerned about Hydraulic Code Update

Any construction that touches the state's waterways is subject to regulation under Washington's Hydraulic Code
philsnyder Flickr via compfight

Proposals to streamline permitting for development in and around state waters have some environmental groups worried. The groups are concerned the changes could weaken crucial protections for fish and their habitat. 

The law in question is the state’s Hydraulic Code, which dictates how permits are issued for any project that touches a waterway—things like docks, culverts, and bulkheads. The law’s main aim is to protect fish and their habitat.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:00 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Why the Fall Brings Dense Fog, and Why That’s a Good Thing

A foggy October sunrise over Seattle, Lake Washington, Bellevue, and the Cascade Mountains.
Tim Durkan

Late September and early October are the foggiest time of the year in the Northwest, according to Cliff Mass, KPLU weather expert and professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Why is that? Mass says fall in the Northwest brings all the right ingredients.

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Regulating Pollution
4:54 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Clean Water Suit Alleges State's Fish Consumption Rate Outdated

How much fish is safe to eat? That’s the key question in a federal lawsuit filed today

The plaintiffs are trying to force stricter limits on pollution in local waters. A coalition of groups including clean water advocates, tribes, and the commercial fishing industry have filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:13 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Soggy Weekend Likely, but Glorious Fall Sun in Week Ahead

zenobia_joy Flickr via compfight


The clouds and light rain that have been darkening skies in southern King County should give way to dry weather and partly cloudy skies later today. And that’s just the first glimmer of nice fall weather in a week that promises to bring lots of mid-October sunshine.

That’s according to KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

“By this afternoon it’ll be partly cloudy,” Mass said, and “completely dry in all of western Washington.”

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Foraging in the Northwest
5:02 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Happy Foragers Finding Bumper Crop of Wild Mushrooms

James Nowak reaching for a prime specimen of porcini in underbrush near Alpental ski area.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Wild mushrooms are going gangbusters this year in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to just the right weather conditions, and foragers are rejoicing after last year’s shortage

Among them is James Nowak, an amateur mycologist who spends most of his days working with mushrooms. When he’s not out in a forest hunting for mushrooms, he grows them in his lab in Seattle or processes them for sale to restaurants and home cooks.

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plastic bag ban
2:40 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Olympia Becomes 10th Wash. City to Ban Plastic Bags

Starting in July, Olympia will ban single-use plastic bags like these

Olympia has become the tenth city in Washington to ban disposable plastic bags from retail stores.

A unanimous vote from the Olympia City Council means starting in July, shoppers will have to bring their own reusable totes or pay 5 cents for a paper bag. Olympia joins nearby Tumwater and unincorporated Thurston County in enacting the ban.

Katrina Rosen, field director with Environment Washington, says the news is evidence of the growing movement spreading in the south Sound.

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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

Listen here for the extended weekend forecast - as well as Cliff's advice to the perennial question,"Should I buy a ski pass?" And his concerns about the effects of the government shutdown on weather predictions and research.

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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