Research by Region

Washington

Seattle Campaigns Overwhelmingly Funded by Wealthy, White People with View Homes

Sightline Institute analysis shows Honest Elections Seattle initiative would spread political giving across the city.

Original Sightline Institute graphic, available under our free use policy.

For Immediate Release: July 22, 2015 Contact: Keiko Budech, [email protected], 206-447-1880 x114 SEATTLE // Just 1.5 percent of adults in Seattle gave money to 2013 candidates. Fully half of total donation dollars came from 1,683 contributors, or 0.3 percent of the city’s adults; and more than a quarter came from only 0.07 percent of adults—the 391 contributors who gave $1,000 or more. That’s according to a new report from Sightline Institute analyzing all political donations from Seattle’s 2013 election cycle. The report maps these donations across the city, with comparative overlays of household income and percentage non-Hispanic white, as well as … Read more »

Who Funds Seattle’s Political Candidates?

Rich, white people with view homes.

Space Needle with skyline and Mount Rainier at sunset, 2000, by Seattle Municipal Archives, cc.

Overwhelmingly, rich, white people who live in Seattle’s waterfront and view homes fund Seattle’s political campaigns. If enacted, Honest Elections Seattle could spread the funding of campaigns from elite neighborhoods to the whole city. The Honest Elections Seattle Initiative would, among other things, distribute $100 of Democracy Vouchers to each registered voter in the city. Registered voters may donate their vouchers to candidates who agree to limit their spending and forgo large contributions. Democracy Vouchers would likely redraw the patterns of political giving in Seattle, just as small-donor matching grants redrew the map of political giving in New York City. This report analyzes the pattern of … Read more »

The Northwest’s Pipeline on Rails

Westbound oil train, Essex, MT. Photo credit Roy Luck.

Executive Summary Since 2012, more than a dozen plans have emerged to ship crude oil by train to Northwest refineries and port terminals. Moving large quantities of oil by rail would be a major change for the Northwest’s energy economy, yet most media accounts present only a fragmented view of the developments, and government regulators evaluate the projects largely in isolation from one another. “The Northwest’s Pipeline on Rails” presents the most comprehensive, region-wide review of all the oil-by-rail projects planned or currently operating in the Pacific Northwest. It finds that: In Oregon and Washington, 15 refineries and port terminals are planning, building, or … Read more »

Public Interest Groups File FOIA Request with US Dept. of Commerce for Crude Oil Export Ban Exceptions

For Immediate Release: February 10, 2015 Contact:           Serena Larkin, [email protected] or 206-447-1880 x111 Lorne Stockman, [email protected] or 540-679-1097 Maggie Caldwell, [email protected] or 415-217-2084 SEATTLE // Earthjustice, Oil Change International, and Sightline Institute have submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the US Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) seeking details on the Bureau’s criteria for recently approving multiple significant exceptions to the nation’s crude oil export ban. In the past year, the BIS has issued rulings exempting certain crude oil streams from the licensing process. The agency is quietly eroding the export ban and effectively … Read more »

REPORT: Pacific Northwest Coal, Oil, and Gas Exports Would Have Carbon Equivalent of More than Five Keystone XL Pipelines

Original Sightline Institute graphic by Don Baker Design, available under our free use policy.

For immediate release: September 9, 2014 A new report from Seattle-based think tank Sightline Institute finds that new coal, oil, and gas shipments planned for the Pacific Northwest would carry more carbon annually than five Keystone XLs. The report’s author, Sightline policy director Eric de Place, calculates the carbon in active proposals across Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia including four new coal terminals, three expansions of existing terminals, two new oil pipelines, eleven oil-by-rail facilities, and six new natural gas pipelines. Together, they would convey 822 million metric tons per year (mmta) of CO2 emissions—compared with Keystone XL’s roughly 149 … Read more »

Five Keystone XLs

Original Sightline Institute graphic by Don Baker Design, available under our free use policy.

Coal, oil, & gas shipments out of the Northwest would carry as much carbon annually as 5 Keystone XLs. View graphic »

Northwest Fossil Fuel Exports

Planned facilities would handle five times as much carbon as the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Original Sightline Institute graphic by Don Baker Design, available under our free use policy.

If all of the coal export terminals, oil-by-rail facilities, oil pipelines, and natural gas pipelines planned for the Pacific Northwest are completed and fully utilized, the region could export fossil fuels carrying five times as much climate-warming carbon as Keystone XL. Read more »

REPORT: Federal Coal Leasing Agency Sets “Fair Market Values” Too Low

Unfair pricing practices fuel coal exports, shortchange the American public

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 24, 2014 FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Bob LeResche, (907) 723-2506; Kevin Dowling, WORC staff, (406) 252-9672, [email protected]; or Serena Larkin, Sightline Institute, (206) 447-1880 x111, [email protected] Seattle, Wash. – Despite explosive growth in U.S. coal exports in recent years, and mounting evidence that coal companies plan for even faster export growth, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ignores exports when setting the selling price of publicly owned coal, according to a new report by Sightline Institute, produced in collaboration with the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC), Northern Plains Resource Council, Powder River Basin Resource … Read more »

Unfair Market Value

By Ignoring Exports, BLM Underprices Federal Coal

Coal companies operating in the western United States purchase much of their coal through federal coal leasing programs operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which allow private coal companies to mine and sell coal owned by the American public. Although a growing share of federal coal is exported to overseas customers, the BLM has almost completely ignored the value of export sales when determining the minimum price it will accept for federally owned coal. The failure to assess the economics of coal exports has led the agency to systematically underprice coal owned by the American public, potentially leading to millions of dollars in foregone revenue each year. This report documents cases in which coal companies have purchased low-cost federal coal, and then resold it overseas at much higher prices. It also documents examples of coal companies that have clearly stated their intention to export even more federal coal in the future. Read more »

The Thin Green Line

Thin Green Line, by Don Baker, for Sightline Institute

The Pacific Northwest stands at a crossroads of dirty energy exports and hungry Asian markets. We are the thin green line between the two, and our choices together in the coming years not only will determine the health and safety of our local communities, but also will help shape our planet’s future. (Video version available, too!) View graphic »