Waste Management plans to idle its new plastics-to-oil facility in North Portland. It's only been operating for 16 months, but perhaps not as well as the company had hoped.
BNSF Railway trains in the Pacific Northwest could soon have one-man crews.
President Obama announces several initiatives to help prepare for a warming climate. He says wildfires, heat waves and rising sea levels brought on by climate change threaten public safety.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is eliminating the use of bee-harming pesticides on refuges in the Pacific region. One likely exception? Invasive crazy ants that attack nesting seabirds.
A new EarthFix poll takes a look at what Northwest residents from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho think about environmental issues.
It's been a bad week for Tesoro in the press. A KUOW investigation revealed that four years after a deadly blast at the company's plant in Anacortes, no one has been held accountable. Now, the Sightline Institute has issued a scathing report on Tesoro's practices.
Seattle diver Laura James heard reports that starfish weren’t faring well in Washington’s Hood Canal, so she decided to check in on them. Watch a video of the sick and dying starfish she found underwater.
In a stinky, sweltering above-ground tunnel built out of wood and black landscaping fabric, I heard the most amazing sounds. They were coming from thousands of birds nesting inches away from me.
A 125-pound black bear was spotted running through a Northeast Portland neighborhood early Wednesday morning. Officials captured the bear and plan to release it back into the wild within 24 hours.
Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are calling on the National Transportation Safety Board to review the sufficiency of the U.S. Department of Transportation's latest emergency order on oil trains.
The Northwest's two main freight rail operators are complying with a federal requirement to inform states about the North Dakota crude oil they're hauling -- but they want the states to keep the public from finding out by signing for non-disclosure agreements.
The fight over Elliott State Forest is heating up with the recent discovery of endangered seabird habitat.
The Oregon Department of State Lands has delayed until August its permitting decision on a controversial coal export dock on the Columbia River. The decision was expected by May 31.
Curry County residents community tell lawmakers the rules protecting them from aerial herbicide spraing were inadequate -- and the same goes for the state’s response after the spray occurred were both inadequate.
Northwest cities are rapidly rolling toward launching bike share schemes. Experts say that specializing these programs to each city's needs is crucial to their long-term viability.
This week a major study known as the National Climate Assessment laid out a region-by-region look at how climate change has already altered not just the things we’d typically think of like ecosystems and water supplies, but also our industries, infrastructure and human health.
After the oil train derailment in Lynchburg, Virginia, last week, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation with a list of requests for improving oil train safety.
Water restoration projects throughout the Northwest will make their big screen debut next week in Portland. The Stories of Our Watersheds film festival will feature 14 short films.
In a speech to the Oregon League of Conservation Voters last weekend, Gov. John Kitzhaber voiced clear opposition to coal export projects in the Northwest. Now, what is he going to do about it?
The Oregon Department of Agriculture investigates pesticide use in the state of Oregon. Its program manager says its biggest enforcement challenge is Oregon's public records law, followed by communication with other agencies and with the public.
Beehive thefts are on the rise in California, possibly as a result of declining bee populations and their increased value as pollinators. The phenomena of bee rustling doesn't appear to have spread to the Northwest. Not yet, at least.
Oregon State University scientists have found that silicone bracelets could be a useful tool for monitoring human exposure to chemicals. An initial study revealed subjects wearing the bracelets for 30 days were exposed to everything from pesticides to fire retardants.
A California company says it's developed the technology to pull high-grade lithium from water used to extract geothermal energy. The lithium is the same kind used in the batteries of electric cars.
Federal law allows railroads using industry-standard tank cars to avoid filing comprehensive response plans, and state regulators don't have authority to do so either -- nor are they likely to get it.
There is a system for measuring the energy efficiency of your house. It's called an Energy Performance Score, but not many homes have one.
Climate will play a critical part in the fresh water supply in the Northwest. Hotter temperatures will likely mean less summer rainfall and more wildfires. And it could mean gradual changes to the plant and animal life in the years to come.
They don't have plans for a filibuster, since they lack a bill and a scheduled vote. But more than two dozen Democratic U.S. lawmakers do have a lot to say about the perils of climate change -- along with a free Monday night and access to the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Have you been wondering about the Port of Portland's position on oil by rail? If so, you're not alone. The port responded to inquiries today, saying it might consider the idea one day – but not today.
While the Northwest's debate over whether to build coal export terminals seems to be at a standstill, the discussion in California's San Francisco Bay led to a decision to reject such a port project.
The wolf known as OR-7 was the first wolf to be documented in the Cascades. According to a new report from Oregon Fish and Wildlife, a second single wolf was documented near Oregon's Mount Hood in December.
Sometimes as a reporter you find yourself in situations you never quite imagined. And so it was as I hung 50-feet in the air on a sheet of ice.
Train traffic will dramatically increase in the Pacific Northwest, if proposed coal export terminals and crude oil terminals are built, according to a report from the Western Organization of Resource Councils.
Scientists point to evidence as to why they do not consider radiation a leading culprit for the mysterious syndrome that’s killing sea stars along the west coast of North America.
Join KCTS 9’s EarthFix reporter Katie Campbell and Seattle diver/videographer Laura James for an online screening and live chat on Wednesday, February 19, at 12 p.m. Pacific.
A beloved urban goat herd in Portland has found a temporary new home in the city.
As Northwest coal proposals crawl through approval processes, a plan to export coal through a B.C. terminal is also getting scrutiny.
A House subcommitte Wednesday heard testimony about increasing oil and gas drilling on public lands.
When China tested recent U.S. shipments of geoduck clams, it included skin and the gutball -- parts that nobody eats, U.S. officials said, but that typically have the highest concentrations of toxins. Now Chinese officials have a new message: We eat the skin and the gutball.
An environmental activist's five-year prison sentence draw more media attention for the reading list than the hard time involved.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to relocate more of the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer.
A round up some of the green features for this year’s Super Bowl festivities.
With thousands of miles of coastline in North America, scientists can’t be everywhere at once to keep an eye out for sick and dying starfish. A new web map channels posts to social media sites to track the real time spread of the disease.
Cellist and University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford and geology professor Scott St. George came up with an interesting idea: put climate data to music.
The figure often cited by the rail industry and proponents of oil by rail is not inaccurate, but there's more to the story.
The largest dam removal in U.S. history just got even cooler. Check out the latest video from the wilds of Olympic National Park.
A wild fish advocacy group goes to court to halt the release of hatchery steelhead in Washington rivers -- the latest such legal action to assert environmental laws to stop fish hatchery programs in the Northwest.
Geoduck clams from Puget Sound are a prized delicacy in China. But many diners in the Northwest have never tried them. Perhaps one of these recipes will whet an appetite for the clams, which go for $100 a pound in China.
A Washington senator and a chef denounce the proposed for Pebble Mine at Bristol Bay, Alaska.
In dense, concrete-locked urban areas like Seattle space for gardening is hard to come by. After all, this is a city where land is so valuable that people spend an average of $346 per square foot on their homes.
Three Portland MBA students invented a way to build raised garden beds with giant, recycled plastic Lego-like blocks and funded the idea with a Kickstarter campaign.
Oregon announced new rules today allowing livestock producers to kill wolves without a permit if certain criteria are met.
If you live in the heart of a city like Seattle or Portland, your carbon footprint is about half the national average. But the people living in the surrounding suburbs more than make up for it. In some places, suburbanites emit four times the amount of carbon as city dwellers.
Only a small percentage of trains carrying hazardous materials are inspected as they move through Oregon and Washington. Safety advocates and legislators are more concerned about what federal regulations allow than the fewer than 1 percent of cars found with safety violations.
A murmuration in Richland, Wash.
A wide array of tiny marine critters are struggling to survive in Bellingham Bay, according to a recently released report from the Washington Department of Ecology.
A multinational banking giant is backing away from a proposal to build the West Coast’s biggest coal export project near Bellingham, Washington.
None of the Northwest states made it into a new list of the leaders in solar energy development. The list was released Tuesday by the group Environment Oregon.
EarthTechling reports Seattle's Bullitt Center can now officially say it's the greenest building in the world.
Federal researchers are still trying to understand what's driving the marbled murrelet population. Unlike previous studies, they now find no significant population decline across 80 percent of the endangered seabird's range.
In response to consumer requests, General Mills is changing the source of its original Cheerios ingredients so that the cereal will be free of genetically modified organisms.
Take a listen to some of our interesting sounds of this past year.
It’s the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. A primer on three big ideas in conservation biology: triage, minimum viable populations and assisted migration.
Earlier this month, we asked what you are doing to have a more sustainable holiday season. Here are some of your responses.
Need a holiday gift idea for that skateboarder in your life? How about some upcycled skate wax?
Officials in Washington have learned that inorganic arsenic was the toxin detected in a shipment of geoduck from their state to China, not the toxin causing paralytic shellfish poisoning, or PSP, as they previously believed.
New research has found a way to turn algae into crude oil -- in less time than your daily lunch break.
Central Washington cyclists are trying to expand a popular cycling loop from Wenatchee to Leavenworth, but local growers worry about what it could mean for their orchards.
'Tis the season -- how are you going green this time of year?
New regulations from the FDA will phase out the use of antibiotics to help farm animals gain weight.
Lawsuits around the region highlight a groundswell of opposition to the practice of raising salmon and steelhead in hatcheries to then be released into the wild.
U.S. District Court in Portland sentenced a man to a year probation and a $250 fine for killing three bald and three golden eagles on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
Lummi council member Jay Julius and attorneys Mason Morisset and Knoll Lowney sat down with EarthFix's Ashley Ahearn for a public discussion at Town Hall Seattle.
A new partnership between the Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the latest indication that the ancient practice of prescribed burning is continuing to find favor as a way to help wildlife.
A secret recording of a pro-coal spokeswoman has led to a changing of the guard at the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports, a front group for the proponents of coal exports in the Northwest.
Development on the edge of public forests has more than doubled since the mid 1970s in Oregon and Washington, which has a host of ecological consequences, including higher risk of wildfires and invasive species spread.
If urbanites’ behavior is any indication, American workers' commutes are changing. A new transportation study of the biggest U.S. urban areas shows a decline in driving and an increase in biking to work.
There was a time when you wouldn't see politicians hold still for a photo op in the Klamath Basin. But that's what's in the works in Klamath Falls, where an almost-done deal could change the way water is divided up in a thirsty corner of the Northwest.
A small Northwest compost company is one of four finalists vying for a free 30-second Super Bowl ad.
A Seattle diver and environmental advocate called it one of the saddest things she’s ever seen underwater. Sea stars in numbers too great to count dying before her eyes.
As the feds consider delisting the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act, a study by California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife decides the gray wolf does not need protection in the state.
One of the country's biggest energy corporations enters a $1 million settlement after its Wyoming wind turbines kill 14 golden eagles.
Two artists are responding to the decline of bees through their work.
I've never had deep-fried turkey, but I've heard it's delicious. It also requires several gallons of cooking oil that makes great feedstock for biofuel.
A new EPA study shows that blood mercury levels in women of childbearing age dropped 34 percent between a survey done in 1999-2000 and follow up surveys conducted 2001-2010.
Michael Foster hasn’t eaten in nine days. He’s fasting in solidarity with others around the world who are participating in a hunger strike to address climate change and support the people of the Philippines who were hit by one of the most powerful typhoons on record.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is responding to concerns about safety for his company's luxury electric vehicle, the Model S, after three recent car fires.
A new documentary is helping raise awareness about the declining Pacific lamprey numbers -- before the fish are put on the endangered species list.
Paralleling a breakdown in international climate talks at the COP19 summit in Warsaw, a new poll from Stanford University shows Americans not only believe the climate is warming, but also want action from government on greenhouse gas emissions.
Deep in the forest of our media landscape, fungi have been emerging. A roundup of some recent news as well as fun stuff from the archives.
These Beanfields chips sure are tasty. They're also made by a company that hasn't fueled opposition to labeling genetically modified foods –- according to the app I tried out today.
The Washington Post reports that six tons of confiscated ivory have now been crushed, a message to would-be elephant poachers.
Recent strong winds in south, central Washington caused a wind turbine to blow over. How can a turbine meant to sustain and use wind simply blow over? How often does this happen?
Researchers are studying whether mycofiltration can effectively clean up polluted runoff.
SeattlePI.com reports that Washington's four Catholic bishops have released a statement calling for “exhaustive and independent review” of the state's two coal export terminals under consideration.
Northwest refineries are already accepting oil by rail, more and more of it with each passing month, coming in from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. Now, as the U.S. faces a domestic glut of oil production, Congress is debating allowing more oil exports.
Idaho has the distinction of dropping the furthest in rank in the latest State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
Right now, I have sitting at home broken alarm clock and a few items of clothing that need mending. I’ve considered tossing them, but instead I might just hit a repair cafe.
In case you missed it, a roundup of some of the interesting Northwest environmental news stories from October.
Water is the lifeblood of the Northwest's most arid state. It's so important that there's now a video presentation, the "Idaho Water Handbook" that airs this week. Here's the story behind the handbook from Idaho Public TV's EarthFix producer.
A first-of-its-kind "meta-analysis" from Oregon State University researchers looks at the link between pesticides and fertilizers and amphibians -- and what that means for the rest of the ecosystem.
Conservation group Polar Bears International is hoping to bring awareness to the snow white bears with Polar Bear Week.
Some clever and well-dressed scientists are using a pun to spur some fun educational outreach.
While President Obama tries to return his administration's focus to climate change, several Northwest tribes are leading the way in adapting to the challenges of warming average temperatures.
Four Portland chefs are cooking up a Trash Fish Supper for a sustainable seafood fundraiser Nov. 10.
A new, highly efficient rooftop heating and cooling unit could reduce a commercial building's energy costs by an average of 41 percent.
The largest single exhibit of art depicting the world’s alpine and polar regions will be on display in Bellingham, just a few miles from where the largest coal export terminal in North America is proposed to be built.
Want to know what the nation's top city is for EVs? It's on the West Coast. And, according to a ranking by the world's biggest network of EV chargers, That city has lots of company, with five of the top 10 cities in the U.S. near the Pacific Ocean.
As October winds down, so does this year’s National Farm To School Month. This year, USDA conducted the first census to start tracking the impact of school programs.
Russia promised the greenest Olympics yet when it hosts next year's winter games. But the country is getting a public-relations black eye after revelations a state company has been dumping potentially contaminated construction waste from the site of the games in Sochi.
Saw my first Tesla Model S in person last night. Its license plate boasted, ‘GAS LOL.’ Gas may be a funny concept to Tesla car owners, but they might not be laughing about some recent news.
How tribes are working to increase endangered steelhead numbers throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The billionaire Bill Gates makes a trip to Idaho on behalf of his nuclear power start-up to see what he can learn at the Idaho National Laboratory.
It could have been just another adventure for Clayton and New York, two goats living in Northeast Portland. But on this trip, they also had a mission.
Managers of some of the biggest pension funds in the world are worried about the profitability of fossil fuel companies, according to a report from The Associated Press (via NPR).
As Oregon and Washington consider proposals to export coal, satellite images show heavy cover of smog over China.
E-bikes are all the rage in other countries. In the U.S.? Not so much.
Whew, ok, we're a little excited. But this video from John Gussman is RAD. The Elwha dam removal, taking place in Washington's Olympic National Park, has been an inspiring story to cover. Now the chinook salmon are coming home and they are magnificent.
Alligator snapping turtles have been overhunted to the extent they are threatened with extinction in their native Southeastern United States. But that wasn’t a good enough reason to keep one alive after it was discovered in an Eastern Oregon reservoir.
After months of back-and-forth between coal company Ambre Energy and the Oregon Department of State Lands, the permitting has been further delayed for a Columbia River coal export project.
A new study finds wheat straw could be a potential source of renewable energy.
We snagged a prize at the 2013 Online Journalism Awards for Best Explanatory Reporting (Small) for our coverage of [Coal in the Northwest](http://earthfix.info/coal "").
There’s an interesting feature in the New York Times Magazine this week looking at the controversy surrounding octopus hunting in Puget Sound.
A recent study found that children around the world will bear the brunt of the impact of climate change. Children in Seattle are calling for adults to take action.
Have you ever smelled a ponderosa pine? It's not what you think.
The Vancouver Sun reports that [BC’s $32 million commercial sardine industry has suddenly and 'inexplicably' collapsed](http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/Sudden+disappearance+sardines+serious+economic+ecological/9034961/story.html "").
How can we sustain all these people on the planet? Or rather, how many people can this planet sustain? That’s a question Alan Weisman explored in his latest book "Countdown."
News of a glacier tunnel in northern Sweden comes out the same week as EarthFix's radio feature and Oregon Field Guide's special on a mile-long glacier cave network on Mount Hood.
The finalists for the Nature Conservancy's green restaurant award have been chosen. It's time for you to vote!
News out this week about a North Dakota oil spill will likely raise eyebrows here in the Northwest. Reuters reports that a farmer Steve Jensen discovered an oil spill on his wheat field.
A new documentary that airs in Seattle and Portland charts the history of the environmental movement.
Meet the duck that can answer that question and watch a sneak preview of the upcoming Oregon Ducks vs. Washington Huskies match up.
A new study shows that diesel exhaust might be preventing honeybees from finding the plants they want to pollinate.
Oregon's OR-7 has garnered headlines and even his own Twitter handle after making his way from Oregon into the Golden State and now back. But new map shows how Washington wolves have been tracked sojourning deep into Canada, where two have been killed.
A new study out of Washington State University has found that small changes in rural land development could curb wildfires.
Suzi Eszterhas will talk about photographing the family life endangered animals at an event in Portland tonight. Her latest series of children’s books, entitled “Eye On The Wild”, features photos of baby gorillas, orangutans, cheetahs and sea otters.
A new study has found that older forests may be storing more carbon than researchers previously thought possible.
The federal government will make official Thursday its added protection for the streaked horned lark and the Taylor's checkerspot butterfly. The bird and the butterfly rely on prairie habitat from the Puget Sound trough to the Willamette Valley.
Electric car company Tesla Motors' shares dropped Wednesday after a video of one of their cars on fire hit the internet.
Here's a rundown on what the BLM, FWS, NOAA, NPS and other federal agencies known by their TLAs and FLAs (Sorry - three-letter-acronyms and four-letter-acronyms) are up to ... and no longer up to in the Northwest due to the federal government shutdown.
As October rains upon us, a round up some of the big news and great reports from our team and from other outlets in September.
A creek in Central Washington ran "chocolate brown" after a recent downpour. Soil erosion was the next problem officials worried about after a wildfire was contained in the area last year.
A 22-foot-long totem pole carved in opposition to coal exports makes a final stop at the site of the largest proposed coal terminal on the West Coast before heading across the border for a ceremony with first nations near Vancouver, British Columbia.
Geeking out and going behind the scenes (and under the microscope) on our latest story from our new series "Symptoms Of Climate Change: Will A Warming World Make Us Sick?"
Join us for a live online community chat about impacts on human health from climate change, Thursday, October 10 12-1 p.m., PDT. This is part of our multimedia series, 'Symptoms Of Climate Change: Will A Warming World Make Us Sick?'
Can we be 'gracious co-inhabitants' in our daily encounters with urban wildlife?
Washington’s Department of Ecology recently collected its 200,000th automobile switch containing mercury. That represents 445 pounds of mercury that did not end up in the environment.
The floor of the Pacific Ocean is a world of extremes. But it’s also a place of exquisite spare beauty and colorful creatures.
A recent panel of advocates for labeling foods that have been genetically engineered provides insights into the anti-GMO movement. Here are four of them.
Thanks to all those who submitted and enjoyed viewing our photo contest. Autumn has come on full force for many of us in the Northwest so it’s fun to see these summer moments. Check out our winning photo!
Two recent studies show environmental impacts on allergies. One study finds that ragweed thrives from CO2 emissions. The other looks at how loss of biodiversity in cities makes allergies worse.
Portland and Seattle rank in the top tier of energy efficient cities, according to the 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
What does a 'green restaurant look like to you? Does it serve grass-fed beef and free-range chicken? Does it serve meat at all? What about bottled water? Organic produce? Genetically modified food?
In the latest Orion Magazine, David Holub proposed 10 clichés that need updating. A clever (and rather cynical) exercise. A few I thought were especially apropos given current Northwest debates.
There are a few art exhibits showing now that could be thought-provoking to those interested in environmental issues.
Every time I look in the produce drawer of my refrigerator, I feel guilty. Lurking in there right now is a wrinkled nectarine, tomatoes that have sprouted gray fuzz, a handful of once-purple-now-black basil and a cucumber that will surely turn to mush if disturbed.
A look at some efforts to help declining bumblebee populations in the region.
Oregon is getting a making-progress-but-not-enough assessment when it comes to reducing the kind of pollution that contributes to climate change.
Researchers have blunt news for states with bans on disposing junk TVs in landfills: They don’t work.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has put a lot of work into relocating an endangered species of deer. Now they want to make sure hunters don't hamper their efforts.
I went poking around USDA data to learn more about the number of organic farms in the Northwest.
An unnaturally large dust storm blew through Eastern Washington this weekend. Now some amazing photos are circulating the web.
We have been named a finalist in three categories for this year’s Online Journalism Awards put on by the Online News Association.
Have you heard of forage fish? That topic is on the agenda this week at the meeting of the Pacific Fishery Management Council.
This weekend, the garbage hauler Waste Management will take your hard-to-recycle plastics at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland and turn them into oil.
A record-breaking run of fall chinook returning to their native streams means anglers can catch more salmon.
A few creative outreach campaigns like 'ugly animal' video contests and endangered species condoms are employed by activists who want to bring attention to the plight of endangered species.
What did you do outside this summer? For our next photo contest, we want to see pictures on you outdoors on your summer adventures.
A huge molasses spill has caused marine life deaths in Honolulu harbor, and provides a reminder that seemingly benign things can cause harm, too.
He’s climbed Mount Rainier more than 250 times. He's survived avalanches. He’s had both knees replaced. Now he’s 84 years old. And he still downhill and cross-country skis. If you don’t know who Lou Whittaker is, let me introduce him.
We've spent 250 million and counting fighting wildfires in Oregon and Washington this year. And the bill is going up.
After decades of studies and public-awareness campaigns on the environmental threats of plastic six-pack rings, the YouTube humor channel, Official Comedy, offers this take on the deadly impact of a casually disposed of six-pack ring.
Members of Congress want to help the Army Corps cut costs and speed up environmental reviews on infrastructure projects like those proposed for coal exports in the Northwest.
In the big beer business, looming water scarcity is definitely a concern. But contrary to what you might think, beer production isn't where all the water consumption happens.
Stanford researchers don't think it makes sense to build grid-scale batteries to store surplus wind energy. To understand why, think about whether you'd spend $100 on safe to store a $10 watch.
The Northwest's northern leopard frog is listed as endangered in Washington state. It calls Potholes Reservoir in the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area home.
Wolf OR-7 has become something of a rock star in the world of wildlife. How did he get to be so famous? Sheer luck.
Coal export proposals are getting a close look in the region... but the process is getting more complicated after the recent break up between the U.S. Army Corps and the Washington Department of Ecology.
Climate experts say the Northwest is morphing into a new climate. Drier summers, less annual snowpack and hotter temperatures could mean more wildfires in the coming years. Some scientists believe states like Idaho will look very different in the next 100-years.
Sometimes a single species’ plight can help to illustrate the impacts of climate change as compellingly as melting glaciers and or a remote Alaskan village's sea level rise. Example: the snowshoe hare.
Three of the Northwest's proposed coal export terminals have been dropped by investors. Now, a train-to-oil project reaches a similar fate.
Chicken rental programs allow you to try your hand at minding a coop without having to commit long term.
Computer scientist and author Ramez Naam says instead of focusing on limiting growth and use of resources, we should focus on using innovation and knowledge to "grow richer while doing less damage."
Introducing... Waypoints, the EarthFix team blog.