Environment

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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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
9:36 am
Mon September 19, 2011

Salazar pushes Hanford reactor as national park

Hanford's B reactor.

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the historic B Reactor at the Hanford nuclear reservation should be part of a national park to tell how the nuclear era was born out of World War II.

Salazar visited the reactor Sunday with Sen. Maria Cantwell, Rep. Doc Hastings and Gov. Chris Gregoire.

The Tri-City Herald reports the B Reactor would be a key attraction in the Manhattan Project National Historical Park along with properties at Los Alamos, N.M., and Oak Ridge. Tenn.

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Elwha River restoration
9:31 am
Mon September 19, 2011

Wild-fish groups to sue over Elwha River hatchery

One of the dams to be destroyed in the Elwha River restoration project. A fish hatchery slated to be part of the restoration has raised concerns.

SEATTLE — Wild-fish advocates say they plan to sue federal and Washington state agencies over a fish hatchery built as part of the Elwha River restoration project.

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Sockeye Salmon
4:01 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

Idaho sockeye salmon count exceeds expectations

Sockeye roundup in Idaho.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

BOISE, Idaho – This year might not be a record year for Idaho’s endangered sockeye salmon. But biologists with Idaho Fish and Game say the returning adult salmon count is already above expectations for the year. They get an idea of those numbers during the annual “Sockeye Roundup.”

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Endangered species act
9:56 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Critics call grizzly self-defense bill redundant

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress is set to renew the Endangered Species Act this fall. One of the hot button debates emerging in the nation’s capital revolves around the killing of a north Idaho grizzly bear.

Idaho’s congressional delegation has introduced a bill on the issue that critics call redundant.

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Environment
9:45 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Oregon housing development listed for superfund cleanup

Medford, Ore -- The Environmental Protection Agency placed a housing development in Southern Oregon on the superfund list Thursday.

Eighty people, about half of them children, used to live at North Ridge Estates in Klamath Falls. The EPA began cleaning up asbestos there in 2003. The agency removed almost 150 tons of contaminated soil and debris, the remains of army barracks that had once been on the site. But each spring, more asbestos worked its way to the surface.

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Elwha River restoration
2:25 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

Watch the demolition of Washington dams - live and online

Watch the Glines Canyon Dam and others be demolitioned in real time. It will be the largest dam removal project in U.S. history.
National Park Service

Six webcams will snap pictures throughout the day during the three-year removal process the Elwha River dams.

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Salmon recovery
9:59 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Grant will expand use of ‘sensor fish’ in dams

A new generation of 'robo-salmon' will help scientists better understand how the fish interact with dams.
Carol Munro Flickr

RICHLAND, Wash. – As salmon wind their way through dams on the Columbia River, a small percentage ultimately end up passing through turbines. A project that helps fish move more safely through turbines recently received a grant to expand its scope.

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