EarthFix

News Fixed on the Environment.

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For the timber company and Native American tribe that had bid to buy the a public forest from Oregon, Tuesday was the day they learned their months spent planning, negotiating and waiting were for nothing.

Roseburg’s Lone Rock Timber and Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians were the only parties that stepped forward when the state decided to sell the Elliot State Forest. The state said the offer was good. It met all its criteria for conservation, job creation and public access.

Smith Rock State Park naturalist Dave Vick peered through his spotting scope perched on a red rock cliff. He pointed the scope toward a tall ponderosa pine, spotting a downy mass in the middle of a 6-foot-wide nest. Inside was a 2-week-old bald eagle, or eaglet, named Solo because he was the only hatchling in this year's brood.

The floppy little bird was guarded by a stately adult bald eagle — one of the two in a nesting pair that lives here year-round. Solo then stared expectantly at the parent bird, opening his beak slightly.

Oregon’s State Land Board voted unanimously Tuesday to cancel the sale of the Elliott State Forest near the southern coast.

With two new members, the three-member board had voted in February to sell the 82,000-acre forest to a timber company and a tribe to fulfill its obligation to fund public schools.

But Gov. Kate Brown wants to keep the land in public ownership. And a fellow Democrat on the board, Treasurer Tobias Read, recently changed his position to agree with her on that principle.

The U.S. Department of Energy issued an emergency alert Tuesday morning at the Hanford Site north of Richland, Washington, after a tunnel containing rail cars full of radioactive material was breached.

Some workers at a former chemical processing plant have been evacuated and about 3,000 others near the area at the center of the Hanford Site were directed to take shelter indoors.

Oceans Losing Oxygen As World Warms

May 9, 2017

To the list of global problems the world's oceans are facing, you can add another: They're losing oxygen.

The Pacific Ocean off the U.S. West Coast, from central California to Alaska, is one of the hardest-hit areas.

Whether you're looking at an ocean or a glass of beer, the same fundamental chemistry holds true.

"When you warm up the water, it holds less gas," University of Washington oceanographer Curtis Deutsch said.

Oregon voters in coastal Lincoln County are considering a ballot measure that would ban aerial spraying of pesticides and herbicides.

It's a practice that became a concern last month for City of Depoe Bay Supervisor Brady Weidner when he found an email in his inbox. It said Hancock Timber was going to spray herbicides from helicopters on a recently logged track near the city’s reservoir within a few days. Weidmar was alarmed because that reservoir supplies water to the small coastal community.

Voters in Oregon's Coos County are considering a May ballot measure that would block the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project.

The measure is a product of the community-rights movement, which broadly aims to give local communities final say over corporate projects that affect them.

The Coos County measure specifically targets and bans fossil fuel transport through the county, except when it is intended for local use. It establishes a county-wide bill of rights that guarantees a "sustainable energy future" and the rights of nature to thrive.

Drivers in southwest Washington could see some relief on their commute home.

After nearly seven weeks, a stretch of state Route 503 about 20 miles east of Woodland is set to reopen in a couple days. A massive landslide recently shut down all traffic and the highway has remained closed since March 13.

Three national monuments in the Pacific Northwest are officially up for review. The Department of the Interior announced Friday that it’s opening up public comment periods for Hanford Reach, Cascade-Siskiyou and Craters of the Moon national monuments.

Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read has proposed yet another plan for keeping the Elliott State Forest in public ownership.

He’s recruited Oregon State University to split the cost of buying the 82,000-acre forest out of the state’s Common School Fund, which requires the state to use the land to make money for schools.

“I went to them and said is there a way this could work?” Read said. “If we can conclude this, I really feel good about the chance to have that asset in the hands of the university in a way that benefits the state in all kinds of ways."

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