Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

1:59 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Oregon Completes Controversial Sales Of State-Owned Coastal Forestlands

The controversy over the sales of forestlands to private timber companies centers on the marbled murrelet.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The state of Oregon has completed the sales of three parcels of public forestland to private timber companies.

The finalized sales of 1,453 acres from a coastal state forest were announced Thursday by the Oregon Department of State Lands. The agency says it netted and about $4.2 million through the transaction.

A lack of revenues from the Elliott State Forest were cited as the main reason for the sale. The state's Common School Fund relies on revenues generated from state-owned lands.

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NPR Story
12:02 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Corps Plans To Kill Nearly 16,000 Cormorants Nesting In Columbia River

Nearly 30,000 cormorants are nesting on East Sand Island in the Columbia River and eating millions of protected salmon and steelhead.
Cassandra Profita

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to kill nearly 16,000 cormorants nesting in the Columbia River estuary in an effort to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.

The corps issued its proposed management plan Thursday. It would wipe out about half the cormorants currently nesting on an island at the mouth of the Columbia River by 2018. Officials say it's the best way to reduce the colony to the number of birds required under an agreement that allows the Corps to operate dams on the Columbia River.

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NPR Story
10:18 am
Thu June 12, 2014

The Wolf At The Door: California Wrestles With A Predator’s Return

A new wolf pack forming in Southern Oregon has some California ranchers worried the animals could return to the state within the next decade.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Originally published on Sun June 15, 2014 12:11 am

It’s been 90 years since the last native California wolf was trapped and killed. This month, Oregon wildlife officials announced that OR-7, the wolf they’ve tracked wandering in and out of northern California, had found a mate and fathered a new litter in southern Oregon.

That news contributes to the growing sense that it’s only a matter of time until wolves re-inhabit the Golden State. Against this backdrop, California wildlife officials extended endangered species status to the gray wolf.

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NPR Story
10:53 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Controversial Crude Oil And Coal Export Dock In Line For Oregon Subsidies

The Port of St. Helens has applied for $4 million in state funds to help expand and strengthen this dock, which is an essential component of controversial crude oil and coal export projects on the Columbia River.
Cassandra Profita

A review board is recommending that the state of Oregon spend $4 million to help expand a controversial crude oil and coal export dock at the Port of St. Helens near Clatskanie, Oregon.

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Dreams of Solar Roadways
5:21 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

How Crowdfunding May Help Build Solar Roadways

Scott and Julie Brusaw stand on a 12x12-foot parking lot, the first installation of their Solar Roadways project. The Brusaws hope to oneday pave over the nation's roadways with solar panels. They have raised more than $2 million on a crowdfunding site.
Courtesy of Solar Roadways

You’re moving slowly through rush hour traffic. Instead of asphalt, your car is driving on top of specially designed solar panels. That’s the vision of one Northern Idaho couple. It’s a vision that’s coming closer to reality thanks to their successful crowdfunding campaign.

For nearly 10 years, engineer Scott Brusaw has been chipping away at his idea to change the nation’s roadways.

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Climate Change Suit Gets Second Hearling
3:47 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Oregon Appeals Court Sends Climate Suit Back to Lane County Judge

Judges on Oregon's Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that two Eugene teens have a right to hear their case on climate change heard in court.
Oregon Judicial Department

A lawsuit brought by two Eugene teens against the state over climate change will get a second hearing in Lane County Circuit Court. The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday the case has merit.

Attorneys for Kelsey Juliana and Olivia Chernaik argue that the Public Trust Doctrine requires the state to do more to curtail climate change. Lane County Circuit Judge Karsten Rasmussen dismissed it nearly 2 years ago, saying his court didn’t have jurisdiction to resolve the question.

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NPR Story
3:02 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Under New EPA Rules, Washington To Face Deepest Mandatory Cuts In CO2 Emissions

Washington has one of the lowest CO2 emissions levels from electricity generation in the country, since it's home to only one coal-burning power plant. Under new EPA rules, Washington is on the hook to cut those emissions by more than any other state.
Michael Werner

SEATTLE -- Under the new rules released by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, each state has a specific percentage by which it has to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

The average of all the individual state-level cuts will be CO2 emissions from power plants 30 percent below 2005 levels.

"It’s a goal that we can, should and will meet, in part because we’ve already taken early action in our state," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told EarthFix.

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NPR Story
1:12 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Northwest States Tread Lightly In Debate Over Whether To Release Oil Train Notifications

Photo of an oil train headed south through the Deschutes River Gorge Sunday, May 4.
Courtesy of Friends of the Gorge


The Northwest's two main freight rail operators are complying with a federal requirement to inform states about the North Dakota crude oil they're hauling -- but they want the states to keep the public from finding out by signing for non-disclosure agreements.

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7:42 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Not Much Refuge In Klamath Basin For Migratory Birds

Wildlife refuges in the Klamath Basin often feature a mixture of commercial agriculture and what remains of the historic wetlands.

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:06 am

This is the second part of a series on challenges facing wildlife refuges. Read part one here.

The nation’s original waterfowl refuge may be too dry this year to provide much hospitality for migratory birds arriving in the Klamath Basin.

You could blame it on the region's prolonged drought.

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NPR Story
8:49 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Oregon Firefighters Brace For Warm Temperatures, Gusty Winds As Fire Persists

The Two Bulls fire burns near Pilot Butte on Sunday.
Contributed photo / Lauren Martinez

Firefighters in Central Oregon braced for warm temperatures and gusty winds Monday as they continued to battle the Two Bulls fire burning west of Bend.

About 50 homes remained under evacuation notices Monday. Several area schools were also closed due to the fire.

The fire is estimated to be 6,180 acres. Incident commanders say the fire is burning in heavy timber and brush.

And they say although it’s only June, the fuel the fire is consuming is as dry as if it were July.

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