Environment and Planning

Environment and Planning

Zane Brown / InciWeb

Several forest fires are already burning in Western Washington and crews are mopping up a big one in central Oregon. There were also two grass fires that burned near Middleton, Idaho just west of Boise, this past weekend.

Dry winds and above average temperatures predicted this summer and fall, have fire managers preparing for an earlier than usual season.

US Forest Service

Oregon lawmakers want to increase penalties for protesters who disrupt logging on state-owned forestland. The Oregon House Monday approved a measure that makes it a crime to obstruct timber operations. But the bill would still allow protests that don't actually block logging crews.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Nothing spoils a summer swim in your favorite lake like an algae bloom. These become more common as the weather warms up.  A lake in Federal Way, Washington -- near Seattle -- is serving as a proving ground for a possible new tool to combat toxic blooms.

Almost every summer until last summer, Lake Lorene would turn pea soup green.

Hanford Waste Plan Under Debate In New Mexico

Apr 4, 2013
US Department of Energy

CARLSBAD, N.M. - Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a plan to send some nuclear waste from leaky storage tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation to southern New Mexico. The proposed new storage site is near Carlsbad and it's called the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. WIPP, as it’s known, has been prohibited from receiving Hanford tank waste for nearly a decade. Now, New Mexicans are debating whether to reverse course, and accept some of the waste.

Washington Legislature

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In the coming months, Washington state will embark on a study of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The research is one provision of a measure Governor Jay Inslee signed into law Tuesday. It’s a key legislative win for the Democrat.

So why are Republicans declaring victory?

In the end, Governor Inslee got his climate change bill. But it came out looking a bit different then it went in. That’s because Republicans now largely control the Washington Senate. They rewrote key sections of the bill.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. - The U.S. Department of Energy says its wants to send 3 million gallons of radioactive tank waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation to a storage site in New Mexico. That’s 3 million gallons out of a total of 56 million gallons of some of the most toxic stuff on earth.

But what is different about this waste in particular, and why some groups are against moving it to New Mexico?

At a recent news conference at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, Washington Governor Jay Inslee said, “We have some good news here today.”

Strickling Family

RICHLAND, Wash. -- Jason Strickling and his wife Lana of Pasco, Wash. are planning some extra time with the kids this summer. That’s because she works for a Hanford Nuclear Reservation contractor in southeast Washington and her employer is requiring her to take about five weeks of unpaid leave before September.

Anna King / Northwest News Network


RICHLAND, Wash. – A plan to ship some radioactive waste from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation to New Mexico for storage won’t work. That was message Tuesday from three environmental watchdog groups. They’re asking the Obama Administration’s nominee for Secretary of Energy to drop the idea. 

Earlier this month, Governor Jay Inslee announced the federal government’s preferred storage site for about 3 million gallons of tank waste is salt caves in New Mexico. That’s out of 56 million gallons total stored at Hanford.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife

A bill headed for the floor of the Idaho House would tap into the interest in hunting wolves to raise money for ranchers who lose livestock to those wolves. A legislative committee approved the measure Tuesday, despite legal concerns, as Jessica Robinson reports.

Idaho lawmakers who represent ranching country say it's now up to the state to cover losses caused by wolves. Federal compensation funds are another casualty of the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. -- Up to three gallons of radioactive waste per day at Hanford seeps into the desert sand from underground tanks, not far from the Columbia River. That’s prompted Washington State Governor Jay Inslee to tour the remote site along with buses full of officials and media that roll through a sea of sagebrush.

The buses slow near some of the leaking radioactive underground tanks. Tom Fletcher, who manages the containment farms, points out the various groupings.