Sightline Sues Obama Administration over Crude Oil Exports and Illegal Secrecy

Moving forward on our unanswered FOIA request from February.

If the oil industry gets its way, the US will soon begin exporting tankers full of American crude to overseas markets. Although such shipments are for the most part illegal today, the Obama Administration is quietly changing the rules to favor oil exporters.

To shed some light on the government’s behavior, the environmental law firm Earthjustice filed a formal Freedom of Information Act request in February on Sightline’s behalf, but it was greeted only by stony silence. So today,  …  read more »


Why Sightline Supports Marriage Equality

Dignity, not economics, should carry the day.

Editor’s Note 6/26/15: The world became brighter today when the US Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that same-sex marriage is a legal right across the United States. Sightline believes that marriage equality is a matter of human dignity. We are proud that the nation is making sustainability legal and moving towards a more just society. 

Would giving same-sex couples the right to marry boost the economy? Perhaps so. In his 2002 book, The Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida argued that LGBT-friendly places tend to attract talented, creative people of all orientations who are looking for tolerant, vibrant, and interesting places to live and work. Florida believes that attracting creative talent is vital to a region’s success in the modern economy, and famously asserted that “the legalization of gay marriage is one of the great talent attraction packages of the last hundred years.” Read more »

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Weekend Reading 7/3/15

Northwest's extreme heatwave, guns vs bikes, and a free climate justice event in Seattle.
Original illustration by Nina Montenegro of


Little known fact about me: my first publishing venture was not Sightline. It was an alternative newspaper I ran with a friend in junior high school. My co-publisher was Clark Cohen, who went on to have an astonishing career as an entrepreneur in aviation and aeronautics. He recently published a piece for the space-research community that has tucked within it one of the most lucid and insightful arguments for reforming Congress through ranked choice voting in multi-winner districts that  …  read more »

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South Korea to Boost Its Coal Tax

Major importer makes life even more difficult for US coal exporters.
South Korean flag

South Korean flag Image by Nudimmud used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you follow Northwest coal export issues, you’ve probably heard that China’s demand for coal is sinking fast. Overall coal consumption in China fell a whopping 8 percent the first four months of 2015—an astonishing decline for an economy that’s growing as quickly as China’s. But imports really took it on the chin, with China’s customs department reporting that the country’s ports handled 38 percent less coal from January through May than in the same months of the prior year. China’s import decline has kept Pacific Rim coal prices in the doldrums, and completely deflated market expectations for ready profits from the international coal trade.

But what’s less well known is that China isn’t the only country that’s posing a challenge to coal exports. South Korea, which is the destination for much of the US coal shipped across the Pacific, is seeing many of the same trends. Read more »

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Weekend Reading 6/26/15

What's the Hyperloop?; the top highest paid NW CEOS; and deadly oil fields.

Weekend Reading 6/19/15

The Mariners' "BNSF Blast" ad, Australian aboriginals oppose coal, and more.

Listen In: Oregon’s Path to Making Polluters Pay

A radio interview covers both climate change and democracy.

Hate Gridlocked Legislatures?

Don’t blame politicians. Blame our voting system.

Events: Oil Trains in Spokane, WA, and Sandpoint, ID

What the onslaught of coal and oil trains means for area residents.

An Explainer: Coal Mine Cleanup and “Self-Bonds”

Why cleanup liabilities are pummeling coal stocks.