Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

NPR Story
11:52 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Oregon Nickel Mine Proposal Runs Into Stiff Opposition

North Fork of the Smith River, near Hiouchi, California.
PGHolbrook/Wikimedia Commons

ASHLAND, Ore. -- A Britain-based company is making preliminary moves that could lead to a 4,000-acre open-pit nickel mine being established in the headwaters of the Smith and Illinois Rivers in southwest Oregon.

The firm says it’s at the beginning of a long process of evaluating whether such a mine would even pencil out. But opponents in Oregon and California are taking no chances. They’re going all-out to kill it in the cradle.

Barbara Ullian minces no words.

“The best time to stop a mine is before it starts,” she says.

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NPR Story
1:39 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Wildfire Destroys Homes, Burns More than 2,000 Acres In South-Central Oregon

Julie Moseley is one of many residents living outside Sprague River, Oregon, who lost their homes to a wildfire.
Devan Schwartz

SPRAGUE RIVER, Ore. -- The Moccasin Hill wildfire has burned about 2,500 acres and destroyed up to 20 homes, forcing residents to seek shelter while waiting for federal aid to arrive.

Red Cross volunteers set up in the community center to help the victims.

Whistler’s Trading Post, one of a few stores in town, extended its hours and expanded its operations, serving food, taking in horses and providing overnight shelter for displaced residents.

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NPR Story
12:00 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Feds Phase Out Bee-Harming Pesticides In Northwest Wildlife Refuges

By 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to phase out the use of bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides on wildlife refuges in the Pacific Northwest.
Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/5695870557/in/set-72157626541514605

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 2:23 pm

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to eliminate the use of bee-harming pesticides on wildlife refuges in the Pacific region by 2016.

A new rule phases out the use of neonicotinoid pesticides – a class of chemical that has been linked to several bee die-offs in Oregon in the past two years, including one that killed 50,000 bumblebees in a Wilsonville parking lot.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

What's Killing Clams? Solve This Low Tide Mystery

Why did so many healthy clams turn up dead at low tide last week?
Joshua McNichols/KUOW

One of the lowest tides of the year this weekend revealed a "crime scene" at the beach at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle.

The victims: thousands of clams that died in the prime of their lives. Each bivalve victim has a tiny hole drilled near its hinge.

Also strewn on the beach were gray rubbery things that looked like toilet plunger heads. The Beach Naturalists from the Seattle Aquarium say concerned citizens have collected them in buckets, upset that someone would have dumped so much litter on the beaches.

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NPR Story
12:33 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Lottery Winner Fined For Illegal Land Clearing On San Juan Island

The cleared property in December.
Washington Department of Ecology

Washington state officials have fined a Virginia man $79,000 for illegal clearing of a San Juan Island shoreline.

It’s trouble Dave Honeywell of Fredericksburg, Virginia, wouldn’t have gotten into if he hadn’t just won the lottery.

The computer scientist with the Department of Defense won a $217 million Powerball lottery last year. Then he plunked down a reported $6 million to buy a resort called the Mar Vista on San Juan Island.

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NPR Story
6:37 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Oregon Shuts Down Sewage Disposal Company After Numerous Violations

Oregon suspended the disposal license of All Out Sewer and Drain Service Inc., a company that handled waste from septic tanks and portable toilets, after the company committed numerous violations of state and federal law.
Bert CR/Flickr

Oregon environmental regulators suspended the license of a waste disposal service this week after the company committed numerous state and federal laws.

Among its transgressions, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality: cutting a hole in a pipe leading to a publicly owned water treatment plant in Longview, Washington, and illegally dumping the sewage into it at night. The plant wasn’t authorized to handle such sewage.

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NPR Story
5:54 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

New Polling Shows Support In Northwest For Limits On Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Most Northwest residents in a recent survey said they think global warming is an urgent priority for state and local governments to address.
Heidi Nielsen/GoodWorks

The survey was conducted for EarthFix by the independent and nonpartisan firm, DHM Research. A representative sampling of 1,200 residents of Washington, Idaho and Oregon participated and 62 percent of them said they consider it an urgent priority for state and local governments to address global warming.

A majority of respondents also registered support for specific proposals to reduce the emission of carbon that contributes to climate change.

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NPR Story
5:49 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

A Debate On The Proposed Killing Of Cormorants To Save Salmon

Three cormorants on East Sand Island
Vince Patton

PORTLAND -- The public got its first chance to weigh in on the government's plan to kill nearly 16,000 cormorants nesting on an island near the mouth of the Columbia River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed the lethal approach as the best way to reduce the number of birds that congregate at East Sand Island and feast on young salmon and steelhead making their way beyond the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean.

Supporters and critics spoke out Thursday at the Matt Dishman Community Center in Northeast Portland.

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NPR Story
3:39 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Tribes: Fishing Rights Not For Sale

About 70 people gathered in May, 2014 to protest the proposed coal export facility in Boardman, Oregon. Yakama Nation and Lummi Nation tribal members spoke at a ceremony before people fished at treaty-protected fishing sites.
Courtney Flatt

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation have a message for coal shippers: their fishing rights are not for sale.

This blunt response comes after two years of talks between the tribes and Ambre Energy – the company that wants to build a coal export terminal on a part of the river that the tribes consider historic fishing grounds protected by their treaty with the federal government.

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NPR Story
1:45 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Washingtonians Could Safely Eat More Fish Under New Water Pollution Rules

Pollution standards introduced by Gov. Jay Inslee would allow Washington residents to safely eat more fish.
Flickr Photo / Michael B

Washington's pollution standards would be made much tougher -- making water clean enough that people can safely eat a daily serving of locally caught fish and shellfish -- under a plan laid out by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The governor announced Wednesday that he wants Washington to set the same fish-consumption standards that guide water pollution rules in Oregon.

As a consequence, waters in Washington would be clean enough that people can consume 175 grams of fish a day, up from the current standard of 6.5 grams a day.

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