Environment

Mount Rainier National Park to require reservations at popular entrances this summer

BY: - February 10, 2024

Many visitors to Mount Rainier National Park will need reservations this summer to enter some of the park’s most popular areas. From May 24 through Labor Day, most visitors entering the Nisqually and Stevens Canyon entrances between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. will need to make an online or phone reservation ahead of time. Reservations […]

COMMENTARY
A closed-door group has proposed that property taxes be increased to pay for wildfires.

All Oregonians already pay for wildfires, so why should they pay more?

BY: - February 8, 2024

In a recent OPB story that covered the impact of the Oregon Legislature’s decision to eliminate the timber severance tax 30 years ago, it was noted that neither former Gov. John Kitzhaber nor then-Rep. Lane Shetterly recalled the bill.  While I can believe that Kitzhaber doesn’t recall signing the legislation, it strains credulity that Shetterly, […]

Emissions spew from a large stack at the coal fired Brandon Shores Power Plant, on March 9, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Plan to make state retirement fund carbon neutral relies on industry, Wall Street doing the same

BY: - February 6, 2024

Oregon’s nearly $94 billion public employee pension system could one day be carbon neutral, according to a new plan from the state Treasury. But getting there depends largely on whether corporation and private investment funds stick to their own commitments to do the same. State Treasurer Tobias Read unveiled a 97-page plan on Tuesday to […]

Clear-cutting on lands owned by Roseburg Forest Products near Veneta, Ore., November 11, 2023. (Rian Dundon/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Democrats split on charging public or timber industry for more of Oregon’s wildfire protection

BY: - February 6, 2024

Democratic lawmakers are split over whether a greater share of the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to protect the state from wildfires should come from all Oregon taxpayers or from the private property and business owners whose valuable assets receive state protection.  During the five weeks of the Legislative session, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner, D-Portland […]

Oregon House Speaker Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, talks to reporters with House Minority Leader Jeff Helfrich, R-Hood River, and House Majority Leader Julie Fahey, D-Eugene, on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. (Ben Botkin/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Drug addiction, housing and homelessness to dominate session 

BY: - February 5, 2024

Oregon lawmakers are starting the legislative session, promising to aim squarely at the state’s homelessness and drug addiction crisis.  From Gov. Tina Kotek to Democratic and Republican legislators, elected officials agree on the priorities, especially with fentanyl overdoses skyrocketing in Oregon and across the country. They agree police need more tools to investigate and charge […]

Glacier peaks A view of glacier-clad peaks in Washington’s North Cascades.

New study says climate change behind drop in Northern Hemisphere snowpack

BY: - February 5, 2024

New scientific research shows that human-caused climate change is putting the most densely populated areas of the Northern Hemisphere, including the American West, at risk of losing vast portions of their water supply because of decreasing snowpack. Published in the journal Nature, the report led by two Dartmouth College researchers found climate change-driven snowpack trends in […]

A wildfire burns near Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state in 2018.

Washington lawmakers hope to tweak new wildfire protection rules for homes

BY: - January 31, 2024

Washington lawmakers are looking to quell some of the backlash over new wildfire-related building codes set to take effect in March, while also trying to keep homes on the edge between wooded and developed areas safe from the blazes. The “wildland urban interface” – or WUI – codes require new construction and renovations to use […]

Juvenile chinook salmon collected for lab testing on the Klamath River near Weitchpec, California on July 20, 2023.

Saving salmon: Newsom unveils blueprint for ending decades-long decline 

BY: - January 31, 2024

With salmon populations throughout California declining for decades and facing the threat of extinction, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a state strategy aimed at protecting and restoring the iconic species “amidst hotter and drier weather exacerbated by climate change.” The blueprint released Tuesday calls for tearing down dams and improving passages for migrating salmon, restoring flows in key […]

Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River is used for hydropower.

Allegations of ‘secret’ deal to remove four Snake River dams aired by U.S. House GOP at hearing

BY: - January 30, 2024

Republicans on a U.S. House panel blasted the Biden administration Tuesday for an agreement they said paved the way for four dams’ removal from the Snake River in eastern Washington state. The agreement to take steps to restore salmon populations in the Snake River that President Joe Biden announced in December with the states of […]

ONE-TIME USE

Assessing storm damage to Portland’s tree canopy

BY: - January 29, 2024

This story was first published by Columbia Insight. Snow and intense wind had just arrived in Portland on Jan. 13 when Matt Bonner heard a boom from his kitchen. “It sounded like a bomb went off,” said Bonner. A massive elm had toppled onto Bonner’s home, damaging his roof and his car and leaving him […]

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

Biden administration to temporarily halt some export approvals for liquified natural gas

BY: - January 29, 2024

The U.S. Energy Department will pause approvals of new exports of liquified natural gas to all countries without a free trade agreement with the United States, Secretary Jennifer Granholm and White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi said on a recent media call. They said the agency is readying a new review framework that could […]

The Port of Morrow in Boardman, Oregon.

Port of Morrow continues polluting under new state sanctioned wastewater plan

BY: - January 26, 2024

The Port of Morrow violated its wastewater permit more than 270 times in the last two months of 2023, overapplying nitrogen rich wastewater to fields atop an aquifer already contaminated by the compound, which is found in farm fertilizers and animal manure.  Managers at the port alerted officials at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, […]