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Giving Voice To Our Values

Our Issues:

Washington State



Washington State Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice
438 NE 72nd St.
Seattle, WA 98115


Environmental Sustainability/Reducing Global Warming

(Some Steering Committee Members debriefing after hearings on Environmental Day. )

Check Out Our Photo Gallery of 1/25/06 Environmental Lobby Day.

Washington UU Voices for Justice:
Legislative Proposal 2007-Global Warming and Renewable Energy

Proposed by: Andrea Borning, UUC Seattle

Printable Format

Propose and Track the Issue of Global Warming/Renewable Fuels Per the Criteria

Momentum toward agriculturally produced biofuels and electricity is now gaining unprecedented speed, speaker after speaker told a record-breaking, overflow crowd of 582 at the 6th annual Harvesting Clean Energy Conference in Spokane Feb. 27-28.

Increasing economic and national security perils of petroleum reliance are causing “a sea change in attitudes” on the nation’s need for dramatic advances in biofuels and vehicle technology, former Central Intelligence Director James Woolsey told the Harvesting Clean Energy Conference in Spokane. “I think we’re starting to get through.  Some combination of 9-11 plus $60 per barrel oil has begun to get a lot of people’s attention, most notably the president’s,” Woolsey said as he opened his conference keynote.

Local and state efforts, such as the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement provide evidence to the international community of some sense on this issue in the U.S., despite the attitude of the Bush Administration.  KC Golden, the Policy Director of Climate Solutions said that they were essential in keeping the Kyoto Agreement alive in the face of official US opposition.

Legislators passed a major bill establishing market access for ethanol and biodiesel, and a variety of incentives for in-state fuel crops and production facilities. Supporters hailed it as a major victory for energy security, farming communities, good jobs, and environmental protection. Washington has shown once again that economic prosperity, healthy communities, and conservation goals are not competitors. They are partners. The Legislature and the Governor have declared: “ Washington is open for clean energy business!”

Relationship to UU Values:
Concern over global warming passed the UU general assembly as a statement of conscience. Global Warming is the focus of UU Earth Ministries program. And The UU State Action Networks agreed to all work on Global Warming.

Opportunity for Coalition-Building:
Bills in 2006 “attracted unprecedented support from a politically diverse coalition that included farmers, organized labor, conservation groups, investors, entrepreneurs, and fuel producers and distributors”.Climate Solutions. 
Priorities for a Healthy Washington,

Cutting Edge/Long Term Strategy:
At a Citizen's Round Table Discussion of global warming, lead by KC Golden, the Policy Director of Climate Solutions said that indeed global warming is a very serious issue, and we have no alternative but to continue working on it, despite inactivity at the US federal level.


Washington UU Voices for Justice:
Legislative Proposal 2007-Global Warming/Transportation

Proposed by: Dick Burkhart, Rainier Valley Church, UUJEC
                                                                                       printable format

Propose and Track the Issue of Global Warming As Regards to Regional Transportation Per the Criteria

The 2006 legislature punted on major issues for transportation (roads & transit) in thePuget Sound region. One of these issues is regional governance for transportation, with a new commission charged with making a recommendation to the 2007 Legislature. Effective regional governance is particularly important for financing, scaling, and coordinating transit projects, but also in making sure that road projects make sense from a regional smart growth perspective.

Cutting per capita carbon emissions in half, matching those in Europe today, within 10 to 20 years is certainly feasible with good transportation, land use, and energy policy, given the rising gas prices we can expect during this period of peak world oil production. This is particularly true in Washington State, with its abundance of hydropower, wind power, and tidal power. Washington State could be turned from a follower on transit to a leader, helping to strengthen a West Coast – Northeast coalition of states that could lead the nation from being a follower to a global leader on the environment and sustainability.

Relationship to UU Values:
• The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
• Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
That is, our world community principle requires a more equitable distribution of resources, not such a huge fraction of global oil supplies going to the US, as at present. Likewise our respect for the interdependent web means that we must begin to restore natural ecosystems, not further degrade them. If unchecked, global warming will be the most serious such disruption in tens of millions of years, with a massive species extinction, including possibly ourselves, if we push our ecological support systems to the point of collapse. This proposal is made in the spirit of the Earth Charter.

Opportunity for Coalition-Building:
Some potential coalition partners: Transportation Choices Coalition, Sierra Club, Climate Solutions, Sightline Institute, Futurewise, Cascadia.

Cutting Edge/Long Term Strategy:
Our long term goal should be to reorganize regional transportation and land use patterns to drastically cut carbon emissions and other forms of pollution and environmental degradation associated with excessive automobile dependency.

ACTION:Transportation Issue Info Brief11.29.06

Replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct by 'Streets + Transit'

The Problem in brief: Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct must be replaced, and the high cost is hitting taxpayers state wide. Yet the cheapest, most environmentally friendly option is not even on the table. This is "streets + transit", not "rebuild or tunnel".

The Problem in depth: Seattle's elevated Alaskan Way Viaduct is likely to fail in the next big earthquake. The State has already committed $2.2 billion, but last year the Legislature said that the Viaduct must be either rebuilt ($2.8+ billion) or replaced by a tunnel ($4.6+ billion). They did not even consider simply tearing it down and replacing it by a 4 lane surface parkway with adjacent streetcar / bike / ped routes (< $2 billion including seawall replacement). For the price of the tunnel, we could get all this plus the entire Green Line from West Seattle to Ballard, implemented as light rail through the downtown transit tunnel. High priority regional projects could also get some of the savings.

The Governor will recommend a replacement alternative after Dec 1. The Seattle mayor and city council, backed by urban visionaries, environmentalists, and downtown businesses, have come out strongly against the rebuild option. This is because an elevated rebuild would actually expand the horrendous visual and noise impact of the current viaduct. Cities the world over have torn down such waterfront monstrosities to much public acclaim and without the predicted traffic congestion. A recent study predicts the same result here. The city's favored alternative is the tunnel, but with "streets + transit" as backup if cost gets out of hand.

Environmentalists note that neither the rebuild nor the tunnel would reduce car travel and thus greenhouse gas emissions. Current state law mandates the opposite: No reduction in vehicle capacity. However the city will have to handle traffic without the viaduct anyway during many years of construction . In addition when gas hits $10 a gallon in 10 or 15 years due to Peak Oil, traffic will lesson and people will demand more transit, not freeways.

Action: Ask Governor Gregoire to recommend "Streets + Transit", with the savings going to regional transit.