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.

White House advisor and former Washington state Sen. Don Benton is part of the team implementing the president’s agenda at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Benton was sworn in as senior advisor Saturday, he said. The job is a temporary position, but could be extended. During the campaign, Benton served as Trump’s campaign chairman in Washington.

Biologist Shaun Clements stands in the winter mist in a coastal Oregon forest. He’s holding a small vial of clear liquid.

“We should be safe mixing it now, right?” he asks his colleague Kevin Weitemier above the sound of a rushing stream a few feet away.

Weitemier brings a second vial, full of stream water. In deliberate, seeming choreographed movements, usually associated with ritual, they pour the liquid back and forth between the small containers to mix -- two, then three times — never spilling a drop.

Clements looks down at the clock. It’s 12:29 pm.

Oregonians may be seeing a rare site in the coming years. A proposal to reintroduce the highly endangered California condor in Redwood National Park could mean North America’s largest land bird will once again take flight over the Pacific Northwest.

The California condor once soared over the West, from Baja to British Columbia.

6 Washington Fisheries Receive Disaster Designation

Jan 20, 2017

Unusual ocean and climate conditions have significantly reduced the number of fish available for American Indian tribes and commercial fleets to catch. That's led to the federal government's declaration that six fisheries in the state can now seek assistance to help bring things back to normal.

Why A Small Texas Town Wants Oregon’s Nuclear Waste

Jan 19, 2017

Communities from Oregon to New York may be clamoring to get nuclear waste out of their backyards, but one small town in west Texas is actively vying to store the nation’s spent nuclear fuel — at least for the next century or so.

“We don’t see it as some big, you know, dangerous, terrible, ominous figure," said Julia Wallace, executive director of the Andrews Chamber of Commerce. "It’s just another day’s work.”

In the final three months of 2016, railroads hauled 618 million gallons of oil through Washington. That means more than 1,500 rail cars every week hauling flammable crude through the state.

Those numbers come from new reports from the Washington Department of Ecology, which for the first time detail what kinds of oil are moving through which communities in the state, and in what amounts.

Operators of the biggest dam in the Northwest will now have to reduce oil spills that pollute the Columbia River. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation settled a lawsuit Thursday with the environmental group Columbia Riverkeeper.

Three Oregon conservation groups say a new plan to manage National Wildlife Refuges in the Klamath Basin doesn’t do enough to protect habitat. The groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Medford to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider additional options.

Washington is requiring dairies with 200 or more cows to apply for updated water quality permits. The new regulations are meant to curb water pollution from livestock manure.

This type of runoff can cause excessive nitrates in drinking water, which is harmful to infants, adults with compromised immune systems, and women who are trying to become pregnant. Pollution from manure can also contaminate shellfish beds and beaches.

The perfect day for an outdoor wedding or a baseball game? That’s a “mild day,” says Sarah Kapnick, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“I like to call mild weather days the ‘Goldilocks days,’” she says. “They’re not too hot. They’re not too cold. They’re just right.”

Kapnick is one of the co-authors of a study published Wednesday that has good news for picnickers and hikers in the Pacific Northwest: As climate change advances, we’ll have more mild weather.

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