Sightline had another big year in 2011. Here are a few of the things we did that made us proud:

  • Coal Exports: Just as Washington State makes the healthy move to phase out its only coal-fired power plant, there are efforts afoot to connect Montana coal with Asian markets—via Northwest ports. From train traffic snarls to harmful coal dust to climate pollution—the negative impacts to our communities would be immense. Sightline has debunked a slew of coal myths and exposed some of the ugliest local impacts.
  • Ocean Acidification: Our fossil fuel addiction not only threatens the climate; it also puts our oceans at risk. As excessive carbon emissions from oil and coal burning are absorbed by seawater, the water becomes more acidic—putting the basic building blocks of much of our sea life in peril. This year, researcher Jennifer Langston detailed the risks confronting Northwest economies and ecosystems.
  • Making Sustainability Legal: Just like the stuff in the back of your refrigerator, rules that once served a perfectly good purpose can have an expiration date. Six months ago, Sightline started documenting regulatory barriers to simple, practical sustainability solutions. Our 16 case studies—little things like removing bans on clotheslines and parking requirements at bars, and loosening over-restrictive taxi markets, that can add up to big environmental impacts—have already had an impact.
  • Dude, Where are My Cars: Traffic volume across the Northwest has flattened. Clark Williams-Derry has been digging into the problem of faulty traffic projections and sorting out the implications for our transportation investments. In September, we published a report asking: has the Northwest hit “peak gas”?

Like the research you’ve read about here? Sightline’s work is only possible because of the support of our donors. Our 2011 highlights are just a sampling of blog posts, projects, and news stories we researched and shared to inform people across the Northwest. There are still a few hours left in 2011—help us end the year with a strong finish by making a gift today! Thank you for your support and great work in 2011.

December 30, 2011