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.

Will Methanol Be The New Aroma Of Tacoma?

Feb 18, 2016

UPDATE: On Friday the company behind Tacoma's proposed methanol plant announced it was temporarily putting its proposal on hold, saying it has been "surprised by the tone and substance of vocal opposition." Click here for details.

Standing in front of a stained glass window in his showroom, Uroboros Glass President Eric Lovell walks through some of the colors and the metals used to make them.

"You're looking at chrome and copper greens, gold pinks and iron sulfide ambers," he said. "The yellow border there and the parrot feathers, reds and oranges, are the cadmium colors that are the current topic."

Inside the North Portland workshop, employees scoop glowing, molten glass out of 2200-degree furnaces.

The coal industry has been having a hard time lately.

Coal usage in the U.S. has been declining for years. That's prompted coal companies in the West to try to export their coal to Asia via ports in Washington, Oregon and California.

Q&A: What We Know About Portland's Toxic Air Emissions

Feb 16, 2016

Two air-pollution hotspots in Portland have many residents worried about exposure to arsenic, cadmium, and now hexavalent chromium, which can be highly carcinogenic.

The hotspots have drawn attention to two glassmakers, which have now suspended the use of any of those materials in their production processes.

This scare has drawn attention to what you’ve called a blind spot in air pollution regulations. Can you remind us what it is and how it was discovered?

Warm Waters Linked To Sea Star Wasting

Feb 16, 2016

During the height of the sea star die-offs in 2014, millions of stars up and down the West Coast were wasting away. At the same time, sea surface temperatures in the northeast Pacific Ocean were the warmest recorded in decades.

Scientists suspected a connection.

Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and Kate Brown of Oregon were among the 17 state executives to sign onto a clean-energy agreement announced Tuesday.

The “Governors Accord for a New Energy Future” brings together Republican and Democratic governors from across the country.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is calling on the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Environmental Quality to take immediate action, after concerns that glass companies are releasing heavy metals into North and Southeast Portland air.

In a statement Monday, Brown ordered DEQ to begin soil testing in the affected communities. Heavy metals have the potential to linger in soil and be an exposure point for people.

Pika

Feb 11, 2016

Producers: Ed Jahn and Liz Cosko; Videographers: Nick Fisher and Liz Cosko; Editor: Michael Bendixen; Special Thanks: Outdoor Idaho, Idaho PTV

Two Democratic congressmen from Oregon said federal prosecutors should have acted much earlier to arrest Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. Had authorities acted sooner, the lawmakers said it might have discouraged militants inspired by Bundy from occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer of Portland and Peter DeFazio of Springfield on Thursday called for tough federal prosecution against both Bundy and the militants who ended their nearly six-week long occupation the same day.

When the new baby orca L120 was spotted in just off of San Juan Island in Puget Sound, Ken Balcomb passed out cigars to celebrate.

But the long-time killer whale researcher knew that the southern resident orca pods needed a lot more than one new member. That was back in September 2014. Their numbers were down to 78, the smallest since 1985. L120 was the first baby orca born in two years.

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