EarthFix

News Fixed on the Environment.

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Community members in Harney County are scheduled to gather Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the county fairgrounds to discuss the situation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward wants the armed occupiers of the Wildlife Refuge headquarters to leave the county. In a recorded statement, Ward said the goal of the meeting is for the community to unite around that message.

Most ranchers aren’t taking the same hardline, anti-government stance as the armed militants who took over Eastern Oregon's Malheur Wildlife Refuge headquarters.

Still, their dissatisfaction and distrust of federal land managers are deep running and deeply rooted in environmental conflict.

Hundreds of people showed up to speak Tuesday at a hearing on the controversial Vancouver Energy oil terminal.

Tesoro Corporation and Savage Companies have proposed building what would be the largest oil-by-rail terminal in the country at the Port of Vancouver in Washington.

Supporters of the project welcome the jobs and economic development that would come along with the terminal. Opponents say shipping that much oil is too dangerous and they'd rather see the port develop cleaner energy.

LaVoy Finicum is a member of the armed group occupying a federal building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He is a rancher from Arizona and supporter of Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, who are now in federal custody. Finicum spoke with OPB's Think Out Loud host Dave Miller Tuesday.

On the eve of opening day at Mount Hood Meadows, the ski resort sounded like a construction site.

A front-end loader scooped snow from the parking lot, its over-sized tire chains chinking as it crossed the pavement and emptied its load into a rubber-tracked dump truck. After a few more scoops, both machines rumbled toward a nearby chairlift to drop their haul.

In the ski industry, they call this "snow harvesting": Moving snow from the parking lots to the lower lifts and slopes so people can start skiing sooner.

An afternoon of peaceful protest in Harney County, Oregon took a turn Saturday, when a small group of men armed with pistols and long rifles occupied the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

“The main reason we're here is because we need a place to stand,” said Ammon Bundy, the apparent leader of the group.

“We stand in defense,” he said. “And when the time is right we will begin to defend the people of Harney County in using the land and the resources.”

Oregon’s controversial decision to take gray wolves off the state’s endangered species list is headed to court.

Three environmental groups filed a legal challenge of the decision Wednesday under the state’s Endangered Species Act.

The lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild claims the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife violated its own laws by failing to use the best available science and prematurely removing protections for Oregon’s 81 gray wolves.

Northwest Snow Piles Up Ahead Of Schedule

Dec 29, 2015

Oregon and Washington have above-average snowpack levels basically everywhere, according to numbers released this week.

The color-coded maps from the National Weather Service in Portland range from light to dark blue for nearly all of Oregon and much of Washington. That means snowpack is at least 130 percent of average.

Poor Start To Whale Watching Season

Dec 28, 2015

Winter storms and rain have reduced visibility at the coast this season — meaning the whale watching hasn’t been so good.

But Oregon State Park Ranger, Luke Parsons, expects that to change this week as clear skies and calmer weather are in the forecast.

He says up to 20,000 whales will swim by during the migration.

“They weigh anywhere between 20 and 40 tons each and so when you see a whole group of these go by, it’s pretty awe inspiring just to see that type of sea life, this close to us in Oregon," said Parsons.

It’s been a difficult couple weeks for the small Southern Oregon community of Glendale.

“The weather hands us unexpected things from time to time, and you just manage it and deal with it in as quick and best a fashion you can,” says Mayor Adam Jones.

After days of heavy rains in mid-December, the amount of wastewater coming through the city’s treatment plant exceeded capacity. Raw sewage overflowed into Cow Creek, a tributary of the Umpqua River.

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