Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)
SUBJECT: Nickels and Sims Receive Prestigious Sierra Club Award
7/21/2006 1:00:00 PM
Steve Nicholas (206) 615-0829
Nickels and Sims Receive Prestigious Sierra Club Award
City’s Leadership in Climate Change Fight Earns National Recognition
SEATTLE--Mayor Greg Nickels and County Executive Ron Sims today received the Sierra Club’s prestigious Edgar Wayburn Award, given annually to government leaders for outstanding service on behalf of the environment.
Nickels and Sims have been at the forefront of a nationwide movement of local governments taking action to address the climate crisis. The award traditionally goes to federal leaders.
“I'm thrilled that the Sierra Club has recognized our efforts in Seattle and King County,” Nickels said. “And I’m honored to share the award with the county executive. In the spirit of Dr. Wayburn, I hope our leadership can show what’s possible when people who care about the environment roll up their sleeves and do the hard work that needs to be done.”
On the day the Kyoto Protocol was ratified in 2005, Mayor Nickels challenged his fellow U.S. mayors to commit their communities to meet or beat the greenhouse gas reduction targets spelled out in the accord. To date, 270 mayors, representing 48 million Americans from 43 states and the District of Columbia, have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.
In addition, Nickels has moved the city of Seattle to a deeper shade of green. Since 1999, the city’s fuel consumption has dropped by 7 percent and, because the diesel fleet runs on 20 percent biodiesel, fossil fuel consumption is down a dramatic 12 percent.
The city has become more environmentally friendly in other ways. Seattle City Light, through use of renewable energy and carbon emission reduction programs, has become the first and only electric utility in the nation to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Seattle Public Utilities has overseen water conservation efforts that have resulted in Seattle using less water than it did in the mid-1970s despite a 25 percent increase in population.
Dr. Edgar Wayburn, a California physician, was five-time president of the Sierra Club and in 1999 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton. Among his many accomplishments, Wayburn was pivotal in creating the nation's largest urban park, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; and protecting 100 million acres of Alaskan wild lands with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which doubled the size of America’s National Park system.
For more information about the city of Seattle’s environmental initiatives, see www.seattle.gov/environment.
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