Top Northwest Sustainability Headlines

January 23, 2015

Train derailment

Lac-Mégantic Derailment by TSBCanada (All rights reserved, used with permission.)

1. Defeating Keystone XL might boost oil trains

There could be an unintended consequence of rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline. Without the pipeline, Canadian oil producers might put more pressure on America’s existing oil-by-rail system, including the one that rattles through Washington state and downtown Seattle.

The Stranger | Oil trains

2. Seattle’s downtown school back in play

The prospects for a downtown Seattle school brightened with a unanimous school board vote allowing the district to bid on the empty Federal Reserve Bank building at the corner of Second Avenue and Spring Street.

Sightline | Education

3. Bank Portland’s cash for street, park fixes

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz is proposing a resolution that the city of Portland put its surplus cash into a dedicated lockbox to fund street, parks, and other infrastructure maintenance projects.

GoLocalPDX | Transportation

4. Recess before lunch=healthier eaters

Schools have experimented with all sorts of ways to get kids to eat healthier. They’re using smaller plates, and rearranging dining rooms to emphasize fruit bowls. Now a new study suggests a far simpler strategy.

Fast Company | Food and health

5. WA farmworkers hit with pesticides

Twenty farmworkers picking cherries in Washington became sick from a pesticide mixture in a pear orchard drifting over to their field. The mixture is new on the market, and this is the first reported case of illness due to its use.

The Oregonian | Agriculture

6. Counting our homeless kids

Washington schools enrolled more than 32,000 homeless students during the last school year, the highest count recorded. The report also shows students from minority groups make up a disproportionate share of the homeless population.

KPLU | Education

7. Feds: ‘Bomb train’ tank cars can keep rolling for now

A U.S. federal court has ordered a halt in proceedings until May in a case centering around oil-by-rail tankers pitting the Sierra Club and ForestEthics against the U.S. Department of Transportation. | Oil trains

8. How to bridge the gender pay gap

Washington state lawmakers want to limit what ways an employer could defend different pay for men and women doing the same work.

Crosscut | Income Inequality

9. Climate change moves Doomsday Clock

The end of civilization as we know it just got a little closer. According to an update to the Doomsday Clock, the world is now three minutes from midnight and one of the big reasons is the failure to reduce greenhouse emissions even in the face of climate change.

Climate Central | Climate Change

10. Turning sewer water into beer

Clean Water Services of Hillsboro has an advanced treatment process that can turn sewage into drinking water. The company, which runs four wastewater treatment plants in the Portland metro area, wants to show off its “high-purity” system by turning recycled wastewater into beer. But under current rules, the state of Oregon wouldn’t allow anyone to drink it.

KUOW | Wastewater

More News from January 23, 2015

SSA Terminals to pay for Clean Water Act violations

After several years of litigation, brought by the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, SSA Terminals has agreed to reduce pollution discharges into Elliott Bay.

KUOW | Polluted stormwater

Dead whale found under ferry dock

The whale, a 32-foot-long female, is partially decomposed and had likely been dead for several days, NOAA said. Divers moved the whale from underneath the dock at Seattle’s Colman ferry dock.

The Seattle Times | Wildlife

Another Yellowstone River oil spill

Pipeline safety regulation hasn’t changed much since the last spill in 2011.

High Country News | Oil spill

BC First Nation launches mine expansion study

A small First Nation says it has given up waiting for government and industry to address its concerns about the Gibraltar Mine expansion in British Columbia’s Interior and has launched its own investigation.

Vancouver Sun | Mining

BC’s bighorn sheep at risk

Wild bighorn sheep in southern BC are threatened by a new, devastating disease and the province is urging a helicopter company to help out by curtailing training flights over important habitat in a protected area. The province is concerned that flights could be adding unnecessary stress.

Vancouver Sun | Wildlife

CA’s polluting big rigs get dumped … in OR

Oregon has become a dumping ground for California’s old, polluting big diesel rigs, an investigation by The Oregonian/OregonLive has found.

The Oregonian | Air pollution

How tweets predict heart attacks

Do you live in a place where everyone is angry tweeting? Bad news: Your health is in jeopardy.

Fast Company | Health