Seattle/King County Climate News 8.26.22

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Robin Briggs

Aug 27, 2022, 11:00:35 AM8/27/22
August is turning out way more eventful than I would have guessed. Here's what's new this week:


Nominee SDOT chief Greg Spotts submitted written responses  to questions from Council (linked here). He is also having a listening tour to "walk, bike, roll and ride transit ... to see what is working well and what needs improvement". Sign up here for the listening tour.

The EIS Scoping Period for the One Seattle Plan (aka Comprehensive Plan) has ended. There is a report available on the engagement results from the previous round of One Seattle surveys and comments (Phase 1) from April. Staff identified 4 issues respondents flagged as being highest priority as (in order): housing availability and affordability, transportation and mobility, climate change, and racial and social equity.

The proposed ban on gas powered leaf blowers passed the Sustainability and Renter's Right Committee, and will come before full Council on Sept. 6. Commentary on Seattle News, Views and Brews, starting at 12:41.

King County

Council passed an update to the commercial building code. The new codes significantly strengthen provisions for clean energy sources in the commercial buildings and multifamily homes in unincorporated King County. Specifically, the energy codes require the following for new construction:

  1. 10% higher efficiency for lighting & windows 

  2. An increase in the required number of energy efficiency credits per project

  3. Electrical outlets near gas appliances for future gas-to-electric replacements

  4. Heat pump water heating for larger buildings

  5. Multifamily solar readiness

  6. On-site solar for commercial and multifamily, with exemptions for affordable housing

While restricting or disallowing:

  1. Substandard envelopes under Building Performance Pathway

  2. Efficiency credits for gas water or space heating

  3. Electric resistance/fossil fuel space heating

Youth ride free begins Sept. 1 for King County Metro.  This new policy was prompted by the Move Ahead Washington transportation package passed by the State in April.

Sound Transit

There are delays completing multiple lines for multiple different reasons. East Link, which was slated for mid 2023 is now pushed to mid 2024, as a result of shoddy work by a contractor on the bridge over Lake Washington. The Federal Way extension is having problems with land slippage and its start date moved several months to mid 2025. The Lynnwood line is delayed 4-6 months to Nov. 2024/Jan 2025. Downtown Redmond moved from Dec 2024 to April 2025. All of these dates are approximate, as official completion dates have not been announced yet. The fiscal impact of the delays will be presented  by the end of the year. And there continues to be a lot difficulty deciding on siting the new CID stations. Sound Transit just got a new CEO, Julie Timm, who will have to pick her way through this mess. The next meeting of the System Expansion Committee is on Sept 8 from 1:30-4pm.

Youth ride free begins Sept. 1.  This new policy was prompted by the Move Ahead Washington transportation package passed by the State in April.

Puget Sound Regional Council

PSRC recently held the second event in the Passport to 2044 series,  this one focussed on climate change. It provides planners, consultants, and staff with tools and guidance for updating their climate comprehensive plans. In addition, PSRC has released draft guidance on climate change and resilience. Video for the webinar, as well as links to the draft guidance and how to comment on it, is here.


The California Air Resources Board passed a rule requiring that all new cars sold starting in 2035 be free of GHG emissions, and 35% of all cars by 2026 have no GHG emissions, as part of its air pollution standards for cars. Inslee tweeted in response: "Washington set in law a goal for all new car sales to be zero emissions by 2030 and we’re ready to adopt California’s regs by end of this year."

In the news – interview on KUOW with David Roberts on the effect of the Inflation Reduction Act for Washington State.
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