Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

NPR Story
1:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Why Northwest Mills Want China To Buy Lumber Instead Of Logs

Tillamook mill manager Mark Elston says without efforts to export lumber to China, his mill would have gone under.
Cassandra Profita

Mark Elston followed his father into the timber industry back when business was booming.

"When I started, you could really mess things up and still make good money," he said. "You can't do that anymore."

Elston runs a lumber mill in Tillamook, Ore., for Hampton Affiliates. The company has spent millions on energy efficiency and technology upgrades that allow his mill to make the most out of every log.

But despite those investments, the mill was on the ropes after the U.S. housing market collapsed in 2008.

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NPR Story
10:47 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Klamath Tribes And Ranchers Seek Water Solutions In New Agreement

The Klamath Basin spans northern California and southern Oregon and has seen frequent water crises between the farming, ranching, tribal and environmental communities.
Devan Schwartz

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 12:00 pm

An agreement announced Wednesday between ranchers and Native American tribes seeks to resolve contentious water rights issues in the Klamath Basin, a drought-ridden region spanning southern Oregon and northern California.

Amidst a deep drought last summer, the Klamath Tribes and the federal government called on their senior water rights –- meaning they received access to limited water supplies.

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NPR Story
9:51 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Controversial Olympic Peninsula Timber Sale Pits Environment Against Education

The marbled murrelet, a federally protected seabird that nests in the coastal forests of Washington, Oregon and Northern California.
Thomas Hamer, Hamer Environmental LP/USFWS

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 9:26 am

SEATTLE -- The Washington Board of Natural Resources voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the sale of 200 acres of the Olympic Peninsula that are home to the threatened marbled murrelet. The money from the timber sale will go to the University of Washington.

200 acres might not seem like that big of a deal, but not if you ask Peter Goldman, director of the Washington Forest Law Center.

"These 200 acres are extremely important," he said. "These lands around these timber sales are heavily used and officially mapped as occupied by the marbled murrelet."

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NPR Story
9:18 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

With Or Without Terminal, Oil Trains Through Vancouver On The Rise

An oil by rail terminal has been proposed at the Port of Vancouver USA, but regardless of its future the city will likely see significant increases of oil by rail traffic
Port of Vancouver USA

Opponents of a planned oil-by-rail terminal urged Port of Vancouver USA commissioners at their meeting Tuesday to cancel its lease with terminal companies Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies, raising several arguments against what would be the largest oil-to-marine terminal in the Northwest. But that terminal might not be the biggest factor affecting oil train traffic through the city.

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1:29 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Wave Energy Developer Pulls Plug On Oregon Project

One of the massive wave buoys developed by Ocean Power Technologies. The New Jersey Company has withdrawn its plans to develop the first big-scale wave energy project off the Southern Oregon coast.
Ocean Power Technologies

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 5:18 pm

Developers have scrapped their plans to build the nation's first large-scale wave energy project off the Oregon Coast, saying the costs were too high to make it work.

The much-anticipated project would have placed a flotilla of 100 energy-producing buoys, each the size of a school bus, in the waves off the coast of Reedsport, Ore.

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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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