Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

Earthfix
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been hailed by supporters as an important step toward ending generations-long conflicts over how much water should be withdrawn and who should get it.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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NPR Story
1:25 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Oregon Oil Terminal Owner Commits To Using Safer Rail Cars

An oil train traveling through Washington state. The company transporting oil-by-rail to a terminal in Clatskanie, Oregon, says it is using only the safer of two tanker-car models that are in wide use.
Katie Campbell

The owner of an oil terminal in Clatskanie, Oregon, announced Wednesday that it will only accept crude oil from rail cars built to a certain safety standard.

Global Partners says it will no longer accept rail cars built to the older DOT-111 standard at any of its oil terminals, including the one on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. The DOT-111 rail cars are controversial because they have fewer safety requirements than the newer CPC-1232 cars, which Global Partners says will be the only cars it uses.

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NPR Story
10:16 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Researchers Detect Fukushima Radiation in Albacore Tuna Caught off Oregon Coast

Researchers check albacore tuna caught off Oregon Coast radiation from Fukushima, Japan.
Oregon State University

Researchers at Oregon State University have found trace levels of radiation from Fukushima in albacore tuna caught off the Oregon coast. Results of the study are being published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was destroyed by the earthquake that hit Japan in 2011. Radiation has made its way into the Pacific Ocean, raising concerns about exposure to Cesium-134 and 137.

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Earthfix
6:35 am
Wed April 30, 2014

New Study: Acidifying Ocean Destroying Sea Butterflies

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

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 12:00 am

SEATTLE -- 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.

Scientists know that greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to the dropping pH in the world's oceans. They also knew that as the oceans become more corrosive they eat away at marine species' shells before they have a chance to form. But new research reveals the unprecedented scale of destruction of some of the ocean's tiniest shell-makers.

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Earthfix
4:47 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Oregon Leaders Question Oil Train Safety Officials At Briefing

Dan Heister of the Environmental Protection Agency explains how his agency responds to oil spills at a briefing Tuesday.
Cassandra Profita

At a briefing held Tuesday at Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber's request, oil train safety officials from the public and private sectors answered questions from state lawmakers, tribal and local government leaders and community members about preparing for and responding to derailments and spills.

The briefing was held in northwest Portland's Linnton Depot along the Columbia River. The site lies along the Portland and Western Railroad line that carries oil trains to the Global Partners oil terminal near Clatskanie, Ore.

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NPR Story
4:29 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Wash. Gov. Inslee Signs Executive Order On State Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions

Governor Jay Inslee signed the new executive order atop a solar panel at Shoreline Community College.
Ashley Ahearn

SHORELINE, Wash. -- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed an executive oder aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The order creates a task force and charges it with deciding how to tax and cap carbon emissions at the state level. The task force will present a plan to the state Legislature at the beginning of 2015.

The executive order also calls on state agencies to work on phasing out coal power, improving energy efficiency in buildings and exploring the impacts of a low carbon fuel standard – among other things

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