Environment

Stories about the environment focused on the Pacific Northwest, with many from KPLU's Environment reporter, Bellamy Pailthorp.

Photo: Brett VandenHeuvel / Miningconnection.com

A major partner in a controversial Northwest coal port proposal has been fined $4 million for violating clean water laws in its Appalachian mining operations.

Atomic Taco / Flickr

The red-and-yellow buses of King County’s new RapidRide system may stall before they have a chance to really get going. The Seattle Times reports that budget cuts proposed by House Republicans may leave the new Bus Rapid Transit program without promised start-up funds

King5 TV

If you’re waiting for the final chapter in the saga of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement, don’t hold your breath. The latest action by the city council has triggered an effort to put the question to the voters again.

In an often-raucous council chamber packed with both supporters and opponents of the planned deep-bore tunnel project, the City Council decisively overturned Mayor Mike McGinn’s veto of a set of agreements between the city and the state that would facilitate the tunnel.

Steven Kramer / University of Washington

Ten years ago today, the Puget Sound region was rocked by a powerful earthquake. The magnitude 6.8 quake brought down brick facades, damaged Seattle’s waterfront viaduct and split the Capitol dome in Olympia. The ground shook for about 45 seconds and tremors were felt as far away as Salt Lake City.

Dan / gigharbor.patch.com

Updated 12:15 p.m. Sunday, February 27: Authorities report the leak has since been repaired, according to a statement from West Pierce Fire & Rescue Sunday as reported by Q13 FOX TV. Authorities confirmed that about 50 gallons of sodium hydroxide spilled. Amtrak passenger service between Seattle and Portland has been suspended because of the accident.

WSDOT / Flickr

An estimated 4,300 gallons of fuel spilled Wednesday when a tanker truck overturned on U.S. Highway 101 about 25 miles south of Forks. Work continues at the site today to contain the spill as quickly as possible.

Kim Schmanke of the state's Department of Ecology says crews righted the damaged trailer late Wednesday afternoon. The State Patrol says the truck driver wasn't injured in crash yesterday morning. 

Schmanke says response agencies and cleanup contractors are working to recover the spilled fuel and assess environmental impacts.

Tom Banse / N3

Starting this week, the first of roughly 900 electric car owners in the Northwest will each have a free charging station built into their garages. The deal comes with a catch though.

Kay Schultz / DOE Flickr feed

Shorelines around Washington are experiencing extreme high tides through the end of the month. Known as “king tides,” they’re a natural wintertime phenomenon in the Northwest. But they may also provide a glimpse into our future.

Google Maps

A remarkable piece of scientific detective work has constructed a 6,000 year climate history of the Pacific Northwest. The record reveals a pattern of drought cycles and wet cycles.

Researchers drilled into the sediments at the bottom of Castor Lake near Omak, Washington. It's a telltale lake because with no river running out of it rainfall and evaporation rule there.

Liam Moriarty / KPLU News

The northern tip of the Salish Sea is the place where the Campbell River on Vancouver Island empties into Georgia Strait. 

In the final segment in our series “Reflections on the Water,” KPLU environment reporter Liam Moriarty talks with Darren Blaney, a wood carver and former chief of the Homalco First Nation, which is based in Campbell River.

Read more ...

Tom Banse / N3

Previously undisclosed documents are raising questions about whether the Australian company trying to build a new coal export facility in Longview has tried to snooker local officials.

According to an article in the New York Times, documents show officials at Millennium Bulk Terminals “tried to limit what state officials knew about its long-term goals during the early permitting process last year.”

wta.org

Lawmakers in Olympia are proposing to slash or even eliminate dozens of important programs and services, as they struggle to eliminate a nearly $5 billion budget gap.

Environmental groups are hoping to stave off what they say would be crippling budget cuts to natural resource agencies in charge of protecting water, air and forests. But with education and health care for the poor on the chopping block, they face a tough battle.

People with a direct stake in the Hanford Nuclear Reservation will be closely following President Obama's budget roll out. Money for cleaning up hazardous waste there is expected to be down.

LA Times

We’ve known for a long time that killer whales eat salmon. But new findings suggest that local orcas rely on salmon – specifically, adult Chinook salmon – more than previously thought. So now fisheries managers are having to ask themselves: What happens when endangered whales depend on endangered fish?

zlatkarp / Flickr

There's bipartisan support to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Cascades. Republican Representative Dave Reichert and Democratic Senator Patty Murray reintroduced bills to expand the wilderness area and designate part of the Pratt River and the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River as wild and scenic.

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