King County/Seattle Climate News 11.29.22

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Robin Briggs

Nov 29, 2022, 8:57:03 PM11/29/22
Life has been consumed by budget season. But this too shall pass. Here's the latest from our little corner of the world.


Redistricting for Seattle City Council districts after the 2020 census is complete, the new maps are here

City Council passed the 2023-2024 biennial Budget. The Budget Chair's synopsis with full details is here. The budget authorizes transfer from the JumpStart Fund to the General Fund for 2023-2024 only, to balance the budget. The budget includes nearly $20M each year for the Green New Deal, including:

  • $3.5M for community climate resilience hubs and decarbonization of public buildings.

  • $455K for a resilience hub in South Beacon Hill (Green Buildings Now).

  • $3.7M in 2023 and $2.5M in 2024 for indigenous-les sustainability and resilience projects.

  • $1.2M for community-les Environmental Justice Fund projects.

  • $200K in 2023 and $400K in 2024 for green workforce development and business support for Duwamish Valley.

  • $2.6M for the Clean Heat Program, to convert oil-heated homes to electric heat pumps. Repeals the Oil Heat Tax, which was never implemented.

  • $1.9M for electrification of heavy duty diesel trucks used for carrying loads from the Port of Seattle to warehouses.

  • Fund a climate justice workforce development position.

  • Fund an Urban Forester position and $250K for tree planting with a focus on underserved communities.

  • Funding for converting city's gas-powered leaf blowers to electric.

There were also investments in transportation, including pedestrian safety, bike paths, and bridge maintenance that came under the transportation budget. Some of the funding for bridge maintenance is coming from an increase in the car tab fee; this is controversial because this money has traditionally been spent on transit.

Nelson, Pedersen and Sawant all voted against the budget.

The Office of Planning and Community Development is holding a series of public in-person meetings on the Comprehensive Plan Update. The first meeting featured representatives from Seattle Parks, SDOT, and OPCD. There was an initial time to view posters and talk to City employees, followed by structured small group discussions. They are collecting feedback from the public, so this is a great chance to talk about what you would like the City to do about climate change. The remaining meetings are:

  • Thursday, December 1: Langston Center, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

  • Thursday, December 8: South Seattle College, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

  • Monday, December 12: Loyal Heights Community Center, 6:00-8:00 p.m. 

  • Tuesday, January 10: Meadowbrook Community Center, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

The Green New Deal Oversight Board voted to hear from the Office of Sustainability and the Office of Community Development and Planning about bringing alignment between the City's official GHG reduction goals and the Green New Deal goals, as well as creating a new Climate Action Plan for the City. That meeting will likely be scheduled for January.

King County

King County passed the 2023-2024 biennial budget. It includes money for continuing to grow back Metro service to pre-pandemic levels, electrifying Metro buses (all by 2035), building affordable housing near transit, redoing culverts for salmon, and establishing a central Climate Office to coordinate emission reduction efforts. The budget also includes funding for a study on incentives for electric bikes, looking to Denver's program as a model. I believe that the final budget also included funding for a low-interest loan program for weatherizing and decarbonizing homes, but have been unable to get confirmation on that,


The State Building Code Council approved a new residential building code that mandates clean heat for new buildings: electric heat pumps for space and water heating, and increased ventilation for gas stoves.

The Legislature is holding Assembly Days. Many of the legislative committees will have meetings on Dec 1 & 2, and agendas have been posted. The link will get you to a list of the meetings, and links to the agendas and video feeds.
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