Seattle council commits to fight climate change despite Trump

Jun 13, 2017, 5:37 AM | Updated: 9:16 am
climate, head tax, Mike O'Brien...
Seattle Councilmember Mike O'Brien proposed a new business tax on Seattle's biggest companies recently. (Seattle Channel)
(Seattle Channel)

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday to fight climate change despite President Donald Trump pulling the United States out of the Paris agreement.

“What’s coming forward is a movement that I believe will demonstrate to the rest of the world that despite our elected President Donald Trump abdicating the leadership role the United States should be playing,” Councilmember Mike O’Brien said. “…stepping back from that leadership role, cities and states will step forward to demonstrate to the rest of the world that the United States will, in fact, live up to the Paris climate agreements.”

RELATED: Washington co-founds climate alliance in response to Trump Paris decision

Seattle has already committed to policies that address climate change through a previous resolution. But that resolution, O’Brien pointed out, relies on assumptions that the federal government will take responsible action. That cannot be safely assumed under the current administration. The resolution passed Monday tasks the city to consider what it must do to fight global warming without federal participation.

The council’s decision follows action taken by Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who co-founded an interstate climate alliance with California and New York to work toward the Paris agreement. Nine other states and Puerto Rico have since joined the alliance.

“God bless the people that are working so hard, coming together and saying ‘We are not going to be cowed by this president,'” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw.

Further climate action

O’Brien introduced the resolution Monday and didn’t restrict his comments to the issue of the Paris agreement.

“When you are in a hole, the first thing you want to do is stop digging,” O’Brien said. “We have to stop the programs that are already causing damage. At the top of that list … is the coal-powered electricity generated in Montana, but shipped into Washington state over wires.”

Seattle doesn’t use any of that electricity. Seattle City Light primarily uses hydroelectric power. But Puget Sound Energy, which does some business in the city, sells electricity from the Colstrip Power Plant in Montana to Washington customers.

“We want to see Puget Sound Energy shut down the Colstrip Power Plant as soon as possible so Washington state can be coal free,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien also said that governments and companies should cease investing in fossil fuel infrastructures, such as a Kalama methanol plant or an oil terminal in Vancouver, Wash. He promoted investments in solar panels, walkable/bikeable neighborhoods and electric car infrastructure instead.

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Seattle council commits to fight climate change despite Trump