Research & Maps

Current Crude Oil-by-Rail Projects

Map_Current Crude Oil-by-Rail Projects_Updated Feb 18, 2014

In Oregon and Washington, 10 refineries and port terminals are planning, building, or already operating oil-by-rail terminals. View graphic »

WA Extracted Fuel Tax Loophole

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:

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Who Pays for Parking?

Monopoly Park Place. Photo by Philip Taylor, cc.

How the oversupply of parking undermines housing affordability. Read more »

Peabody Energy, Gateway Pacific, and the Asian Coal Bubble

Coal Prices Gateway Peak to Aug 2013

A new Sightline report shows that the collapse in coal prices jeopardized Peabody Energy’s coal export plans. Read more »

Unlocking Home

Three Keys to Affordable Communities

Unlocking Home Cover

Alan Durning takes a hard look at the pinch of expensive urban housing and sees what many others have missed. Hidden in city regulations is a set of simple but powerful barriers to housing for all. These rules criminalize history’s answers to affordable dwellings: the rooming house, the roommate, the in-law apartment, and the backyard cottage. In effect, cities have banned what used to be the bottom end of the private housing market. They’ve made urban quarters expensive and scarce. In Unlocking Home: Three Keys to Affordable Community, Durning details how to revive inexpensive housing in walkable neighborhoods—at no cost to the public—by striking a few lines from municipal law books. Read more »

Visualizing 8 Million Tons of Coal through Portland

Portland Coal Pile, June 2013

The 8 million metric tons of coal slated to come through Portland annually would make a pile 1/3 of a mile in diameter and three feet taller than the Wells Fargo Center. View graphic »

The Morrow Pacific Project

High costs could turn coal export plan into a terminal of last resort

Ambre_handling

The Morrow Pacific project, a coal export venture being pursued by Australian firm Ambre Energy, aims to ship coal by rail to Oregon’s Port of Morrow on the Columbia River, barge it downstream to a second port, and load it onto cargo ships bound for Asia. Recent financial disclosures suggest that the project would face unusually high costs in three separate areas: High handling costs. Unlike conventional export projects that would handle coal at a single location, the Morrow Pacific project would transfer coal twice—first from rail cars to barges, and later from barges to ocean-going vessels. The extra step … Read more »

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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Northwest Fossil Fuel Exports

fossil-fuels-052213

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 »

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 »