Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck
STEINBRUECK ISSUES CLIMATE CHALLENGE
Legislation will put the City’s Climate Action Agenda into action
SEATTLE – Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck, today, introduced landmark legislation that would require City departments with responsibility for review of environmental impacts under the State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) to consider greenhouse-gas emissions in their review. “The time to act to reduce greenhouse gases is now. We must begin to take more aggressive steps to stem global warming,” Councilmember Steinbrueck said. “This will set the standard for the rest of the country.”
Currently the City has signed on the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ plan to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions to seven percent below 1990 levels by 2012. Until now the City has not had any clear policy directives to require new projects in Seattle to assess their emissions and take steps to mitigate those impacts.
Seattle would be the first city in the United States to implement this kind of review. King County Executive Ron Sims has issued an executive order directing King County to include greenhouse-gas emissions in their SEPA review process.
Response to climate change by state and local governments has focused mainly on setting goals to reduce emissions by a certain percent over a certain period of years.
“We need to be assertive in utilizing a wide range of actions to make real progress on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin. “This legislation is an innovative and practical approach.”
In April the Supreme Court of the United States validated the idea that local governments can regulate greenhouse-gas emissions using their existing authority. SEPA review requires that all new projects, both public and private, must assess the environmental impact of their projects and mitigate those impacts.
The Urban Development and Planning Committee of the Seattle City Council will consider this legislation at its November 28th meeting in Council chambers at 2 pm.