Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

NPR Story
6:34 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Regulators Discuss The Future Of Coal-Fired Power In The West

This image of the coal-fired plant in Colstrip, Mont., was made in the 1980s by Montana native David T. Hanson. It was part of an exhibit at Modern Museum of Art in New York.
David T. Hanson http://www.davidthanson.net/

SEATTLE -- The Obama administration’s new rules to cut carbon emissions fueled energy sector leaders' conversations about the future of coal in the West during their gathering here this week.

The Western Conference of Public Service Commissioners on Wednesday wrapped up its conference -- a gathering of the people who decide where the region's power comes from and how to regulate it.

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Earthfix
3:21 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Rapidly Spreading Sea Star Disease Spurs Talk Of 'Localized Extinction' In Oregon

The leg of this purple ochre sea star in Oregon is disintegrating, as it dies from sea star wasting syndrome.
Photo by Elizabeth Cerny-Chipman, courtesy of Oregon State University

The first reports of the disease among Oregon sea stars — more commonly called star fish — came out in May. Now, according to Oregon State University, an estimated 30 to 50 percent of the Oregon populations of the ochre sea star species in the intertidal zone have the disease.

Researchers at Oregon State University have been monitoring the event. They say this species may be headed toward localized extinction in Oregon.

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Earthfix
10:53 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Wolf OR-7 Is A New Father

Two of wolf OR7’s pups peek out from a log on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, June 2, 2014.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

New photographic evidence shows that the famous wandering wolf OR-7 has fathered puppies -- taking his status from lonely vagabond on a 3,000-mile journey to history-making new dad in a month's time.

The images were made public Wednesday, just one month after remote cameras captured images of OR-7 and his likely mate in Southern Oregon.

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NPR Story
8:26 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Wyden's Klamath Water Bill Gets Hearing in DC

Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge will get more water under a pending Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR.
Edward J. O'Neill/National Fish and Wildlife Service

A Senate hearing in Washington, DC Tuesday marked the legislative debut of an ambitious bill by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden meant to end, once and for all, the water wars in the Klamath Basin.

Wyden presided over the hearing, which heard from representatives of Indian tribes and ranchers, as well as government agencies involved in hammering out the three agreements the bill would put into law.

Wyden said the bill would end decades of conflict over water in the region that sprawls across the Oregon-California border.

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NPR Story
6:02 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Wyoming Governor Visits Washington To Promote Coal Exports

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead talks with Millennium Bulk Terminals general manager Bob Steward about the loading dock at the proposed coal export terminal site in Longview, Washington.
Cassandra Profita

LONGVIEW, Wash. -- A controversial coal export terminal proposed for this Columbia River town has a big supporter from the state of Wyoming.

Its governor was in Longview Tuesday to tour the old aluminum smelter where the The Millennium Bulk coal export terminal would move up to 44 million tons a year of Wyoming coal off trains and onto ships bound for Asia.

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NPR Story
11:01 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Vancouver City Council Votes 5-2 To Oppose Northwest's Largest Oil Terminal

Hundreds turned out for a Vancouver City Council hearing on a resolution opposing the Tesoro-Savage oil terminal, proposed for the Port of Vancouver.
Cassandra Profita

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 4:00 am

Hundreds gathered at the Hilton Vancouver Convention Center and stayed late into the night Monday for a Vancouver City Council hearing on a resolution opposing what would be the Northwest's largest oil-by-rail shipping facility.

More than 140 people signed up to testify at the hearing. At 11 p.m., more than four hours after the hearing began, the council voted to extend the meeting even later to take additional testimony.

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NPR Story
8:57 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Federal Rules On CO2 Emissions To Bolster Action In The Northwest

The TransAlta Centralia Generation Plant has been burning coal since 1971. It is Washington's only coal-fired power plant. It was on track to be shuttered before the EPA's new rules came out calling for such plants to curb emissions 30 percent.
Pamela Gerber, 2009

SEATTLE — The Environmental Protection Agency's new rules requiring states to cut carbon emissions from power plants are likely to change the energy landscape in Northwest states, even though they have far fewer coal-fired power plants than most of the U.S.

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NPR Story
8:09 am
Mon June 2, 2014

EarthFix Conversation: A Stand-Up Economist's Take On Capping Carbon

File photo of Yorum Bauman delivering his 'stand-up economist' routine in 2013. Bauman has a PhD in economics and has thoughts on what states like Washington can do to curb carbon emissions under newly proposed EPA rules.
Ashley Ahearn

On Monday the Environmental Protection Agency announced a new set of rules under the Clean Air Act that will require states to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030, as compared to 2005 levels.

The new rules will give states the latitude to choose how they go about lowering CO2 emissions.

Yoram Bauman has an idea for them: He’s been advocating for a tax on carbon emissions in Washington State for the past 5 years.

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NPR Story
1:00 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Renewable Energy Takes Root In Northwest Indian Country

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Eastern Oregon is home to the Northwest’s first wind turbine on tribal lands. The turbine will generate 25 percent of the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute's power.
Courtney Flatt

PENDLETON, Ore. -- You can spot one of the Eastern Oregon’s newest renewable energy projects from Interstate 84. It doesn’t look like other wind projects east of the Cascades.

A single wind turbine rises over the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

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NPR Story
1:00 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Can You Taste An Old Growth Forest In This Beer?

On a recent hike, brewer Dan Hynes pours samples of beer he made using yeast collected from an old growth forest near Portland.
Cassandra Profita

You can see some of the differences between an old growth forest and one that's been logged.

On a hike through an old growth forest near Portland, Matt Wagoner of the Forest Park Conservancy points out some of the most obvious ones: Older, taller, coniferous trees, dead trees both standing and fallen, and a wide variety of plants and animals living inside of and on top of that dead wood.

"One of the things that really defines old growth forests is biodiversity," Wagoner says.

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