There Is Such a Thing as Too Much Rebecca Solnit

A sad discovery.

Editor’s Note: Alan started this as an entry for Weekend Reading, but it got a little long. So we’re publishing it alone.

“It’s always too soon to calculate effect,” writes Rebecca Solnit in her book Hope in the Dark, a poetic call for action in the face of dark odds. Here’s an early passage that captures her essential point:

A woman from [Women’s Strike for Peace, an American organization protesting atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons] told of how

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Proposed Oil Train Rules: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

What new federal standards will do and what they won't.

On July 23, the federal regulatory agencies in charge of oil trains released the details of a rulemaking proposal to improve the safety of moving large quantities of flammable materials by rail, particularly crude oil and ethanol. Oil trains have been the subject of increasing worry after five separate derailments in the past year unleashed towering infernos. The recent announcement opened up a sixty-day comment period after which the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will issue a set of final rules.

In our judgment most media coverage of the proposed regulations has been rather credulous, overlooking several important dimensions and ignoring some glaring flaws. (One counterexample is Joel Connelly’s coverage at Seattle P-I.) So to correct the record, here is Sightline’s take on the good, the bad, and the ugly in the new proposed tank car standards.

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Are You Planning to Have Kids? (Part 2)

10 lessons from Vancouver's efforts to build family-friendly urban housing.

In my last post about Vancouver BC, I outlined the family-friendly policies that have helped make its downtown a magnet for families with children. But how do those policies play out in real life? What works well for families and what drives urban parents crazy?

The University of British Columbia’s planning department has actually devoted a lot of studentpower to answering those questions. They’ve collected extensive feedback from residents and parents in False Creek North, one of  …  read more »

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Video: The Northwest’s “Bomb Trains”

VICE News takes an in-depth look at oil trains running through Cascadia.

I’m excited to share this just-released VICE News video piece about the threats of oil trains in the Pacific Northwest: “The Crude Gamble of Oil by Rail: Bomb Trains.”

Spencer Chumbley and Nilo Tabrizy put together a top-notch, comprehensive look at how this dangerous “pipeline on wheels” is already affecting our region, interviewing a broad range of stakeholders and experts, including: Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky of Columbia Riverkeeper; Kenny Stuart, president of the Seattle Fire Fighters Union, Local 27; Barry Cain, president  …  read more »

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There’s Plenty of Room at Hotel California

How Oregon and Washington Could Link to California’s cap-and-trade program.

Poll: Are Voters Warming to a Carbon Tax?

Majorities in favor, even Republicans. But it hinges on where the money goes.

Pacific Rim Coal Prices Continue to Tumble

Coal exporters are seeing red...and red ink...in latest price drops.

Why Washington State Should Adopt a BC-style Carbon Tax

My personal prescription.

Weekend Reading 7/25/14

A Tesla road trip via GoPro, an alarming industry cover-up, and more.

Coal Exports: Unfair Market Value

By ignoring exports, BLM underprices federal coal.