Environment

Fisher Slough
6:40 am
Fri October 14, 2011

More than fish depending on Skagit Valley estuary restoration

The Skagit River Valley is home to farmland that brings us everything from tulips to potatoes and berries. But the river that makes such rich soil possible is also home to all five native species of Pacific salmon – including threatened Chinook.

Efforts to restore fish habitat have sparked bitter battles in the past. Now, hopes are high as work wraps up on a project in the Skagit River Delta that has support from advocates for fish and farmers alike.

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Environment
2:09 pm
Wed October 12, 2011

Hanford ground water cleanup huge challenge, new pumps helping

RICHLAND, Wash. – Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are trying to flush and clean contaminated groundwater that runs deep under southeast Washington.

The massive plumes of radioactive and toxic chemicals are leftovers from plutonium production during World War II and the Cold War. Decontaminating all that groundwater is a monumental task. And as correspondent Anna King found out, it will only get harder over time.

Some of the groundwater pumped up from Hanford near the Columbia River is so contaminated it looks like flat Mountain Dew.

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Environment
1:53 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Oregon panel approves increased logging on Elliot State Forest

Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler speaks with protesters following a meeting of the Oregon Land Board.
Chris Lehman KPLU

SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Land Board gave the go-ahead Tuesday to a plan that will dramatically ramp up logging in a state forest in the Oregon Coast Range. The action came amid protests.

Environmental groups bused in protesters from Portland and Eugene. Long-time activist Tre Arrow led the group in a sing-along outside the Land Board headquarters.

Tre Arrow: "The time is now for the people to rise up."

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Environment
1:38 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Keeping sewage out of Puget Sound

Heavy rains can exceed the capacity of combined sewer/stormwater drainage systems, causing raw sewage to flow into local waterways
City of Seattle

It's a dirty topic with a refined name: Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). When heavy rains exceed the capacity of Seattle's century-old drainage system, raw sewage gets dumped into our rivers, lakes and Puget Sound.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is developing a Long-Term Control Plan for limiting CSOs to no more than one outfall per year.

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Environment
8:30 am
Fri October 7, 2011

Demand that Duwamish River be cleaned up enough to eat the fish

Duwamish Cleanup Coalition Coordinator, James Rasmussen, says the EPA's plan for restoring ecological health to the 32 square miles of Seattle's Superfund site should include the goal of being able to eat a fish out of the river.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

There’s a major milestone this week in the cleanup of Seattle’s Duwamish River. Excavators are removing toxic sludge from one of the most polluted spots in the city’s industrial core. Completion of this work will allow cleanup on the rest of the river. 

But critics say there are already signs it won’t go far enough.

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Environment
3:15 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Work begins on Slip 4 'hotspot' in Duwamish River

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Dennis McLerran celebrates the start of dredging on Slip 4, a hot spot in the Superfund cleanup plan for the Lower Duwamish Waterway.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

It’s one of the most polluted waterways in all of the Pacific Northwest. The lower five miles of Seattle’s Duwamish River were listed as a Superfund site a decade ago. This week, cleanup work has begun on one of its most toxic sections. 

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Environment
2:45 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Killer whales near Alaska village, appear stressed

Orcas, like the one pictured, have been seen farther up the Nushagak River than ever before.
DeWaine Tollefsrud Flikr

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Three killer whales have made an unusual trek up the Nushagak River in southwest Alaska.

NOAA Fisheries-Alaska region spokeswoman Julie Speegle says residents have seen killer whales at the mouth of the river, but never this far upriver.

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Alternative Energy
3:20 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Update: Biofuel demand high; $80 million to UW, WSU for research

Efforts to turn wood into biofuels received a major boost today in with the award of $80 million for research at the University of Washington and Washington State University.
Nigel Beaumont Flickr

Producing biofuels as an environmentally-friendly alternative to petroleum-based fossil fuels is a puzzle that has been bedeviling researchers for years.

Now, with $80 million pouring into research at the University of Washington and Washington State University, stakeholders hope to find the key for turning biomass from wood products into fuel for cars and jets.

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Pacific Raceways
4:30 am
Mon September 26, 2011

Racetrack’s expansion plans have enviros, neighbors worried

View of the plan to refurbish Pacific Raceways near Kent.

Plans to upgrade a dilapidated old race track near Kent are sparking an environmental debate. The owners of Pacific Raceways say that to stay afloat, they badly need an expansion that would bring thousands of new jobs to the area. 

Neighbors are worried about impacts on surrounding wetlands and fish habitat, especially because they say special legislation King County is considering to facilitate the expansion may set a bad precedent.

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Environment
5:35 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

First responders get electric vehicle training

SALEM, Ore. - A car wreck that involves an electric vehicle or a hybrid can pose grave risks to emergency personnel. A group of first responders in Oregon got a training session Thursday on how to handle a high wattage accident.

It's no surprise that an electric car might have more electricity pulsating through it than a regular car. So, how much power does it take?

Matt Paiss of the National Fire Protection Association says an electric car can pack quite the punch.

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Dam removal
9:57 am
Thu September 22, 2011

Congress must approve Klamath dam deal by March

Northwest News Network

Medford, Ore. — The U.S. Secretary of Interior released this week a draft report on impact of tearing down four dams on the Klamath River. It concludes that getting rid of the dams would increase salmon populations and create thousands of jobs.

But Congress could still scuttle the deal.

Secretary Salazar has until March of next year to decide if removing four dams and implementing a restoration and water sharing plan in the Klamath Basin is in the public interest.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
5:04 pm
Wed September 21, 2011

GAO to study Hanford treatment plant

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Waste Treatment Plant at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is getting more scrutiny after complaints over its safety culture. The U.S. Government Accountability Office – the investigative arm of Congress – is launching a review.

Representatives Henry Waxman of California and Diana DeGett of Colorado asked for the study. Both are members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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Dam removal
4:56 pm
Wed September 21, 2011

Demolition of four dams on Klamath clears major hurdle

The J.C. Boyle Dam is one of four on the Klamath River that would be removed if the plan goes ahead.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

The effort to remove four dams along the Klamath River has come one step closer to reality.

The U.S. Department of the Interior released a series of long-awaited environmental impact studies today which conclude that removing the dams would boost salmon runs and improve water quality.

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Environment
5:16 pm
Mon September 19, 2011

Seattle zoo prepares to release imperiled frogs

A female Oregon spotted frog from the Owyhee Mountains of Southwestern Idaho, rests in the hand of a researcher in this undated file photo taken in Idaho.
Associated Press

The Woodland Park Zoo is getting ready to release about 1,400 Oregon spotted frogs into Washington wetlands in a move to try to save the imperiled species.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
9:48 am
Mon September 19, 2011

Interior’s Salazar makes economic pitch for Hanford B reactor park

Ken Salazar visited Hanford’s B Reactor this past weekend. He supports efforts to make the site a National Park that would be open to the public.
Anna King KPLU

RICHLAND, Wash. – U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says turning a historic piece of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation into a National Park would be good for the Northwest economy. He made the comment during a tour of Eastern Washington this weekend.

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