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Council Vote Forms Oversight Board to Guide Seattle in Achieving Its Vision for a Green New Deal

O’Brien:  Because of the leaders here today, I feel optimistic that the communities we need to lead this charge will have an ongoing voice at the table to drive Seattle’s Green New Deal forward

SEATTLE – Councilmember Mike O’Brien (Dist. 6, Northwest Seattle), chair of the Sustainability & Transportation Committee, and his colleagues voted unanimously to approve Council Bill 119604, a measure that establishes the Green New Deal Oversight Board.  The bill also directs the City’s Office for Sustainability and the Environment to create an interdepartmental team “to advance the Green New Deal for Seattle”.

“We have ten years to radically transform our city and our economy to eliminate fossil fuel use if we want to stem the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, including asthma hurting households and the relocation of tribal communities affected by sea level rise. Seattle’s Green New Deal will get us there,” O’Brien said. “The Green New Deal Oversight Board gives climate leaders a platform to deliver solutions that both solve the climate crisis, provide new economic opportunities, and do it in a way that justly transitions us from a fossil fuel -dependent economy.”

The Green New Deal Oversight Board will be made up of 19 members. Eight will come from community representatives directly impacted by racial, economic, and environmental injustices (including one tribal member and two individuals between the ages of 16 and 25 at the time of their appointment). Three representatives from environmental justice organizations; four representatives of labor unions; three representatives with experience in greenhouse gas reduction and climate resiliency strategies relevant to cities; and a workforce training specialist. 

The proposed legislation also requests that OSE form an interdepartmental team (IDT) to implement the Green New Deal for Seattle and to support development of individual climate actions for all City departments.

“The Green New Deal Oversight Committee is a vital next step in Seattle’s Green New Deal,” said Jess Wallach with 350 Seattle. “This body will be able to ensure that all City departments are taking action that is commensurate with the scale of the crisis we face, as well as create new, innovative policies that center experiences and solutions from communities most impacted.”

“A Green New Deal Oversight Board is important for this process because as we have seen with the old New Deal, certain community members can get left out of the process,” said Nancy Huizar, Climate Justice Organizer with Got Green.“For us to successfully combat climate change, we need to make sure frontline and fenceline communities are part of the solution building process.”

“We are in it for the Long haul, not  the short term. Hence setting up an oversight board is an absolute necessity to maintain checks and balances if we are serious about implementing a fair, just and equitable Green New Deal,” said Debolina Banerjee with Puget Sound Sage.

O’Brien, who introduced a related resolution last month, thanked the community representatives from Got Green, 350 Seattle, Puget Sound Sage and the Sierra Club.  “I’m really proud to have had the last ten years to work with you all. We must not underestimate the power of cities to act on climate change. I feel optimistic, because the exact communities we need to lead this charge are here today demanding this city leads this charge,” O’Brien said. 

The City will hold an application process for the selection and appointment of seats to the board, with the goal of appointing members by the end of 2019 so that the board may begin meeting in January 2020.

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Pingback from Notes from today's Council meetings
Time September 16, 2019 at 5:57 pm

[…] The Council approved an ordinance creating a Green New Deal Oversight Board. Before passing the ordinance, the Council added two more labor representatives to the board, expanding the total board members to 19. It also rejected an amendment by Council member Pacheco to (among other things) add a representative from the tech industry and one from a “green” business. Here’s the Council’s press release. […]

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