Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

NPR Story
9:05 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Vancouver Oil Terminal Would Mean More Gorge Oil Trains

Oil trains rest on the tracks in Portland, on the line toward on terminal in Clatskanie. Environmental groups claim that terminal's air quality permit was issued incorrectly.

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 9:40 am

Chris Hickey lives on three acres in Washougal, Washington with his wife, son and two massive dogs.

“We get salmon and steelhead up here in the creek. It’s one of the cool things about the house," Hickey said while walking across a metal footbridge above the fast moving water.

The creek is surrounded by a bamboo grove so thick the leaves practically block out the sky.

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NPR Story
12:36 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Feds Say More Details Needed From Tribe That Wants Coal Project Halted

File photo of two members of the Lummi Nation harvesting crab from Puget Sound. The tribe is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to halt the review of a coal terminal.

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 7:52 pm

SEATTLE -- A federal agency says a Puget Sound tribe has not made a convincing enough case to to halt the permitting process for the largest proposed coal export facility in the country.

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Earthfix
7:43 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Could A Community Bill Of Rights Keep Out A Gas Pipeline?

Some Southern Oregon residents are fighting the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal  proposed in Coos Bay.

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 11:00 am

Southern Oregon communities along a proposed natural gas pipeline route are looking for creative ways to stop the project. Douglas and Coos County residents hope a Community Bill of Rights will give them a legal avenue to assert local control.

The pipeline for the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay would run through the property of Stacey McLaughlin. She doesn’t want it there. And speaking out before government officials has been less than satisfying.

“It feels like a waste of my time,” she said.

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NPR Story
5:35 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Legislation Would Mandate Bigger Crews On Oil Trains

File photo of oil train tankers in a Portland railyard.

A growing number of oil trains rolling through Washington has emergency responders and rail workers calling for bigger crews on board to better protect human health and the environment.

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NPR Story
5:01 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Seasons of Smoke: Exploring Two Decades of Wildfire

Copyright 2015 ERTHFX. To see more, visit .

NPR Story
7:15 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Can Northwest Forests Be Protected From Future Mega-Fires?

Fire ecologists say that the emphasis on fire suppression in the last century helped create the conditions that have lead to more extreme fires.

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 5:10 pm

WINTHROP, Wash. -- Snow blankets the landscape in north central Washington. What you can’t see is the scorched earth left from last summer’s Carlton Complex fire.

Even through the snow, Susan Prichard, a fire ecologist for the University of Washington, can see the damage. She can also see signs of recovery in the bitterbrush and aspen trees.

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NPR Story
5:00 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Tracking Columbia River Salmon With Tiny Tags

A tag for tracking salmon through dams.

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 10:54 am

Tracking salmon as they move past Columbia River dams just got a little easier. Scientists are using a new tag so small that researchers can inject it with a syringe into the fishes' bellies.

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Army Corps of Engineers have been working with tags since 2001. This newest version is the smallest yet, about the size of two grains of rice. The older tags are three times heavier.

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Earthfix
3:39 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Oregon Bill Would Eliminate Coal-Fired Power By 2025

PacifiCorp's Carbon Plant in Utah is one of several coal-fired power plants in the company's fleet.

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 5:03 pm

A bill in the Oregon Legislature this session would require electric companies to stop delivering coal-fired power to Oregon customers by 2025.

The replacement power would have to come from sources that are 90 percent cleaner than coal plants.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tobias Read (D-Beaverton) and Sen. Chris Edwards (D-Eugene), targets coal-fired power coming into Oregon from out of state. Oregon's only coal-fired power plant in Boardman is scheduled to be retired in 2020.

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Earthfix
4:38 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Feds Rule Oregon's Not Protecting Coastal Waters From Logging

Looking out on the South Slough of Coos Bay. 

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 5:17 pm

Federal regulators say Oregon is not doing enough to protect water quality in coastal areas. A ruling Friday on the state’s coastal nonpoint pollution control could end up costing the state millions.

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NPR Story
2:37 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Joseph Appeals To ODFW To Control Deer Problem

Deer lose their antlers each year.

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 3:19 pm

The city of Joseph is calling on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to control its deer problem.

"Being a small town in eastern Oregon we've always had deer in town. For years they lived in the field outside of town, and then they'd migrate in, in the evening," says Dennis Sands, mayor of Joseph. "But over the last three or four years there's very little migration and they're just living in town. They have no fear of humans."

The state estimates about 200 deer are living in Joseph. They often destroy gardens and can be a hazard for drivers.

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NPR Story
12:42 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Low Fuel Prices Benefit Northwest Farmers

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 2:53 pm

Oregon farmers say that low fuel prices could mean a big boost to their bottom lines -- if prices remain low until the summer.

There's not much agricultural production happening right now in the Northwest. But if fuel prices stay down in the coming months, farmers throughout the region could feel the benefits.

Many farms rely on diesel fuel to transport products and run field machinery. Petroleum products are also used to make fertilizer.

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NPR Story
8:15 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Japan Earthquake Holds Lessons For Oregon Coast

An upended house is among the debris in Ofunato, Japan following a magnitude 9 earthquake in March, 2011.

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 8:56 pm

This story is part of a series Oregon Public Broadcasting is doing on how well the Northwest is prepared for the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that scientists say will hit along the Cascadia Subduction Zone just off the Pacific Coast.

In this piece we look at:

Three times in three years Jay Wilson has returned to Kadonowaki, Japan. Each time, the weeds are a little bit taller, the concrete foundations are a little more weathered.

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NPR Story
3:15 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

More Oil Trains Could Roll Through Puget Sound To Shell Refinery

More than 100 people attended the hearing in Skagit County for a proposal by Shell Oil to build a rail expansion to receive oil trains at its Anacortes refinery. 

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 3:52 pm

Shell Oil wants to build more tracks at its refinery in Anacortes, Washington, to receive oil by rail. At a packed hearing in Skagit County on Thursday, more than 100 people turned up to comment on the proposal.

Shell's refinery in Anacortes is the last of Washington's five oil refineries to apply for permits to receive oil by rail from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota.

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NPR Story
12:06 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Application Brings Nestlé One Step Closer To Oregon

The East Wind Drive-In in Cascade Locks, Oregon. 

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 1:55 pm

Earlier this month, the Cascade Locks City Council voted to approve a key step in the process of opening of a proposed Nestlé water bottling plant. The unanimous decision is the latest development in a six-year-long effort to bring the multinational company to the Columbia River Gorge.

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NPR Story
3:12 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Groups Call On Port Of Seattle To Reconsider Lease To Shell Oil

Shell Oil's Kulluk drill rig, hard aground off Alaska's Sitkalidak Island in January 2013

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:36 pm

The Port of Seattle could soon host drill rigs and barges belonging to Shell Oil.

Earlier this month the Port Commission voted to lease Terminal 5 in West Seattle to Shell to moor and perform maintenance on drilling equipment during the winter months.

On Wednesday, EarthJustice and eight other environmental groups called on the port to reconsider its decision.

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NPR Story
3:03 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Oregon’s Wolves Reach Recovery Milestone

A new study from Washington State University found killing wolves that attack wildlife increases future livestock attacks.

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:41 pm

Wolves in the eastern third of Oregon have reached a key milestone in the state’s recovery program. Officials have confirmed seven breeding pairs in 2014, the third year in a row a healthy number of pups have survived. Those two indicators of a recovering wolf population trigger phase two in the state's wold reintroduction plan.

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NPR Story
1:39 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Now That Growing Pot Is Legal, Can It Also Be More Energy Efficient?

Marijuana growing operations use as much electricity per square foot as data centers.

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 11:47 am

Marijuana growing operations can be major power hogs. Now that they're legal in Oregon and Washington, experts are looking for ways to make them more energy efficient.

Indoor pot growing operations use as much electricity per square foot as data centers, according to energy attorney Richard Lorenz with Cable Huston.

"Just growing four marijuana plants uses as much energy as running 29 refrigerators," he said. "The carbon output is incredible."

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NPR Story
12:25 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

What Does The Future Hold For Wolves In Oregon?

File photo of a gray wolf.

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 1:20 pm

Wolves are a frequent topic of discussion in the Pacific Northwest and in 2015 Oregon will begin changing how these animals are managed. In 2005, The Oregon Department Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) introduced the Wolf Conservation Management Plan to help stabilize the states' wolf population. The plan is reviewed every five years and is set to be reviewed again this year.

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Earthfix
5:16 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Report: Wash., Ore. Could Vastly Expand Renewable Power Production

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 8:14 am

Solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, geothermal and waste-to-energy electricity production could account for 98 percent of Oregon’s and Washington’s electricity needs in just 15 years, according to two new reports.

The reports from the Wind Energy Foundation's Renewable America project, which promotes wind development, say developing renewables would create hundreds of thousands of jobs for the region.

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NPR Story
2:30 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's Climate Legislation Gets A Hearing

Brenna Davis, director of sustainability at Virginia Mason medical center, speaks at a rally in support of Governor Inslee's climate legislation. 

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 11:36 am

Gov. Jay Inslee has been pushing for a “polluters pay” carbon reduction plan for the majority of his time in office. Tuesday marked the first time that plan went before the state legislature, when the House Environment Committee held a hearing of HB 1314. The bill, which was drafted by the governor’s office, has 37 sponsors, all Democrats.

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