EarthFix Northwest Environmental News

Emily Grason and Sean McDonald trudge through the mud of San Juan Island’s Westcott Bay on the hunt for something they hope not to find: A 3-inch menace: the European green crab.

In late August, a single adult male was found for the first time in Washington’s inland sea. University of Washington researchers responded, arriving at the location of that first sighting with hundreds of traps in tow.

Earthquakes Rattle Southern Oregon Coast

Sep 25, 2016

A pair of moderate earthquakes rattled the coast of Southern Oregon and Northern California late Saturday evening and early Sunday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A magnitude 5.0 quake occurred in the Pacific Ocean nearly 100 miles off the coast of Gold Beach, Oregon, around 10:01 p.m. Saturday. A magnitude 4.6 quake rumbled nearly 100 miles off the coast of Brookings, Oregon, nearly five hours later.

Farmworker Groups Seek Ban On Pesticide

Sep 21, 2016

Farmworker advocacy groups are pushing for a ban on a pesticide known to damage the nervous system, which they say poses an unacceptable risk to farmworkers and their families.

Nestle Water Bottling Plan Draws Protest — Even After It's Voted Down

Sep 21, 2016

Last May, it looked like voters had stopped the Nestle corporation from putting a water-bottling plant in the Columbia River Gorge. But four months later, activists are raising concerns the project could still happen.

Opponents gathered at the Oregon State Capitol on Wednesday, joining a Native American activist who has spent the week there fasting, in protest. The target of their ire: what they see as continued efforts to bring a water bottling plant to Cascade Locks, an Oregon city in the Columbia River Gorge.

When 3-year-old Charlie McGlynn-Wright was born, her parents felt pressured to immediately start looking for a preschool.

Their search confirmed what other parents had warned -- Many Seattle preschools have years-long waitlists and tuition bills that rival the cost of attending college.

Charlie’s father Teddy McGlynn-Wright works for the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative. That makes him all too aware that a lack of affordable, high-quality preschools means minority children from low-income families end up falling behind.

Dead Whale Returns To Oregon Coast

Sep 20, 2016

The humpback whale whose carcass washed ashore near Arch Cape over the weekend, and then left with the high tide, is back again.

This time, the remains washed up at Oswald West State Park just south of Arch Cape.

State park staff plan interpretive talks at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday about the whale at the park, whether the remains are still there, or not.

"The twice-daily high tides predicted over the next few weeks are not expected to be high enough to take it back out to sea, though it is still possible for it to wash out," staff said in a press release Tuesday.

For his latest book of nonfiction, Simon Winchester has taken on nearly 64 million square miles. "Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers" is divided into 10 chapters encompassing singular events in the ocean's history, including nuclear testing at the Bikini Atoll, and the invention of surfing.

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The Oregon Health Authority says an increase in selenium concentrations near Bullseye Glass Company has prompted an inspection.

Data from a device near the Children’s Creative Learning Center in Southeast Portland showed slightly elevated concentrations of selenium on September 6.

Selenium is an essential nutrient needed in the human body, but it can be hazardous at high levels.

Bullseye has been in trouble with the state several times this year for similar emissions problems.

Climate activists say the city of Portland’s proposal to ban "bulk" fossil fuel terminals isn’t restrictive enough.

They held a rally Tuesday calling for the city to ban all new fossil fuel terminals. The event was timed to precede the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission's first public hearing on the proposal. It calls for banning terminals that handle more than 5 million gallons of fossil fuel.

Mia Reback is with the climate group 350.org. She says she sees room for improvement.

Federal Judge Ann Aiken heard from attorneys Tuesday in a case that 21 young people have brought against the Obama administration over climate change. the audience for the hearing overflowed into two other rooms at the Eugene Federal Courthouse and in courtrooms in Portland.

Attorneys for the federal government and fossil fuel industry groups argued for dismissal of the case.

Sean Duffy, with the Justice Department, acknowledged climate change is real and human caused. But he said the judicial system is not the right forum to push for more action to cut carbon emissions.

Even the cutest indoor cats can be dangerous predators. Research suggests house cats and strays together kill billions of birds every year.

Four years ago, Portland's cat and bird advocates teamed up to promote a solution to this problem: Catios are enclosed outdoor patios that aim to protect both cats and backyard wildlife.

Lighter Winds Help Firefighters At 'Old Lady Creek' Fire

Sep 13, 2016

Washington State Patrol Fire Marshall Bill Slosson said weather conditions are favorable Tuesday for battling the ‘Old Lady Creek’ fire — 20 miles east of Goldendale, Washington.

It has burned one home and is threatening approximately 40 others.

“We’ve got five wildland strike teams of engines, which are brush trucks, working this fire today. Along with couple of 20 person hand crews," Slosson said.

"And we just ordered a helicopter from the department of Natural Resources.”

Oregon health officials received a plan Monday intended to address Portland’s problems with lead in drinking water.

The Portland Water Bureau is working to finish a study by next year into how corrosive water affects the region’s lead problem. But even under its proposed faster timeline, major changes wouldn’t happen until mid-2022.

Growing up on a farm in the rural hills of Uganda, Carol Bogezi knew that fending off predators was critical to her family’s survival.

They used bows and arrows to keep monkeys from eating their vegetables and wild cats from harassing their goats. But beyond the predator-prey dynamics, there were complicated human dynamics to deal with, as well. Her father had three wives and 17 children so Carol often sought peace and quiet out in the fields where she’d watch antelope frolic and study the different types of plants and grasses.

How Dakota Access Pipeline Affects The Northwest

Sep 9, 2016

It’s been a day of mixed messages when it comes to the Dakota Access Pipeline — the partially-constructed oil pipeline that’s galvanized thousands of Native Americans to protest in North Dakota.

The pipeline’s route runs right by the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. And the tribe says that threatens both sacred burial grounds and drinking water.

The Bureau of Land Management has reversed its decision to surgically sterilize more than 200 wild horses in southeast Oregon.

The federal agency dropped its plan after a group called Front Range Equine Rescue filed a lawsuit against the program in July. The group argued the proposed surgical procedures were illegal, untested and dangerous.

Oregon Offshore Wind Project Stalls

Sep 9, 2016

A renewable energy project that would have put Oregon at the forefront of offshore wind development in the West appears to have stalled.

The company behind the WindFloat Pacific energy project, Principle Power, wanted to install wind turbines about 15 miles off the coast of Coos Bay.

Southeast Portland air near a manufacturing plant run by Precision Castparts is polluted with unhealthy levels of the heavy metals nickel, hexavalent chromium and arsenic.

That’s according to the first batch of data from air monitors placed near the industrial manufacturer. Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality released the data late Thursday.

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Seattle is making strides in reducing its carbon footprint. A new report from the city finds that greenhouse gas emissions fell by 6 percent over a six-year period.

The report was prepared by the Stockholm Environment Institute. It looked at the years between 2008 and 2014. Energy-efficient homes and vehicles were among the biggest factors in curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

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