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Former Washington State Senator 'Very Excited' About Pruitt Confirmation To Head EPA

Feb. 18, 2017 12:30 a.m.

Former Washington state Sen. Don Benton said he’s “very excited” about the confirmation of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Nation | Environment | Election

Scott Pruitt Confirmed To Lead Environmental Protection Agency

Feb. 17, 2017 7:32 p.m.

The Senate has confirmed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the EPA's next administrator. Pruitt is a longtime critic of the agency.

Land use | Communities | Land | Water | Environment | Energy

EPA Wants Assurances Natural Gas Project Won't Harm Oregon's Environment

Feb. 13, 2015 4 a.m.

The Environmental Protection Agency weighs in as the public comment period for proposed LNG export terminal in Coos Bay comes to a close.

Science | Environment

Trump's EPA Moves Create Uncertainty For Future Of Northwest Environmental Work

Jan. 28, 2017 12:25 a.m.

A temporary freeze on grants and a halt on communications at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has left Northwest tribes, state agencies and nonprofits uncertain about the future.

Environment | Flora and Fauna

EPA, Environmental Groups Reach Agreement To Protect Salmon From Insecticides

June 6, 2014 5:07 p.m.

Environmental groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement Friday reinstating rules meant to protect salmon and steelhead from insecticides.

Nation | Environment

EPA Halves Staff Attending Environmental Conference In Alaska

Feb. 10, 2017 3:13 p.m.

The Trump administration's transition officials ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to cut its presence at the event. The team cited travel costs in explaining the abrupt move.

Communities | Environment

Environmental Groups Seek Ban of Common Pesticide

Feb. 1, 2013 11:47 p.m.

Three environmental groups will make the case in court Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to act on their petition to the agency to ban a common pesticide used on many Northwest crops.

Nation | Environment | Election

Nominee To Lead EPA Testifies He'll Enforce Environmental Laws

Jan. 19, 2017 1:07 a.m.

Scott Pruitt also told a Senate committee on Wednesday it's not clear how to measure humanity's effect on the climate. As attorney general of Oklahoma, he has filed many lawsuits against the agency.

Under Scott Pruitt, Trump's EPA Moves To Rip Up Obama-Era Environmental Rules

July 10, 2017 3:34 p.m.

Pruitt is rapidly realizing much of President Trump's environmental agenda, having already delayed or reversed dozens of initiatives from water pollution protections to pesticide controls.

Environment | Flora and Fauna

Group Calls For Expanding Killer Whale Habitat Protection

Jan. 16, 2014 8:26 p.m.

An environmental group is calling for a major expansion in habitat protection for Puget Sound's killer whales.

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Think Out Loud

Environmental Update

March 1, 2013 8:06 p.m.

Representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were in West Salem this week to meet with residents who are concerned about a possible "cancer cluster" in their community. There have been five documented cases of a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer — osteosarcoma — in young people within a two mile area. State and federal officials are not ready to classify this as a cancer cluster, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines as a "greater-than-expected number of cases." But the parents who signed the petition asking the EPA to investigate possible causes aren't concerned about numbers. They're thinking about the children who have already died from this disease and the teenager who is still struggling to recover from it. 

Think Out Loud

Environmental Update

June 25, 2012 4:06 p.m.

In 2010, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that runoff from logging roads can be considered water pollution and that loggers need to get permits for those roads under the Clean Water Act. Then the real wrangling began. The ruling was appealed to the Supreme court. Congress delayed implementation of the requirement. And this past May, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it won't require Clean Water Act permits for logging roads. The Supreme Court is expected to announce whether or not it will take up this question within the next week, but there's a good chance it will decline; the Obama Administration's Solicitor General, which the court asked for guidance, argued that  this could be addressed "more definitively and in a more nuanced fashion" by Congress and the EPA.

Think Out Loud

Environmental Update

March 26, 2012 4:25 p.m.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of two Idaho landowners who sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding a plot of land they hope to build on. But the decision doesn't mean that the couple, Mike and Chantell Sackett, will be able to start building. The dispute started back in 2007 when the EPA informed the Sacketts they could not build on their recently purchased plot because the property was designated as a wetland. The Supreme Court case wasn't about whether the Sacketts could build on the land. Instead, it was about whether they could dispute the land's classification as a wetland. According to the Sacketts, their property doesn't count as a wetland. The court unanimously ruled that the Sacketts, and other property owners, can challenge the EPA over compliance orders as soon as those orders are issued. That still leaves a long road ahead for the Sacketts, who will now take part in a legal battle over the designation of their property as a wetland.

local | News | Environment | Think Out Loud

Willamette River Cleanup Plan | On The Road: US Route 395

June 15, 2016 3:39 p.m.

We learn about the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft clean-up plan for the Willamette River Superfund site. And we take you on a radio road trip down route 395 from Pendleton to John Day.

Think Out Loud

Ocean Acidity Is Harming Oysters

Feb. 12, 2015 8:35 p.m.

The Center for Biological Diversity is suing the Environmental Protection Agency over the impacts of ocean acidity on shellfish.

Think Out Loud

Portland Firm Tops Toxic Polluter List

Aug. 27, 2013 7:06 p.m.

A recently released University of Massachusetts study ranked the Portland-based Precision Castparts Corporation as the most toxic air polluter in the U.S. The company manufactures cast metal parts at 150 plants throughout the world, including several in Oregon, and is one of two Fortune 500 companies based in Oregon. The high toxicity of Precision’s pollution is largely the result of heavy metal pollutants, in particular, chromium, cobalt and nickel. The list — compiled by economics professor Michael Ash using Environmental Protection Agency data — accounts for the volume and toxicity of pollution at all company plants across the country, as well as the health risks to the surrounding populations. Ash said of chromium, cobalt and nickel, “Those three together represent 99 percent of the estimated risk to human health.” The company is currently evaluating the findings of the list. Ash said that emission levels at Precision’s plants are likely within legal EPA-set limits.

Think Out Loud

EPA Restrictions

Jan. 26, 2017 9:11 p.m.

We talk to former Oregon Department of Environmental Quality director Dick Pedersen about the Trump administration’s abrupt changes at the Environmental Protection Agency this week.

Think Out Loud

Reservoir Debate Rolls On

Aug. 25, 2011 4:06 p.m.

Last month, New York Sen. Charles Schumer sent a letter to Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking for a reversal on the mandate to cover New York City's reservoir. The project would cost $1.6 billion. In a letter (pdf) sent Aug. 19, Jackson told Schumer that her agency would conduct a review and reconsider its directive. Oregon is under the same mandate by the EPA to cover its own reservoirs in Washington Park, Mount Tabor and other areas. The project is slated to cost $400 million, which is part of the reason for a proposed 85 percent water rate hike in the city. Will the EPA's review in New York carry over to Portland? City officials are lobbying Congress for answers.

Think Out Loud

The Biomass Question

Feb. 22, 2011 5 p.m.

Like timber before it, some view biomass as more than just trees - it offers the promise of new jobs and a different approach to forest management. In the Northwest the process of converting energy from organic materials begins with wood, and as some lawmakers see it, ends with Oregon being a world leader in a new form of energy. 2011 has been a good year for biomass proponents so far. Oregon lawmakers from both sides of the aisle praised a three-year extension by the Environmental Protection Agency to allow biomass development to continue without tough restrictions. Governor Kitzhaber supports biomass as a renewable energy source, and has put the implementation of biomass high on his agenda. Negotiations have been going on for months about a plan to convert Portland General Electric's Boardman power plant from being coal-fired to burning biomass. However, not everyone sees biomass as a sustainable source of energy. Some worry that biomass leads to deforestation. Others have concerns that biomass may emit more greenhouse gasses than coal.

Environment | Think Out Loud

William Ruckelshaus Awarded The Presidential Medal Of Freedom

Nov. 25, 2015 6:34 p.m.

Northwest native William Ruckelshaus was the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

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