Environment

Natural gas meter

Natural gas utilities must act quickly to meet state-mandated emissions cuts, report finds

BY: - February 2, 2023

UPDATED Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023 to include a response from NW Natural Oregon’s three natural gas providers need to move faster to cut greenhouse emissions or risk incurring significant fines and stalling the state’s efforts to combat climate change, a two-year investigation from the state’s Public Utilities Commission found.    The investigation began shortly after the […]

The Fender's blue butterfly has returned in large number

Willamette Valley butterfly once considered extinct is back in strong numbers

BY: - January 31, 2023

A butterfly native to the Willamette Valley and that was once thought to be extinct has returned in strong numbers.  The Fender’s blue butterfly will move from the endangered to threatened species list under the federal Endangered Species Act on Feb. 13, federal officials said. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement […]

Mount Hood National Forest

USDA to use outdoors recreation to boost economy around national forests, grasslands

BY: - January 31, 2023

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture began planning this month to develop outdoor recreation opportunities near national forests and grasslands, part of a broader Biden administration push to help communities reap economic rewards from the growing recreation sector. Three USDA agencies — the U.S. Forest Service, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and […]

COMMENTARY
chicken operation

Oregonians fight for a moratorium on factory farms

BY: - January 30, 2023

Oregon has more miles of polluted waterways than any other state. Meanwhile, residents in Northeast Oregon are fighting for safe drinking water after decades of contamination.  Our mounting water crisis is playing out against a backdrop of climate change-driven mega-drought that threatens water scarcity statewide. Legislators in Salem must see these events for what they […]

Affordable, reliable and sustainable: Report compares utility performance 

BY: - January 27, 2023

A nationwide comparison of electric utility performance by an Illinois consumer advocacy group found that customers in states that are heavily reliant on fuel oil and natural gas, as in the Northeast and South, tend to pay more than those with larger amounts of carbon-free generation, among other findings.  The report by the Illinois-based Citizens […]

COMMENTARY
The Deschutes River narrows after irrigators draw off water in Bend.

It’s time to reevaluate notion that Oregon’s rivers are a faucet for agriculture

BY: - January 27, 2023

Many of Oregon’s rivers are drained every summer to support the agricultural industry, but fisheries, wildlife and the water quality itself is hurt in the process. Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate the archaic notion that Oregon’s rivers are nothing more than a faucet for the ag industry. Last fall here in Bend, irrigators began the […]

Oregon has failed to address its water security crisis, government report finds

BY: - January 26, 2023

Across Oregon, the future of water quality and quantity is in jeopardy, a state report said.  The 70-page advisory report released Thursday is a call to action for Gov. Tina Kotek, the state Legislature and state agencies, according to Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. She said they all need to agree about water conservation priorities, […]

air emissions

Aluminum recycling facility pleads guilty, paying $550,000 for hazardous emissions

BY: - January 25, 2023

UPDATED: Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023 at 10 a.m. to include comment from U.S. Attorney’s Office. An Illinois-based company has pleaded guilty to violating the federal Clean Air Act at an aluminum-processing facility in The Dalles. Hydro Extrusion USA released hazardous smoke from the facility from July 2018 through June 2019, endangering employees and the nearby […]

Three EV charging machines behind Valley Market in Sheridan, Oregon

SPECIAL REPORT: How startup took advantage of DEQ program with lax oversight to net $1.8 million

BY: - January 23, 2023

Behind a convenience store on Highway 18 near Sheridan, three electric vehicle charging machines sit wrapped in plastic.  They have been there since April and have never charged a single car. But Merlin Thompson earlier this year convinced the state they had, collecting nearly $2 million in a scheme that tapped into Oregon’s push for […]

DEQ photos from TTS investigation

SPECIAL REPORT: DEQ steps up oversight after discovery of ‘reckless’ reporting by company

BY: - January 23, 2023

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality has enforced stricter oversight of a clean energy program after issuing a $2.7 million fine, a record in its history.  The Clean Fuels Program, which aims to encourage greener transportation, has largely run on autopilot since it was created in 2016, with intermittent checks by officials. But last year DEQ […]

Leah Feldon and Jamie McLeod-Skinner

Finalists announced for director of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

BY: - January 19, 2023

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality will be run by either interim Director Leah Feldon or former Democratic congressional candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner.  The two finalists for director of the department were announced Thursday at a meeting of the state Environmental Quality Commission. The final decision will be made by the five, governor-appointed members on the commission […]

More federal dollars coming from climate law for Western wildfire management

BY: - January 19, 2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will spend nearly $500 million on projects to reduce wildfire risk in 11 areas in Western states, the department said Thursday. The new funding, $490 million, comes from Democrats’ budget, climate and taxes law that passed last year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on a call with reporters. The funding […]