Environment

Environment
8:15 am
Mon April 25, 2011

Seattle City Light tries osprey deterrent on utility poles

An oprey takes his lunch to go along the Duwamish River. Seattle City Light is testing a new way to keep ospreys from nesting on utility poles.
Jim Kaiser

Wildlife experts think they may have finally outsmarted the osprey, at least when it comes to keeping them off of utility poles. The hawk-like birds have caused power outages and harm to themselves by nesting on high voltage power lines.

Ospreys are pretty resourceful birds. When the tall, bare trees they used to nest in disappeared from the water’s edge, they figured out utility poles were a close substitute. Whenever humans try to stop them from using the poles, ospreys find a workaround.

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Environment
3:12 pm
Fri April 22, 2011

Northwest's largest coal-fired plant to shut down by 2025

File photo of the TransAlta coal plant in Centralia
Miriam Duerr Washington Dept. of Ecology

It's 14 years off in the future. But a compromise deal will shut down the Northwest's largest coal-fired power plant near Centralia. Legislation is headed to the governor's desk following a vote Thursday in the Washington senate.

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Environment
10:03 am
Wed April 20, 2011

"GoGreen '11" conference showcasing best practices from who's who of Seattle businesses

The company behind those "Redbox" DVD vending machines is one of the local businesses making a presentation about sustainability in the workplace at the "Going Green '11" conference in Seattle.
AP photo

Insiders from many of Seattle's most recognizable big businesses are gathering today at the Washington State Convention Center downtown.

Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, REI, and The Mariners have all been invited to give interactive presentations meant to inspire others in the region to follow in their footsteps. The topic? Going Green.

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Weather
2:15 pm
Wed April 13, 2011

La Niña turns out less severe in retrospect

A woman strides under snow-covered branches around Seattle's Greenlake following a snowfall of several inches there overnight in 2005., a non-La Niña year.
Elaine Thompson AP

The Washington State Climatologist is out with a report card on how the weather phenomenon La Niña treated the Northwest. If you thought it’s been wetter and colder than usual since November, you’re right. But overall, this La Niña was milder than predicted. KPLU's Tom Banse reports:

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green energy
8:01 am
Wed April 13, 2011

Wind power battling hydro for transmission lines

Sunset at the Wild Horse Wind Power Project near Vantage, Wash
Puget Sound Energy AP

When the wind is blowing and the rivers are running high, there's not enough capacity in power lines to handle all the electricity that's generated.

And that could mean that wind-farms have to shutdown for brief periods when there's too much power.

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Utility Rates
6:45 am
Tue April 12, 2011

Seattle's water and sewer rates are among the highest in the nation

blog.lib.umn.edu

If you live in Seattle, and you think your water and sewer charges are high, you’re right.

That’s according to a new city-government audit of Seattle Public Utilities. The Seattle Times reports the audit cites an industry analysis that found Seattle paying the highest rates among 50 U.S. cities. 

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Whale Watching Rules
6:00 am
Tue April 12, 2011

Step away from the whale: Whale watch regulations get tougher

Under new federal rules, whale watcher such as these will have to stay further back from the killer whales
Soundwatch

Next time you go whale watching on Puget Sound, be sure to take your binoculars. Soon, you’ll have to stay twice as far from the endangered killer whales as before. 

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State Budget
11:05 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Taking a broader look at the value of natural resources

Lime Kiln State Park on San Juan Island is a prime spot for watching killer whales from the shore
San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau

Lawmakers in Olympia are struggling to close a $5 billion budget gap, and, like many state programs, natural resource agencies are on the chopping block. A study by a Tacoma-based non-profit says cutting those services too deeply could cost a lot more money than it saves.

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Transit Cuts
3:18 pm
Fri April 8, 2011

Snohomish Community Transit faces more service cuts

CT

If you ride Community Transit buses, brace yourself for longer waits and fewer trips. For the second year in a row, bus service in Snohomish County is facing a 20 percent cut.

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Air Pollution
4:05 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Groups seek regulation for livestock air pollution

EPA.gov

If you put thousands of cows or chickens or hogs in a confined area, it’s likely to produce a powerful aroma. But can it harm your health?

A coalition of community and environmental groups says "yes." And they're asking for regulations on high-intensity livestock operations they say violate air pollution standards.

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Environment
2:11 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Washington milk is safe

Bottoms up!
Flickr user purplemattfish/Matthew flickr.com

Worried about radiation from Japan contaminating milk here at home? The Washington state departments of Agriculture and Health say the latest tests show no sign of any radioactivity in milk sampled in Tacoma and Spokane.

Last week, the EPA announced that trace amounts of radioactive Iodine-131 were detected in a sample from Spokane, but at levels 5,000 times below anything that would be remotely dangerous. Officials say drinking a pint of milk with radiation levels that low would amount to less than half of the exposure you would get in a five hour plane flight.

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Passenger Rail
4:56 am
Mon April 4, 2011

Washington hopes to benefit from rejected Florida rail funds

The Amtrak Cascades passenger train running along the bottom of a steep bluff near Steilacoom
WSDOT

Today is the deadline for Washington and other states to apply for a share of more than $2 billion in federal high-speed rail money that Florida rejected. State officials hope to use some of that money to tackle landslides that have made rail travel this winter unreliable.

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Public Health
2:40 am
Mon April 4, 2011

Northwest very familiar with Iodine-131

An alfalfa field near Richland, Wash., Mar. 30, 2011.
Anna King Northwest News Network

The small amounts of radioactive Iodine-131 found in milk in Spokane has been causing ripples of concern throughout the Northwest. Officials say the tiny amounts of radiation found in the milk were probably blown over from Japan’s stricken nuclear plants.

Just outside the Tri-Cities, Drex Gauntt’s alfalfa fields roll out like a plush emerald shag carpet. One of the ways that cows can pass Iodine-131 into their milk is by eating grass or hay that’s been contaminated with the radioactive isotope. Gauntt says he’s not too concerned.

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Spring Rains
11:38 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Snoqualmie Falls shows off its majesty as flood waters crest

The Snoqualmie River is cresting at the falls this morning. These two videos were shot by Carol Wells yesterday on an Android-platform smart phone. 

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Environment
8:42 am
Thu March 31, 2011

Some river flooding, road closures after rains

A road near the Carnation Golf Course is covered with water Thursday morning, March 31, 2011, in this Twitpic image from KING-TV's Chris Daniels.
ChrisDaniels5 Twitpic

Some major western Washington rivers are expected to flood today, including "major" flooding forecast along the Snohomish and Snoqualmie, according to the National Weather Service.

Heavy rains the past few days, with heavy concentrations in the Cascades and Cascade foothills, and warmer mountain temperatures, have produced rapid runoff.

Flood warnings are issued for these rivers in Snohomish and King counties:

  • Snohomish
  • Skykomish
  • Snoqualmie
  • Tolt
  • Stillaguamish (north and middle forks)
  • Green (middle reach upstream of Auburn)
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