Environment

Tim Melbourne / CWU

A prototype earthquake early warning system worked as designed when an actual quake gently shook California last Friday. Researchers reported the results Tuesday at the annual meeting of American seismologists.

Last year, a private foundation in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey gave a multimillion dollar grant to create an automated earthquake warning system for the Pacific Coast states. The idea is to provide advance notice to prepare people for severe shaking. It could come via a cell phone alert or a pop-up on your computer or TV screen.

Report: Chinese Companies Consider Vestas Takeover

Apr 18, 2012
Vestas

A prominent wind energy company – with North American headquarters in the Pacific Northwest – may be acquired by a rival Chinese corporation.

A Danish newspaper is reporting that two Chinese companies are considering takeover bids for Vestas Wind Systems. The Danish firm’s North American headquarters are based in Portland.

Vestas has faced financial trouble over the past year. The company’s chairman and chief financial officer resigned in February.

Sinovel Wind Group and Goldwind Science and Technology are the top two wind turbine manufacturing companies in China.

A couple from Twisp, Wash., has accepted a plea deal in a wolf poaching case. Under the agreement with federal prosecutors, Tom White and his wife will not face jail time.

White, his father, and his wife Erin were indicted last year in a conspiracy to kill some of the handful of grey wolves that live in eastern Washington. Police discovered the poaching scheme in late 2008 when the family tried to send a wolf pelt to a tanner in Canada. A business owner in Omak, Wash., reported the FedEx package was bleeding.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

The company that wants to build a nuclear power plant in Payette County faces a new complaint. A group of property owners who have land near the proposed site for the plant filed a complaint in district court Monday against Alternate Energy Holdings and Payette County.  The complaint says AEHI has never had any revenues, never shown a profit, and never built anything.  It says AEHI used Payette County as part of a scheme to fraudulently promote its stock and boost its stock price. 

OSU Special Collections & Archives

Federal water and dam managers are draining reservoirs in the Columbia and Snake River basins to get ready for "big water" coursing down river. In recent weeks, the Army Corps of Engineers has called for bigger draw-downs -- or as the agency calls it "drafting" -- to protect against flooding. Supervisory engineer Peter Brooks says more room is needed to catch runoff from the bountiful snows of March.

Idaho National Laboratory

A small fire at the Idaho National Laboratory flared up Monday afternoon on the roof of a building at the lab’s Materials and Fuels Complex.  The fire was put out with no injuries.  INL spokesman Ethan Huffman believes welding work sparked the blaze. "The particular building that had the fire involved in it did not house radioactive materials.  It housed standard offices, conference rooms, the cafeteria."  Huffman says there is no danger or risk to the public.  He characterizes it as a minor fire. 

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio

CompassioninWorldFarming / Flickr

A new market survey finds many of the region's farmers in an optimistic mood because demand is strong and commodity prices are high. Exceptions to the overall trend include dairy and onion farmers.

The region's largest farm lender and crop insurance provider describes the ag economy as mostly bullish. Northwest Farm Credit Services vice president Michael Stolp says robust global demand supports the positive outlook.  "During the economic recession, agriculture was one of the bright spots and continues to be one of the bright spots."

Energy Efficient Controls Cut Costs For Building Owners

Apr 16, 2012

New research has found that commercial building owners can chop their heating and cooling costs nearly in half by implementing a few energy efficient controls.

Broad Diet Helps Barred Owls Thrive

Apr 16, 2012
tlindenbaum / Flickr

Researchers say they have learned why invasive barred owls are thriving while native spotted owl populations are slowly disappearing.

The barred owl and the spotted owl are like a pair of siblings. They’re closely related species, and they compete over everything. They compete over the best trees to roost in. And for the best food source too, juicy flying squirrels. But barred owls are less picky. And that gives them an edge. David Weins tracked both species in the Oregon coast range.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Occupy Portland activists took to the road this weekend. About 100 protesters showed up in sunny downtown Richland, Washington Sunday afternoon. They were there to rally against nuclear power and in favor of cleaning up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

On a large stage Native Americans and Occupy coordinators like Mirium German voiced their concerns.  “Hanford is an environmental tragedy waiting to happen,” German said.

More Electric Cars Could Mean More Power Demand

Apr 13, 2012
Rain Rabbit / Flickr

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council says more electric cars on the roads will use more power in the future.   The agency is increasing its previous estimates of how much power plug-in cars will need by 2030. The Council says high gas prices and better technology could drive up electric car sales. That means drivers will need more power to plug in their vehicles.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game disclosed details Thursday on its investigation of wolf trapper  Josh Branford.  He posed in front of a live, trapped wolf and posted the photo on the Internet

Branford did nothing illegal according to Mike Keckler, chief of communications for Idaho Fish and Game.  “He had all the necessary licenses and tags to trap the wolf.  But, in our view, he should have used better judgment before photographing himself and placing it out there.” 

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

Three conservation groups want to stop domestic sheep from grazing on certain areas within the Payette National Forest.  They fear Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep will catch diseases transmitted by their domestic cousins.  These groups filed a motion in federal court this week to force the U.S Forest Service to further restrict sheep grazing.

Spokane Has Concerns Over Proposed Coal Terminals

Apr 11, 2012
Courtney Flatt

The prospect of trains carrying a mile-long string of coal cars has some Spokane area residents concerned. Proposals to build coal shipping terminals on the Washington coast to ship coal to China could have an impact on the Spokane region. The coal would be shipped from Wyoming via train, and those trains would come right through the city of Spokane.

The plan has many concerned about what the impact would be.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Hydrologists from the Natural Resources Conservation Service call the latest snow survey results "March Madness in Idaho."  Storm after storm hit the state in March, marking one of the greatest one-month changes in snowpack on record. 

Pages