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Seattle leaders begin work on local 'Green New Deal'

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Adrian Florez

The Seattle City Council is beginning work on a "Green New Deal," a plan to eliminate carbon emissions inspired by a federal proposal of the same name.

The proposal for a Seattle Green New Deal came a few months after a federal resolution was proposed in Congress. All nine City Council members endorsed the local plan in June. It calls for the city to eliminate carbon emissions by 2030 while creating jobs and promoting equity in the process.

The city is just beginning work on developing a path to achieve those ambitious goals. On Tuesday, the Sustainability and Transportation committee heard from advocates about their priorities.

The consensus was that the city would have to radically alter its infrastructure, including buildings and transportation. That means fewer people driving and running buildings on 100 percent renewable energy. The city also would have to find ways to pay for those changes.

Tuesday's conversation also focused on the other priorities of a Green New Deal beyond reducing emissions. The plan council members endorsed earlier this summer asks the city to focus efforts on communities of color and low-income communities that have been most impacted by pollution and climate change.

"As communities go through these problems, they know the solutions," said Nancy Huizar with the group Got Green. "But they're not often resourced to make these solutions happen in their communities."

The letter council members endorsed calls for a Green New Deal task force, which would include some of these stakeholders, to be created by the end of the year.

Council member and committee chair Mike O'Brien said the next step is for council to pass a resolution to more formally commit to the principles of a Green New Deal. He said getting that to pass this summer should be easy.

"But the actual work to completely make our transportation system pollution free in the next 10 years, to make sure that all of our buildings are running exclusively on 100 percent renewable energy in the next 10 years, these are going to require significant, bold actions," O'Brien said.