Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

NPR Story
1:00 am
Mon March 3, 2014

EarthFix Conversations: Former NASA Scientist Hansen's Climate Change Solutions

James Hansen says fossil fuel companies should pay a fee to make up for their contributions to climate change.
Cassandra Profita

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 1:00 am

James Hansen, a former director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is best known for raising awareness of climate change with his congressional testimony back in 1988.

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NPR Story
1:16 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Oregon Governor Seek Review Of Oil Train Safety

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has called for a review of the possible safety risks posed by increased oil-by-rail traffic through the state. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is seeking a similar review in his state.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber is calling for a thorough review of oil train safety.

According to the governor's spokeswoman Rachel Wray, the governor's office is convening a series of meetings with public officials to assess Oregon's role in rail safety and its ability to respond to derailments.

Wray says the governor wants to be sure emergency responders along that route are properly trained to handle an oil train derailment and that they have better information about what kind of material is traveling through local communities.

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NPR Story
1:00 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Who Finds You When You Wander Off The Hiking Trail?

Kia is a 2 year old German shepherd who is training to be a search and rescue dog with the Yakima County K-9 team. The team is made up of volunteers who search for missing hikers, hunters, children, and senior citizens.
Courtney Flatt

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 1:01 am

RICHLAND, Wash. -- If you’re out one day hunting or wander off a hiking trail, a select group of volunteers may come to look for you. K-9 search and rescue teams spend countless hours training for just such an emergency.

German shepherd Kia lifts her nose in the air, sniffs, and takes off. Kia is searching Central Washington’s Chamna Natural Preserve for missing hikers.

Her handler and owner Gina McNearney isn’t far behind.

“Get to work,” McNearney tells Kia.

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NPR Story
2:48 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Single Wolf Documented Near Mount Hood

The wolf known as OR-7 was the first wolf to be documented in the Cascades. In December, a second single wolf was documented near Mount Hood.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife released a draft 2013 Wolf Conservation and Management Annual Report this week. Two sentences in the 17-page report hold an interesting “nugget,” says Robert Klavins with Oregon Wild.

Under a subheading “Other Confirmed Wolves” the agency reports:

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NPR Story
5:58 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

2014 Fall Chinook Returns Could Be Biggest On Record

A chinook salmon photographed in the Snake River in 2013. That year's run set records, but 2014 returns are on track to outnumber last year's in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Aaron Kunz

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:00 pm

The future is looking bright for fall chinook salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Predictions are in that this could be another record-breaking year for the fish.

Officials are predicting the largest return on record since 1938. That’s 1.6 million Columbia River fall chinook. Nearly 1 million of those fish will come from salmon near Hanford Reach. These are known as upriver brights, said Stuart Ellis, fisheries biologist with the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission.

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NPR Story
4:19 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Exploding Oil Trains Prompt More Stringent Safety Tests

A chinook salmon photographed in the Snake River in 2013. That year's run set records, but 2014 returns are on track to outnumber last year's in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Aaron Kunz

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:30 pm

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued an emergency order requiring crude oil from North Dakota and Montana to be tested before being transported by railroads.

Tuesday's order follows several fiery derailments involving shipments of crude oil. It is intended to ensure greater safety when the highly flammable liquid is being shipped.

Federal regulators also said Tuesday they are prohibiting shipping oil using the least-protective packing requirements.

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NPR Story
12:00 am
Tue February 25, 2014

How One Dam Increased Fish Survival By Managing Its Water

Ryan Harnish led a study showing the effects of Central Washington's Priest Rapid Dam operations on young salmon downstream. In the background is Locke Island, one of the best spawning habitats for salmon in the Columbia River.
Courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 12:02 am

RICHLAND, Wash. -- For better salmon survival: be sure to keep salmon eggs and newly hatched fish under the water. Those are the key findings of a new study that says large numbers of fish survived when a Central Washington dam carefully controlled its water releases.

The study looked at an area of the Columbia River known as Hanford Reach, a 50-mile stretch in Central Washington along the Hanford site. It's one of the longest free-flowing areas of the river.

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Timber Economics
5:25 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

2013: A Good Year For West Coast Lumber and Log Exports

West Coast log and lumber exports rose sharply in 2013
Amelia Templeton

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 3:25 pm

West Coast log and lumber exports rose sharply in 2013 as Asian demand for American logs increased, according to new research from the U.S. Forest Service.

The region's lumber and log exports rose about 20 percent last year, with demand peaking in the fourth quarter.

Most of the West Coast logs shipped overseas are going to China -- although Japan has upped its demand, as well. With limited forestlands of their own, these countries rely on the United States’ timber supply.

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NPR Story
1:00 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Navy Looks To Renew Permits For Bombing And Sonar Exercises In The Northwest

The U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis transits the Pacific Ocean alongside the oiler USNS Yukon.
Official U.S. Navy Imagery/Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate

SEATTLE -- The Navy is pursuing permits to continue conducting sonar and explosives exercises in a large area of the Pacific Ocean -- and that's putting marine mammal advocates on high alert.

Public hearings kick off next week as the Navy gathers public comments on its draft environmental impact statement for the Northwest training and testing range. The range stretches from northern California to the Canadian border.

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3:30 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

How Northwest's Natural Resource Policy-Making Could Change

The Northwest is in for a shakeup when it comes to natural resources policy. That's because the region is losing Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Doc Hastings, two key chairman of congressional committees that set policy on forests, rivers, mining and energy.

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 2:36 pm

The natural resource arena is losing two influential policymakers from the Northwest.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., recently announced he would not seek reelection after representing central Washington for 20 years. Hastings has served on the House Committee on Natural Resources since 1995 and as its chair since 2011.

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