Green New Deal

Background

Seattle passed the Green New Deal, which it describes as a:

bold leap towards a climate pollution-free city aims to create jobs and advance an equitable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy by prioritizing investments in communities historically most harmed by economic, racial, and environmental injustices.

At the same time, it adopted an aggressive new greenhouse gas reduction goal of being climate neutral by 2030. This goal is sufficiently aggressive that the City seems to regard it as being merely aspirational, and in most communications refers to the previously held goal of reducing 53% by 2030.

Also at the same time, it established the Green New Deal Oversight Board to help advise the City on greenhouse gas and climate justice policies. The Oversight Board is made up of volunteers, some picked for the communities they represent, and others picked for the expertise they have.

Oversight Board Work Items

The major work item planned for the Oversight Board is to advise the City Council on how to spend the $4.6 million set aside in the 2022 Budget for the Green New Deal, and how to spend the money that is expected to be allocated in the 2023. These funds come the JumpStart payroll tax, 9% of which the Council's spending plan allocates to the Green New Deal. The Oversight Board makes recommendations on how to the spend the money; these recommendations are then approved or amended by Council.

The Oversight Board is also tasked with advising Council on climate policy. In full, these are its tasks:

  1. Establishing a definition of what constitutes a policy, program or project that advances a Green New Deal for Seattle;

  2. Provides proposals for the design of new policies, programs, and projects and for modifications to existing policies, programs and projects to the Mayor, City Council, and City departments to advance a Green New Deal for Seattle;

  3. Supporting the planning and implementation of individual City Departmental actions, policies, programs, and practices, to make Seattle climate-pollution free by 2030;

  4. Provides recommendations on City budget priorities and priority City actions; and

  5. Coordinates efforts with City departments and existing committees, boards, and commissions.

Oversight Board Members

Green New Deal Oversight Committee appointments (marked with affiliated 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.