Chinook salmon decimated, southern resident orcas are residents no more

Summer is synonymous with seeing whales in the Pacific Northwest, but visits from the locally-beloved southern resident orcas are becoming few and far between. Experts say the dramatic absence is likely directly tied to tanking salmon returns in the Fraser River, which were historically abundant. 

Japan resumes commercial whale hunting

Japanese whalers returned to port Monday with their first catch after resuming commercial whaling for the first time in 31 years, achieving the long-cherished goal of traditionalists that is seen as largely a lost cause amid slowing demand for the meat and changing views on conservation.A fleet of five boats left the northern Japanese port of Kushiro earlier Monday and brought back two minke whales.

European officials move forward on plastic ban

Plastic knives just won't cut it any longer, if the European Union has its way.The 28-nation bloc moved closer Wednesday to banning single-use straws, plates, cutlery and cotton swabs after officials from EU member states and the European Parliament said they're following recommendations by its executive branch designed to reduce marine pollution.Environmental campaigners have been calling for curbs on throwaway plastic that's accumulating in the oceans.

State will fight feds over Hanford worker compensation

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Officials for the state of Washington said Tuesday they will defend a new law that helps employees of a former nuclear weapons production site win worker compensation claims, after the federal government filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law.Democratic Gov.

Trump plan to reclassify nuke waste alarms environmentalists

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The Trump administration wants to reclassify some radioactive waste left from the production of nuclear weapons to lower its threat level and make disposal cheaper and easier.The proposal by the U.S. Department of Energy would lower the status of some high-level radioactive waste in several places around the nation, including the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state — the most contaminated nuclear site in the country.Reclassifying the material to low-level could save the agency billions of dollars and decades of work by essentially leaving the material in the ground, critics say.The proposal joins a long list of Trump administration efforts to loosen environmental protections.

US says no radiation released in steam leak at nuclear site

No airborne radiation was detected after steam escaped Friday from a tunnel containing radioactive waste at a former nuclear weapons production site in Washington state, U.S. officials said, the second problem with aging tunnels at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in a year.

UN report on global warming carries life-or-death warning

Preventing an extra single degree of heat could make a life-or-death difference in the next few decades for multitudes of people and ecosystems on this fast-warming planet, an international panel of scientists reported Sunday.