Energy efficiency, land use, and electric vehicles: A local response to climate change

Recently, I received an email from a constituent about my stance on the environment and climate change. Below is the response that I sent:

Thank you for reaching out and for the excellent questions. Here are my thoughts...

Climate change is real and a very real threat to the world’s economy and ecosystems. Emissions of greenhouse gases are contributing to and may be the predominant cause of climate change. The City of Olympia has an important role in combatting climate change by reducing emissions and to adapt to unavoidable change. 

As a council member I would trust the best available science in all of my decisions that impact our city and our planet. With regard to emissions reductions, I think there are three areas for the city to focus on:

  1. Energy efficiency;
  2. Land use;
  3. Electric vehicles

I would like to work with other council members, city staff and the community to investigate ordinances and investment areas to provide:

  • Incentives for using energy efficient technology in new buildings and in existing buildings and homes when they are remodeled;
  • Updates to city code and policy that help us achieve more pedestrian oriented neighborhoods;
  • Free parking in public stalls downtown for all fully electric vehicles

In terms of adaptation, the City has recently hired a consultant to prepare a set of recommendations regarding preparing for sea level rise. I look forward to working with the consultant, city staff and the community as we consider and implement the recommendations.

Finally, as part of my interest in downtown revitalization, I would direct city staff to recruit green energy companies to headquarter or locate a facility in downtown Olympia to create jobs.

As for your other questions:

When you speak of revitalizing downtown are you referring to the portion of downtown built on fill and destined to be inundated by sea water in 25-50 years?

First, I would define downtown as the land east of Budd Inlet, west of Plum St. and north of the capitol campus. I believe that the land that is built on fill is also in need of revitalization, however, I think revitalization in this area will look different than in the core of our downtown, south of State Ave.

Would you support a city wide ban on fracking materials?

I hope to see the Port reconsider its position on handling fracking materials in the near future and I believe the City can help influence their decisions. If the ban was passed in concert with the Port of Olympia, absolutely.

Would you support a city plan that includes at gradual retreat from sea rise?

I would support a mitigation plan that includes barriers for our downtown and a continued effort to align our building code with the impacts of sea level rise.

Would you consider a moratorium on building housing in the flood zone (which happens to be the fill area that would liquify when the Big One hits)?

The Shoreline Master Program that the City has put together I believe has adequately addressed the concerns of larger buildings in the areas more prone to liquefaction.

Thank you again for reaching out.