Types and examples of successful SAFE ordinances, bylaws, and resolutions

Below are the main types of SAFE Cities resolutions and policies. Under each type we have an explainer and examples from local jurisdictions that have passed them. This is a set of examples rather than a comprehensive list. You can find more examples on our map.

Here are hallmarks of SAFE Cities legislation:

  • A focus on stopping fossil fuel infrastructure expansion and phasing out fossil fuels.
  • Resolutions include language about the need to move off fossil fuels.
  • Ordinances and bylaws are built around requirements rather than voluntary or incentivized measures.
  • Policies apply across the jurisdiction rather than only to public buildings, fleets, or operations (with the exception of public transit).

Has your community passed a policy that you think meets these but it’s not on the map? Please send us an email at SAFE@stand.earth to introduce us to the policy and include a link to the policy, a news article, or another way for us to learn more. We are adding new policies to the map all the time!

Communities are continually exploring new ways to protect local health and safety and global climate. We may add new types of resolutions and policies as these develop.

 

Resolutions/SAFE Cities Commitment/Treaty Endorsement

Explainer 
Governments can pass non-binding resolutions that show their commitment to limiting fossil fuel infrastructure and phasing out fossil fuels. These can be a specific SAFE Cities Commitment that includes a deadline for staff presenting options for actionable policies, a Climate Emergency Declaration Plan or Climate Action Plan with an explicit commitment to limiting fossil fuel infrastructure growth or phasing out fossil fuels, or an endorsement of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (the Treaty). All of these are initial SAFE Cities steps. To protect local health and safety and global climate, local governments also need to pass ordinances, bylaws, or other binding and actionable policies that specifically limit fossil fuel infrastructure growth or phase out fossil fuels. 

Examples

  • Puyallup Tribe of Indians (2019): Resolution
  • King County, WA, US Climate Action Plan (2020): Plan
  • Vancouver, BC, Canada Treaty Endorsement (2020): News Article   Policy
  • Barcelona, Spain Treaty Endorsement (2021): News Article 
  • Template Resolution that includes a SAFE Commitment, a Treaty Endorsement, and a Climate Emergency Declaration. The full text of this template is at the end of this section. 

 

Temporary Restrictions on New or Expanded Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

Explainer
Communities facing new or expanded fossil fuel infrastructure can pass temporary restrictions to give them protection while a longer term plan can be developed. Temporary moratoria can be a blanket stoppage of new fossil fuel infrastructure or can apply to one or more of the following: bulk fossil fuel storage, pipelines, refineries, power plants, pipes and/or compressors, oil train terminals, extraction equipment, fossil fuel loading and unloading, all oil and gas extraction, and new gas stations. Temporary moratoria are often renewed multiple times while permanent policy is being developed.

Examples

  • Whatcom County, WA, US Temporary moratorium on unrefined fossil fuel infrastructure (2016); Report
  • Tacoma, WA, US Temporary moratorium on new fossil fuel facilities (2017): Report
  • Broomfield, CO, US Temporary moratorium on oil and gas operations (2019): News article
  • Boulder County, CO, US Temporary moratorium on oil and gas development (2019): News article

 

Permanent Restrictions on New or Expanded Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

Explainer
Communities facing new or expanded fossil fuel infrastructure can pass permanent restrictions to give them long term protection with or without passing a temporary moratorium first. Permanent restrictions can apply to one or more of the following: bulk fossil fuel storage, pipelines, refineries, power plants, pipes and/or compressors, oil train terminals, extraction equipment, fossil fuel loading and unloading, all oil and gas extraction, and new gas stations.

Examples

  • Vancouver, BC, Canada Prohibition on coal shipping and storage (2013): Policy
  • Santa Cruz County, CA, US Prohibition on all oil and gas development (2014): News article
  • South Portland, ME, US Prohibition on fossil fuel loading (2014): News report
  • Hoquiam, WA, US Prohibition on bulk oil storage (2015): Report   Policy
  • Aberdeen, WA, US Prohibition on crude oil storage and handling (2016): Report  Policy
  • Vancouver, WA, US  Prohibition on new or expanded fossil fuel storage (2016): Press Release  Policy
  • Portland, OR, US Prohibition on bulk storage expansion (2016): News Article 
  • Baltimore, MD, US Prohibition on new crude oil train terminals (2018): Report
  • Port of Vancouver, WA, US Prohibition on new bulk fossil fuel terminals (2019): News article
  • Culver City, CA, US Prohibition on new oil and gas extraction (2020): Report
  • King County, WA, US Prohibition on new storage (2020): Press release 
  • Richmond, CA, US Prohibition on coal shipping (2020): News Article    
  • Petaluma, CA, US Prohibition on new gas stations (2021): News article

 

Electrification Policies

Explainer
Policies like reach, stretch, and step codes that require significant electrification of new construction, existing buildings, or transit are important SAFE Cities policies. For new construction, the electrification must require electric space heating and ideally also includes water heating, cooking (the number one source of indoor air pollution from gas), and fireplaces. For retrofitting existing buildings, the policy should require conversion to electric appliances over time as appliances need replacing. For jurisdictions that can not directly pass these policies, policies that indirectly achieve significant decreases in fossil fuel use, such as those being passed on new construction in British Columbia, Canada, are also SAFE Cities policies. Policies that only pertain to municipal buildings are not SAFE policies. For public transit the policy must require that all new transit vehicles purchases are 100% electric. For each of these kinds of policies, they must be requirements. Voluntary or incentivized measures – while good first steps – are not SAFE Cities policies. 

Examples

  • Vancouver, BC, Canada new building electrification (2016): Building plan
  • Berkeley, CA, US new building electrification (2019): Policy
  • Mountain View, CA, US new building electrification (2019): Policy
  • New York City, NY, US existing building electrification (2019): Policy
  • Vancouver, BC, Canada existing building and transportation electrification (2020): News article