I wrote the following press release, including quotes approved by the two contacts, regarding building electrification in Seattle:
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Seattle, WA—Mayor Jenny Durkan issued an Executive Order today on the Seattle Green New Deal, including a commitment to move away from fossil fuels in municipal buildings. Starting with new city buildings and renovations is a necessary first step to banning fracked gas where we work, sleep, and learn.
Mayor Durkan’s decision is an example for other elected officials to follow, given Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE’s) upcoming $1 million astroturf campaign to parade fracked gas as a viable future. PSE continues pushing for infrastructure proven to harm people and lose money. Homeowners, renters, and small businesses should not bear the burden of bailing out millionaires and utilities who choose to make unwise and dirty investments.
In 2019, the City Council funded a labor-impact analysis of transitioning new buildings away from fossil fuels. We call on Mayor Durkan to use evidence-based practices and rely on the results of the labor impact study before further implementation.
A truly affordable, healthy, and equitable future requires getting all fossil fuels out of our homes and buildings. Seattle’s building sector is already responsible for 35% of our emissions, and yet right now one in three new buildings in Seattle uses fracked gas. We must meet the climate crisis with the urgency it demands, reducing emissions wherever we can while also protecting workers’ livelihoods.
In response, Brittney Bush Bollay, Chair of the Sierra Club Seattle Group, released the following statement:
Sierra Club is committed to working together with the people most impacted by climate change, because that’s the only effective and equitable way to solve the climate crisis. Workers and communities of color know what the solutions need to look like. That’s as true at the local level as it is at the federal level.
The mayor’s action today on municipal buildings is an important first step that we’re happy to support. This is one step of many necessary to save our lungs, our futures, and our wallets. As someone with a gas stove, I worry every time I use it now that I know the risks. Every time, I turn the hood on and worry about how my family and I are affected. We don’t have to live like this. We can protect our health, our wallets, and our planet–and we call on Mayor Durkan to lead Seattle toward a citywide policy ending fossil fuel use in all our homes and businesses. I’m eager for the labor study’s results so we can use data to inform the best path forward. Australia is on fire now. Our farmers are grappling with abnormal seasons now. Lives are suffering from extreme temperatures now. Fracked gas should’ve been removed yesterday.