Cascadia Daily Dec 19, 2017

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Would safety technology have prevented Amtrak derailment?

Contrary to what we reported yesterday, three people were confirmed dead in yesterday’s derailment of an Amtrak Cascades train south of Tacoma WA, and the latest report is that the train was exceeding the safe speed for that stretch of track by 50 mph. Reporters at Crosscut examine whether Positive Train Control, a decades-old technology that has yet to be installed in that section of the route, could have prevented the crash.

British Columbia ends grizzly hunting, Trump halts re-introduction

BC Forests announced yesterday that it will ban all hunting of grizzly bears in order to better protect the estimated population of 15,000 bears throughout the province. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has announced it’s halting a plan to re-introduce grizzlies to North Cascades National Park in Washington state.

WA governor proposes carbon tax

As the Washington state legislature prepares for a new session, Washington governor Jay Inslee has proposed tapping into a reserve fund to pay for education, and to replace the money with a statewide carbon tax. In British Columbia, the Georgia Straight examines the NDP’s math on the Site C Dam, and argues it will have a hard time funding its ambitious social agenda and the hydro project.

Deadline for comment on National Park fee increase Dec 22

The Trump administration has proposed hiking entry fees to popular US National Parks, including Olympic and Mount Rainier. You have until Fri. Dec 22 to submit comments to the park service. High Country news explores the potential impact of the new fees: ““Rich people can see wildflowers in Rocky Mountain National Park at the best time of year, and poor people can’t see them at all.”

Portland city council OKs museum expansion plans

According to OPB, the Portland city council voted to allow the Portland Museum of Art to go forward with plans for a $50 million expansion. The expansion stirred controversy because it would enclose a popular pedestrian stairway between the museum’s two wings.

Paul Nelson’s “Evidence-based poem”

Seattle poet and Cascadia Poetry festival founder Paul Nelson has a poem up at Rattle entitled “698. Evidence-based poem.” It makes rather good use of all of words the Trump administration recently banned in documents published by the Centers for Disease Control:
“…This is a vulnerable poem

(as are all poems

all sentient beings) a poem

calling out entitlement…”

Here’s to a safe and vulnerable holiday season in the Northwest! –Andrew Engelson

Photo credit: grizzly bear and cub by Magnus Manske, US National Park Service.