Mayor Murray signs resolution committing to Paris Climate Agreement

Today, Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after signing a resolution that affirms the City of Seattle’s commitment to meet or exceed the goals established in the Paris Climate Agreement:

“As the Trump administration disavows facts, shrinks from responsibility, and retreats from leadership, Seattle is committed to being carbon-neutral by 2050. We are putting America first by putting clean air, clean water, public health and safety first. Most importantly, we are putting our children’s future first. We will continue to work with other governments, businesses, and organizations across Washington and the world to fight climate change. With the strong leadership of Governor Jay Inslee and the U.S. Climate Alliance, local governments will lead the effort to build a 21st century, sustainable economy that creates jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for all.”

 

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Mayor Murray, Councilmember O’Brien issue statements on President Trump’s withdrawal from Paris Agreement

Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Mike O’Brien issued the following statements in reaction to President Trump’s announcement that he will withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement to address climate change:

“Climate change threatens every part of our lives, from the air we breathe, to the food we eat, to resilience of our cities and infrastructure,” said Mayor Murray. “The United States led the world in developing the Paris Agreement, but President Trump’s reversal not only weakens U.S. leadership, but hurts our ability to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. Our country, and our planet, have already paid the price for years of inaction on climate change and our children will look back on this day asking how a world leader could be so callous as to threaten their future. Going backward is not an option, which is why cities like Seattle will fill the void left by President Trump by keeping our commitments to the Paris Agreement. Seattle will pass a resolution affirming this commitment and signaling our readiness to create a cleaner, healthier environment.”

“Last year I joined Gov. Inslee and other local leaders in Paris,” said Councilmember O’Brien. “It served as a painful reminder that climate change is the most urgent challenge facing humankind. To mitigate the pollution causing climate change, Seattle and other cities around the world need to continue adopting the goals advanced by the Paris Agreement. More than half the world’s population lives in urban areas. We also know that cities account for almost two-thirds of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. No matter who occupies the White House, cities can be the incubators for the solutions to climate change, and can continue to resist Trump’s planet-destroying agenda.”

The City of Seattle has long been committed to addressing climate change through measures that reduce carbon emissions and policies that promote sustainability.

Seattle City Light, the City’s publicly-owned electric utility, has been carbon neutral since 2005.

In 2016, Mayor Murray launched Drive Clean Seattle to leverage Seattle’s clean electricity across the transportation sector to accelerate the City’s transition away from oil, with a goal to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from the City fleet by 50 percent by 2025.

In his latest budget, Mayor Murray committed to creating 20 publicly accessible fast charging stations throughout Seattle; new charging stations were unveiled at Woodland Park Zoo this May in partnership with BMW’s car share service, ReachNow.

Additionally, Mayor Murray has signed agreements with Mexico City, Shenzhen, China, and Vancouver, British Columbia calling for increased collaboration on climate change and clean technology industries.

Also, the City has adopted strategies to disconnect Seattle’s economic and population growth from carbon pollution by making historic investments in bus service, transit-oriented development, and increased housing density, as well as strengthened its energy code beyond national standards to ensure buildings constructed today can be carbon neutral by 2050.

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Seattle recognizes Earth Day by releasing environmental progress report Moving the Needle

The Office of Sustainability & Environment has released an update to Seattle’s environmental progress report, Moving the Needle, showing more Seattlites are riding transit, buying from local farmers, conserving more energy and cutting the amount of waste going to landfills. The report highlights Seattle’s progress towards goals in environmental categories such as climate, building energy, transportation, food, trees and green space, complete neighborhoods, and healthy environment and shows continued progress toward our goal of being better stewards of the environment and fighting climate change.

View the report here.

The original Moving the Needle report, released in 2014, was the first time the City assembled Settle’s key environmental metrics in one report. This most recent release includes updated data from the 2014 report and where possible, includes outcomes by race or Equity & Environment Initiative (EEI) Focus Areas—the geographic areas where communities of color, immigrants, refugees, and people with low incomes tend to live in Seattle.

“While we continuously advance environmental solutions with an eye toward the future of our city, it’s these instances where we look back at our progress to date that create a clear picture of Seattle’s environmental vision and our path to achieving it, ” said Mayor Ed Murray. “As we continue to grow, we will take steps to ensure that those who have not benefitted from Seattle’s environmental accomplishments to date will share equally in those advantages going forward.”

Moving the Needle shows that while people of color and people with low incomes are accessing Seattle’s environmental services in greater numbers, they are still burdened by unequal distribution of environmental amenities such as trees and green space. Key findings related to race include:

  • People of color are accessing transit in greater numbers thanks to ORCA lift and 70% of households in EEI focus areas have access to frequent transit service.
  • Over half of the households served by Seattle’s low-income weatherization program,  Homewise, are people of color.
  • There has been a year over year increase in people of color using Fresh Bucks, indicating Seattle’s targeted outreach is effective.
  • People of color are still subject to poorer air quality and the corresponding health impacts due to their proximity to heavily traveled roadways.

“This Earth day, while I am pleased to demonstrate the remarkable progress Seattle is making in key citywide environmental areas like transportation, forest restoration, and food access, I am also happy to have data that will help guide our work in areas where we can improve,” said Jessica Finn Coven, director of the Office of Sustainability & Environment. “This report can be a resource for all individuals and organizations working for environmental progress.”

Moving the Needle will be updated periodically to track progress over time. The report was developed by the City’s Office of Sustainability and Environment, which works to develop innovative environmental solutions that foster equity, vibrant communities, and shared prosperity.

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City settles case in unauthorized tree cutting on public land

 

The City has settled one of two civil suits against West Seattle homeowners who the City alleged hired people to cut down a swath of a greenbelt in late 2015 or early 2016 to improve the homeowners’ views.

The unpermitted tree cutting near the 3200 block of 35th Ave. SW occurred in environmentally critical areas on a steep slope below the defendants’ homes. In its two lawsuits, the City alleges that two separate groups of people are responsible for cutting two distinct groups of City trees. Between the two groups, about 150 trees of varying sizes, including many big-leaf maples and Scouler’s willows, were felled and left crisscrossing the area.

“All of Seattle was disappointed to learn that hundreds of trees were illegally cut down in West Seattle—this was a violation of code and Seattle’s values,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “With today’s announcement, we can begin to turn this unfortunate event into an opportunity. The settlement will pay for the replanting of the trees and will provide resources for the City to hire youth from West Seattle to help restore the greenbelt, connecting them to the local environment and green jobs.”

According to the settlement, two couples – Stanley J. and Mary E. Harrelson and Marty and Karrie Riemer – will together pay the City $440,000 regarding one of the decimated areas. The City’s suit regarding the other area is ongoing, and unaffected by this settlement.

Read more about the settlement

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Mayor Murray joins West Coast governors and mayors in calling for support of Clean Power Plan

Following is a joint statement from West Coast Governors and Mayors in anticipation of a possible Executive Order from President Trump, including a directive to withdraw and rewrite the Clean Power Plan, as well as weaken other standards that protect our air quality and reduce carbon emissions:

 “As the governors of Washington, Oregon and California and the mayors of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles, we speak today in support of the Clean Power Plan. We speak in unified opposition to the idea of any decision by the President to limit our region’s economic opportunities or our commitment to doing what’s right to make our cities and states cleaner and healthier for future generations.

“We speak as a region of over 50 million people with a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion. There is no question that to act on climate is to act in our best economic interests. Through expanded climate policies, we have grown jobs and expanded our economies while cleaning our air.

“Any attacks on the Clean Power Plan would move our nation in the wrong direction and put American prosperity at risk. We will assert our own 21st century leadership and chart a different course. Climate change is one of our greatest threats, from more wildfires threatening our homes and communities to ocean acidification rocking our shellfish industry to drought hurting our farmers. Too much is at stake – from our health and safety to our jobs and livelihoods – for us to move backwards.

“We will honor our commitments to our communities to do what’s right to keep our residents safe, secure, healthy and prosperous as we accelerate our clean energy economy and put the interest of our people before those of big polluters. We will continue to invest in clean energy that creates local jobs and keeps utility bills low, and we will electrify transportation to provide convenient, safe, and affordable ways to get around our cities, and make our neighborhoods healthy and vibrant.

“Our cities and states will continue to assert our leadership and position our region for economic success. We urge states, cities and businesses from across the country to join us in leading and re-affirming our commitment to cut carbon emissions and reverse the damaging impacts to our communities of unfettered pollution.”

 

Jointly signed on March 22, 2017 by:

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

California Governor Jerry Brown

Oregon Governor Kate Brown

Washington Governor Jay Inslee

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

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