Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

7:34 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Report: Climate Change Likely To Reduce Hydropower In The Northwest

A new climate report projects reductions in hydropower of up to 20 percent by 2080.
Sam Beebe Ecotrust/Flickr

A national report released Tuesday says climate change will make it increasingly difficult for the Northwest to generate hydropower and protect salmon at the same time.

The Northwest gets 75 percent of its electricity from dams. As climate change reduces summer stream flows, the Northwest Climate Assessment report says the result will likely be less hydropower production from those dams – with reductions of up to 20 percent by 2080.

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6:18 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome Arrives In Oregon

Divers documented the first cases of sea star wasting syndrom in Oregon last week.
Courtesy of Oregon Coast Aquarium

The mysterious disease that has caused widespread sea star die-offs in Puget Sound is now killing dozens of sea stars off the Oregon Coast.

Divers with the Oregon Coast Aquarium made the discovery during a survey last week that revealed 48 dead and dying sea stars in a 60-square-mile area in Yaquina Bay on Oregon's central coast. The symptoms of wasting syndrome were seen in sunflower stars, ochre stars and giant pink stars.

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4:10 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Advocates Applaud Less Toxic Pesticide Use At Oregon Refuge

Aerial View of the Ni-les’tun Unit looking east as it floods about an hour before high tide November 25, 2011. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restored 400 acres of tidal wetlands in Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge.
Roy W. Lowe/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Environmental advocates say the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has chosen the right pesticide to manage mosquitoes on Oregon's south coast.

A restoration project at Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge has created unusually large swarms of mosquitoes. Last summer, Bandon residents complained the bugs were so bad they were forced to stay indoors.

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NPR Story
10:01 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Feds Urge Tighter Regulations After Fatal Oil Refinery Blast

Chemical Safety Board investigators inspect wreckage at the Tesoro-Anacortes refinery in 2010.
Chemical Safety Board

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is calling for 60 improvements in the design, operation and regulation of the Tesoro oil refinery in Anacortes, Washington — and of refineries nationwide.

Four years after an explosion and fireball engulfed and killed seven workers, the federal agency finished its long-delayed inquiry into the blast at a sparsely attended meeting at Anacortes High School on Thursday night.

The explosion was the worst industrial accident Washington state has seen in the past 50 years.

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4:48 am
Sat May 3, 2014

New Study: Acidifying Ocean Destroying Sea Butterflies

A pteropod showing partially dissolved shell after exposure to elevated CO2 conditions in the lab.

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:11 pm

Tiny, delicate marine snails called pteropods are a key part of the marine food web. New research indicates they are dissolving to a greater extent than previously thought because of ocean acidification.

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3:00 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Aid For Water Conservation Offered To Upper Klamath Basin Ranchers

Cattle graze in a heavily irrigated pasture near the Wood River, an upper tributary of the Klamath in the summer of 2013, before the government ordered irrigators along the Sprague, Wood, and Williamson rivers to shut down.
Amelia Templeton

Farmers and ranchers facing a second year of water shutoffs in Southern Oregon's drought-ridden Klamath Basin could benefit from new federal aid announced Friday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it will provide $4.5 million in 2014. That’s part of the $11 million it has committed to spending on Klamath Basin projects over the next five years.

A recent agreement between upper basin ranchers and the Klamath Tribes has been hailed by supporters as an important step toward ending generations-long conflicts over how much water should be withdrawn and who should get it.

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NPR Story
1:30 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Coal Export Developer Challenges Tribal Claims To Fishing Sites On The Columbia

The Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission says the white dots in the water are tribal fishing buoys and the wooden stake marks the beginning of the proposed Morrow Pacific coal export project site at the Port of Morrow in Boardman.
Courtesy of CRITFC

An Oregon coal export developer is challenging claims that its proposed dock on the Columbia River would interfere with tribal fishing sites.

The Confederated Tribes of The Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation have submitted letters and affidavits to the Oregon Department of State Lands indicating they have tribal fishing sites in the area where Morrow Pacific has proposed to build a dock in Boardman, Oregon for coal barges.

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NPR Story
7:36 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Ashland Wins 'Most Improved' Bike City

The Southern Oregon city of Ashland has been named the most improved bicycle friendly city in the US.
Oregon Department of Transportation

Getting the gold star is still a good thing, years after elementary school.

The Southern Oregon city of Ashland's friendliness to bicycles just earned it a gold star from the League of American Bicyclists.

And that's big jump from its previous bronze status, winning Ashland the title of "Most Improved Bicycle Friendly City" in the country.

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NPR Story
4:23 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Bird Group Sues Over Federal 'Take Permits' Allowing Eagle Deaths At Wind Farms

A national bird conservation group is going to sue the federal government over a 30-year permit it will issue to wind farms.
Flickr Creative Commons: ahisgett

It’s essentially a fight between conservation-minded groups. On one side, renewable energy companies want to build wind farms. On the other side, bird advocates don’t want those giant, blade-spinning wind turbines to harm bald and golden eagles.

Now, a national bird conservation group is going to sue the federal government over a 30-year permit it will issue to wind farms.

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NPR Story
1:29 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Southern Oregon Pipeline Passes Douglas County Process

Coos Bay near where a proposed pipeline would bring natural gas to be exported.
Devan Schwartz

It's up to the state of Oregon to decide on a proposed pipeline for exporting liquefied natural gas, now that a southern Oregon county has decided against reviewing the proposal.

Douglas County Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to pass the review of a natural gas pipeline up to state authorities.

The proposed Pacific Connector Pipeline would transport liquefied natural gas, or LNG, 232 miles. It would run from Malin, Oregon, where an existing pipeline terminates, to Coos Bay, where an export facility would be built.

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