The Daily Troll: Oil via rail. Most fascinating Seattleites.

Worries about coal trains are joined by fears about oil trains. Joel Connelly picks his most intriguing people of the year. A federal office in Seattle closes.

By Joe Copeland

December 28, 2012.

Oil trains

This year has brought a lot of talk about coal trains coming to the Northwest as part of the proposed development of ports to ship coal to China for its utilities. But there are also oil trains coming from North Dakota to refineries at Anacortes, a factor that adds to the concerns, as Crosscut's Floyd McKay has reported. This afternoon, picked up an AP report on the national explosion in oil shipments via train. Comparing the trains to pipeline transportation of oil to refineries, a North Dakota Sierra Club representative told AP that rail is  "the greater of two evils." Some fear major spills in population centers.

Most fascinating people of 2012

Joel Connelly of plays the yearly list game in intriguing fashion, picking Seattle's 12 most intriguing people of 2012. The selections, first posted late Thursday, are in the slideshow format so overused at (Hearst loves those extra clicks!) but the picks are well conceived and so well explained that it works well. Naturally, with Connelly, there's a slant toward compassionate, middle-of-the road progressivism. The picks include UW President Michael Young, U.S. Attorney for Western Washington Jenny Durkan and soccer player Hope Solo.

Another big pick

Seattle biomedical pioneer Dr. Leroy Hood, who is currently president of the Institute for Systems Biology, has been selected to receive the National Science Medal. He and other recipients will receive their awards at a White House ceremony early next year. The news came out late Friday, just before many of us headed off for a holiday weekend.

Census changes

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that it is closing its Seattle office; a Seattle Times story notes the federal agency is focusing more on Internet replies to questionnaires. The acting Census director, Thomas Mesenbourg, said that technology allows the agency to "do more with less." Regional oversight of part-time workers in the Northwest is shifting to a Los Angeles office. Because of retirements and people finding other jobs, only three of about 45 regular Seattle staffers were laid off.

Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at

View this story online at:

© 2015 Crosscut Public Media. All rights reserved.

Printed on January 31, 2015