Do Coal Investors Really Care About Exports?

A coal stock sell-off suggests that coal investors ignore export news.

Powder River Basin coal mining firm Cloud Peak saw a stock sell-off today after the company announced that it would be shipping a bit less coal this year than it had expected to. Previously, the company had said that it would sell between 85 and 89 million tons through the end of the year. But because of poor performance by rail companies—particularly BNSF, which has clogged its rail lines with dangerous oil trains—Cloud Peak can only hope to deliver between 83 and 86 million tons in 2014. Cloud Peak’s announcement sent investors heading for the exits, with the company’s stock price declining by 8 percent … Read more »

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Weekend Reading 8/29/14

"Extreme" walking; it's time for a four-day workweek; and more.
Original illustration by Nina Montenegro of


Walking on the ferry to Bainbridge the other night, I was reminded of how much more I see when I’m on my feet instead of on my bike or in a motor vehicle. It’s easier to stop to pick blackberries, to admire some public art, to watch the rush of water under the dock as the ferry lands. Walking’s also a great digestive aid for that huge plate of sweet potato fries from the pub. If you missed it in Sightline Daily on Thursday, check out this profile of an “extreme” walker who travels on foot more than 50 miles a week. There’s also a map that shows the percentage of walk commuters in the Seattle area. Read more »

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Is a Land-Value Tax Illegal in Seattle?

Analyzing the Washington State constitution.

As we’ve discussed before, land-value taxation is a smart tool for revitalizing cities. By raising the cost of land speculation, a land-value tax (LVT) would create clear financial incentives to develop underutilized properties near the urban core—helping to create new homes and businesses in the very places where demand is greatest. The basic idea of LVT is to tax land at a higher rate than buildings. But there’s a significant obstacle to implementing LVT in Washington. Article VII of the Washington State constitution, which covers revenue and taxation, states: The power of taxation shall never be suspended, surrendered or contracted away. … Read more »


Measures of Money

The corruption of citizen initiatives.

Six hundred dollars. That’s how much money residents of Washington State donated to the “No” campaign in the 2013 initiative concerning genetic engineering. The vote was not about banning the use of gene splicing techniques, nor about regulating them. It was not about warning consumers away from genetically modified products. It wasn’t even about studying the practice. All it proposed to do was require food products to indicate on their packaging whether they contained genetically altered ingredients. Not, you would think, the stuff of all-out war. In fact, it’s a rather milquetoast policy change. Yet Big Ag treated the measure … Read more »


2014 Update: Grading Economics Textbooks on Climate Change

Solid progress in economics textbooks' climate discussions.

Weekend Reading 8/22/14

Style coup, top coal reads, donuts for bears, and more.

Ambre Energy’s Troubled History: Greatest Hits Edition!

The "thin green line" of the PNW puts Ambre in its place.

EVENTS: Coal & Oil Trains in Bellingham, Everett

Two public panel discussions on Northwest fossil fuel exports.

(Pay To) Park and Ride?

How user fees will produce parking sanity.

Weekend Reading 8/15/14

Photos: Living off the grid; #IfTheyGunnedMeDown; and more.