Environment

Transportation Funding
3:36 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

It's (finally) official: Tolls on SR-520 Bridge start in December

An example of the signs that will be installed to let drivers know the SR 520 bridge is a toll bridge - starting in December. A trip during rush hour will cost $3.50 each way.
WSDOT photo

Get ready to pay if you drive on the floating bridge across Lake Washington. The state Department of Transportation has announced the much-delayed tolls on the 520 bridge will start in December.

Tolling on the bridge was originally set to begin this spring, then that was bumped to this summer. Now, the state says the all-electronic system will be up and running four months from now. 

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Environment
3:16 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

UW study finds toxins emanating from dryer vents

Researchers have found plenty of pollutants in dryer exhausts.
Kerry Lannert KPLU

The sweet smell from your dryer vent could contain toxic pollution.

A new study from the University of Washington found hazardous chemicals in the air after clothes were laundered with scented detergents and dryer sheets. At least two of the chemicals are considered carcinogens by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Environmentally friendly
5:21 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

King County wants you to camp out in a cargo shipping container

One of the designs submitted for the King County Parks’ Little Footprint Big Forest project.

Imagine you’ve spent the day hiking trails in the woods and roasting s’mores. Now imagine you’ve left your tent at home, only to take shelter in a cargo shipping container. That’s the challenge King County Parks hoped would inspire designers to blend the outdoor experience with eco-friendly containers. 

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
4:15 pm
Mon August 22, 2011

Bechtel to conduct survey on safety culture at Hanford

RICHLAND, Wash. – A key contractor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation said Monday it will have nuclear experts review its safety culture. Bechtel has been under fire at the southeast Washington nuclear site since a high-level manager was taken out of his position after raising safety concerns.

Bechtel is building a $12 billion factory to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. But recently the federal Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board came to the conclusion that the project’s safety culture is "flawed."

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Environment
11:27 am
Mon August 22, 2011

Elwha River dam removal historic, but not explosive

The 108-foot tall Elwha Dam is the smaller of the two dams on the Elwha River slated for demolition.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

PORT ANGELES, Wash. – Seattle's Kingdome collapsed with a bang. Explosive demolition experts also brought down the cooling tower at the former Trojan nuclear plant. But if you're hoping for the same excitement from the upcoming destruction of two big hydropower dams on Washington's Elwha River, you'll be disappointed.

The history-making dam removal that begins in September will happen slowly and methodically.

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Environment
9:20 am
Mon August 22, 2011

Illegal crab activity Puget Sound put crab populations at risk

With more people taking up crabbing in Puget Sound, the people who police the harvest are seeing an uptick in illegal activity. Officials say the illegal activity is a major threat to future crab populations.

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Environment
6:02 pm
Sun August 21, 2011

Enviro groups say Clean Water Act is under attack

Joost Nelissen Flickr

Nearly 40 years ago, the U.S. government began setting federal standards to clean up water pollution with the passage of the landmark Clean Water Act. Now, many environmental groups say that law is under attack and they’re worried about consequences.

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Strange substance
1:33 pm
Thu August 18, 2011

Not extraterrestrials after all: Orange goo in Alaska fungal spores

The only mystery remaining about the orange substance that showed up in this Alaska village is what kind of fungal spore it is, ruling out mysterious eggs and extraterrestrials (never really taken seriously).
Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Scientists say an orange-colored goo that streaked the shore of a remote Alaska village turned out to be fungal spores, not millions of microscopic eggs as indicated by preliminary analysis.

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Environment
1:09 pm
Thu August 18, 2011

It's about saving greenbacks, not just being green in the NW

Battery powered Nissan Leafs in the Seattle city motorpool
Mayor McGinn's photostream flickr.com

When it comes to fuel efficiency, Northwest drivers are apparently motivated more by their wallets rather than a desire to be green.

A poll commissioned by Seattle based PEMCO Insurance finds 83 percent of drivers here save fuel mainly because they want to save money. Only 14 percent said they saved fuel primarily to cut down on pollution and carbon emissions.

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NOAA leaves seattle
9:43 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Newport, Ore., prepares to welcome NOAA

Newport has been rolling out the welcome mat for NOAA's new facility.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

NEWPORT, Ore. – A fleet of federal research ships is moving from Seattle to the Oregon coast. This weekend, state and local leaders in Newport are celebrating the transition with festivities. The state of Oregon kicked in nearly $20 million to help Newport lure the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific operation center from its long-time home.

From the Yaquina Bay Bridge, a huge bridge over the harbor, you can get a good view of the new NOAA pier. It can hold up to a half-dozen ocean-going ships.

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Noxious Weeds
4:48 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Toxic weed rears its flowered head In Northwest

Tansy ragwort, a member of the sunflower family native to Western Europe, is toxic to horses and cattle.
Courtesy of Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board

This year's prolonged wet weather is having the side effect of re-invigorating a noxious weed. The Northwest is seeing a comeback of tansy ragwort, a toxic species of sunflower that farmers thought they had vanquished years ago.

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Environment
4:38 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Plastic bag opponents make their case city-by-city

NEWPORT, Ore. – Advocates of banning plastic grocery bags are taking their cause to smaller cities. An effort to ban the bags statewide failed in both the Oregon and Washington legislatures this year.

Now, supporters are making their case to city councils across the Northwest.

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Fisheries
3:18 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Efforts growing to control the smaller fish of the seas

School of Pacific Jack Mackerel at Santa Catalina Island, Calif.
Aleph1 Flickr

WARRENTON, Ore. – Perhaps you've had salmon, tuna or swordfish for dinner recently. Or maybe it's on the menu tonight. Every big fish that lands on your plate got that big by eating lots and lots of little fish.

If you don't have abundant small fish in the ocean, you won't have the big fish. That's why some scientists, fishery managers and advocacy groups are paying more attention to the small prey in the sea.

Some environmental group now also want tighter regulation, and that's making fishermen nervous.

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Environment
3:00 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Volunteers needed for annual count of bicyclists and pedestrians

Participants in the Cascade Bicycle Club's Chilly Hilly ride, gathering at Seattle's Coleman Dock for the ferry trip to Bainbridge Island. Feb 27, 2011
WSDOT flickr.com

It's become an autumn tradition: the annual survey of bicyclists and pedestrians in Washington. For the fourth year in a row, volunteers are needed to help the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Cascade Bicycle Club take a statistical snapshot of the number of people who get around by walking and biking.

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Wildlife assaults
12:12 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

NW officials: Keep your distance from mountain goats

courtesy of Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife

RICHLAND, Wash. –Wild life officials and park managers are refining a better strategy to keep aggressive mountain goats at bay, but steering clear of goats is a good first step.

A hiker was gored to death by a big mountain goat in the Olympic National Park last fall. And just recently, Wenatchee National Forest rangers fielded multiple complaints about an aggressive goat in the hills near Ellensburg.

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