Friday Roundup: The court & the oil terminal, education key to manufacturing, and optimistic small businesses.

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Seattle Times: Court throws wrench in plans for big Washington oil terminal

The Washington Supreme Court threw a major wrench Thursday in plans for a big oil terminal on the coast, saying the proposal must be reviewed under a 1989 state law designed to protect marine life following the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

In the latest of a string of victories for tribal and environmental groups challenging fossil fuel projects in the Northwest, the justices unanimously reversed decisions by a state board and the state Court of Appeals, which held the Ocean Resources Management Act did not cover plans by Houston-based Contanda to ship crude out of Grays Harbor.

The Lens: Lawmakers: K-12, Post-Secondary Role Key To Lift For Washington Manufacturing

Manufacturing employers in Washington and nationally are at a tricky juncture. Although new opportunities for growth such as carbon fiber product development are gaining traction, experts estimate millions of manufacturing jobs could be unfilled by 2025. Also apparent is a need to improve workers’ skills. Washington lawmakers say that strengthening ties between the state’s public education system and workplaces is critical.

Seattle Times: Puget Sound educators ask legislators to fix $228M ‘levy cliff’

Leaders from the Puget Sound region’s 35 school districts called for state lawmakers to come up with a bipartisan solution to the “levy cliff,” which could cause a $228 million shortfall in those districts starting next year.

The cliff refers to school districts being unable to collect as much money as voters have approved through local levies, starting in 2018. That means districts are having to plan their 2017-2018 school year budgets without those levy dollars.

NFIB: Small Business Optimism Skyrocketed in December

Small business optimism rocketed to its highest level since 2004, with a stratospheric 38-point jump in the number of owners who expect better business conditions, according to the monthly National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Index of Small Business Optimism, released today.

“We haven’t seen numbers like this in a long time,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Small business is ready for a breakout, and that can only mean very good things for the U.S. economy.”