Top Northwest Sustainability Headlines

August 20, 2014

1. Uber hires David Plouffe to wage its regulatory fight

Uber wants your vote of support. And it has hired a campaign manager to win you over.

New York Times | Ride-sharing

2. OR’s largest oil train terminal gets permit, despite comments

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality approved a new air quality permit Tuesday for Oregon’s largest oil train terminal in Clatskanie and received roughly 1,400 comments in the process.

EarthFix | Oil trains

3. 5 things to know about OR’s coal permit rejection

Oregon’s Department of State Lands on Monday dealt a serious blow to Ambre Energy’s proposed coal terminal, denying a key permit needed for a project to export 8.8 million tons of coal annually to Asia. Here are five things you need to know about the decision and what happens next.

The Oregonian | Coal exports

4. Spokane’s downtown is for people—and their buses

Spokane is not just Washington’s second most populous city, but it’s a place built around transit, whose center has survived the ravages of mid-century suburban flight, urban renewal, and freeway building to become the slowly-regrowing urban center of the Inland Northwest. Unfortunately, much of the transit news from Spokane has been bad, lately.

Seattle Transit Blog | Transit

5. Vancouver named N. America’s most livable city, but…

Good news from The Economist comes at the same time as bad news from UDI/FortisBC.

Vancouver Observer | Urban Planning

6. How climate-friendly is bike-sharing? It’s complicated

As more than 23 million trips on these bikes have been taken since 2007, all of that pedaling has been great for the climate, because each mile someone rides on a bike-share bike instead of driving a car means about 1 pound of carbon dioxide is kept out of the atmosphere. But how many people have traded their car for a bike-share bike? That’s where the certainty ends about how bike-sharing programs benefit the climate.

Climate Central | Bike Sharing

7. Ka-pow: Watch these fish cannons shoot salmon safely over dams

Salmon have serious swimming skills—some travel thousands of miles to return to their original homes to breed. But even though they can jump as high as 12 feet in the air, they can’t manage to get over massive concrete dams that we have built to block their journeys back to their homes. Now one new idea could give them a boost.

Fast Company | Salmon

8. Naps for neighborhood planning!

An artist in Woodstock wants her neighbors to curl up in hammocks and pillow forts set up in the alleyways next month and daydream about land use—all as part of a participatory art project. Krista Connerly has become fascinated with land use and the rapid change in her Southeast Portland neighborhood since joining the Woodstock association in January. Now, she said, is the perfect time to encourage her neighbors to think about how they want the neighborhood to look.

The Oregonian | Land Use

9. 4 apps that get you lost (on purpose)

Why is technology always about efficiency? These apps introduce a little something unexpected in your day and get you to really take in your surroundings.

Fast Company | Walkability

10. Why the world smells different after it rains

Behold, Cascadia: the wonders of petrichor.

City Lab | Environment

More News from August 20, 2014

Oil train rolled through U.S., Canadian cities before Quebec disaster

A train carrying volatile North Dakota crude oil, using 1960s vintage tank cars, rolled through four large U.S. cities before a break failure caused it to roll down into Lac-Megantic, Quebec, where it blew up destroying the town center and killing 47 people.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Oil trains

Airbnb to start collecting OR lodging tax statewide

Airbnb says it will start collecting a 1 percent state lodging tax across Oregon, another step in its efforts to square its business model with local regulations.

The Oregonian | Housing

Kinder Morgan gets Burnaby study green light

The National Energy Board has sided with Kinder Morgan in a dispute with the City of Burnaby over access to Burnaby Mountain.

Vancouver Sun | Pipelines

Lac-Mégantic disaster report is damning

The Conservative government skirted any direct responsibility Tuesday for the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, with Transport Minister Lisa Raitt saying instead that she expects more from Transport Canada and wants her department to quickly respond to Tuesday’s damning investigation report.

Vancouver Sun | Oil trains

People are mistaking strangers’ cars for Ubers

We’ve all been there before: Accidentally liking an Instagram photo during a bout of late-night stalking (shudder), mistakenly typing our Facebook crush’s name into our status bar instead of the search menu (noooooo), or trying to talk to the men of Tinder about women and climate change. Cringe-worthy faux pas like these are a dime a dozen in the Internet Age, but combine tech with the rise of the sharing economy, and the possibility  for hilariously awkward encounters goes through the roof. Call it the Uber effect.

Grist | Car-sharing

How do you feel about being turned into compost when you die?

Do you really love your city? Now you can consider returning to it when you die, rather than contributing to the massive footprint of the $11 billion funeral industry.

Fast Company | Environment

Vancouver oil terminal review process extended

The state panel reviewing a proposal for an oil-by-rail transfer terminal in Vancouver agreed Tuesday to extend to early next year the timeline for completing a review of the proposal and for making a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee.

Vancouver Columbian | Oil trains

Polley spill probe puts other mining projects on hold

The development of the Morrison project near Smithers in Northern BC is now on hold.

The Tyee | Mining

Seattle City Light’s little secret

The polite fiction that there’s nothing controversial about the fuel mix of the Emerald City’s public utility, Seattle City Light, is getting a new poke in the eye.

Crosscut | Energy