Today's Loser: Coal Futures.

Goldman Sachs, the parent investment company of Carrix, which owns SSA Marine and Pacific International Terminals, sold off its 49 percent interest in Carrix today.

SSA Marine and PIT are two of the companies, along with Peabody Coal, that are heading up the proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point. The Smith/Hemingway Family owns 51 percent of SSA Marine's parent Carrix, and remains the majority owner; FRS Capital has replaced Goldman.

The Cherry Point proposal would send nine loaded, mile-and-a-half coal trains per day through Seattle north to the Cherry Point Gateway Pacific terminal outside Bellingham.

Goldman Sachs' decision confirms a story first reported by Grist last July that Goldman was skittish about the future of coal.  

And Crina Hoyer, Executive Director  of Bellingham-based RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, spun it just that way in a statement this afternoon: “Goldman Sachs’ stepping away from coal export is yet another sign from Wall Street that coal export is a losing investment.  We already know that local Main Street businesses would feel the negative impacts from coal export, and communities across the region are saying no to this bad deal because of health, climate, environmental and economic impacts."

Today's Winner is State Rep. Marko Liias (D-21, Mukilteo)

First, the sad news: A longtime state legislator, state Sen. Paull Shin (D-21, Edmonds), announced this afternoon that he's retiring "effective immediately" due to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's.

Shin, an South Korean immigrant who earned a PhD at the UW, has been in the state senate since 1999, where he's championed higher ed, funding for the developmentally disabled, and most notably has worked on trade.

Shin was initially planning to retire after this year and 21st District state Rep. Marko Liias, who has raised $48,000, had already announced his candidacy and had already been endorsed by Shin and their 21st District legislative colleague Rep. Mary Helen Roberts.

Liias, a liberal green and stalwart transit supporter in the house, says he hopes the 21st District precinct committee officers and then the Snohomish County Council will appoint him to Shin's seat by the end of the month so the Democrats will be at full strength in the senate as soon as possible. 

Liias, who describes Shin as a "mentor and friend" issued the following statement on his web page this afternoon:

“The people of the 21st District and the state of Washington lost a compassionate and dedicated elected official today. Senator Paull Shin’s decision to retire from the Legislature caps a remarkable career of public service that few in our state can match.

"During his decades of service Senator Shin was a positive force for a strong social safety net, students seeking higher education, and expanding Washington’s international trade economy. He fought to protect the most vulnerable while expanding opportunities for all.

"From growing up as an orphan in the streets of South Korea to walking the halls of the Washington State Senate, his story has been the embodiment of the American Dream.

"Senator Shin’s perseverance, empathy, and commitment to his community are an inspiration to us all – and especially to me personally. I look forward to upholding his legacy of service and I hope that everyone will join me in wishing him the fondest of farewells.”

Two people—Everett high school counselor and chair of the governor's Commission on Hispanic Affairs, Lilian Ortiz-Self, and Snohomish labor leader Darrell Chapman, had both announced they were running for Liias' house seat and will likely now seek the immediate appointment. 

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