Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Critical Infrastructure


Even Cathy McMorris Rodgers thinks privatizing the Bonneville Power Administration is a bad idea

The regime of Donald Trump may be enthusiastic about privatizing the Bonneville Power Administration, but Republicans in the Pacific Northwest are not.

Not even archconservatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Greg Walden, both of whom serve in top positions in the House Republican caucus.

Walden and McMorris Rodgers have signed onto a letter sent to the regime by all of the members of the House from Washington and Oregon — Democrats and Republicans — letting Trump’s people know in no uncertain terms that the region strongly opposes the proposal to privatize BPA.

Read More »

Recommended Link

Do not privatize the Bonneville Power Administration

“To Pacific Northwesterners, the Bonneville Power Administration power grid is like energy itself — quietly taken for granted, humming away in the background … until something goes wrong. A proposal by the Trump administration to sell off BPA’s transmission system should shake the region awake from complacency,” says The Seattle Times.

Video Clip

“Just a few days before the SR 99 tunneling machine started tunneling under the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the Washington State Department of Transportation flew a video-equipped drone through the SR 99 tunnel to show Seattle Tunnel Partners’ construction progress. On an average day, the tunnel is bustling with construction. To avoid disrupting crews, this video was recorded in between regular work shifts.”

Recommended Link

Recall effort in Michigan intensifies pressure on Rick Snyder

The New York Times reports on the progress of efforts to recall Republican Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan, led by the Reverend David Alexander Bullock. It was actions taken by Snyder and his cronies that led to the poisoning of Flint’s water supply.

Recommended Link

FBI joins Flint drinking water investigation

The Detroit Free Press reports: “The FBI is now investigating the contamination of Flint’s drinking water, a man-made public health catastrophe, which has left an unknown number of Flint children and other residents poisoned by lead and resulted in state and federal emergency declarations.”

Recommended Link

Flint water crisis: emails reveal Governor Snyder informed of problems a year ago

“According to newly released emails concerns over the water were dismissed by officials who blamed mayor for exploiting public panic,” The Guardian reports.

Recommended Link

Engineer in Philadelphia train crash has long advocated for rail safety

Thirty-two year old Brandon Bostian, the engineer behind the controls of Amtrak’s wrecked Regional Train 188, has a long history of passionately championing rail safety, the Los Angeles Times reports.


The big deal is we have a federal government that can’t, for political reasons, invest in public transportation. It’s infuriating.

— Commuter Andrea Lynch, decrying Congress’ failure to properly fund Amtrak and upgrade America’s infrastructure (The New York Times: Amtrak commuters struggle to find travel alternatives in wake of deadly train crash)


It has been twenty-one years since federal regulators identified problems with the [safety-plagued DOT-111] cars. How many deaths will it take before they genuinely regulate?

— Sightline Institute’s Eric de Place, imploring the federal government to at to forbid the use of old, unsafe tank cars used for transporting oil.


Follow the groups that are working to stop evictions and turn on the water in Detroit

As many of our readers may be aware, several months ago, the government of Detroit (which is under an emergency management regime) unconscionably decided to start shutting off tap water to low income residents who were behind on their water bills. Since we’ve begun our live coverage of Netroots Nation 2014 in Detroit, many NPI supporters have written to us to ask to report back on the water shutoffs that are affecting thousands of families throughout the city.

Netroots Nation and NPI have joined with the people of Detroit to protest this human rights violation and demand that the City of Detroit end the shutoffs. We participated in a protest yesterday to turn on the water and tax Wall Street, and we heard from a panel of people who are on the front lines this morning.

In a couple of days, after the convention concludes our board and staff members will be returning to the great Pacific Northwest, but the important work of fighting these shutoffs will go on, and we will continue to support the efforts of activists in the Motor City who are trying to end this manufactured crisis.

Here is a list of groups working to turn on the water in Detroit, as well as stop evictions, complete with links (to websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds):

All of these organizations were represented at Netroots Nation, either in the exhibition hall, on the Saturday morning panel that addressed the crisis.

We urge all NPI supporters to follow these organizations online and consider donating to help them help the people of Detroit.


Your shutoff program has created a lot of anger in the city and a lot of hardship and bad publicity the city does not need.

— Judge Steven Rhodes, the judge handling Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy case, telling the city’s deputy utility director that the city’s unconscionable scheme to shut off water to city residents is doing a great deal of harm to the city.

Recommended Link

Shoddy construction on already-built portion could doom the rest of Keystone XL

Businessweek reports that shoddy construction could doom the unbuilt portion of the Keystone XL pipeline. The existing portion of Keystone XL, known as the Gulf Coast Pipeline, has severe construction defects, according to inspectors working for USDOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The news is not a surprise to the progressive organizers in Nebraska who have been fighting Keystone XL. So much for TransCanada’s commitment to build “the world’s safest pipeline”.