The refrain “paper or plastic” will still be heard at your local supermarket, but starting today the plastic bags will be a lot sturdier.

The ban was approved in 2020 by the Washington State Legislature, but its implementation was delayed at the start of the pandemic.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Faith leaders and environmental groups will meet Sunday to raise awareness of a waste repository in North Idaho and the area’s legacy of pollution.

EPA Told to Quit Stalling on Pesticide Issue

Aug 11, 2015

This has been a bad week for the US Environmental Protection Agency. On the same day the agency had to admit that it fouled a Colorado river with millions of gallons of toxic mine waste, federal judges in Seattle told the EPA to quit stalling and dithering about a controversial pesticide.

The city of Spokane has filed a lawsuit against the giant chemical company Monsanto. City officials filed the suit in U.S. District Court against the chemical giant.

Coeur d'Alene
Coeur d'Alene

Federal officials are poised to begin more clean-up of mining contamination in Northern  Idaho this summer. The US Environmental Protection Agency has a budget of $35 million for clean up this summer of heavy metals in areas impacted by a century of mining. 

River Remediation Paid Off on Small Idaho Stream

Apr 20, 2015

A story of the death - and re-birth - of a small Idaho mountain stream has been recorded in meticulous notes jotted down over 20 years by a federal biologist. After years of being fouled by poisonous waste leached out of the old Blackbird mine near Salmon Idaho, Panther Creek was virtually dead through the 1960s and 1980s.

Some environmental groups say new standards regarding proposed fish consumption rules in Washington State put citizens’ health at risk. The department of Ecology has just closed the public comment period on proposed rules for fish consumption rates in the state. 

Spokane Regional Health District

A federal judge has sided with environmental groups and the Spokane Tribe in a case concerning pollution in the Spokane River. The case involves chemicals called PCB’s that have been linked to cancer and liver dysfunction for years. While the products were banned in manufacturing since the 1970’s, they still remain in the environment.

The Center for Environmental Law and Policy says the state and Federal EPA has failed to develop a policy for cleaning up PCB’s from the river. Monday, a federal court agreed with that assessment.

Nuclear Lab Gets Cleaner Water - But Less of It

Feb 23, 2015
Advanced Test Reactor
Idaho National Laboratory / https://www.inl.gov/about-inl/general-information/

A toxic legacy of cold war-era  nuclear production is gradually washing away at the Idaho National Laboratory. The manager of the U-S Geological Survey office at the sprawling INL desert headquarters said a long-running and expensive clean up of old, left over radioactive waste is paying off.

Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

The state Department of Ecology is looking for public input on a rule that would reduce the carbon pollution in gasoline and diesel fuel. The department has announced a public comment period on a tentative plan to reduce carbon pollution in motor fuels. The plans stems from a legislative order to reduce greenhouse gases that was issued in 2008.

The Washington department of Ecology has been looking at a draft rule to change the fish consumption rates for state residents. Now the Governor is chiming in. Governor Inslee is proposing standards that mirror Ecology’s draft rule and is tying it to a toxics reduction plan.

Rob Duff of the Governors office says the plan will look at ways to get to the actual source of chemicals that pose a threat to human health from getting into state waterways.

Air Pollution Dogs Idaho Mining District

Jan 6, 2015

The State of Idaho - and people who live in the mine-rich Silver Valley east of Coeur d'Alene - are still struggling to fix pollution problems, even after decades of clean-up work. The EPA has designated air quality in the West Silver Valley as polluted from fine particles.

Lake Clean-Up Work Pays Dividends

Nov 25, 2014

Long running efforts to clean up toxic waste in Idaho's Silver Valley mining district are paying off. A new report from the US Geological Survey concluded that concentrations of three heavy metals - cadmium, lead and zinc - have been cut back significantly since controversial clean-up work by the EPA began in the 1990s.

A USGS hydrologist, Greg Clark, studied 18 water quality monitors set up from Mullan, in the heart of the mining district, to Post Falls. He found that the three heavy metals have been cut back by 65 percent in the Coeur d'Alene River between 1992 and 2013.

The Environmental Protection Agency is testing out a new technique for keeping heavily-used river banks from eroding into the water.

County's Wastewater Treatment Permit Challenged

Oct 29, 2014

A vaguely worded state permit for Spokane County's new $173-million dollar wastewater treatment plant has been sent back for a do-over. A judge in Thurston County found that a permit issued in 2011 by the Ecology Department lacks any limits on discharges of polychlorinated biphenyls - PCBs for short - into the Spokane River.

The state Pollution Control Hearing Board held last year that the county facility was adding PCBs to river water, and that the state permit for the discharges was vague and unenforceable on PCB limits.