Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

NPR Story
12:07 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Oil Trains Now Delivering Utah Crude to Portland

Tank cars of crude oil line the fence at Arc Terminals in NW Portland. Shipments of Utah crude are destined for the terminal, according to state rail officials.

PORTLAND -- A fuel terminal along the Willamette River is now accepting train shipments of crude oil from Utah, making it Oregon’s second oil-by-rail destination, state officials have confirmed.

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12:44 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Groups Aim To Put GMO Food Labeling Measure On The Ballot In Oregon

Supporters gather to announce a new initiative that would allow voters in Oregon to decide whether genetically modified foods sold statewide should be labeled.
Cassandra Profita

Undeterred by the failure of GMO labeling measures in Washington and California, advocate groups have launched a campaign to put a similar statewide measure on the November ballot in Oregon.

A group called Oregon Right To Know announced Thursday that it will be collecting signatures for an initiative that would require new labels on foods made with genetically engineered ingredients -- often called genetically modified organisms or GMOs.

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NPR Story
10:29 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Public Voices Concerns Over WA Birth Defect Increases

At a meeting in Kennewick, the health department asked people to raise concerns about a rare birth defect that officials may not have considered yet. Twenty-three babies were born with anencephaly in Central Washington from 2010-2013.
Courtney Flatt

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Over the past three years, a rare birth defect has shown up Central Washington at a rate that's four times the national average. Now, the state health department is turning to the public for clues about what’s causing the fatal condition.

Anencephaly is a rare, fatal birth defect. During the fourth week of pregnancy, the baby’s brain and skull don’t form completely. If babies survive the pregnancy they often live for only a few days.

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Hot, Dry Summer
9:43 am
Wed May 14, 2014

3 More Ore. Counties Seek Emergency Drought Declarations

The Mount Ashland ski area failed to open this winter due to a lack of snow.
Michael Clapp / OPB

An Oregon advisory board is recommending that Gov. John Kitzhaber approve emergency drought declarations for three more counties.

Josephine County is still compiling its official request, but continuing dry conditions in Southern Oregon prompted the Oregon Drought Council to recommend its approval once that request comes in.

In Eastern Oregon, the council is recommending drought declarations for Wheeler and Grant counties, where stream flows are running well below normal.

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NPR Story
6:02 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Vandal releases 25,000 Steelhead From Seattle-Area Hatchery

A juvenile steehead trout.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Someone broke into a fish hatchery east of Seattle Tuesday morning and released 25,000 hatchery steelhead.

Officials think the vandal was someone who likes to fish. More specifically, someone who isn’t pleased about a recent legal victory for wild fish groups.

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NPR Story
7:30 am
Tue May 13, 2014

EarthFix Conversation: The X Prize of Ocean Acidification

A file photo of a Taylor Shellfish operation on Puget Sound. Ocean acidification threatens shellfish and other aquatic life. A Washington congressman wants prize money to give researchers more incentive to solve the ocean acidification puzzle.
Katie Campbell

A lawmaker from Washington state wants to see federal research money offered as a prize to scientists who find solutions to the problem of ocean acidification.

Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., plans to pursue that strategy next week by introducing legislation that would employ the model used by the X Prize to advance private spaceflight.

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NPR Story
7:29 am
Tue May 13, 2014

New Study: Glacial Collapse In Antarctica 'Unstoppable'

New research suggests a glacial section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could "collapse" more rapidly than previously expected, causing more extreme sea level rise.

SEATTLE -- New research from the University of Washington and other institutions provides detailed predictions for the collapse of an ice shelf in West Antarctica.

When the Thwaites Glacier melts, it could trigger even more extreme sea level rise than scientists previously thought.

Thwaites Glacier has been called the “weak underbelly” or the “cork in the bottle” of the West Antarctic ice sheet. Once it goes, a lot of other ice goes too.

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Oregon's famous lone wolf
2:45 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Oregon's Wandering Wolf May Have Met His Mate

Remote camera photo of OR7 captured May 3 on U.S. Forest Service Land in southern Oregon's Jackson County.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Oregon's famous lone wolf isn't so lonely anymore.

Biologists say it appears the wandering wolf OR-7 has found himself a mate.

Their evidence came from trail cameras set up in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Southern Oregon.

The cameras captured an image of a black wolf in the area where they've been tracking OR-7 with a GPS collar. Then they captured an image of that same wolf squatting to pee.

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NPR Story
1:28 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Listening Session Scheduled About Central Washington Birth Defects

Three counties in Central Washington have seen an unsually high number of babies born with anencephaly from 2010-2013. No one is sure of the cause. Taking prenatal folic acid is one way to prevent the fatal birth defect.
Wikimedia Commons: Ragesoss

For the past three years, Central Washington has seen unusually high numbers of babies born with a rare birth defect. No one has determined a cause. Public health officials are holding two listening sessions this week to learn more from community members.

For babies born with anencephaly, the defect is fatal. During the first four weeks of pregnancy, the baby’s brain and skull do not form completely.

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NPR Story
9:49 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Washington DNR Promises Tighter Controls On Logging Near Landslide Zones

Washington Department of Natural Resources image shows 2004 clear-cut (near dotted purple line) extending into no-logging zone (marked with yellow line) at site of the March 22, 2014, Oso landslide.
Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington State officials announced new restrictions on logging near landslide zones Friday afternoon.

The change in policy comes six weeks after a landslide near the town of Oso killed at least 41 people.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources will require a detailed geological study before approving logging on any unstable slopes where a landslide could harm public safety.

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