Weekend Reading 3/27/15

How our language privileges men, Paris's transportation experiment, and more.
Original illustration by Nina Montenegro of ghosttide.com.


When you can’t see the top of the Eiffel tour through the thick, gray haze, it counts as a bad smog day in Paris. Bad enough for the City of Lights to experiment to try to reduce driving. This past Monday, only cars with odd numbered license plates, electric and hybrid vehicles, and cars with three passengers or more were allowed to drive. In addition, transit was free, Paris’s bike share fleet was free, and an hour of  …  read more »

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Ridley’s Coal Export Collapse Continues

Major coal port expansion now a stranded asset.

Take a look: coal exports through the Ridley terminal in northern British Columbia are in freefall.

The curious thing is that just a few years back, Ridley was so confident about its prospects that it undertook an ambitious plan to boost its throughput capacity from 12 million tons per year all the way up to 24 million tons.

At the time, the plan seemed reasonable: Asian demand seemed strong, and at least two new mine projects were slated to use Ridley’s extra capacity.

But fast forward a few years, and both new mining projects appear to be on indefinite hold…even as many of the terminal’s potential customers have shuttered their mines Read more »

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The Oil Spill That Could Happen Here, Part 2

A reminder of just how often—and just how serious—oil pipeline spills are.

Since Washington state lawmakers convened in Olympia this January and took up legislation on oil transport, the nation has seen at least one major pipeline spill when an Exxon pipe leaked 40,000 gallons of crude into the Yellowstone River. It was the second time in just a few years that the pipeline had ruptured: it spilled 63,000 gallons into the river in 2011, for which regulators fined the oil giant $1 million.

The latest incident was a timely reminder of just how often—and just how serious—oil pipeline spills are. In fact, in the last five years, there have been two other serious oil pipeline spills that did meaningful damage to the environment and local communities. Those stories are warnings for communities near existing pipelines, many of which are slated for expansion. Read more »

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Voter Suppression is Exorbitantly Expensive

Four ways supporting voting rights saves taxpayer dollars.
Original Sightline Institute graphic, available under our free use policy.

Original Sightline Institute graphic, available under our free use policy.

There is a war going on, and Oregon is ground zero. Some states, mostly in the South and Midwest, are restricting voter rights through Voter ID laws and barriers to voter registration. But the Pacific Northwest is defending rights. In a democracy, honoring every citizen’s vote is the right thing to do. Oregon proves it is also the cost-conscious thing to do.

Oregon is a national leader in striking down the barriers to voting: the Beaver State enables citizens to register online, mails ballots to all registered voters, and now will digitally transfer eligible voters’ information from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to the voter rolls. But even in Oregon, every single Republican and one Democrat voted against the new motor voter law. House Republican Leader Carl Wilson of Grants Pass explained that the law would “cost a broke county $7,800 in the first year. That is money we don’t have.” Never mind that the cost of honoring Josephine County’s citizens’ right to vote adds an infinitesimal 0.0009 percent to the county’s $84 million budget. Read more »


Four Charts Show Carbon Pollution Accountability Act is Still Awesome

When polluters pay, jobs grow and Washington schools benefit.

Event: Curious About Carbon Pricing?

Learn how Oregon can make polluters pay.

More Tolls for Tacoma Narrows

Yet traffic forecasts still assume steady growth.

Weekend Reading 3/20/15

Prime-time defense of the Thin Green Line; profiling black Portland; and more.

Event: New Energy for a New Day

The promise of a post-carbon economy for Washington state.

Latino Catholics Lead Their Faith on Climate

Polling shows that US Latino Catholics' global warming attitudes outpace white Catholics and other Christians.