Environment

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

King County is poised to join the city of Seattle and several other municipalities in passing a resolution banning the burning and the transportation of coal in Washington state. 

King County Council member Larry Philips is leading the charge to bring the county on board with what towns and cities all over the region have already done: saying loud and clear that coal is not the answer to the future of energy. The opponents are calling for a comprehensive environmental review of the effects of a proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham. 

Bellamy Pailthorp Photo / KPLU News

They’re the tools of modern-day warfare: unmanned aircraft systems better known as drones.

They’re also being tested to help carry out important scientific missions, including surveys of wildlife and marine debris in the National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula.

The Associated Press

Washington scientists guessed that mysterious mounds hundreds of feet below the surface of Hood Canal were deposited by Ice Age glaciers or built up by natural gas seeps or geothermal vents.

After taking a closer look with a remote control camera they have another theory.

A new peer-reviewed study by climate scientists finds the rise in sea level during the past two decades has been 60 percent faster than predictions from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The scientists also found that IPCC's estimates for warming temperatures was just right.

NBC News explains:

HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a judge's ruling that a mining company must go through a stricter permitting process before it can build a copper and silver mine in northwestern Montana.

Move over Abba, Sweden has found new fame. The small Nordic country is breaking records — in waste. Sweden's program of generating energy from garbage is wildly successful, but recently its success has also generated a surprising issue: There is simply not enough trash.

PORTLAND - Native American legends collected on the Pacific Northwest coast speak of battles between supernatural beings that made the ground shake and caused great floods. Those stories can't tell us how often great earthquakes occur here or how high tsunami waves have reached. Now, researchers from Portland State University have found fresh evidence of tsunami waves more than 26-feet high that washed more than three miles inland.

YAKIMA, Wash. - Wednesday, a federal judge in Yakima will consider a long-running case about cross border pollution in the Columbia River. The Colville Tribes and the state of Washington are trying to force cleanup of heavy metals dumped in the river for nearly a hundred years by a Canadian smelter.

Lawyers for Teck Metals, the Colville Tribes and state of Washington have agreed on some basic facts. Namely, that Teck's lead and zinc smelter in Trail, British Columbia dumped millions of tons of refining waste into the Columbia River between 1896 and 1995.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The state Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the state's existing hazardous substances tax, which was approved by voters in 1988, is constitutional.

PROSSER, Wash. – Most of us may be enjoying the fall sunshine, but Northwest wheat farmers are instead wishing for a little rain.

Nicole Berg digs her clean-up-to-now nails into the dry crusty soil on her farm.

About four to five inches down, there still isn’t any hint of past rain.

A few farmers did get some showers. Despite high-tech forecasts, Berg says often knowing when to plant still comes down to a hunch, decades of experience and an old wheat farmer adage.

According to a new study out of Washington State University, farmers of genetically engineered crops are dramatically increasing their use of herbicides. Researchers say farmers are spraying more in response the rise of so-called “superweeds.”

The new study analyzes 16 years of federal data on the nation’s corn, soybean and cotton fields. It finds growers with crops engineered to be herbicide resistant are now putting millions more pounds of weed killer on their fields than farmers who grow the non-modified variety.

The Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – New research has found that a hatchery using wild salmon to spawn the next generation can help rebuild endangered salmon runs without passing on genetic problems that threaten future generations.

A long, controversial investigation of a polar bear scientist has ended with his government employer saying it does not look like he engaged in any scientific misconduct.

Charles Monnett is a wildlife researcher with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, part of the Department of the Interior. He and a colleague, Jeffrey Gleason, wrote an influential 2006 report describing apparently drowned polar bears floating in the Arctic, which they saw during a routine aerial survey of whales.

Subhankar Banerjee / AP

JUNEAU, Alaska – An Alaska scientist whose observations of drowned polar bears helped galvanize the global warming movement has been reprimanded for improper release of government documents.

An Interior Department official says emails released by Charles Monnett were cited by a federal appeals court in decisions to vacate approval of an oil company's Arctic exploration plan.

MAZAMA, Wash. — Officials say numerous high elevation trees – some of them apparently hundreds of years old – were cut down or topped in the North Cascades last winter by a Mazama-based helicopter skiing company.

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