A measure that was added to the November ballot less than a month ago would have imposed fines on rail cars transporting fossil fuels through the heart of Spokane. On Monday night, the city council opted to withdraw it.

Two weeks ago, the Spokane City Council approved a ballot measure that garnered national attention. It would impose a fine on every rail car that transports coal or oil through the heart of the city.  Monday the council could consider its withdrawal.

President Obama and his counterparts from Canada and Mexico are preparing to unveil an ambitious new goal for generating carbon-free power when they meet this week in Ottawa.

The three leaders are expected to set a target for North America to get 50 percent of its electricity from nonpolluting sources by 2025. That's up from about 37 percent last year.

Aides acknowledge that's a "stretch goal," requiring commitments over and above what the three countries agreed to as part of the Paris climate agreement.

Dozens of people drove hundreds of miles from Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to Spokane Thursday to weigh in on a proposed coal export terminal. The terminal would sit along the Columbia River in Longview. But the permitting agencies want input from inland cities along the train tracks.

Supporters wore blue. Opponents wore red.

Hundreds of people from Oregon and Washington gathered at a public hearing in Longview Tuesday to offer their views on the proposed Millennium Coal Terminal.

'Week in Review' panel Erica C. Barnett, Ross Reynolds, Gyasi Ross and Jonathan Martin.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ever heard of Seattle's 20-year plan? We discuss why you should care about it.  And what kind of hope should we have for the new approach to the homeless encampment known as the Jungle? Also, as Sound Transit move towards a light-rail future, are they spending too much on the opening day festivities? What does it mean for Washington state now that the Army Corps of Engineers has put a stop to a new deep water terminal in Cherry Point? 

Ross Reynolds talks over the week's news with writer Erica C. Barnett, columnist Jonathan Martin and lawyer and activist Gyasi Ross.  

Despite the urgency to cut greenhouse gas emissions as climate change bears down on the globe, fossil fuel use is not likely to change much in the coming decades. Though renewable energy will grow quickly though 2040, gasoline and diesel will still move most of the world’s vehicles, and coal will still be the largest single source of carbon emissions.

A coal mine operation in Wyoming.
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

The Lummi Nation’s Tribal Chairman Timothy Ballew pulled fellow council member Travis Brockie into his office to announce the big news:

He’d just gotten off the phone with Col. John Buck of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Environmental Impacts Linked To Columbia River Coal Project

Apr 29, 2016

Coal dust, greenhouse gas emissions, noise and traffic congestion are among the environmental impacts from the proposed coal export terminal in Longview, Washington, according to a draft report released Friday.

A coal-mining giant has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid an industrywide slump.

Peabody Energy — which is the biggest coal miner in the U.S. and says it is the largest private-sector coal company in the world — is looking to restructure its heavy debt load and gain relief from its creditors. It hopes to continue operations unimpeded.

The environmental review for what could be the largest coal export terminal in the country appears to have been put on hold.

SSA Marine is the company behind the proposed rail-to-ship coal terminal planned for the Puget Sound shoreline near Bellingham, Washington. It announced Friday that opposition from the Lummi Tribe was the main reason for its decision.

The tribe’s fishing grounds surround the project site, and the Lummi had asked the federal government to deny the permits for the coal terminal because it would violate their treaty fishing rights.

By the year 2030, the electricity that most Oregonians use won't be powered by coal. That's the goal of a measure that's moving through the Oregon Legislature. The state House approved the plan Tuesday.

The coal industry has been having a hard time lately.

Coal usage in the U.S. has been declining for years. That's prompted coal companies in the West to try to export their coal to Asia via ports in Washington, Oregon and California.

Washington state lawmakers are considering a bill that paves the way for a partial closure of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in Montana.

In the face of mounting environmental regulations, Puget Sound Energy wants to develop a plan to close two of Colstrip's four coal units – a move that could reduce the amount of coal-produced electricity used by Washington consumers.

The Washington utility is one of six owners of the overall plant, but co-owns units 1 and 2 with just one other company, Talen Energy.

Amid a drop in demand for coal, a key investor in a proposed coal export project on the Columbia River filed for bankruptcy Monday.

Arch Coal is a 38-percent shareholder in the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals project, which would export 44 million tons of coal annually through a terminal in Longview, Washington. Arch owns mines in Colorado, Wyoming and five other states.

Officials with Arch Coal say the company's mines will stay open and the bankruptcy won't affect its employees.