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City of Seattle
Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Mayor Nickels Announces Initiative to Reduce Air Pollution

5/21/2004  2:24:00 PM

Mayor Nickels Announces Initiative
to Reduce Air Pollution
City to expand program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

SEATTLE – Mayor Greg Nickels today announced an expansion of the City of Seattle’s program to reduce air-polluting greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. The city is increasing its efforts through a partnership with the Washington State Ferry system.

"Clean air is everybody’s business," said Nickels. "This latest effort takes on one of the toughest challenges – diesel emissions from marine vessels - everything from cargo ships to ferries to cruise ships."

Nickels said Seattle City Light will support a one-year pilot program to use biodiesel – a mix of vegetable oil and diesel fuel – in 20% of the fuel used on the Vashon, Southworth, Fauntleroy ferry runs. Biodiesel substantially reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

"We hope demand will grow enough so that companies in the biodiesel business will locate a production plant in Seattle, bringing down the cost and increasing the number of people who will use it," said Nickels.

Biodiesel costs are higher than low sulfur diesel fuel by about 25 cents per gallon. City Light’s greenhouse gas mitigation program will fund the difference.

Responding to climate change has been a City of Seattle priority for more than a dozen years.

Seattle City Light is the first utility in the country to commit to meet all electrical-load growth with conservation and renewable energy and become greenhouse-gas neutral by 2005. That is the equivalent of removing 22,548 cars from the road for a year.

Seattle has already made significant progress. City government has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 48 percent in the decade from 1990 to the year 2000. City Light’s conservation programs and the use of alternative fuels in the City of Seattle’s vehicle fleet are big contributors to those reductions. More recently, City Light’s goal to be greenhouse gas neutral by 2005 will offset 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of removing 22,548 cars from the road for a year.

"We have a big stake in climate change," said Jorge Carrasco, superintendent of Seattle City Light. "Our water supplies and hydroelectric systems are particularly vulnerable. Potential impacts include less snow pack, longer, drier summers and drought – all of which reduce power production and hurt salmon."

For more information about protecting the environment, visit the mayor’s web site at Get the mayor's inside view on initiatives to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at

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Mayor’s Office

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