by Tushar Khurana
In September 2019, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed a law that would tax home heating oil sold within the city and could eventually require residents to upgrade or decommission their heating oil tanks by 2028. The legislation was introduced to meet the City’s climate goals by hastening the transition to cleaner electric home heating across the city. It was also lauded in a mayoral press release as a “bold and thoughtful approach” to environmental policy that “help[s] our most vulnerable residents move off heating oil.” Revenue from the tax is intended to fund rebates for homeowners and help provide 1,000 fully paid electric heat pump installations for low-income residents.
Continue reading Seattle’s Heating Oil Tax: A Missed Opportunity for Environmental Justice
by Cedar Bushue
(This article originally appeared on Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
I am a long-term resident of South Park. My family and I have had a home here for three generations. South Park is a small neighborhood in South Seattle, hemmed in by the Duwamish and a couple of highway spurs. It is a residential neighborhood but also home to many industries for Seattle and King County. Our life expectancy here is 8+ years less than Seattle as a whole, according to a 2013 study funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. Because it is a small, minority-majority neighborhood without resources, we are home to a transfer station, many homeless encampments, and many industrial areas.
National Products Incorporated (NPI) is a local company that started in someone’s garage but has grown to overtake a great deal of land in the heart of the neighborhood, displacing many neighbors as well as several stately trees that provided wildlife habitat and shade for the human inhabitants. Incidentally, this facility is directly across from one of the main neighborhood parks.
Because South Park is small and its residents don’t make a fuss, companies like NPI can pretty much do whatever they want while the County willingly ignores or happily rubber stamps every expansion plan.
Continue reading OPINION: National Products Inc. Pumps Environmental Hazards Into South Park Daily
by Hannah Krieg
Paige Robertson is a young climate justice advocate who lives under the flight path of Sea-Tac International Airport. This means an aircraft could be over her head as often as every 45 seconds, said another concerned resident of the SeaTac area.
According to a 96-page report by Public Health – Seattle & King County, more than 50% of the people in King County who identify as Black/African American, Hispanic, Latino, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander live within 10 miles of the Sea-Tac airport. This same radius also has the highest rating for negative health outcomes such as heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, premature birth, and cancer.
Continue reading Incumbents Face Off With Social Justice-Minded Challengers for Port Commission
by Jack Russillo
During the 2019 legislative session, two state senators from South King County sponsored a bill that aimed to improve environmental justice for all of Washington’s residents, but only some of the policy actually became a reality.
This year’s new legislative session, which opened last week, has already seen numerous senators co-sponsor the same policy — including one of the bill’s original champions, the 37th Legislative District’s Rebecca Saldaña — and reintroduce the bill in an attempt to lay the groundwork for achieving a universal standard of environmental health quality across every community in Washington. The Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act, Saldaña says, would lay the critical groundwork to effectively implement any environmental legislation that is passed in the State Senate.
Continue reading HEAL Act, “The Cornerstone of Any Environmental Policy,” Makes Its Way Through Legislature