EarthFix

News Fixed on the Environment.

EarthFix is a public media partnership of KLCC, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Idaho Public Television, KCTS9 Seattle, KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio, Northwest Public Radio and Television, Jefferson Public Radio, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

PacifiCorp Looks To Expand Wind Energy As Coal Plants Retire

Jun 29, 2017

PacifiCorp is moving forward with a 20-year plan that reduces its use of coal-fired power while expanding investments in wind energy.

The utility, which serves customers in six Western states, has proposed spending $3.5 billion on a plan to add 1,100 megawatts of new wind energy — mostly in Wyoming — as well as a new transmission line.

The plan will also re-power wind turbines in the Columbia River Gorge by adding bigger turbine blades and upgrading equipment inside the turbines to increase their energy output by an average of 20 percent.

Study: Orcas Lose Two-Thirds Of Their Pregnancies

Jun 29, 2017

Two-thirds of all detectable orca pregnancies have ended in miscarriages over the past seven years, a new study shows.

To figure out if orcas were pregnant, the researchers trained dogs to find orca scat and then tested the scat’s hormone levels. What they found was sobering.

“Of those that we confirmed were pregnant, 31 percent of the pregnancies are successful. So 69 percent were lost,” said Sam Wasser, a University of Washington professor and study author.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is in search of a new way to pay for Gov. Kate Brown's clean air initiative, after lawmakers did not pass its primary funding mechanism.

Brown’s Cleaner Air Oregon initiative aims to create more stringent air toxics regulations based on what’s safe for human health. Those would be similar to what states like California and Washington already have.

House Bill 2269 would have funded that work by increasing the permit fees paid by polluters. Lawmakers abandoned the idea after opposition from industry groups.

If the world does nothing to limit carbon emissions, the US economy will suffer — but, according to a new study published Thursday in Science, the Pacific Northwest might actually benefit.

Fourteen states — including Oregon and Washington — are threatening to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating the Clean Air Act.

In a letter to the EPA sent Thursday, the group argues Director Scott Pruitt broke the law when he ordered his agency to halt part of the rule-making process for regulating methane and other air pollution from oil and gas facilities.

For the second time since 2015, the Oregon Legislature has stripped language out of a bill that would have increased the state’s regulation of oil trains.

Oregon has the weakest regulations among West Coast states.

A year after a Union Pacific oil train derailed and caught fire in the Columbia River Gorge town of Mosier, lawmakers are advancing to the House and Senate floors House Bill 2131, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Smith Warner, D-Portland.

This spring has been strange in Oregon’s Lane County.

“It rained every day. I’m exaggerating, but only by two days,” said farmer Jason Hunton.

As Mother Nature reared her ugly head, Hunton had to sit and watch his fields. Hunton farms organic and conventional land in Junction City, Oregon.

A series of public meetings for the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project began Tuesday afternoon on Oregon’s south coast.

It was the first public meeting since the Canadian company Veresen refiled its permit application with the federal government. The company is proposing to build an LNG export terminal near Coos Bay, in addition to the 235-mile Pacific Connector Pipeline that will connect the terminal to natural gas supplies in the mountain West.

When a bark beetle outbreak started killing off decades-old pine trees in a research forest in western Montana, Forest Service researcher Sharon Hood made the best of the situation. She and other researchers started studying which trees were dying, hoping that information would help land managers.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a request by Portland General Electric to sell nine oil storage tanks on the Columbia River near Clatskanie.

PGE is selling the tanks to the fuel distributor Global Partners LP, which owns the Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery at Port Westward.

Environmental groups asked utility regulators to kill the sale to protect public safety because the tanks could be used to develop an oil-by-rail terminal.

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