Environment

Energy
5:51 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Energy developers eye new grid-stabilizing hydro projects

Artist's rendition of upper and lower reservoir of Swan Lake Pumped Storage Project northeast of Klamath Falls, Ore. Image courtesy of Riverbank Power

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 2:45 pm

PORTLAND - If you thought the great dam building era of the Northwest was long over, you might be mistaken. But we're not talking about damming rivers here. This is about building long earthen dams to make new off-stream hydropower reservoirs. They're being designed to act as giant batteries and shock absorbers for the electric grid.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
3:01 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Report: Hanford vessels fail to meet requirements

YAKIMA, Wash. — A federal audit has concluded that the Energy Department and a contractor building a nuclear plant at the Hanford reservation installed tanks that did not always meet requirements of a quality assurance program or the contract.

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Environment
10:41 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Mutant two-headed trout spur scrutiny of mine pollution

A study commissioned by the J.R. Simplot Company on selenium contamination in creeks in southeast Idaho includes photos of deformed Yellowstone cutthroat trout (top) and brown trout (bottom).
J.R. Simplot Idaho DEQ

SODA SPRINGS, Idaho - Here’s an image you usually don’t see without the help of Photoshop: two-headed fish. Pictures of deformed baby trout with two heads show up in a study of creeks in a remote part of southeast Idaho.

The study examined the effects of a contaminant called selenium. It comes from a nearby mine owned by the agribusiness giant, J.R. Simplot. Critics say the two-headed trout have implications beyond a couple of Idaho creeks.

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Phone Books
4:30 am
Tue April 24, 2012

Choosing to opt-out, fewer residents getting phone book

More than 20 percent of households and businesses in Seattle are opting out of phone books.

One year ago, the city implemented an opt-out program that includes fines for publishers that fail to honor opt-out requests.

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Killer Whales
5:09 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Possible albino killer whale spotted off Russian coast

The all-white killer whale is shown in this screen grab from a ITN video.

An all-white orca has been spotted by scientists during a research cruise off the eastern coast of Russia, near the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Commander Islands in the North Pacific, reports ABC news. The scientists have named the orca Iceberg.

“It is a breathtakingly beautiful animal,” Eric Hoyt, one of the scientists, told the AFP. “If we can get a full close-up of the eyes and they are pink, it would confirm Iceberg is an albino, but we don’t know much about albinism in orcas.”

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Environment
9:06 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Greenpeace protests cloud servers at Amazon in Seattle

Greenpeace hung this sign on Amazon's new Seattle building this morning.
Chris Eaton Greenpeace via Twitter

Calling attention to its recent study showing server farms, the basis for cloud computing, consume as much electricity as small cities, Greenpeace this morning put up a sign on Amazon's new building in Seattle:

"How green is your cloud?"

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Japanese Tsunami
1:16 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Tsunami debris hits NW coast; poster tells how to deal with it

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's model for where the Japanese tsunami debris is located.

Debris from last year’s Japanese tsunami has in fact hit Northwest beaches, according to new modeling by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Washington state is putting up posters to help you decide what to do if you spot any.

The new model by NOAA shows where the debris is, not when the bulk of it will hit the shores. But, as has been reported, some debris has crossed the ocean. Last week, the Coast Guard sank a derelict Japanese fishing vessel off the coast of Southeast Alaska. Also, glass and plastic floats have turned up.

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Wolf reintroduction
10:15 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Washington couple pleads guilty in wolf poaching scheme

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:50 am

A couple from Twisp, Wash., has accepted a plea deal in a wolf poaching case. Under the agreement with federal prosecutors, Tom White and his wife will not face jail time.

White, his father, and his wife Erin were indicted last year in a conspiracy to kill some of the handful of grey wolves that live in eastern Washington. Police discovered the poaching scheme in late 2008 when the family tried to send a wolf pelt to a tanner in Canada. A business owner in Omak, Wash., reported the FedEx package was bleeding.

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Environment
4:26 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Officials respond to oil spill on Elliott Bay in Seattle

Coast Guard and state officials are responding to an oil spill at the Bell Harbor Marina on Elliott Bay in Seattle.

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Environment
2:12 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

EPA wants full review of NW coal-export projects

The Environmental Protection Agency wants the Army Corps of Engineers to do a thorough review of the impacts of exporting U.S. coal through Northwest ports.

The EPA wants the Corps to address the overall impacts to human health and the environment from increases in greenhouse gas emissions, rail traffic and mining.

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Spring flooding
11:12 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Army Corps preparing for 'big water' in Northwest

An aerial view of Grand Coulee Dam. Photo courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 2:59 pm

Federal water and dam managers are draining reservoirs in the Columbia and Snake River basins to get ready for "big water" coursing downriver. In recent weeks, the Army Corps of Engineers has called for bigger drawdowns -- or as the agency calls it "drafting" -- to protect against flooding. Supervisory engineer Peter Brooks says more room is needed to catch runoff from the bountiful snows of March.

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Metro Transit
12:00 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Helping the poor when Metro 'free ride zone' disappears

For nearly 40 years, riding the bus in downtown Seattle has been free. Now, with Metro Transit set to end the free ride zone in September as a cost saving measure, officials are wrestling with how best to serve people who won’t be able to afford the new fares of $2.25 to $2.50.

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Global Warming
12:24 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Study blames ocean CO2 for oyster declines

oyster farms up and down the coast have been hit by the problem.
Claudia Wedell Flickr

Scientists are blaming slightly higher levels of carbon dioxide in Pacific Ocean waters caused by global warming for the failure of oyster larvae to survive in an Oregon hatchery.

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Environment
10:31 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Wash. nuclear plant a step closer to new license

RICHLAND, Wash. — The only commercial nuclear power plant in the Northwest is one step closer to a new, 20-year license.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday issued its final supplemental environmental impact statement for renewing the operating license for Columbia Generating Station.

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Environment
4:59 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Feds say 3 pesticides harmful to salmon

A draft federal evaluation has found that three more common pesticides used on home lawns and agricultural crops jeopardize the survival of West Coast salmon.

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