Business and Finance

Environment & Energy

Measure to build nuclear reactors nears breakthrough in Legislature

WEDNESDAY 1, JULY 2015  Washington is one House vote away from beginning to search for a potential manufacturing site for small modular reactors. That site will likely be at Hanford just north of Richland. The measure appears headed to approval, although it’s currently stalled by larger legislative posturing. Democratic and Republican leaders made a complicated series of deals to get their main state budget passed, along with their transportation

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Pollution May Age the Brain

Exposure to air pollution may hasten brain aging, a new study has found. Researchers studied 1,403 women without dementia who were initially enrolled in a large health study from 1996 to 1998. They measured their brain volume with M.R.I. scans in 2005 and 2006, when the women were 71 to 89 years old. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/22/pollution-may-age-the-brain/?&moduleDetail=section-news-1&action=click&contentCollection=Health®ion=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&configSection=article&isLoggedIn=true&pgtype=article

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Lawmakers Talk Nuclear Energy, And Washington’s Clean Energy Future

Given the current political climate surrounding energy production in Washington state, perhaps it wasn’t surprising a nuclear energy task force consisting of Democratic and Republican lawmakers failed to make recommendations when it met for the final time in 2014 on Wednesday. But despite the inaction, comments from key lawmakers on energy policy from the respective parties provided some glimpse of how they’ll view nuclear energy in the broader

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Mountains to Sound passes out of committee

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee passed the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Act out of committee on Nov. 18. The act would designate a stretch of scenic landscape from Seattle to Ellensburg as a National Heritage Area. A Natural Heritage Area is a large, lived-in area designated by the U.S. Congress where historical, natural, recreational and cultural resources combine to form a landscape worthy of national distinction.  

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Ecology report details plans to make oil trains safer

A new, 500-page state report says railroad oil shipments through Washington may increase sevenfold in the next six years and recommends 40 measures to improve safety and protect the environment.The state Department of Ecology report, released Monday, recommends additional spending for emergency planning, training and equipment, rail inspections and ongoing risk assessments.     http://tdn.com/news/local/ecology-report-details-plans-to-make-oil-trains-safer/article_855cb8de-79f4-11e4-8208-3f70d68ae0de.html

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Columbia Riverkeeper tests find toxics in fish bound for dinner tables

Before they landed on local fishermen's plates this summer, an environmental group tested five Columbia River fish to see what toxics lay within. The results of Columbia Riverkeeper's analysis weren't unexpected, and for resident fish, they weren't good. The worst? Two walleye, which had high levels of PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, cancer-causing industrial chemicals banned in 1979 that accumulate up the food chain in fish. One had 175 times more

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Freshwater shortage looming as next world crisis

By Don C. Brunell | 0 comments Remember the rhyme of the Ancient Mariner: "Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink?" Even though water covers 70 percent of the Earth's surface, less than 2 percent is freshwater. Therein lies the problem. As the world's population grows, demand for water is increasing; in periods of drought it becomes a crisis. California has been in the grip of a severe drought this year. As summer ends, we are beginning

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Google says good riddance to “lying” conservative legislative group

Google has severed its ties with the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, with harsh words that ALEC is “lying” with expressions about climate change. The group has suffered numerous defections, including Microsoft and Amazon.com, beginning with its authorship of so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws such as the Florida statute used by the George Zimmerman defense in the killing of 16-year-old teenager Trayvon Martin.   http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2014/09/22/google-says-good-ridance-to-lying-conservative-legislative-group/

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In Our View: It’s Time To Tweak Treaty After 50 years, crucial Columbia River pact with Canada must be updated

As anniversaries go, tradition says a gift of gold was warranted. After all, the union between the United States and Canada, as spelled out in the Columbia River Treaty, turned 50 last week. That might have been a cause for celebration, yet both parties remained largely silent as they ponder the future of a partnership that has helped define the Columbia River for a half-century. Originally signed by President Eisenhower and Canadian Prime Minister

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Energy Northwest picked for BPA pilot project

Energy Northwest has been picked by the Bonneville Power Administration for a pilot project to demonstrate balancing power production with power use through the quick response of users to reduce consumption. Such balancing could serve as a cost-effective alternative to building additional electricity generating stations or purchasing power. The energy going into BPA's electrical system from hundreds of generators has to be matched second-by-second

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Solar energy’s gains still outpaced by increase in fossil fuel use

Solar energy appears to finally be coming of age. In July, Bloomberg New Energy Finance declared that we are in the midst of a “solar revolution,” and the firm predicted that solar will be the fastest-growing form of global generation capacity through 2030. A few days after that report was released, Deutsche Bank announced plans to lend $1 billion to support solar deployment in Japan.   http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20140907/OPINION03/140909436

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How Washington state can lead on climate

Smarter carbon controls won't necessarily happen quickly, but experts say the Northwest is headed in the right direction. The Pacific Northwest is on the cutting edge of tackling climate change, but it will likely be a something of a slog before major policy advances occur. http://crosscut.com/2014/09/17/environment/121942/global-warming-climate-change-washington-inslee/

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What a carbon tax would mean for Washington’s economy

Preliminary calculations show that a Washington carbon emissions tax would slow the state economic growth in the long run. But the short-term economic impact appears negligible. Economists from the Washington Office of Financial Management presented two scenarios to a climate change advisory task force in Seattle on September 9, 2014. The scenarios, based on computer simulations, were not actual plans and each came with some caveats. But they provided

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Solar energy’s gains still outpaced by increase in fossil fuel use

Solar energy appears to finally be coming of age. In July, Bloomberg New Energy Finance declared that we are in the midst of a “solar revolution,” and the firm predicted that solar will be the fastest-growing form of global generation capacity through 2030. A few days after that report was released, Deutsche Bank announced plans to lend $1 billion to support solar deployment in Japan.   http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20140907/OPINION03/140909436/Solar-energy%2526%25238217s-gains-still-outpaced-by-increase-in-fossil-fuel-use

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Editorial: Hanford resolution a hostage of politics

Death, taxes, and more time to clean up Hanford. Those are the certainties of life in Washington, but the state is pushing back against the latest federal request for permission to miss another deadline on radioactive remediation. http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/sep/09/editorial-hanford-resolution-a-hostage-of-politics/

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2 more Hanford tanks declared empty of waste

Hanford workers have emptied waste to legal requirements from two more of the nuclear reservation's leak-prone underground tanks, including the first tank emptied with the Mobile Arm Retrieval, or MARS, system. Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/08/31/3130695_2-more-hanford-tanks-declared.html?sp=/99/900/901/&rh=1#storylink=cpy

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Two deaths reduce orca population to lowest level in 30 years

SAN JUAN ISLAND — The endangered killer whale population in Puget Sound continues to decline, with the confirmation of two new deaths this year. The number of whales in J, K and L pods has dropped to 78, a level not seen since 1985, according to Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research. http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/local-news/two-deaths-reduce-orca-population-to-lowest-level-in-30-years_24504009

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Wild Olympics legislation touted by lawmakers during Peninsula visit

Sen. Patty Murray and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer visited Jefferson County on Thursday to thank supporters of Wild Olympics legislation they are sponsoring in the Senate and House — even though their proposals likely won't be addressed this year, they said.  http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140822/NEWS/308229977/corrected-8212-wild-olympics-legislation-touted-by-lawmakers

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Acidification Harms Oceans – The Columbian editorial

When it comes to ocean acidification, the state of Washington is in damage-control mode. There is little doubt such acidification has — and will — take a toll on the state's economy; the question is, at what cost?  Read more http://www.columbian.com/news/2014/aug/21/in-our-view-acidification-harms-oceans/

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Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement

America's Most Comprehensive Service-Learning Resource The National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC) supports the service-learning community in higher education, kindergarten through grade twelve, community-based organizations, tribal programs, and all others interested in strengthening schools and communities using service-learning.   For More, see http://www.servicelearning.org

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