Politico has an epic treatment of coal’s decline in the United States and the meticulous, truth-telling Sierra Club volunteers and staffers who have helped accelerate it.
One more reason the Northwest beats California: we haven’t had to consider this just yet.
“[The rents] do not go down, that’s one thing that’s a safe bet in the trailer park world. Our rents do not go down.” That’s Frank Rolfe, founder of Mobile Home University, a company that trains investors on making bank off of trailer park ownership. Twenty million Americans—six percent of us—live in them, and high-profile investors from Sam Zell to Warren Buffett have sizeable stakes in them. Mobile Home University’s number one rule? “Don’t make fun of the residents.” (But apparently it’s cool to raise rents to the point of forcing some of them to homelessness.)
A federal court has ruled that Wisconsin’s transportation department used specious traffic projections to justify a $146 million highway-widening project. The agency made unjustifiable traffic forecasts—but the judge found that those projections didn’t hold up to scrutiny.
Of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Dave Johnson of Campaign for America’s Future, says: Stop calling it a trade agreement—it isn’t. “Trade is a good thing. But enabling companies to move $30/hour jobs to countries with $.60/hour wages so a few billionaires can pocket the difference is not trade,” he writes.
Tom Sullivan nails it with his analysis of the left’s responses to an anti-science remark about climate change made recently by presidential hopeful Jeb Bush. It’s not just a losing battle to fight science deniers with a barrage of facts—but it can actually turn into an additional win for deniers: “But truth was not Bush’s point. Truthiness was. And the truthiness is, smartypants lefty intellectuals look down their noses at Real Americans who disagree with them. His Mr. Rogers-ish meta message was, ‘I like you just the way you are. They disrespect you because you don’t think like them. The left did exactly what it was supposed to. It responded with facts. Bush? Bush was on message.'” (h/t Joe, my brother)
Many concepts in academic psychology have crossed over into popular culture. Here’s a little quiz to see how many we can name.
Oh, Tesoro. You make it so hard to want to give you permission to build the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal on the Columbia River.
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Way back in 2013, a burst Tesoro pipeline was responsible for one of the largest spills ever recorded in North Dakota—and one of the biggest onshore spills ever in the US—a spill that the company did not bother to disclose to the affected landowner. Not until wheat farmer Steve Jensen had smelled crude oil for days and the tires of his combine were coated with oil did it become public news. He told a local newspaper that the oil was “spewing and bubbling 6 inches high.” The oil ultimately covered more than 7 acres of his land.
The cleanup is still nowhere near complete. Although the company initially estimated that the work would take 2 years, the Bismarck Tribune reports that Tesoro has recovered just 6,000 of the 20,000 barrels it spilled. The work will continue for another 2-1/2 years, according to Tesoro. The firm says that cleanup costs, initially pegged at $4 million, later rose to $20 million, and are now presumably much higher, although Tesoro declined to provide a new cost estimate.
The Oil Train Week of Action is July 6-12—a little more than a month away! More than 100 events across the US and Canada will take place and demand for an immediate ban on oil trains. If you are interested in organizing an event and/or participating in an action, you can fill out this survey. You can also find nearby events here. Don’t be put off by the small number of listed events—many are being confirmed and will be added soon! This is a great opportunity to build local leadership and collectively stand up against the oil industry.
This visually beautiful interactive essay is a must-read: The story of how a tiny First Nation community grew rich on oil, and was wrecked by oil.