News Release

Pacific Northwest Shows Path to Green New Deal: End Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

On Jan 28, 2019, the King County Council in Washington voted by 6-3 to pass an immediate moratorium to prohibit new fossil fuel infrastructure, joining other jurisdictions on the West and East coasts in taking action on the climate crisis with local authority.

JESS WALLACH, jess.wallach at gmail.com, @350_Seattle
Wallach is with 350 Seattle. She said today: “Saying no to new fossil fuel infrastructure is the first step to saying yes to real climate action, yes to a just transition and yes to a healthy climate future for all. Now it’s time for our elected officials working on a Green New Deal in Washington, D.C. to do the same.”

The King County ordinance disallows permitting for major fossil-fuel projects in unincorporated King County, following the example of Portland, OR, which was the first city in the country to put in place an ordinance calling for an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure in 2016.

NICK CALEB,  nick.caleb at gmail.com
Caleb is staff attorney for the Portland, Oregon-based Center for Sustainable Economy, and played a key role in the Portland ordinance, which he said “has withstood several legal challenges by the fossil fuel industry and others. The King County ordinance goes further than Portland’s in that it declares an emergency and directs the county executive’s office to review existing fossil fuel facilities, study those facilities’ impacts on local communities and prepare recommendations to mitigate their health and environmental harms. With the passage of this ordinance, King County joins a growing wave of communities stopping fossil fuel projects before they start — including Portland, five separate WA jurisdictions, including two of the state’s largest counties, and Baltimore MD.

“Climate advocates and local elected officials in the Pacific Northwest have stepped in where our federal government has failed us — calling for an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure because climate science tells us we must. With so many fossil fuel projects still being proposed, we now need all elected officials who want to act on climate to band together and enact moratoria on all new fossil fuel infrastructure as part of a Green New Deal.”

ANTHONY ROGERS-WRIGHT, anthony at seen.org
Anthony Rogers-Wright is a member of the board of the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network. He said today: “This a big deal for King County, a huge deal for Cascadia, and an indication of things to come for the country overall. The excellent work of local organizers should be lauded as they join environmental justice advocates nationally in calling for an end to all new fossil fuel infrastructure as part of any Green New Deal. The climate crisis is a global crisis that must be fought and led at the local level. These are the lessons we’ve learned from frontline coalitions like the Climate Justice Alliance and others. We still have some work to do to turn six months into forever — but the journey starts with the first step, and this was a great step in the right direction to a fossil-free future.”