OOBT

1. Sightline has its second installment in a series highlighting the Northwest companies that are profiting from the coal industry even as they portray themselves as environmental advocates, including some that might surprise you. 

The firms, which include well-known law firms like K&L Gates and Stoel Rives and prominent consulting firms like Smith and Stark, are guilty, according to Sightline, of various environmental sins, including advocacy for expanded coal shipments to Longview, efforts to reduce environmental review of coal terminals, and lobbying work in favor of the controversial proposed coal terminal in Bellingham. 

Arguing for divestment—withdrawing money from companies that promote dirty coal—Sightline's Eric de Place writes: 

What if Oregon Business Magazine stripped Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt of its ranking among green companies? What if Taylor Shellfish or the Seattle Chamber stopped doing business with Smith & Stark? What if the Northwest drew a line in the sky by refusing to give money to the coal industry, including its local agents? A firm that lost even a client or two—or that had its reputation tarnished—might decide it’s smarter to stay away from coal.

2. Another reason to be grateful for Seattle's paid sick leave law: Mother Jones reports that according to the CDC, 53 percent, and potentially as much as 82 percent, of norovirus ("stomach flu") outbreaks nationwide can be traced to infected food workers. 

According to the Food Chain Workers Alliance, 79 percent of food workers in the US have no paid sick leave; staying home means going without pay, which food workers—who, in most states, can be paid a base wage lower than the state or federal minimum—often can't afford to do. 

In Seattle, employers with 50 workers or more must give full-time employees five and nine days of paid sick leave a year, depending on the size of the company.

3. Nooooooooooooooooooooo! The Seattle Times reports that the Blue Angels' annual Seafair air show may be among the victims of "sequestration," the automatic federal budget cuts that will go into effect if Congress fails to reach a deficit-reduction deal by March 1. (PubliCola's editorial board, it should be mentioned, is split on the merits of the Blue Angels.) 

4. The AP reports that US Energy Secretary Steven Chu is stepping down and former Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire is among the officials being discussed to replace him.

Over at the PI, Joel Connelly speculates that while Gregoire is certainly in the running, she may be a better fit to head the EPA, given that "much of the federal agency’s success rests in its dealings with the states. In addition to serving as governor and ecology director, Gregoire was also state attorney general."