January 11, 2016
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Bertha digs into fresh soil again for the first time in more than two years

The quest to dig a tunnel underneath downtown Seattle has resumed. Bertha, the deep-bore tunneling machine, dug its massive cutter head into untouched soil last week for the first time since breaking down in late 2013. Bertha has moved 73 feet since it was repaired, reburied and restarted on Dec. 22. The machine has added 12 new concrete rings to the tunnel it leaves behind as it moves.

Bertha will soon cross under South Main Street, with the top of the machine about 80 feet below ground level. Late this month it is scheduled to stop for maintenance near Yesler Way before angling east to go under the Alaskan Way Viaduct. That elevated highway will be shut down for two weeks when the machine grinds under it, probably in March.

The machine is now scheduled to complete the 1.7-mile tunnel by the end of this year – three years behind its original schedule – if it can maintain its cruising pace of 40 feet per day. So far, including its two-year delay, the machine has averaged about one foot per day.

The Puget Sound Business Journal, The Seattle Times and The Associated Press have more on the story.

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Costly Carbon Cap Sends Money Elsewhere

Ecology's Carbon Rule: A Money Transfer from Washington to California and Wall Street

By the Washington Climate Collaborative

Washington is one of the lowest-carbon states in the nation when it comes to emissions from road vehicles, electricity generation, manufacturing, or commercial and residential buildings. A combination of forward-thinking policies and innovation has reduced our carbon emissions below what they were in 1990 and created a clear and downward trend into the future. We fully expect the state to meet its emissions goals for 2020, which is to have Greenhouse Gas emissions reduced to 1990 levels. All of us -- families, farmers, workers and employers -- are invested in protecting our environment, and it shows in the many ways this success has been achieved.

The reality of this makes Gov. Jay Inslee's proposed carbon cap all the more puzzling. A year ago, he submitted a cap and trade proposal to the Washington State Legislature that would have created a $1.3 billion energy tax on Washington consumers. His most ardent supporters in the Capitol saw the problems with implementing this policy, and his proposal failed to even get a vote.

Click here to read the full blog post from the Washington Climate Collaborative
The TPP is Good for Washington

Ratify Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact

By The Herald Editorial Board

More than 40 percent of all jobs in the state are tied to trade, reports the Washington Council on International Trade. The state Department of Commerce reports that state exports topped $90.5 billion in 2014, a 10 percent increase over 2013. On a per capita basis, the state agency says, Washington state is the nation's largest exporter.

Washington state and many of its businesses and workers now also stand to benefit following the completion this fall of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement among the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries, the largest trading partners being Japan, Australia, Canada and Mexico. President Barack Obama is expected to put the pact before Congress later this year for either its approval or its rejection.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Herald
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