Environment

Environment
12:12 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Here comes the sun ... and the Pierce County burn ban

It's great to see the sun again during this dark time of the year, but it carries a price.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has issued a Stage One Burn Ban for Pierce County, effective at 4:00 this afternoon. Outdoor fires are banned, and no burning is allowed in uncertified wood stoves and fireplaces.

The high pressure system that's bringing us sunshine through the weekend is also trapping more air pollution near the ground.

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Environment
11:41 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Ribbon seal far from Arctic home in good shape

In this photo provided by NOAA, a ribbon seal is seen Friday, Jan. 20 on a dock in Marysville, Wash. The ribbon seal is commonly found in the frigid waters off the coasts of Alaska and Russia, but has recently been spotted in the Seattle area.
The Associated Press

EVERETT, Wash. — An Arctic ribbon seal rarely seen in Puget Sound has had its southerly sojourn interrupted for a medical checkup that shows the male is in good health.

Marine mammal experts from NOAA fisheries in Seattle threw a net over the white-striped seal on an Everett dock Tuesday and held him for a 20-minute examination.

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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 lawsuit
3:36 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Groups sue over Navy sonar use off Northwest coast

Conservationists and Native American tribes have filed a lawsuit over the Navy's expanded use of sonar in training exercises off the Washington, Oregon and California coasts, saying the noise can harass and kill whales and other marine life.

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Environment
9:14 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Groups boycott 'The Grey' with Liam Neeson for portrayal of wolves

A new Liam Neeson action thriller opening Friday is receiving howls of protest from wolf advocates. They say “The Grey” wrongly portrays wolves as massive, bloodthirsty beasts. And some wildlife groups are organizing a boycott.

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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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Environment
3:11 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Arctic ribbon seal spotted in Seattle

In this photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Fisheries, an adult, male ribbon seal sits on an ice flow in Russian's Ozernoy Gulf in the summer of 2005, just prior to capture.
The Associated Press

A ribbon seal commonly found in the frigid waters off the coasts of Alaska and Russia has been spotted in the Seattle area thousands of miles away.

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Environment
12:57 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Environmentalists challenge logging plans over threatened murrelet

Three environmental groups intend to take Oregon's Department of Forestry to court over the effect logging has on a threatened seabird.

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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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Environment
12:30 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

Stage 2 burn bans in Pierce & Snohomish counties

A high pressure system continues to trap air pollution near the ground, prompting the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to elevate the burn bans in Pierce and Snohomish counties from Stage 1 to Stage 2.

Stage 1 bans remain in effect for King, Kitsap, Mason and Thurston counties.

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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 ... ?

Environment
3:18 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

It's burn ban time again

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has declared a Stage One burn ban for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Burning is prohibited in fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves, unless the stove is the home's only adequate source of heat.

A high pressure system is bringing cold temperatures and mild winds to the region. The system keeps air pollution from dissipating, and air quality is expected to deteriorate through Friday.

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Environment
1:05 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

EPA creates Website to ID biggest emitters of greenhouse gases

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 12:39 pm

Ever wondered who the big greenhouse-gas emitters are in your neck of the woods? The answer is now just a click away.

The US Environmental Protection Agency today unveiled a new website that identifies most of the nation's biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases. It lets you, for example:

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Energy
11:04 am
Tue January 10, 2012

Health division validates some concerns about wind farm noise

Upset neighbor of a wind farm in Union County, Oregon. By Tom Banse.

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 8:06 am

In a draft report, Oregon's Public Health Division acknowledges that noise from wind turbine blades may cause health problems among nearby homeowners. But the agency does not intend to take action against the burgeoning wind power industry.

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