Dear Friends,

Happy Holidays! I hope during this dark season that you’re sharing plenty of hygge — Danish for creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. Please join us for SSCAN’s holiday happy hour on December 21, at 6:00pm at  Lottie’s Lounge in Columbia City. See map. Come raise a glass to the Solstice and chat about plans for the coming year. More below…

SSCAN’s legislative committee feels that now is the time to be bold. The election of Manka Dhingra in the 45th District can only help the prospects of climate change legislation actually passing. And we all saw the flooding storms and smoke filled skies of last summer. Many have come to realize that failing to act now only ensures catastrophe. So we’re presenting our Breakthrough Climate Policies (read them here) to state legislators from all south Seattle districts.

Politicians often tell us that bills like these don’t have a chance of passing. But we reject this defeatist sentiment.  We insist that it is best to ask for what is needed, to be clear when you see danger, and to steadfastly pursue the necessary changes. We want to see these policies put into bills. We want to see our representatives push for them with passion…

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Local activist Matthew Metz says “It is time to replace school buses, along with all other gas and diesel burning public vehicles, with clean electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are better for the environment, better for our health and save us money over the long term.”  See here. School buses are a priority — some bus exhaust ends up in the bus’ cabin, so kids breathe these toxic fumes… We should also not make kids contribute to climate change by just going to school.

With electric vehicle purchases local governments would spend our energy money on regionally produced renewable energy, not international oil companies that despoil far away places. We would also be supporting an emerging industry that will be key to mobility in the post-fossil fuel economy. Finally, it’s a smart move financially for local governments – King County Metro recently bought a large number of electric buses, and they found that although they are more expensive initially, the life-time cost of electric buses is less than the hybrids.

Please e-mail me here, to join our effort to demand that local and State fleets go electric with all new purchases.

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PSE has produced a slick new video claiming that the Tacoma LNG facility will “reduce harmful pollutants in our air and water by 90%.”  They point out that allowing ships to be powered by “clean” LNG rather than dirty bunker oil, will significantly reduce the local air pollution problems of Puget Sound. They also argue that this transition will lower the GHG footprint of shipping by 30%.  The later claim is dubious – it ignores that fact that the extraction and distribution of LNG results in significant amount of escaped methane gas, a potent GHG.  The climate impact of the escaped methane may well cancel out any GHG reduction on smoke stack emissions. Further, PSE will invest huge amounts in this plant and its pipes and to recoup its investment will keep it in operation for decades. This project will therefore create GHG emissions far into the future, and this is a climate change disaster.  See Union of Concerned Scientists here. Finally, it is true that the local air pollution from bunker oil burning ships is very bad for our health, but the answer to that problem is not to provide a massive LNG facility, but rather to let shipping companies know that they can no longer pollute our air!

Governor Inslee has not come out against the Tacoma LNG plant but has made a kind of non-statement, “we should follow the law.”  What if instead, he actually showed leadership on this issue, by working with other Pacific coast states to demand that all shipping companies have a reasonable period of time to come up with shipping technology that does not pollute or contribute to climate change, and after that there will be very high fees imposed on ships that emit air pollution or GHGs while enjoying the privilege of plying our waterways and using our ports. This would be an excellent use of the Pacific Coast Collaborative, that Gov Inslee joined with Oregon California and British Columbia to fight climate change.

Finally… Another one Bites the Dust!  The oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver was rejected by Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council on November 28. Yippee.  All I wanted for Christmas is….

Andrew Kidde