Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

NPR Story
2:35 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

EarthFix Conversation: Gina McCarthy, Head of the EPA, Talks Climate Change

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy met with Washington Governor Jay Inslee and other leaders in Seattle to talk about climate change.
Ashley Ahearn

Environmental Protection Agency Director Gina McCarthy is in the Northwest as part of her national tour to promote President Obama's Climate Action Plan.

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NPR Story
5:12 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Oregon Landowners Agree To Protect Sage Grouse

One county in Southeastern Oregon has announced one of the largest land conservation agreements in the state to protect greater sage grouse.
Vince Patton

One county in Southeastern Oregon has announced one of the largest land conservation agreements in the state to protect greater sage grouse.

The birds live in sagebrush country where their habitat is shrinking because of people, wildfires, and invasive species. Harney County contains much of Oregon’s prime sage grouse habitat.

“We are kind of in ground zero,” said rancher Tom Sharp, who sees sage grouse regularly on his land.

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Earthfix
2:22 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Senators Introduce Bill To Authorize Upper Klamath Basin Agreement

Klamath Lake. New legislation in the U.S. Senate would enact a water-sharing agreement and authorize the Interior Department to carry out the terms of a new agreement signed by tribes, ranchers and other stakeholder groups in the Upper Klamath Basin.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. senators from Oregon and California introduced legislation Wednesday that's aimed at restoring the Klamath Basin ecosystem and enacting a water-sharing agreement in this arid region that straddles the two states.

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NPR Story
12:11 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Oil Train Preparedness A Gap For Oregon's Hazmat Response

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

For seven years, Central Oregon has been without a state hazardous materials team.

It means that in the event of an oil train spill in Deschutes County, the closest team assigned to the area comes from Salem, roughly two and half to three hours away.

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NPR Story
8:09 am
Wed May 21, 2014

GMO Bans Win Big in Jackson, Josephine Counties

Rogue Valley farmer Jared Watters supported Measure 15-119. The ban on growing GMO crops passed with 67 percent of the vote.
Liam Moriarty / JPR News

The proponents of measures to ban the cultivation of genetically-modified crops in Jackson and Josephine counties have pulled off solid wins.

Despite well-funded industry opposition, voters in Oregon's Jackson and Josephine counties have approved the GMO bans. The Jackson County measure won by a 2-to-1 margin. In Josephine County, the measure won by 58 to 42 percent.

Elise Higley, an organic farmer and director of Our Family Farms Coalition in Jackson County, says the grassroots effort paid off.

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NPR Story
5:44 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Yakama Nation Protests Coal Export Terminal

Yakama Nation fishers and tribal leaders hopped on boats to the fishing site. As a protest, they dropped a net right next to the proposed Morrow Pacific coal export facility.
Courtney Flatt

BOARDMAN, Ore. -- Yakama Nation tribal members took to the Columbia River Tuesday to protest a proposed coal export facility in eastern Oregon. The tribe says the export facility would cut fishers off from treaty-protected fishing sites along the river.

More than 70 people held signs and waved flags on the banks of the Columbia River, just downstream from the proposed Morrow Pacific coal export terminal.

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Earthfix
2:14 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

A Wild and Scenic Underground River In Southern Oregon?

The River Styx could become the nation's first underground Wild and Scenic river with a proposed expansion of the Oregon Caves National Monument.
National Park Service

A proposed expansion of Oregon Caves National Monument would make the River Styx the nation’s first underground river to receive Wild and Scenic status.

The River Styx flows through the main cave system of the national monument in Southern Oregon. The water drains into the Illinois River before joining the Rogue River.

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NPR Story
5:51 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Central Oregon Grapples With Rising Oil Train Safety Risks

This southbound oil train, spotted by people fishing on the Deschutes River, has set off a chain reaction of concerns about oil train safety in Central Oregon.
Courtesy of Friends of the Gorge

A growing number of oil trains are now moving south along Central Oregon's Deschutes River, presenting a new risk for oil spills along one of Oregon’s most iconic rivers and new safety concerns for communities in the region.

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, BNSF Railway carried more than 4,300 oil tanker cars through Central Oregon last year –- likely headed to refineries in California. That number grew 58 percent from around 2,700 cars in 2011.

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Earthfix
3:28 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

SolarWorld Among Victims of Alleged Chinese Hacking

Entrance to SolarWorld in Hillsboro, Oregon. The company is among victims in a cyberspying campaign the U.S. Department of Justice say Chinese officials used to steal trade secrets.
Oregon Department of Transportation

SolarWorld, a solar panel manufacturer with its U.S. operation in Hillsboro, Oregon, is among the companies listed as victims in an alleged cyberspying campaign carried out by the Chinese government.

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NPR Story
7:43 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Arrests Highlight Threat To Ancient Redwoods

File photo of a redwood burl. Burl thieves have been striking in Northern California's forests recently.
aefitzhugh / Flickr

Two northern California men have been charged with damaging old growth trees in the Redwood National and State Forest. The arrests are the first in response to a recent increase in illegal poaching of redwood burl.

You’ve probably seen countertops or furniture made from redwood burl. The richly colored, swirling grain is prized for its beauty and can fetch a hefty price. A coffee table or bar top can sell for thousands. That kind of money — combined with a largely unregulated market for the wood — has proved irresistible to poachers in the northern California forests.

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