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Pipelines vs. Railways

More details on the shooting of Arfee; carbon overload in the Northwest?

How Arfee Was killed

After nearly two months of public demand for answers, the City of Coeur d'Alene finally revealed Friday that Coeur d'Alene Police Officer David Kelley was the one who shot Arfee, Craig Jones' 2-year-old black Lab, through a van window in the parking lot of Java on Sherman.

In his report, Kelley says the dog barked and growled, lunging his head out inches from his face as they investigated the van. "I was scared, and in my immediate defense of great bodily injury I fired one round from my handgun," Kelley wrote.

In doing so, Kelley violated departmental policy, concluded an internal use-of-force report from the department's Deadly Force Review Board, as well as an independent review by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

The reviews found multiple problems with Kelley's actions: Kelley and his partner, Officer Jason Wiedebush, for example, did not announce their presence when approaching the van. Kelley fired in a populated residential area without signaling his partner. Neither review could find a reasonable explanation for why Kelley didn't just move out of the way to avoid the dog.

"It is agreed the animal's head and neck protruded from the partially open window, however there is no evidence the animal was going to escape the confines of the vehicle," the review board wrote.

The released documents also illuminated why the city initially identified Arfee, incorrectly, as a pit bull. An animal control officer responding to the shooting guessed the animal was "possibly a Pit Bull or Pit Bull mix dog" without even having seen the dog's head.

In a press conference Friday, new Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White said the department will have to rebuild trust with the community. He did not, however, reveal any consequences for Kelley, saying state law prohibits the release of personnel information.

— DANIEL WALTERS

Northwest Carbon Capacity

A new calculation of the potential combined shipping capacity of new coal, oil and gas facilities proposed for the Pacific Northwest claims they would carry five times as much carbon as the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, according to a new Seattle-based think tank's report.

The SIGHTLINE INSTITUTE released a report Tuesday adding up the estimated capacity of four coal terminals, three terminal expansions, two pipelines, 11 oil-by-rail facilities and six natural gas pipelines proposed for sites in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. The report concluded that such expansions would move the equivalent of 882 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

"We're only talking about new capacity," says Sightline Policy Director Eric de Place in a news release. "The Northwest is ground zero in the climate fight."

Energy companies have sought to expand shipping capacity along the coast to transport products to high-demand markets in Asia. Significant expansions to shipping capacity would likely increase rail shipments of coal and oil, which have stirred safety concerns in Spokane and many other communities nationwide.

— JACOB JONES

Ag Gag Suit Proceeds

A federal judge in Idaho denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state's "AG GAG" LAW last week. The plaintiffs, a coalition of animal rights, civil rights and public interest groups, argue that the law violates freedom of speech and equal protection under the U.S. Constitution.

The controversial measure, which bans unauthorized audio and video recordings of agricultural operations, went into effect earlier this year. Backed by Idaho's $2.5 billion dairy industry, the law was intended to stop animal rights activists from spying on industrial farming.

The legislation stemmed from an incident two years ago in which a Los Angeles-based advocacy group, Mercy for Animals, filmed a video of workers abusing cows at Bettencourt Dairies in Hansen, Idaho. Under the new law, anyone who enters an agricultural production facility and secretly records operations faces up to a year of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.

The coalition filed the federal lawsuit in March to overturn the statute. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said the suit should proceed, calling the plaintiffs' claims "ripe for review." Six other states — North Dakota, Montana, Kansas, Utah, Iowa and Missouri — have similar "ag gag" laws on the books.

— DEANNA PAN

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