Metropolitan King County Council
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
Dec. 17, 2008
Phillips and Constantine call on Obama to invest stimulus funds in local climate action
King County’s initiatives would provide opportunity for green jobs, energy independence, and emissions reductionsMetropolitan King County CouncilmembersLarry Phillips and Dow Constantine today called on President-elect Obama and the incoming Congress to invest federal stimulus dollars in local climate action as a quick and effective way to create new green jobs, revitalize the economy and promote energy independence.
“I am pleased that during his campaign, President-elect Obama spoke boldly in support of investing in energy-saving projects to help create jobs and spur economic recovery,” said Phillips. “We want the President-elect and Congress to know that with federal assistance, we are ready to put hundreds of King County citizens to work in ‘green jobs’ that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions.”
“The stimulus program gives the federal government a rare opportunity to encourage and support innovative local government actions,” said Constantine. “Local governments regulate development, provide public transit, and operate significant fleets and facilities—giving us many opportunities to save energy and reduce carbon emissions. Local governments also feel the pain when our communities suffer major losses from floods, wildfires, water shortages, and other climate-related events.”
King County is currently compiling a list of transportation projects that are ready to go and would create jobs and contribute to reducing carbon emissions. Local projects likely to be offered for consideration are hybrid bus acquisitions, expansion of the Burien Transit Center, installation of electric vehicle recharging stations at County parking facilities, improvements to the trolley bus network, passenger ferry acquisitions, and improvements to the East Lake Sammamish, Green River, and Burke-Gilman Trails.
Phillips, Constantine, and dozens of other local elected officials nationwide joined with Climate Communities and ICLEI USA this week to endorse Empowering Local Government Climate Action: Blueprint for the New President and 111th Congress. Climate Communities and ICLEI USA are organizing city and county leaders from across America to make sure that federal decision makers understand the essential role of local governments in reducing energy use and addressing climate change.
Local government actions have the potential to dramatically reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Energy Information Administration, more than 40 percent of energy consumption and carbon emissions come from residential and commercial buildings and one-third is generated by the transportation sector.
Currently there are no federal programs to support local climate and energy initiatives. The Local Government Climate Action Blueprint calls for stimulus legislation to include $6 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program and $9 billion for public transit and green vehicles infrastructure. The Blueprint outlines many other opportunities for the federal government to invest in local government innovation, including:
• Enactment of a national GHG cap-and-trade program with a portion of the estimated $150 billion carbon trading revenues invested in local government climate action and green jobs initiatives;
• Investment in public transit, green vehicles and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction through reauthorization of $400 billion federal transportation legislation; and
• $250 million for EPA Local Climate Demonstration Grants that empower local governments to continue creating new solutions to the climate challenge.
This announcement comes during “Local Climate Action Week,” with dozens of city and county officials sending the message to federal leaders that local governments can and should be a critical partner in addressing climate change, achieving energy security and developing a green economy.