Sept. 01–Cheers: To Canada. A plan that would sharply increase the number of oil tankers in Washington waters has been halted — at least for now. Canada’sFederal Court of Appeal ordered officials to redo a review of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline, which would nearly triple the flow of oil from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific Coast.
Earlier this year, the Canadian government announced a plan to purchase and expand the pipeline, a proposal opposed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee because it would increase tanker traffic through the Salish Sea between this state and Vancouver Island. In addition to boosting the risk of oil spills, more traffic would further disturb the region’s already endangered orca population. The Canadian court blocked the project because an initial review lacked adequate consultation with the nation’s native population. Bringing an end to the project would be beneficial for Washington.
Jeers: To floating mines. Bomb technicians were called out this week to detonate a mine found floating in Puget Sound. The incident caused quite a kerfuffle because, initially, nobody was sure where the mine came from or how it ended up in the waters west of Bainbridge Island.
On Thursday, Navy officials revealed that the device was an inert mine that had been used in a 2005 training exercise. Inert mines were placed in the area to demonstrate how unmanned underwater vehicles detect objects and avoid obstacles; when some of them failed to surface, they were abandoned. Officials say they will search for additional unrecovered mines, which probably would have been a good idea 13 years ago.
Cheers: To Hands Across the Bridge. Labor Day marks an annual event celebrating those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. After gathering at Esther Short Park, people on the Washington side of the Columbia River will meet up with those from the Oregon side, linking hands and forming a chain that crosses the Interstate 5 Bridge.
The event is expected to draw some 3,000 people, serving as a powerful symbol of the broad impact that drug and alcohol abuse have on our communities. Following the happening on the bridge, an event at Esther Short Park will take place, celebrating those who are working to make positive changes in their lives.
Jeers: To fleeing criminals. Morning traffic along Highway 14 came to a temporary standstill Wednesday at the conclusion of a police chase through Vancouver.
The incident started with the report of an armed robbery at a drive-thru coffee stand on Hayden Island in North Portland. The suspect vehicle was noticed by police in Vancouver, leading to a pursuit that included the truck hopping a curb and driving through a grassy area. Police managed to halt the vehicle and talk two suspects out of the vehicle. Kudos and thanks go to police, who caught the bad guys and prevented collateral damage. Jeers go to criminals who endangered the public through their foolish actions.
Cheers: To accountability. Prosecutors in Seattle have filed criminal misdemeanor charges against 15 demonstrators who blocked downtown traffic for several hours in May during a protest. Additional charges are expected for a similar action in June.
An organizer of the protests is questioning why charges are being filed for a peaceful demonstration. The answer is obvious: When protests disrupt the city and require a costly and time-consuming response from police, there should be consequences. People have a right to protest and to express opinions about any issue they feel is important. But the right of free speech does not absolve them from being held accountable for their actions.
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