A LIVABLE WORLD: IT’S UP TO US

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June Newsletter!

Big thanks to everyone who got pied up at Octopie on Saturday night! This month we’re upending our usual order of business and shouting out:

JOIN ZERO HOUR SEATTLE!

This summer, youth climate activism is heating up with Zero Hour, a global youth-led movement centering the voices of diverse youth to ensure a livable future where young people don’t just survive, but flourish.

Join us in supporting Zero Hour Seattle, our local youth climate resistance! RSVP and invite friends to the Seattle Youth Climate March on July 21 and join us on July 19 for Zero Hour Youth Climate Lobby Day and July 20 for the Zero Hour Art Build!

Know any young activists? Zero Hour Seattle is looking for youth to join our Zero Hour Seattle leadership collective—if you are a young person interested in organizing the march, art build and lobby day please contact us!

Want to support youth organizers? We need your help to make Zero Hour Seattle as powerful as possible! Get involved! And here’s an example of what we’re talking about:

Youth Lead the Way
Westside Unitarian, 7141 California Ave SW, Seattle 98136
June 17, 10:30am–12:00pm
RSVP and more details here.

Join Aji Piper, local youth climate activist with Zero Hour and Plant for the Planet, for an extraordinary, powerful service! Aji will speak about his love for people, for oceans, for trees, for creatures big and small and for the earth—as well as his commitment to peace and justice. All are welcome!

VALVE-TURNERS UPDATE

Michael Foster to be released in August! It’s true, Michael will be released on or about the first week in August. Meanwhile he continues to work on expanding the prison library. if you would like to donate books, see this info on what and how to send. Most importantly, Michael’s request of us is that we help with the Zero Hour March that the Plant for the Planet kids and others are working on—details above.

Meanwhile, Emily Johnston’s necessity defense op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune issues a strong call to get that trial started. Let the experts be heard!

PARADE ON SATURDAY!

The “Cool World” Summer Solstice Parade Ensemble (Sunday’s art build pictured above) needs your help to prep and participate in the parade that reaches 50-100K spectators, this Saturday, June 16, 1:00pm start. This year it’s all about solutions, trees catching tossed CO2, garden elements, solar, windmills, and so much more, with dancing butterflies and sunflowers, and music all the way.

Parade Art Builds—We Need YOU!
No skills needed, dress for mess! Make beautiful paper flowers, batik butterfly wings, paint cardboard tree costumes and giant ice cubes, make balloon CO2 molecules, and/or learn a simple dance routine!
Tuesday, June 12, 6:00–10:00pm
Thursday, June 14, 6:00–10:00pm
Friday, June 15, 10:00am–10:00pm
The Powerhouse, 3940 Fremont Ave N., Seattle 98103

Keep an eye on our calendar for any changes or contact Shemona.

STRONGER TOGETHER

Frontline Allies welcomes your participation in everything from organizing trainings on undoing racism and other oppressive systems, to supporting our allies in climate-related justice work. To join contact Lisamore information and links are available here.

Benefit concert for Puerto Rico
As you know, Puerto Rico experienced one of the worst climate disasters in history with new estimates that almost 5,000 people were killed in the storm and its aftermath. Here’s one way to help:

Kimya Dawson, Guayaba, and Ruby Blades Latin Reggae Jazz Quintet
Sunday, June 17, 5:00–9:00pm
Columbia City Theater, 4916 Rainier Ave S, Seattle 98118

Proceeds support CETA and CAUCE, two organizations helping communities across the island rebuild, calling for food sovereignty, and pushing back against the violent economic cuts being imposed on residents.

Solidarity with truth-tellers
As the extractive industry of fossil fuels tries to suppress the expansion of sustainable energy development, so too does the state try to suppress those who speak out against oppression. We invite you to join us in supporting the Kshama Solidarity Campaign and stand together with the broader movement for justice against attempts to silence those who speak truth to power.

Kshama Solidarity Campaign Launch Party: Speaking Truth to Power
Saturday, June 23, 7-10 pm
Washington Hall, 153 14th Ave, Seattle 98122
Details here

And just to be clear: This is not an endorsement of a political candidate, it’s a movement-building campaign of solidarity.

YES ON 1631

This is it! We need to step it up! With three weeks left we have 65,000 signatures still to gather! Can you sign up for a shift right now to help get this important climate measure on the ballot?

The deadline for mailing signatures is June 27th and for dropping them off at the Seattle office is June 30th. Signatures turned in after this deadline won’t count, so please, make sure to get all your signatures turned in on time!

If passed, 1631 will raise billions for vital renewable projects, please sign up for a shift to help get this on the ballot!

ARTFUL ACTIVISM

We welcome all skill levels in any art form, and have lots going on to jump into, from occasional participation to leadership opportunities. Join online here or come to art builds whenever you can! They are fun, no skills needed, community gatherings with food and good connections.

Youth, teens, and families, along with skilled Artists Allies, come help design and work on bus shelter mural painting this spring and then a wall mural in the summer. Contact Doug to get involved in the art and find the locations.

Join the Deployment Team! Ever wish you had a role during actions and events? Come learn crucial skills with us! We need you! Contact Shemona.

And if you’re a skilled artist (visual, theater, dance, music…) and want to apply your skill or show others how, please let us know! Contact Lisa.

ALEXA, WHAT IS AMAZON’S CARBON FOOTPRINT?

At the end of May, we launched the Amazon #FossilFreePrime campaign with the release of a first-ever estimate of Amazon’s shipping emissions. It wasn’t pretty… we found that Amazon’s 2017 deliveries equaled the carbon spewed from almost 5 coal power plants! Why the heck is a customer-centric company harming our health and climate?

Things you can do right now:

From fighting the Head Tax here in its hometown to soliciting tax breaks from American cities for its second headquarters, Amazon is using its power in deeply questionable ways. That’s why we joined with SEIU, SumOfUs, and Social Alternative for a street theater demonstration outside the shareholder meeting. Email Rebecca if you’d like to join our Amazon campaign for future actions.

TRANSPORTATION TEAM UPDATE

We’re making sure the City of Seattle knows the importance of a fossil-free transportation system for our climate and our future. In early June, we called for a carbon-free Key Arena, supporting a community-led response to the Seattle Center Arena DEIS.

Check out our recent op-ed in the Seattle Times, calling for the City to live up to its climate commitments when it comes to its transportation investments. Enough with the back-pedaling!

Help us get the message across—let the City know the next director at the Department of Transportation must prioritize transportation modes that reduce greenhouse gases. Take their quick survey!

Next up, we’re setting our sights on the expansion and completion of the city’s rapid bus system. Interested in helping out? Contact Andrew.

HOUSING TEAM UPDATE

Keep an eye out this week for an email linking to talking points for comments on ADU’s, and to our comprehensive statement to the City Council on how the rules should be crafted to maximize affordability, minimize displacement, and make Seattle at least a little more livable again.

The hearings are over for now, and little is happening to move us towards a more affordable, sustainable, green Seattle. So it’s up to us to change that! This summer, we’ll be focused on making a battle plan, starting with a big housing forum in September. Affordability, walkability, density, green infrastructure: let’s get stakeholders and experts to talk about all of it. And then let’s get people there to hear it!

Want to help plan? Contact Emily.

INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE FINANCE

When Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement, he also reneged on America’s $2 billion promise to help developing countries respond to climate change. A year ago, Seattle became the first City in the country to recognize its obligation to help fill this void left by Trump.

That’s great, but more cities, states and counties need to do their part and contribute to international climate finance. Our own Alex Lenferna looks at American actions from a global perspective in his recent article.

SAY NO TO KING COAL

Pacific Coast Coal Company is still seeking to reopen the John Henry No. 1 coal mine just outside of Black Diamond, WA. The John Henry mine would cause 250,000 tons of carbon pollution each year, the equivalent of 51,000 cars. It would also endanger public health, salmon, and water quality. PCCC is a known polluter, responsible for polluting local creeks and lakes; illegally disposing of waste; and failing to clean up the mine.

While the federal permit for the mine was granted in April, without an Environmental Impact Statement, PCCC still needs a wastewater discharge permit from the Department of Ecology before they can reopen the mine. So now it’s up to us to stop this monstrosity! Comment today and tell the Department of Ecology: No more coal mines or dirty fossil fuel infrastructure in our state!

If you’re interested in continuing grassroots organizing against the mine, contact Morgan.

THE PIPELINE YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

Thanks to everyone who responded to our action alert on the Puget Sound Energy-backed North Seattle Lateral Upgrade. The comment period has officially closed but more than 850 people asked for an extension. We’ll keep you posted, and in the meantime, here’s a great explainer.

Short version: 3% increase in state carbon emissions, 63% increase in fracked gas capacity. And by disrupting 15 streams in south Snohomish County the NSLU is clearly another threat to Chinook salmon, crucial to our local orcas. You’ll be hearing more about this one.

TACOMA LNG

TOTE Maritime, the Tacoma LNG’s only “signed on” fracked gas customer—and according to the Environmental Impact Statement, the reason this project is needed—has announced a one-year delay in the conversion of their ships. More on that here…

Despite that news, the unpermitted construction continues. Save the date, Tuesday October 30th to attend the public hearing with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. They hold the power to approve or deny the last major permit and we will need a massive turnout!

Meanwhile, the City of Tacoma pretends not to hear us
The City of Tacoma, lead SEPA agency overseeing this project, has been ignoring requests for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). They are failing to follow procedure by refusing to give an official response to these requests, thus preventing concerned citizens from filing for an appeal.

Sign this petition urging the city to do their job and protect the health and safety of its residents.

Repurpose the tank!
The creative effort to reimagine the estuary and what could be done to repurpose the 8-million-gallon tank (that we are determined will never hold fracked gas) has been extended! To submit an entry or check out the gallery, visit this page.

Host a No LNG presentation in your church, school, organization, or neighborhood
If you know a student, faith or community group that would like a power point presentation about Puget Sound Energy’s Tacoma LNG—please contact Mary Paterson!

TRANS MOUNTAIN—COMING OUR WAY?

This week 350 Seattle, environmental and indigenous leaders met at the Canadian Consulate in Seattle to warn oil delegates that any pipeline expansion will meet fierce opposition! At the June 7th press conference King County Executive Dow Constantine spoke passionately against the expansion of tar sands oil coming into Washington. Joining him were the strong voices of 350 Seattle and eight other environmental and First Nations leaders. This one’s moving fast, so get the latest updates here.

The potential local flood of this dirtiest form of oil in the expansion of the soon-to-be-Canada-owned Puget Sound pipeline in Whatcom and Skagit Counties means this fight is poised to cross the border.

Trans Mountain Workgroup meeting
Monday, June 13, 6:30pm
1919 E. Prospect, Seattle 98112

Join us in stopping the Trans Mountain and Puget Sound pipelines that threaten Washington waters, trample the rights of First Nations and throw fuel on the fire of global warming. Bonus points: Know how to build a web page? Please contact Ruchi.

READY FOR SUMMER

That’s how we’re ending spring this year, kids at the top and tar sands at the bottom. Help us keep up the fight!

And Seattleites take note: No general meeting in July. If you’re feeling patriotic, tell the Canadians to keep their tar sands in the ground.

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We Need a Public Bank

by Alec Connon

Fifteen months after the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to cease banking with Wells Fargo, it has renewed a three-year contract with the climate-wrecking bank. This is why we need a public bank.

It’s awful that Seattle will be banking with Wells Fargo for another three years — it’s deeply immoral to give public money to an institution that funds pipelines and private prisons, fraudulently opens millions of accounts, and targets people of color and immigrants for discriminatory lending practices. And yet here we are: the Seattle Council just approved the renewal of a three-year contract and an additional $9 billion cycling through Wells Fargo over the next few years. The Council did this because no other bank bid for the City’s business. Wall Street banks likely feared being held accountable by the people of Seattle, and smaller banks don’t meet the minimum legal requirements to host such a large account. And so the City’s existing contract automatically rolled over and we are stuck with three more years of Wells Fargo. But there is a real silver lining here: this debacle makes the case for a public bank clearer than ever before.

Before we dive into why we need a Seattle Public Bank, let’s remember what’s happened so far:

  • February, 2017: 1,000 people show up to a finance committee meeting as the City of Seattle passes an ordinance stating that it will cease banking with Wells Fargo once the City’s current contract expires at the end of 2018. This is celebrated as a huge win for the #DeFundDAPL movement.
  • April, 2017: the Seattle City Council unanimously passes a resolution stating that it will strive to not do business with any bank that funds the Keystone XL pipeline. (Wells Fargo is a funder of the Keystone XL pipeline.)
  • May, 2017: 13 branches of JPMorgan Chase are shut down and 26 people arrested in a major action protesting the bank’s funding of tar sands pipelines.
  • October, 2017: Divest the Globe is called for by the Seattle-based Mazaska Talks. The action becomes the world’s largest-ever protest of bank investments in fossil fuels, with actions on four continents, a dozen countries, and almost fifty cities across North America. In Seattle, over 100 banks are disrupted and 6 people are arrested.
  • November, 2017: Seattle City Council approves funding for a public bank feasibility study.
  • May, 2018: #ShutDownChase actions occur in 18 cities across the U.S. In Seattle, 2nd Ave is shut down outside of Chase’s PNW HQ and 15 people are arrested.
#ShutDownChase, Seattle, 2018

Tar sands devastates our climate, our forests, and our water. What is less well-known is the devastating impact it has on indigenous communities — and especially on indigenous women. Over the last four decades, over 4,000 indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered in Canada. The murder rate of indigenous women is over 4x that of the general population. This violence vastly increases near the “man camps” that service tar sands extraction sightsLast year JPMorgan Chase increased its financing of the Canadian tar sands by 400% and is currently attempting to block the introduction of a shareholder resolution that would force the bank to undertake a study into its tar sands investments.This is one reason why we #ShutDownChase. Share if you agree that Chase needs to stop funding the violence of women and devastation of our planet.

Posted by 350 Seattle on Thursday, May 10, 2018

Against this backdrop, the news emerges that the City has been forced to continue business with Wells Fargo. It comes as a kick in the stomach: at a time when we are fighting to show Wall Street that fossil fuel investments will cost them as well as the planet, this is a reminder of how beholden we are to our Wall Street overlords — a reminder that no matter how many pipelines and prisons they finance, we can’t do without them. They are the businesses that will always be bailed out; they are the bullies that are too big to fall.

Public banks are essential if we want our cities to have a real alternative to Wall Street greed; here in Seattle, credit unions are prohibited from bidding on the City’s business, and no existing community banks are big enough to take it on.

There are other practical reasons why we need a public bank: this year the state of WA will pay almost $1 billion in interest to Wall Street banks; Seattle likely pays millions each year to Wells Fargo. Re-capturing some of that would create major savings that could help us fund things like education, housing and transit. As a recent public bank study, commissioned by the City of Santa Fe, concluded, a public bank would “provide enhanced fiscal management, improved net interest rate margins, and a more robust local lending climate.” In other words, done right, a public bank would save City money, create jobs and provide affordable loans to small businesses. This is exactly what has happened in North Dakota, which has had a public bank since 1919 — last year, the Bank of North Dakota made $130 million for the state — and during the Great Recession of ‘08, North Dakota was one of the least impacted states, as the state-owned bank shielded many of its residents from the devastating fallout from Wall Street greed that caused almost ten million Americans lose their homes. (However, it’s important to note that the Bank of North Dakota also highlights some of the dangers of a public bank.)

All of this points to the heart of why we really need a public bank: A public bank fundamentally rejects the neoliberal order.

As Naomi Klein has documented so clearly in This Changes Everything, the doctrine of neoliberalism — followed by the majority of the world’s governments with a religious zeal for the last four decades — is perhaps the single greatest obstacle to achieving the sort of bold, immediate climate action that physics demands; free market fundamentalism and serious climate action are simply antithetical.

And this is the single most important reason to support a City of Seattle public bank: Few things could be more heretical to the doctrine of neoliberalism than a local government forming its own bank in order to serve the public good.

Restoring the commons is exactly what our planet and the future of our species requires, and a public bank is both a powerful tool in both that restoration, and the narrative that will help further it.

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Hey Alexa!

Amazon, deliver a fossil-free future

Alexa, what is Amazon.com's carbon footprint?The company won't say... but these Plant for the Planet kids, and all of us, need to know! Sign the letter! We're calling on Bezos to take ownership of the pollution from Amazon's operations.http://350seattle.org/amazon-agm/ We researched Amazon’s climate impact...and it wasn’t pretty: Amazon’s shipping in 2017 alone spewed at least 19.1 million metric tons of carbon. How can a forward-thinking company continue to ignore its massive carbon footprint? Read more: http://350seattle.org/amazon/---Plus, Bezos rejected a shareholder proposal to report on the feasibility of net-zero emissions by 2030.Join us outside the Amazon Shareholder Meeting this Wednesday: https://www.facebook.com/events/236834607075670/ ---What is a customer-centric company doing harming our health and livable climate? Amazon must lead on the transition to electric delivery! Come on, Amazon, you can deliver a fossil free future! #FossilFreePrime#NoCustomersOnADeadPlanet

Posted by 350 Seattle on Monday, May 28, 2018

Late last year, we decided to research Amazon’s climate impact…and it wasn’t pretty: Amazon’s shipping in 2017 alone released at least 19.1 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

That’s not all: when we scrutinized Amazon’s renewable energy claims, we found them to be not just lackluster, but misleading.

We’re not alone in being concerned about Amazon’s pollution: shareholders have asked the Board of Directors for a report on the feasibility of achieving “net-zero” emissions by 2030. However, as of this writing, Jeff Bezos has refused to even allow a vote on this.

Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting is tomorrow (May 30), so we need to act fast.

Will you join us in asking Amazon to act urgently on behalf of the climate? Here are a few things you can do right now:

  1. Send an email to Jeff Bezosasking him to adopt the “net-zero” resolution
  2. Retweetor share the Facebook post of our new Kids’ Challenge video with kids asking Amazon to deliver a fossil-fuel-free future (share especially with friends at Amazon!)
  3. Read and share our research into Amazon’s massive footprint

From fighting the Head Tax here in its hometown to soliciting tax breaks from American cities for its second headquarters, Amazon is using its power in deeply questionable ways.

Please join us in asking the company to take responsibility for its impact…there’s no such thing as being customer-centric when your business practices are helping to cook the planet.

Email Rebecca if you’d like to be part of the Amazon team!

 

 

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#ShutDownChase Wrap-up!

#ShutDownChase, Seattle, 2018

Tar sands devastates our climate, our forests, and our water. What is less well-known is the devastating impact it has on indigenous communities — and especially on indigenous women. Over the last four decades, over 4,000 indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered in Canada. The murder rate of indigenous women is over 4x that of the general population. This violence vastly increases near the “man camps” that service tar sands extraction sightsLast year JPMorgan Chase increased its financing of the Canadian tar sands by 400% and is currently attempting to block the introduction of a shareholder resolution that would force the bank to undertake a study into its tar sands investments.This is one reason why we #ShutDownChase. Share if you agree that Chase needs to stop funding the violence of women and devastation of our planet.

Posted by 350 Seattle on Thursday, May 10, 2018

On Monday, once again, we #ShutDownChase. 100+ people set up 4 tarpees in the middle of 2nd Avenue outside of JPMorgan Chase’s PNW Headquarters as 23 women occupied the lobby — disrupting business to shine a light on how devastating tar sands business is, to people and to planet. In total, 15 people were arrested, and we held the street for over five hours.

Tar sands oil devastates our climate, our forests, and our water. What’s less well-known is the devastating impact it has on indigenous communities — and especially on indigenous women.

Over the last four decades, over 4,000 indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered in Canada. The murder rate of indigenous women is over 4x that of the general population. This violence skyrockets all along the “man camps” that spring up around tar sands extraction sites.

JPMorgan really doesn’t want the world to know about its role in funding the devastation of the tar sands industry. The greater the spotlight we shine on this issue, the greater the chance of JPMorgan Chase being forced to do the right thing. Can you help us by doing two things?

  1. Can you share our #ShutDownChase wrap-up video to help share this message with the world?
  2. Can you call Matthew Arnold at 212-270-5052 to ask him to do all he can to ensure that Chase stops funding tar sands?

There are talking points and a call script here. (Arnold is Chase’s Global Head of Sustainable Finance).

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350 Seattle Supports Equity-focused Congestion Pricing

Mayor Durkan announced a study of congestion pricing on Wednesday. We support this study, and strongly urge a bottom-line focus on equity, including consultation with low-income communities.

Done right, congestion pricing puts the burden of cost on higher-income single-occupancy-vehicle (SOV) drivers, and devotes that revenue to improved transit for all; this means that we get a fairer city, a less polluted city, and a city with more room for rapid transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Seattleites who spend an average of 55 hours each year stuck in traffic jams will not be surprised to learn Seattle is the 20th most congested city in the world, and ninth in the US. This is socially and environmentally costly from a number of standpoints – wasted time, traffic deaths and injuries, local air and water pollution, and, most devastatingly, carbon emissions that cause global climate disruption.

Congestion pricing, by more accurately reflecting the real costs of driving, can deeply reduce those impacts, and provide much-needed resources for alternatives to driving. That is why 350 Seattle supports equitably designed congestion pricing in Seattle, and will be pushing on the Mayor and the City to implement it as fairly as possible, and as soon as possible, with all revenues going to transit and to other methods of minimizing the impact to lower-income people who currently have no choice but to drive to work in the city.

Congestion pricing is a tolling system that sets varying charges for road use—generally dependent on time of day. It can include tolling on stretches of highway or for entry to districts, typically downtowns. Five large cities around the world have implemented downtown congestion pricing, including London, Milan, Singapore, and in Sweden, Stockholm and Gothenburg. No North American city has downtown congestion pricing yet; New York City had a proposal that has recently been watered down and made much less equitable. By designing a genuinely progressive and effective system, Seattle could lead the nation on this, and provide a model for other cities.

London’s is the best-known example of downtown congestion pricing. Since 2003, from 7am to 6pm Monday through Friday, entry costs £11.50 (~$16 as of April 2018). As of October 2017, an additional £10 is levied on high-polluting vehicles (~$14 as of April 2018). Low-polluting vehicles including electric and some plug-in hybrid cars are exempt. Control gantries read license plates. Payment can be made by web, phone or at local kiosks, with substantial penalties for failure to pay. The program provides around $300 million annually to support transit.

Singapore in 1975 was the first successful introduction of a congestion pricing system. It covers 7.25 square kilometers as well as three expressways, and in 1998 became the world’s first fully electronically tolled congestion scheme. License plates are read at control gantries and owners are automatically charged.

Milan implemented its downtown congestion pricing system for most vehicles in January 2012, based on an earlier system that exempted a large number of lesser polluting vehicles. Entry into the cordoned area during weekday hours costs €5 ($61.5 as of April 2108). An eight-week suspension of the system due to a court ruling provided an immediate indication of how effective it was. Traffic and pollution immediately spiked. Even with that gap, benefits were still tremendous. From 2011 to 2012, traffic dropped 31% percent, particulates 18% and carbon pollution 35%. The $21 million raised by the program that year went to transit and bicycle access.

Studies indicate substantial social and environmental benefits from congestion pricing. A 2011 study by C40 Cities found that the London system:

  • Cut traffic levels in the priced area by 20%, or 75,000 vehicles per day, and around the area by 30%, during charged hours
  • Reduced carbon dioxide emissions within the area by 15%, or 30,000 metric tons per year, and around 100,000 metric tons across the London metro, much from lowering the amount of fuel burned in traffic jams
  • Reduced NOx emissions 13% and PM10 emissions 15%
  • Increased transit trips by around 40,000 per day, and bicycle trips by 83%.
  • Decreased traffic deaths and injuries by 40-70 annually in the charged area –A University of Lancaster study found 40% fewer traffic collisions per mile driven in the area.

The study found that the retail sector in the area was outperforming the national average, while no impact of congestion pricing could be detected on commercial property values.

A University of Washington Evans School study found that a weekday charge of $2.15 – Stockholm’s original charge – to enter an area bounded by I-5, Puget Sound, Denny Avenue and S. King Street would:

  • Provide $585 million in benefits to the region over a 30-year period on a net present value basis.
  • Generate $109 million/year in revenues
  • Reduce carbon emissions 12%, carbon monoxide 14%, NOx by 8.5%, and particulates by 14%
  • Cut traffic accidents by 3.6%
  • Reduce overall travel time inside and outside the cordon by 3.5%
  • Increase transit usage by 9.2%.

While the benefits are indisputable, congestion pricing raises equity questions, since it can add a cost burden for lower-income people. A number of studies have been done on this issue. In general, they conclude that properly structured congestion pricing systems will tend to be progressive rather than regressive for lower-income communities. Most important is that revenues be invested in transit and other transport options, which are more likely to be used by lower-to-moderate income people. 350 Seattle supports dedicating these revenues to transit.

Notes Todd Littman of Victoria Transport Policy Institute, “. . . road tolls are generally less regressive than financing urban highway expansion by increasing fuel taxes (which all motorists pay, not just urban commuters) or general taxes (which everybody pays regardless of how much they drive), and can be progressive overall if a portion of revenues are used to improve alternative modes, such as public transit, so lower-income travellers have better alternatives to driving.”

A study done in advance of Stockholm’s congestion pricing implementation found, “If revenues are used for improving public transport, this will benefit women and low-income groups the most. Given that it is likely that the revenues will be used to some extent to improve the public transport system, we conclude that the proposed congestion-charging scheme for Stockholm is progressive rather than regressive.”

Incomes of people who commute by car, and at peak hours, are much greater on average than people who commute by transit, biking and walking. A Portland study shows the average family income of people who drive to work is $73,600, versus $44,700 for people who use transit. Congestion pricing will reduce transit times and travel times in general.

Congestion pricing’s reduced pollution, noise and traffic deaths can disproportionately benefit disadvantaged communities. Studies of congestion pricing in eight United Kingdom communities have found “that the reduction of emissions from motor vehicles after the cordon charge have been both sizable and steeply progressive in their distribution of air quality benefits.

If Stockholm had not instituted congestion pricing in 2006, over the next four years air would have been 5-10% more polluted, and young children would would have experienced 45% more asthma attacks from 2006-10, a Johns Hopkins University study concludes.

Congestion pricing can bring similar gains to Seattle, substantially reducing congestion, pollution and road injuries, while supporting transportation options that benefit everyone, and lower-income communities most of all. It all depends on how the system is structured, and the revenues are spent. 350 Seattle supports an equitable congestion pricing system for Seattle to move us beyond car dependence to a 21st century transportation system that reduces carbon pollution and global warming. Free street space is anything but free in terms of local and global impacts. We need to quickly make driving reflect its true costs, and congestion pricing is a step in that direction.

We urge the City to perform a careful study and to engage in meaningful consultation that leads to rapid implementation of a truly equitable congestion pricing policy. We can’t afford to wait.

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From giving testimony at hearings to blockading oil trains, we work on all levels to fight for climate justice. We’re building a movement here in the region, and we need you!

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Watch videos of our actions, events, members and community as we work together at all levels to safeguard our planet. 

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The Science

Why 350 is the most important number in history: To protect our world from devastating climate disruption, science tells us we must stop global warming in its tracks, and justice demands it. This means holding total warming to the peak seen since the last ice age, just a little over 1°C

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- Naomi Klein

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