Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

NPR Story
12:54 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Comments On Longview Coal Export Project Reach 163,000

Millennium Bulk Terminals has proposed to export 44 million tons of coal per year through this site in Longview, Wash.

More than 163,000 public comments have flooded the environmental review of the Millennium coal export terminal proposed for Longview, Wash.

That's the number of letters, emails, and statements read aloud at public meetings as of Friday. It exceeds the 125,000 comments agencies received on the environmental review of the Gateway Pacific coal export project in Bellingham, Wash., earlier this year.

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NPR Story
10:29 am
Mon November 18, 2013

National Polling: American Electorate Sees Effects Of Climate Change And Wants Action

Professor Jon Krosnick of Stanford University has combined national survey data from the past decade on climate change.

More than 9,000 delegates from almost 200 countries are gathered in the Warsaw, Poland for U.N. meetings aimed at forging a new treaty to fight climate change, which would go into effect in 2020. But over this past weekend negotiations around international carbon markets to cut greenhouse gas emissions broke down as developing nations demanded that rich nations step up efforts to cut their emissions - rich nations like the United States.

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NPR Story
12:43 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

For Those Who Want To Avoid GMO Foods, There's An App For That

The Buycott app will tell you if a product was made by a company associated with the opposition to labeling genetically modified foods.

Mmm … lunchtime. These Beanfields Nacho Bean and Rice Chips sure are tasty. They also happen to be made by a company that hasn't fueled opposition to labeling genetically modified foods – according to the Buycott app I tried out today.

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NPR Story
2:35 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Resolving Oregon's Truffle Kerfuffle

A haul of truffles, photographed with a pair of rulers to give a sense of scale. New rules will require truffle hunters to get permission before foraging for these fungi on private and state forests in Oregon.

Oregon’s Board of Forestry moved forward Thursday to regulate truffle hunting on state and private lands.

That means truffles will became Oregon’s first regulated forest product in nearly twenty years.

Truffles aren’t mushrooms, though they are fungi. Mushrooms grow above-ground, truffles underground.

This small distinction kept truffle hunting from being regulated on state and private forestlands the way mushrooms are.

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NPR Story
12:27 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

State Blocks Permits For Two Grays Harbor Oil Terminals

Two oil-by-train terminals proposed for the Port of Grays Harbor on the Washington coast were dealt a set back when state regulators withdrew permit approval.

A state regulatory board is withdrawing its approval of permits for two crude oil shipping terminals in Grays Harbor, Wash., saying backers have faied to address public safety and environmental issues.

The Quinault Indian Nation and several conservation groups successfully argued that permits issued for two terminals in Grays Harbor, Washington should be reversed.

"Those permits should have never been issued in the first place," said Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinalt Nation.

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NPR Story
12:08 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

A Turbine That Toppled In A Windstorm

Recent winds in southcentral Washington caused a wind turbine to collapse.

The weekend before last I was out running errands around the Tri-Cities, and it was impossible to ignore the wind. Trees swayed side-to-side in a strange yoga-like dance. Shopping carts raced across parking lots. Dust clouded the air like an early morning fog.

About 40 miles away, a wind turbine bent in half.

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NPR Story
12:00 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

How Public Officials Manage To Review 200,000 Comments On Coal Exports

A scene from a Millennium coal export public comment meeting.

Across the Northwest, thousands of people are crowding into meeting rooms to submit their comments on coal export and oil-by-rail projects.

Many of them wear T-shirts in protest or in support; they wait hours for a chance to speak for two or three minutes. The crowd isn't allowed to clap or cheer so they silently wave their hands or put their thumbs up if they agree with the people speaking.

Officials listen as people sound off one by one. What happens after that?

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NPR Story
12:22 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Study: 600,000 Bats Killed At Wind Farms In 2012

The hoary bat is one of the migrating bat species that flies through the Pacific Northwest. A study has found that more than 600,000 bats may have been killed at U.S. wind farms in 2012.

More than 600,000 bats may have been killed at wind farms in the continental U.S. last year. That’s a lot for these flying mammals, which are already suffering from a virulent disease and climate change.

At wind farms, bats are most often killed when they are struck by spinning turbine blades. They may sometimes die from a sudden change in air pressure, which harms their respiratory systems.

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NPR Story
12:00 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

China's Building Boom Revives Northwest Log Export Debate

A scaler grades logs that Teevin Brothers are preparing to ship to China. It can take 37,000 logs to fill a vessel.

If you want to know how China’s construction market is reshaping the Northwest, a Rainier, Ore. log yard is a good place to start.

The Teevin Brothers yard along the Columbia River rumbles with activity while workers prepare half a million logs for the towering ships docked across the river in the Port of Longview. A yellow stacking truck opens its pinchers and sends its payload rolling out across the ground. The air smells like sap and sawdust. Scalers wearing neon safety vests inspect the logs, stapling each with a plastic barcode.

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NPR Story
10:10 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Salmon Get A Helping Hand From Above

A Chinook helicopter descends toward a clearing near Cannon Beach's Ecola Forest Reserve for refueling Oct. 29. The helicopter relocated trees as part of a salmon habitat restoration project.

By Erick Bengel

CANNON BEACH — A salmon-friendly project, involving large tree trunks strategically placed in Ecola Creek is expected to improve fish habitat in the Ecola Creek Forest Reserve.

On a recent weekday, a Chinook helicopter recently airlifted 109 trees, mostly spruce, in the forest reserve and placed them at 19 preplanned sites along the creek, furnishing the fish with much-needed woody debris.

“One of the main deficiencies in our watershed is the presence of large wood,” said Jesse Jones, coordinator for the North Coast Watershed Association.

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