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Group slams mayor for ‘pressing pause’ on climate change legislation targeting emissions standards for city’s buildings — UPDATE

CORRECTION: The proposed standards would be applied to existing buildings, not new construction as CHS originally reported.

The REN apartment tower (Image: REN)

Environmental advocacy group 350 Seattle is criticizing Mayor Bruce Harrell for “pressing pause” on what it says is key legislation to address climate change in the city through improving requirements for energy savings and more in existing development new construction.

Harrell rolled out his administration’s version of the Building Emissions Performance Standards legislation this summer with a press conference touting his commitment to addressing greenhouse emissions and climate change. Buildings represent the fastest-growing source of climate pollution in Washington. While new construction is already guided by regulations and programs that cut emissions, older stock isn’t currently held to these kinds of environmental standards.

But Harrell’s office failed to transmit the proposal to the Seattle City Council before its August recess which would have allowed the bill to be voted on September. 350 Seattle says it doesn’t want to see the administration further weaken the effort to put the new standards in place:

The role and influence of these large and polluting corporations in Seattle’s climate action is under scrutiny in Who Owns Downtown Seattle?, a new report released by 350 Seattle. The report examined 90% of the buildings over 100K sq. ft. in the downtown, researching the ownership and climate pollution of hundreds of buildings.

Top findings of buildings in the study include:

  • Large building owners have actively campaigned to weaken the BEPS policy.

  • Half (49%) are owned by private entities not based in Seattle.

  • Only 3% are owned by individuals or families, so called ‘mom and pop’ businesses.

  • The estimated assets of downtown’s ten biggest polluters totaled over $657 billion.

“The climate crisis is here and we need action now, not three decades from now,” Shemona Moreno, Executive Director at 350 Seattle, said in a press release. “We want Mayor Bruce Harrell to lead on climate and establish the City of Seattle as a model of how a big city with a big economy can thrive beyond fossil fuels. We need to pick up the pace and scale of change. We need this Mayor to bring big businesses with whom he has strong relationships along for the good of our City. Our health and our future depend on it.”

Under the proposal, large office buildings would be required to be “net zero” emissions by 2045, while residential buildings would need to reach the standard by 2050.


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Central District Res
Central District Res
8 months ago

Harrell loves cars and pollution. Awful mayor.

8 months ago

This will just add to the unaffordability problem