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?
Research by Region
Across British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington, there are active proposals for seven new or expanded coal terminals, three oil pipelines, and six new natural gas pipelines. The projects are distinct, but they can be denominated in a common currency: the tons of carbon dioxide emitted if the fossil fuels were burned. Taken together, these projects would be capable of delivering enough fuel to release an additional 761 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, equivalent to seven Keystone XL pipelines. The Northwest enjoys a reputation for leadership in clean energy and environmental policy. Yet the new … read more »
For nearly six decades, Washington State has given away hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue through an “accidental” loophole with no clear public policy objective. Giving away millions to the state’s oil industry every year is hard to understand. At a time when the state is facing budget shortfalls and is trying to cut emissions, subsidizing Big Oil simply doesn’t add up. It’s for the legislature to decide whether we’ll close this loophole to help shore up the state budget or continue this hidden handout to oil companies. Read the factsheet here: .
A compilation of the coal industry’s leading thinkers explaining why the industry must have new coal ports in the Pacific Northwest. read more »
Would-be coal exporter Ambre Energy faces mounting financial, regulatory and other challenges that make it highly unlikely that the company will deliver on its promises. read more »
Ambre Energy, an Australian company that is currently touting plans for a pair of controversial coal export terminal sites in Washington and Oregon, faces mounting financial, regulatory and other challenges that make it unlikely to deliver on its promises in the U.S., according to a new report for the nonprofit Sightline Institute. read more »
In North American terms, Cascadia is home to an unusually high concentration of people of Native descent. In fact, Northwest jurisdictions are home to more than three quarters of a million people of Native descent with nearly 200,000 in British Columbia and Washington each. As a share of the population, no state has more Native Americans than Alaska where nearly 20 percent of residents self-identify as all or part Native. Montana ranks 5th nationally while Washington, Oregon, and Idaho occupy the 9th, 10th, and 12th spots, respectively. British Columbia’s population has a very similar profile to its US neighbors. view graphic »
The 48 million tons of coal slated to come through Seattle annually would make a pile 1/2 mile in diameter and ten feet taller than the Columbia Center. view graphic »
With US demand for coal plummeting, coal companies are looking to Asia to shore up sagging sales at home. Since 2011, several groups have launched ambitious plans to mine low-grade coal from Montana and Wyoming’s Power River Basin and transport it by rail to ports in Oregon and Washington, where it will be shipped to overseas markets—particularly China. At full capacity, the proposed projects would send 140 million tons annually. The coal industry claims that Asia offers lucrative coal markets. Yet much of the available evidence is cautionary at best. Sightline’s memo, “US Coal Exports and Uncertainty in Asian Markets,” … read more »
Gasoline prices are high and volatile. Northwesterners are beginning to change their driving habits to adapt. Sightline’s report, Shifting into Reverse, shows that per capita vehicle travel has dropped significantly. view graphic »