Research by Type

Backgrounder

The Real Story of Puget Sound’s Disappearing Herring

Pacific herring, SteveWyshy, Flickr.

Puget Sound’s Pacific herring are a small fish with a whale-sized slate of problems. Many of the local herring stocks are in decline and despite some localized efforts to save them, their numbers haven’t bounced back. In this research memo, Sightline looks past the abundant rumors to examine the best science on Puget Sound herring. Are they jeopardized by disease, pollution, increasing numbers of predators, climate change, shoreline development, or fishing? And what about a new export terminal proposed at Cherry Point, home to one of the Sound’s most distinctive and threatened herring populations?

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Planned Northwest Coal Exports Would Not “Just Go to Canada”

A compilation of the coal industry’s leading thinkers explaining why the industry must have new coal ports in the Pacific Northwest. Read more »

The Promise of Permeable Pavement

Center for Neighborhood Technology, flickr

Permeable pavement is one of the most promising green solutions that can help reduce and clean up polluted stormwater runoff. Like conventional pavement, it can be made of asphalt or concrete that’s either poured in place or sold as pavers, and it can be
used in a variety of settings, including on parking lots, low-traffic roadways, driveways, and sidewalks. Read more »

Toll Avoidance and Transportation Funding

Official estimates frequently overestimate traffic and revenue for toll roads.

As the Northwest prepares major highway projects–the replacement I-5 bridge of the Columbia River, the replacement SR 520 bridge across Lake Washington, and Seattle’s deep-bore tunnel–tolling has an increasingly significant role to play in project financing. Yet a review of the literature shows that when it comes to predicting traffic volumes and revenue from newly-tolled roads, official projections are often overly-optimistic. This is especially true of highways with un-tolled alternative routes nearby. Read more »

Gasoline Consumption in the Northwest: Reports and Graphs

High gasoline prices, economic jitters, and cultural changes have dampened the Northwest’s appetite for energy—and specifically for gasoline—in the past decade. Still, Cascadians are profligate energy consumers, and in general, the region’s energy use has been stuck in high gear. Read more »

Coal Export

A History of Failure for Western Ports

Communities in Oregon and Washington are weighing the prospect of coal export facilities. Proponents of shipping American coal to Asia argue that coal will bring significant economic benefits to the region. In this research memo, we examine the risks of coal markets, review the history of coal exports on the West Coast, and evaluate the employment dimensions of coal terminals. Read more »

The Dirt on Coal in Washington State

Coal Stack

In the Northwest, coal often feels like someone else’s problem. But the truth is coal is big in our region. The two coal-fired power plants in Oregon and Washington are some of the largest polluters in our region, but efforts are underway to transition the region away from this dirty energy source. Read more »

What Is Performance Contracting?

Performance contracting is a time-tested tool used by local governments to increase energy efficiency, while guaranteeing energy savings are enough to cover the costs of the project. By tying contractor payments to real energy savings, there’s a strong incentive to do projects that yield real results. Read more »

Green-Collar Jobs: Path out of Poverty

Electricians at work

Green-collar jobs present a 3-for-1 opportunity for the Northwest: economic stability, reductions in climate-warming pollution, and an escape from dependence on fossil fuels. Here’s a list of reports and other resources on green-collar jobs. Read more »

Green-Collar Jobs: Defined and Explained

Windfarm on hillside

The gist: “Green-collar jobs”—manual-labor jobs in rapidly growing green industries—have the potential to speed progress on two deeply rooted problems at once: to reduce our society’s impact on the planet, while lifting people out of poverty. Many individuals and organizations have been leading the way. One leading proponent of green-collar jobs is Van Jones, who co-founded Rebuild the Dream, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and Green for All. (This page provides links to organizations and publications that focus on green-collar jobs. For links to other Sightline pages on green-collar jobs, see Green-Collar Jobs: Path out of Poverty.) What … Read more »