Bellamy Pailthorp | KNKX

Bellamy Pailthorp

Environment Reporter

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat from the Seattle offices of KNKX Public Radio News, where she has worked since 1999. She also hosts and produces the weekly segment, The Weather With Cliff Mass, which airs every Friday. She holds a Masters in journalism from New York's Columbia University, where she completed the Knight-Bagehot fellowship in business reporting in 2006 mid-career during her stint on KNKX’s Business and Labor Beat from 2000-2012.

From 1989-98 she lived in Berlin, Germany freelancing for NPR and working as a bi-lingual producer for Deutsche Welle TV after receiving a Fulbright scholarship in 1989 for a project on theater studies and communist history. She holds a Bachelors’ degree in German language and literature from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. (Yes, she is fluent in German.)

She strives to tell memorable stories about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Character-driven narratives of exploration and innovation excite her. 

Outside work, she practices and instructs yoga, walks half marathons with friends, backpacks with her husband and extended family, reads and watches fiction with nieces, enjoys tasting new foods and admiring all kinds of animals -- especially her two house cats, who often remind her she should spend more time sitting on the couch with them.

Ways to Connect

courtesy of Puget Sound Energy

A major upgrade to the electric grid along the eastern shores of Lake Washington is facing public opposition.

Puget Sound Energy has plans to build a new substation and improve about 18 miles of existing transmission lines from Redmond to Renton. Cost estimates for the project range from $150-300 million.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The vernal equinox marks the official start of spring. That starts Tuesday. But for most folks in the Pacific Northwest, it feels like spring has already arrived. 

Studio5Graphics / flickr via Compfight

Seattle City Light wants to transform its historic Georgetown steam plant building into a museum and cultural center – with a twist. The search is on for a nonprofit partner to provide programming that emphasizes something called “STEAM” education.  

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Environmental groups had high hopes going into the special legislative session that ended Thursday in Olympia. But even with Democratic majorities in both chambers of the legislature, passage of critical climate policies did not happen.


A massive, indigenous-led protest is scheduled to start 10 a.m. Saturday in Vancouver, British Columbia, against the planned expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. More than 7,000 people have signed up, with several groups on this side of the border lending support.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

Time to get out the short sleeves and sunscreen. Warm winds from the south and east are going to push the mercury to nearly summer-like levels in western Washington this weekend, says KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

2018 is the year of the bird. The Audubon Society is celebrating the centennial of what it calls the most important federal bird protection law ever passed. But the group says local climate policies are just as important, including one still in play in Washington state.

Brian Witte / AP Photo

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is hosting a public meeting Monday afternoon in Olympia on its plan to open 90 percent of the country's offshore waters to oil and gas drilling. It's one of several around the country but the only one in Washington state.

But several environmental groups say it’s not really a hearing because officials are only taking written comments.

Ted S. Warren, File / AP Photo

Legislation that would have made polluters pay by putting a tax on carbon emissions does not have enough votes to pass the Washington state legislature. That’s according to Governor Jay Inslee and the bill’s prime sponsor, speaking late Thursday.

But, less than a day later, backers of a carbon fee had already filed an initiative to the people in its place.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

The record cold, wet and snowy weather of late February has subsided. Residents of western Washington can look forward to a classic Northwest weekend, with mild temperatures, partly cloudy skies and just a chance of rain.

“It’s going to be a fairly dry weekend,” said KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Have you ever wondered how big your personal contribution is to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change?

Hundreds of residents of Seattle and Edmonds are finding out by taking part in local competitions to see who can reduce their emissions the most over the next two months.  The game is called “Taming Bigfoot.”

Researchers at Gene Coulon Park in Renton, Wash.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

It’s been nearly 20 years since the federal government listed Puget Sound Chinook salmon as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The fish inhabit one of the most urbanized watersheds in the region. Local governments have just updated a 10-year recovery plan. One of the new priorities they’re addressing is a possible link between fish mortality and artificial light.  


Cooke Aquaculture is applauding members of a state House committee after they took no action on a bill that would have phased out net-pen farming of non-native salmon in Washington waters.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Don’t put away your hat and gloves. It’s going to stay cold for the next week or so and there will be snow on Friday. That much is certain, says KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass. The rest of the weekend forecast is tricky.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Dozens of activists from around the region traveled to Renton Wednesday for a public hearing on Puget Sound Energy’s latest 20-year energy blueprint. The protesters say the utility needs to do more to get off of fossil fuels sooner.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Superfund sites are a high priority for the Environmental Protection Agency under Administrator Scott Pruitt. He has put 21 of them on a Redevelopment Focus List, to accelerate cleanup. Two of those are in Washington and one is in the Puget Sound region, in Renton.  

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

Bundle up and brace for what could be the coldest weather western Washington has seen in a long while, says KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass.

A blast of Arctic air is headed our way, creating what will be a major cold wave over the next several days. Mass says it’s going to get really wintry around here.

Elaine Thompson / File / AP Photo

King County Executive Dow Constantine is encouraging people who want to protect Puget Sound to buy British Columbia wines.

It’s the latest volley in a minor trade war between B.C. and its neighboring province of Alberta. Earlier this month, Alberta announced a boycott on British Columbia wines, with premiere Rachel Notley directing regulators to block roughly $50 million a year in wine imports.

Elaine Thompson / File / AP Photo

Members of Congress who represent Puget Sound are pushing back against the Trump administration’s budget for 2019 in part because it would zero out all federal funding for cleanup and recovery of the iconic ecosystem.

Ted S. Warren, File / AP Photo

The Trump administration has proposed its budget for fiscal year 2019.  It would once again gut funding for a multi-million-dollar federal conservation and outdoor recreation program.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Stormwater runoff is the largest source of toxic chemicals entering Puget Sound. It happens when rain hits pavement and carries pollutants such as oil or brake dust into local waterways, and it turns out bridges are an especially big source of that runoff.

A local developer is piloting a solution that will be featured at a Green Infrastructure Summit taking place at UW Bothell Friday.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Bundle up and get ready for possible lowland snow in places. KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says cool air moving in to western Washington will push temperatures below freezing in many lowland areas this weekend, with a chance of snow most likely on Sunday.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Clean air regulations that have been in the works for a decade are proving too tough to implement for thousands of short-haul truckers who call on the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday, The Northwest Seaport Alliance extended the deadline for compliance.

Elaine Thompson / File / AP Photo

Unusually heavy rain and flooding are in the weekend forecast, with the worst hitting Sunday as an atypical atmospheric river sets up from due west and aims its warm plume at western Washington.

KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says that phenomenon means the rain total by the end of this weekend could be 5-10 inches over the lower slopes of the central Cascade Mountains.

courtesy Washington State Department of Natural Resources

A failure to clean and maintain its nets led to the net pen collapse at Cooke Aquaculture’s Cypress Island facility this summer and the escape of 100,000 more Atlantic salmon than originally reported. That’s the conclusion of an investigation by three state agencies into the August incident.

Many people are familiar with Google Street View, the online map that allows you to take a virtual walk or ride through a neighborhood. Now there’s a similar tool that lets you float down local rivers and waterways. 

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

Batten down the hatches and keep your rain gear handy. A Pacific cyclone is headed toward Vancouver Island, British Columbia. While the highest winds will likely hit north of the Canadian border, KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says people in western Washington will notice it too, especially toward the coast.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Many medium-sized businesses that consume large amounts of electricity may want to shrink their reliance on fossil fuels by committing to using solar or wind power. But their needs are often beyond what their local utility can provide from fully renewable sources.

A Seattle startup has launched a new online marketplace to address these issues and support the growth of clean energy developments, by matching smaller investors with projects that meet their needs.

Michael Probst) / AP Photo

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is in Davos, Switzerland, this week at the World Economic Forum. He is the only U.S. governor attending.

Dallas Glass / Northwest Avalanche Center

Washington state has some of the most beautiful mountains in the world for winter sports – and also the most deadly.

Last year, more people died in avalanche accidents here than in any other state in the nation.