EarthFix Northwest Environmental News

'The Names Of The Stars' | UCC President

Oct 3, 2016

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For the past decade, hikers on the Timberline Trail have had to contend with a hazardous gap in the 40-mile loop around Mount Hood. Now, those days are gone. The U.S. Forest Service recently completed a new route that reconnects the loop. The rugged trail winds its way through alpine forest and meadows, past waterfalls and over numerous glacier-fed drainages as it circumnavigates the volcano. Crossing Eliot Creek on the northeast side of the mountain has always been a challenge. But when a...

Uroboros' Impending Closure Deals Another Blow To NW Art Glass

Oct 1, 2016

Portland art glass manufacturer Uroboros just announced that the company plans to close the plant that it has operated on North Kerby Ave. in Portland for more than 43 years. In a letter to customers and the business community, the company attributed its decision to close to the fact that its business model and location have lost viability for the long term. Uroboros intends to phase out production of sheet glass by late November and continue making some specialty products until mid-2017....

Train traffic congestion and railroad noise are two of the major impacts of the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export project in Longview, Washington, according to an environmental review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The agency released its draft environmental impact statement on the project Friday, outlining the potential environmental damage to air, water, fish, wildlife, and communities. The agency will be taking public comments on the review until Nov. 29. The Millennium...

Regulators say an oil terminal proposed for a coastal Washington state harbor poses several environmental problems. The state Department of Ecology identified those problems in its final environmental review released Friday for the Westway oil terminal proposed at the Port of Grays Harbor in Hoquiam, Washington. The project would expand an existing methanol facility so it can handle around 750 million gallons of crude oil a year. The oil would be delivered by train, stored on site and...

Hydroelectric power may not be a carbon-free energy source after all. A new study from Washington State University finds that reservoirs behind dams produce more greenhouse gas emissions than previously thought. The report didnt look just at those reservoirs behind hydroelectric dams. It also examined reservoirs that impound water for irrigation and drinking. When all those man-made water bodies are added up, their combined emissions make up 1.5 percent of the worlds greenhouse gas pollution....

Portland-based glass maker Uroboros announced Wednesday it will discontinue operations in 2017 barring its sale, according to a news release. Uroboros president and founder Eric Lovell wrote in the release the company could be sold and continue Portland operations. "I am already in active discussions with credible interested parties," Lovell wrote. "My goal is to find a way to provide a continuation of jobs for our staff if at all possible." The decision comes in the wake of air quality...

A new report shows that its increasingly difficult for young people to get into farming in Oregon. The study shows that the average farmer in Oregon is 60 years old thats the oldest average age for farmers in state history. The report also shows that Oregon land prices are a major hurdle for young people who want to farm. "A high price of land means that a farmer has an almost insurmountable barrier to buying into a farm business," said Nellie McAdams, program director with Rogue Farm Corps,...

Oregon leaders know theres a one in three chance of a massive earthquake and tsunami over the next 50 years. Those are high odds. And theyre the reason why some people are frustrated Oregon State University plans to build a $50 million dollar research center smack in the middle of the tsunami zone. In Newports harbor, moored next to all the fishing boats, lies the Newport Belle. Its an old stern-wheeler thats been turned into a bed and breakfast by owner, Michael Wilkinson. So what would he...

A county planning commission has given its approval to a rail expansion in the same stretch of the Columbia River Gorge where a Union Pacific oil train derailed and burst into flames . The derailment in June resulted in an oil spill that contaminated groundwater . It also galvanized opposition to increased oil train traffic in the Northwest. The Wasco County Planning commission voted Monday to approve the rail expansion through the city of Mosier. Thats after a motion to deny the application...

Emily Grason and Sean McDonald trudge through the mud of San Juan Islands Westcott Bay on the hunt for something they hope not to find: A 3-inch menace: the European green crab. In late August, a single adult male was found for the first time in Washingtons inland sea. University of Washington researchers responded, arriving at the location of that first sighting with hundreds of traps in tow. It might seem like its crazy for us to have such an intense trapping effort for just a single crab...

Earthquakes Rattle Southern Oregon Coast

Sep 25, 2016

A pair of moderate earthquakes rattled the coast of Southern Oregon and Northern California late Saturday evening and early Sunday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A magnitude 5.0 quake occurred in the Pacific Ocean nearly 100 miles off the coast of Gold Beach, Oregon, around 10:01 p.m. Saturday. A magnitude 4.6 quake rumbled nearly 100 miles off the coast of Brookings, Oregon, nearly five hours later. The first quake occurred about 6.2 miles down in the ocean floor. The...

Farmworker Groups Seek Ban On Pesticide

Sep 21, 2016

Farmworker advocacy groups are pushing for a ban on a pesticide known to damage the nervous system, which they say poses an unacceptable risk to farmworkers and their families. Twelve different organizations submitted a petition Wednesday calling for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to suspend the use of chlorpyrifos, a widely used insect killer. The EPA has been considering a ban on the chemical since October 2015 , and the petition comes as the agency nears its deadline for a...

Nestle Water Bottling Plan Draws Protest — Even After It's Voted Down

Sep 21, 2016

Last May, it looked like voters had stopped the Nestle corporation from putting a water-bottling plant in the Columbia River Gorge. But four months later, activists are raising concerns the project could still happen. Opponents gathered at the Oregon State Capitol on Wednesday, joining a Native American activist who has spent the week there fasting, in protest. The target of their ire: what they see as continued efforts to bring a water bottling plant to Cascade Locks, an Oregon city in the...

When 3-year-old Charlie McGlynn-Wright was born, her parents felt pressured to immediately start looking for a preschool. Their search confirmed what other parents had warned -- Many Seattle preschools have years-long waitlists and tuition bills that rival the cost of attending college. Charlies father Teddy McGlynn-Wright works for the City of Seattles Race and Social Justice Initiative. That makes him all too aware that a lack of affordable, high-quality preschools means minority children...

Dead Whale Returns To Oregon Coast

Sep 20, 2016

The humpback whale whose carcass washed ashore near Arch Cape over the weekend, and then left with the high tide, is back again. This time, the remains washed up at Oswald West State Park just south of Arch Cape. State park staff plan interpretive talks at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday about the whale at the park, whether the remains are still there, or not. "The twice-daily high tides predicted over the next few weeks are not expected to be high enough to take it back out to sea, though it is...

For his latest book of nonfiction, Simon Winchester has taken on nearly 64 million square miles. " Pacific : Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the Worlds Superpowers" is divided into 10 chapters encompassing singular events in the ocean's history, including nuclear testing at the Bikini Atoll, and the invention of surfing. GUEST Copyright 2016 ERTHFX. To see more, visit ERTHFX .

The Oregon Health Authority says an increase in selenium concentrations near Bullseye Glass Company has prompted an inspection. Data from a device near the Childrens Creative Learning Center in Southeast Portland showed slightly elevated concentrations of selenium on September 6. Selenium is an essential nutrient needed in the human body, but it can be hazardous at high levels. Bullseye has been in trouble with the state several times this year for similar emissions problems. The glass...

Climate activists say the city of Portlands proposal to ban "bulk" fossil fuel terminals isnt restrictive enough. They held a rally Tuesday calling for the city to ban all new fossil fuel terminals. The event was timed to precede the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission's first public hearing on the proposal. It calls for banning terminals that handle more than 5 million gallons of fossil fuel. Mia Reback is with the climate group 350.org. She says she sees room for improvement....

Federal Judge Ann Aiken heard from attorneys Tuesday in a case that 21 young people have brought against the Obama administration over climate change. the audience for the hearing overflowed into two other rooms at the Eugene Federal Courthouse and in courtrooms in Portland. Attorneys for the federal government and fossil fuel industry groups argued for dismissal of the case. Sean Duffy, with the Justice Department, acknowledged climate change is real and human caused. But he said the...

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