Top Northwest Sustainability Headlines
May 23, 2013
Whether we’re talking about how to fight tooth decay or insisting that someone else pump our gas, Oregonians’ fierce independence and easy access to a Wild West system of direct democracy creates a different civic culture here. Time and again, the political and business establishment in Oregon has learned it doesn’t always get to call the shots.
The Oregonian | Politics
Reduced Chinese demand for imported coal could undercut the economic rationale for construction of coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest. A recent report by an analyst at Wall Street colossus Goldman Sachs says this will be a transformational year for China, where seaborne coal imports are predicted to drop for the first time since the global financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 and may continue to decline in the coming years.
Bellingham Herald | Coal
We may be hard to get to know and a drag to ride the bus with, but when it comes to being healthy, Seattleites rank right up there with Bostonians. Wait, Boston?
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Health
What if the polls in the British Columbia election were not completely wrong? Hold on, let me finish. It might not be of interest to anyone but the wonkiest of wonks, but there does seem to be some indication that turnout played a major role in the missed call by the polls – not in the number of people who turned out to vote, but who those voters were.
Toronto Globe and Mail | Politics
May hasn’t gone so hot for some of the sharing economy’s most promising entrepreneurs. 2012 might have hinted of challenges to come, but so far 2013 has overdelivered. In the last two weeks, New York regulators and courts have essentially shut three of these companies down, at least temporarily.
Grist | Economy
Vancouver is aiming to be the greenest city in the world by 2020, and British Columbia aims to reduce their carbon emissions by 33 per by 2020. All this greenness is wonderful, Canada! But how does that square with the predictions for carbon exports in BC? A report released last week by the Sightline Institute answers that question.
Vancouver Observer | Climate
Forget protecting birds and fauna: the Port of Portland’s plans for developing West Hayden Island don’t add up.
Willamette Week | Land Use
TriMet’s board of directors unanimously approved a new $485 million operating budget on Wednesday, dedicating funds to buying new buses and hiring drivers to comply with new work rules. It also offers a bright light for riders still smarting from last year’s historic fare increases and service cuts: A ticket to ride is expected to stay the same, while TriMet will partially restore 18 bus lines.
The Oregonian | Transportation
Energy use in cars and trucks is declining at a surprising clip.
Sightline | Energy
A new bill to reform America’s immigration laws was introduced in the US Senate and was approved by the Judiciary Committee Tuesday. Congress must succeed this time. It is time for comprehensive immigration reform, and perhaps no area of the country has a greater stake in this debate than Washington state, writes the Washington Association of Business and the Washington Growers League.
The Seattle Times | Immigration
More News from May 23, 2013
The homes of the future will come with remarkably low heating bills. At least that’s the hope of a Portland-based nonprofit group showcasing 13 super-energy efficient homes scattered among many of the big cities in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The question is: can you afford to buy one of these houses?
KPLU | Energy
Born overseas and educated in the United States, workers in the heart of the tech industry are in a kind of suspension as the Senate considers the immigration bill.
New York Times | Immigration
Environmental groups and a public health organization want the US Army Corps of Engineers to consider the big picture – from mining in Wyoming to air pollution in China – before allowing development of three Northwest ports to ship up to 100 million metric tons of coal a year to Asia.
The Seattle Times | Coal
Today Yale and George Mason are releasing the third report from their latest national survey on public support for climate and energy policies. The takeaways? Well, for starters, big, fat majorities of voters want Congress and the President to get to work on American clean energy and climate solutions.
Sightline | Climate
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is visiting Portland this week for what will be her first West Coast trip since she was sworn in last month. Jewell and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales on Thursday will announce nearly two dozen conservation projects to help boost youth employment. On Friday, she will sign an agreement to speed the review and permitting of energy generation and power transmission projects in the Northwest.
The Oregonian | Energy
The Burke-Gilman Trail moves as many people through the University of Washington campus per hour during rush hour as a lane of freeway at peak performance. And it does so without emitting pollution and with remarkably few injuries. Now, the UW is looking for $12 million in federal TIGER money to completely rebuild the trail across their campus before the light rail station opens in 2016.
Seattle Bike Blog | Transportation
NDP Leader Adrian Dix says he takes “full responsibility” for his party’s defeat in the May 14 BC election but plans to stay on as party leader. Dix said the party did not communicate its platform effectively enough to voters, and that his position opposing the proposed twinning of the Kinder Morgan pipeline “hurt our campaign”.
The Georgia Straight | Politics
It’s difficult to infer a sweeping mandate from the votes in Clackamas County this week on measures related to TriMet light rail. Turnout was low — barely topping 28 percent of registered voters — and one build-it-now question passed while the other failed. Still, it seems safe to say that TriMet’s $1.5 billion light-rail line from Portland across the Willamette River and down into Oak Grove has a solid base of Stay Outta Here voters.
The Oregonian | Transportation
The idea of vertical farming is all the rage right now. Architects and engineers have come up with spectacular concepts for lofty buildings that could function as urban food centers of the future. And oh, yeah, instead of being traditional greenhouses lit by fluorescent lamps, these plant factories will probably be “pinkhouses,” glowing magenta from the mix of blue and red LEDs.
NPR | Land Use