What each jurisdiction is doing about climate change
Public Comment Opportunities
Nov, 16 @ 9:30am – King County Budget and Fiscal Management Committee hearing testify for $20 million Climate Equity Capital Pool
Nov. 10 @ 6pm – Understanding Washington's Climate Policies webinar
Nov. 16 – Dept of Ecology rulemaking on Climate Committment Act public comment on Greenhouse Gas emissions period closes. Comment online or via email.
April 10, 2022 – Clean Fuels public comment period closes
Nov 10 – public hearing
Nov. 12 – Budget Chair Mosqueda presents the Balancing Budget. Noontime deadline for budget amendments
Nov. 18-19 – Balancing Package & Amendments & public hearing
Nov 22 – Council adopts 2022 Budget
Puget Sound Regional Council
Nov. 10, 11:30 am - 2 pm – System Expansion Committee Meeting
Nov. 18, 1:30-4:00pm – Board of Directors meeting.
Dec. 9, 10:30 am- 12 pm – Executive Committee meeting
See Legislative Session 2021 for information about individual bills introduced in the session
Actions This Year
Seattle passed 2021 Energy Codes for commercial and multi-family buildings, requiring increased efficiency, as well as efficient electrical space and water heating
Seattle Public School board passed the 100% Clean Energy by 2040 Resolution
Seattle Department of Transportation will begin construction of RapidRide G, up Madison Ave, in the fall of 2021. Construction of new bike lanes on Green Lake Ave, and on Union Ave. have been completed.
Policies at Every Level
GHG Reduction Potential from Local Policies, an analysis from UC Berkeley's CoolClimate Network on what impact policies implemented by local governments can have on reducing GHG emissions. There is a website with modelling for over 700 different cities and counties in California, and a paper that describes in high level terms how the model is put together. Below are results for Berkeley, CA:
The City Council approved a fund for JumpStart. This takes the revenues from the payroll tax enacted last year, and directs them into a fund. Spending plan is as follows:
62% for affordable housing, including housing serving households at or below 30% of AMI, a portion of funding set aside specifically for community focused acquisition and housing to address past discriminatory policies and practices such as redlining and racial restrictive covenants, and homeownership funding for households that are at risk of displacement or have faced barriers due to past discriminatory practices.
9% of funding foes to the Green New Deal to transition existing housing off fossil fuels, so that homeowners are able to stay in place and increase their climate resilience and investing in job training programs for just transition with outreach to BIPOC communities.
In the event that General Fund revenues in 2022 do not fully recover from the pandemic, it allows flexibility for the Executive to reallocate a limited portion of payroll tax revenues to support the continuity of staffing and services that were in place prior to the pandemic.
The Sound Transit board will meet on Thursday to consider two alternative plans for a Realignment of future plans in response to a major revenue shortfall. The first is the original plan, which would approve delays immediately, and a hybrid plan, proposed by Claudia Balducci and now support by board president Ken Keel, which would allow the program to move forward for now on schedule. If the hybrid plan is approved, projects that would other be delayed for years will come in on schedule (or close to it), providing that funding offsets (new revenue or cost savings) can be found. Article in the Urbanist here. Quick background: Sound Transit has a shortfall in financing because of reduced revenue as a result of the pandemic and inflation ($7.9 billion over 25 years), mainly increased land costs, and they will not make their plan either within budget or within time. Many projects are currently paused as a result. They have ongoing construction to Northgate (Oct 2021), East Link (2023), Lynnwood (2024), Federal Way (2024), Redmond (2024), as well as projects in Tacoma. To cover the shortfall, they can raise new revenue, cutback or delay projects. Projects currently in planning are affected by the realignment, projects under construction or with baselined budgets are not affected.
The City released the Racial Equity Analysis of Seattle 2035 and Urban Village Strategy as part of the Comprehensive Plan update. The report acknowledges that the city's Urban Villages are "Shaped by land use patterns that reflect history of racial exclusion (e.g., redlining, racial covenants)". The study recommends that the city allows more housing types throughout the city, take action to increase the amount of long-term affordable housing, adopt anti-displacement policies to protect current residents, and provide engagement opportunities for low-income and BIPOC communities to provide feedback on the Comprehensive Plan update. The Office of Planning and Community Development undertakes, as part of its response, to study a range of alternatives to handling growth, including changes to single family housing zones. It will also explore policies and tools to promote a broader range of market-based housing, including affordable and mixed-income housing, as well as pursuing strategies that will help BIPOC communities.
City Council approved City Light's 2022-2026 Strategic Plan. Some Hub menbers expressed concern that the Strategic Plan doesn't account for what would be required to meet Seattle's climate goals; it falls short of providing enough electricity if transportation and buildings are electrified on schedule. Furthermore, it is not clear that the plan will provide enough power in the summer, when power consumption will increase due to increased need for cooling but there will be less hydropower to meet those needs because of increased summer drought.
Green New Deal Oversight Committee appointments (marked with affilated organization and who appointed (Mayor/City Council/GND): Katie Garrow (MLK Labor Council, union rep, Mayor), Steve Gelb (Emerald Cities Collaborative, workforce training rep, Mayor), Keith Weir (IBEW Local 46, labor rep, Mayor), Maria Batayola (Community Coalition for Environmental Justice, Beacon Hill Council, Mayor), Dennis Comer (Central Area Collaborative, EJ rep, Mayor), Tomas Alberto Madrigal (Duwamish River Community Coalition, Mayor), Tyler Valentine (Africatown Community Land Trust, youth rep, Mayor), Debolina Bannerjee (Puget Sound Sage, EJ rep, City Council), Matt Remle (Mazaska Talks, City Council), Jess Wallach (350 Seattle, City Council), Rachel Heaton (Mazaska Talks, tribal rep, City Council), Emily Myers (UAW 4121, labor rep, City Council), Andrea Ornelas (Laborers Local 242, labor rep, City Council), Deepa Sivarajan (Climate Solutions, City Council), Kristina Chu (Sunrise Seattle, youth rep, City Council). Some of these appointee's terms end on April 30, 2022, and others on April 30, 2023. The mayor will make 8 appointments, total, and the council will also make 8 appointments. Those 16 appointees will then appoint 3 more people to the board. The City Council has filled its spots (some awaiting confirmation), and the Mayor has one remaining open spot for a tribal rep that requires a nomination. The GND Oversight Board is tasked with making recommendations to the Mayor and the Council related to the Green New Deal, and monitoring progress in meeting goals. Jose Vasquez from the Office of Environment and Sustainability is the Green New Deal Advisor, and acts as a liaison between the Oversight Board and city government.
Route 40 redesign. Route 40 is one of Metro's highest ridership routes, and the improvements are an effort to speed up the buses and make the timing of them more reliable. The current plan calls for bus-only lanes in Westlake, bus improvements in Fremont, Ballard, and Greenwood, including more short stretches of bus-only lanes.
The Office of Economic Development released the Fossil Fuel Workforce Study. Presentation to the Community and Economic Development Committee 5/18/21, video here, starting at 34:20. The principle of transition at the national level is that workers are made whole at every stage of the transition. How do we do that?
Department of Construction and Inspections completed the review process for new Energy Code amendment that would require efficient electric hot water heaters for all commercial buildings. Code changes were approved, but with an exemption for replacement of existing equipment.
The Federal Transit Administration has allocated $59.9M in funding from the Small Starts Program to Rapid Ride G (Madison Ave.) for construction. These funds cover 45% of the total cost, with the balance supplied by the Move Seattle levy and the Capital Improvement Program agreements with Sound Transit. Once the funds are transferred, construction is expected to begin this fall for completion in 2024.