EarthFix Northwest Environmental News

Nestle is looking to build a commercial water bottling plant in the Northwest. Its most recent pitch is to the town of Waitsburg, 20 miles north of Walla Walla. The plan to bottle water from Coppei springs is tying the small community in knots.

Walk down Main Street in Waitsburg, and you’ll soon run into someone you know. A friendly wave from the pickup truck rolling by. A greeting from kids skipping out of the library, books in hand. Very Norman Rockwell.

Conservation groups announced plans Monday to sue the Environmental Protection Agency. They say the agency isn’t doing enough to protect salmon from high water temperatures on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Warm water can be deadly for salmon. Just last year, 250,000 sockeye died on the Columbia because of high temperatures.

An Oregon judge Friday upheld the state's denial of a permit needed by a coal export proposal on the Columbia River.

Back in 2014, the Oregon Department of State lands denied a permit for the Morrow Pacific project to construct a dock in Boardman, Oregon, a component of the project's plan to ship coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana down the Columbia River and eventually overseas to Asia.

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2016 Oregon Lens Series Schedule

Aug 11, 2016

For 18 seasons Oregon Lens has showcased the talent and diversity of the Northwest’s independent filmmakers, and this year is no exception. Through their eyes, we explore the coffee farms of El Salvador, the rivers of Colorado and the wonders of our own backyard. We learn what it takes to be a carpenter, a bush pilot or a ballerina. We race motorcycles, ride trains and hike through the desert. And yes, we even see a Frogman team up with the Ghostbusters.

Here’s the lineup of this year’s films:

Preservation experts will soon begin restoring the historic community kitchen built by the Civilian Conservation Corps at Southern Oregon’s Hebo Lake Campground.

The log structure was built in the mid-1930s with two wood-fired stoves and a stone chimney.

More than 100 people attended a Forest Service community meeting in John Day Tuesday to discuss last summer’s Canyon Creek Fire.

Many residents in Grant County still have questions or bitterness about the massive Canyon Creek fire that destroyed 43 homes. Agency leaders said the meeting was necessary for the community to heal, and they wanted to give residents a chance to voice questions. And people did have questions.

A new study finds the West is likely to see slower-growing Douglas fir trees in the future, as temperatures and droughts increase with climate change.

Researchers with the University of California-Davis took core samples from 122 Douglas fir trees across the region to measure how fast the trees grew over a 91-year period.

The results clearly show that the trees grew more slowly in drought years, according to researcher Christina Restaino.

Just days after the Bureau of Land Management finalized two forestry plans for Oregon, conservation and timber interests have each filed lawsuits in federal court.

The Western Oregon plans will govern how forests are managed for the coming decades – including what land will be logged and what will be set aside to protect water quality and endangered species habitat.

More than 20 fires were sparked in eastern Oregon over the weekend — mostly in Baker and Malheur counties.

Though only four of those fires were significant in size, said Robyn Broyles with the National Interagency Fire Center, a majority were caused by lightning strikes throughout the Northwest.

"There's quite a bit of lightning that came in to our general area that came up from the southwest and spread northwest coming across Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Oregon," said Broyles. "Essentially a lightning pattern came across the corners of those states."

The Bureau of Land Management on Friday finalized two plans to manage more than 2 million acres of public land in western Oregon. These forests, once owned by the Oregon and California Railroad, have been particularly controversial because counties have traditionally relied on them for logging income to fund local services.

Nestle’s plans to build a commercial water bottling plant in another Northwest town is stirring up more controversy. Waitsburg, Washington's mayor resigned this week amid accusations of backroom deals and protests of the plan by many area residents.

Nestle wants to build a water bottling plant in the Northwest. It first looked to Cascade Locks, Oregon, but voters in Hood County effectively blocked that plan.

If you live in an apartment complex in the greater Seattle area, you might open your door this summer and find a pair of college students in green polos on your front step. They won’t try to get you to vote, buy their wares or convert you. They just want you to recycle.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden says Canada is tipping the scales for its lumber companies by undercharging them for publicly-owned timber.

As a result, the Oregon Democrat says, Canadian companies have an unfair advantage over U.S. lumber producers — especially in the Northwest.

But Canadian leaders disagree. The two countries have fought over the issue for decades. They’re currently renegotiating a 2006 agreement that expired last year.

A fire near Crater Lake grew to more than 700 acres Tuesday and is 12 percent contained. But the national park is still open.

Visitors to Crater Lake National Park have been asked to get ready to evacuate in case the Bybee Creek Fire makes a big run. But at this point, most roads and visitor services remain open. You can still camp there, or even take a boat ride on Crater Lake.

Lucinda Nolan, public information officer with the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership, says weather will play a big role in the firefighters’ progress.

Washington environmental regulators will soon find out if their new water-quality rule is good enough for the Environmental Protection Agency.

The fish consumption rule, as it’s called, sets tougher limits on how much toxic pollution cities and businesses can discharge into lakes, rivers and marine waters.

Since floods closed a rail line through the Coast Range in 2007, people have looked to build a trail — spanning from Banks in Washington County to the city of Tillamook — in its place.

A board of state, county and tribal officials is tackling the costs, land ownership and other issues before the so-called Salmonberry Trail can be completed and opened.

A Portland company has received state backing to perfect using a solar technology to clean farm and factory pollution.

State research investors with Oregon BEST believe Portland-based Focal Technologies has a promising technology based on using the sun's rays to clean up contaminated water.

The idea is not new, according to commercialization director at Oregon BEST, Ken Vaughn. He said scientists have long worked to use solar energy to purify water.

Thick black smoke that spewed from a derailed oil train burning in Mosier, Oregon, was not the visual Vancouver Port Commissioner Jerry Oliver wanted in people’s minds.

“It was unfortunate for the community," Oliver said. "It’s also unfortunate because it gives a tremendous black eye to anything related to fossil fuels.”

Oliver has been a vocal supporter of what would be the largest oil-by-trail terminal in the country, known as the Vancouver Energy Project. It’s controversial, to the point Oliver said he’s even lost friends over his stance.

Washington’s Attorney General said Friday that he is opposed to a proposal to build the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver, Wash.

“Protecting the environment and public safety are top priorities of my office,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement. “The bottom line is that the potential benefits of this project are dramatically outweighed by the potential risks and costs of a spill.”

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