Environment | KNKX

Environment

Stories about the environment focused on the Pacific Northwest, with many from KNKX's Environment reporter, Bellamy Pailthorp.

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The Washington Legislature approved a phase out of Atlantic salmon farming in state waters on Friday and sent the measure to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to sign it.

Brian Witte / AP Photo

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is hosting a public meeting Monday afternoon in Olympia on its plan to open 90 percent of the country's offshore waters to oil and gas drilling. It's one of several around the country but the only one in Washington state.

But several environmental groups say it’s not really a hearing because officials are only taking written comments.

Ted S. Warren, File / AP Photo

Legislation that would have made polluters pay by putting a tax on carbon emissions does not have enough votes to pass the Washington state legislature. That’s according to Governor Jay Inslee and the bill’s prime sponsor, speaking late Thursday.

But, less than a day later, backers of a carbon fee had already filed an initiative to the people in its place.

Courtesy of the Thurston Conservation District

An election at a Thurston County land stewardship board is getting more attention than usual.

Saturday's election for an open seat on the Thurston Conservation District's board comes as the body faces a state investigation into allegations of dysfunction. 

Have you ever wondered how big your personal contribution is to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change?

Hundreds of residents of Seattle and Edmonds are finding out by taking part in local competitions to see who can reduce their emissions the most over the next two months.  The game is called “Taming Bigfoot.”

Every year, wildlife officials keep track of how many salmon return to their spawning grounds. This year, they expect low returns of salmon in Washington state—and that could change the fishing outlook.



Researchers at Gene Coulon Park in Renton, Wash.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

It’s been nearly 20 years since the federal government listed Puget Sound Chinook salmon as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The fish inhabit one of the most urbanized watersheds in the region. Local governments have just updated a 10-year recovery plan. One of the new priorities they’re addressing is a possible link between fish mortality and artificial light.  

COURTESY WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Cooke Aquaculture is applauding members of a state House committee after they took no action on a bill that would have phased out net-pen farming of non-native salmon in Washington waters.

As many as 11 workers may have ingested or inhaled radioactive contamination at the Plutonium Finishing Plant demolition site at Hanford in southeast Washington state. Ten workers are confirmed to have tested positive and one needs more testing to confirm the results.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Dozens of activists from around the region traveled to Renton Wednesday for a public hearing on Puget Sound Energy’s latest 20-year energy blueprint. The protesters say the utility needs to do more to get off of fossil fuels sooner.

While you may be able to easily change your coat when the snow melts, it’s not so simple for animals whose fur turns white in winter for camouflage. A new study finds they'll need to rapidly evolve to match a climate with less snow.

Hanford workers have called a “stop work” at the Plutonium Finishing Plant demolition site because of worries about radioactive contamination inside government vehicles.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Superfund sites are a high priority for the Environmental Protection Agency under Administrator Scott Pruitt. He has put 21 of them on a Redevelopment Focus List, to accelerate cleanup. Two of those are in Washington and one is in the Puget Sound region, in Renton.  

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

Bundle up and brace for what could be the coldest weather western Washington has seen in a long while, says KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass.

A blast of Arctic air is headed our way, creating what will be a major cold wave over the next several days. Mass says it’s going to get really wintry around here.

Elaine Thompson / File / AP Photo

King County Executive Dow Constantine is encouraging people who want to protect Puget Sound to buy British Columbia wines.

It’s the latest volley in a minor trade war between B.C. and its neighboring province of Alberta. Earlier this month, Alberta announced a boycott on British Columbia wines, with premiere Rachel Notley directing regulators to block roughly $50 million a year in wine imports.

John Kerry Visits Olympia To Support Inslee's Carbon Tax Proposal

Feb 14, 2018

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has been pushing hard to pass a carbon tax proposal. Though it’s been unpopular with some businesses and Republicans, on Tuesday he brought out an important ally.

Elaine Thompson / File / AP Photo

Members of Congress who represent Puget Sound are pushing back against the Trump administration’s budget for 2019 in part because it would zero out all federal funding for cleanup and recovery of the iconic ecosystem.

Ted S. Warren, File / AP Photo

The Trump administration has proposed its budget for fiscal year 2019.  It would once again gut funding for a multi-million-dollar federal conservation and outdoor recreation program.

Reaction in the Pacific Northwest was swift to President Trump’s proposed cuts to the cleanup budget at the Hanford Site.

Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, called the proposed $230 million cut “downright dangerous for everyone who lives near the Columbia River.”

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Stormwater runoff is the largest source of toxic chemicals entering Puget Sound. It happens when rain hits pavement and carries pollutants such as oil or brake dust into local waterways, and it turns out bridges are an especially big source of that runoff.

A local developer is piloting a solution that will be featured at a Green Infrastructure Summit taking place at UW Bothell Friday.

The head of Cooke Aquaculture says he's furious about "scare tactics" that he says are driving a push to end Atlantic salmon farming in Puget Sound. The Washington Senate voted 35-12 Thursday to phase out aquatic leases for net pens holding non-native fish.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Clean air regulations that have been in the works for a decade are proving too tough to implement for thousands of short-haul truckers who call on the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday, The Northwest Seaport Alliance extended the deadline for compliance.

Carbon Tax Clears Washington Senate Committee

Feb 5, 2018

A tax on fossil fuel emissions is one step closer to becoming law in Washington state. An amended version of the carbon tax proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee passed the Senate Energy, Environment & Technology Committee Thursday night. 




courtesy Washington State Department of Natural Resources

A failure to clean and maintain its nets led to the net pen collapse at Cooke Aquaculture’s Cypress Island facility this summer and the escape of 100,000 more Atlantic salmon than originally reported. That’s the conclusion of an investigation by three state agencies into the August incident.

Many people are familiar with Google Street View, the online map that allows you to take a virtual walk or ride through a neighborhood. Now there’s a similar tool that lets you float down local rivers and waterways. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Many medium-sized businesses that consume large amounts of electricity may want to shrink their reliance on fossil fuels by committing to using solar or wind power. But their needs are often beyond what their local utility can provide from fully renewable sources.

A Seattle startup has launched a new online marketplace to address these issues and support the growth of clean energy developments, by matching smaller investors with projects that meet their needs.

Michael Probst) / AP Photo

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is in Davos, Switzerland, this week at the World Economic Forum. He is the only U.S. governor attending.

The Washington state House Environment Committee hosted public hearings Tuesday on two bills that would restrict a class of chemicals found in everything from firefighting retardant to food wrappers.

Perflourinated (PFAS) chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems, from endocrine disruption to cancer.

Dallas Glass / Northwest Avalanche Center

Washington state has some of the most beautiful mountains in the world for winter sports – and also the most deadly.

Last year, more people died in avalanche accidents here than in any other state in the nation.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Feeling out of place takes on whole new dimension when you’re in a foreign country. Perhaps no one understands this more than new immigrants and refugees. And there’s a woman who meets lots of them here in the Seattle area.

Sophorn Sim is an outreach worker for the environmental non-profit, ECOSS, connecting other refugees and new immigrants with resources and ways to live healthier lives.

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