Good news from the frontlines
Good news from the frontlines
Monday August 31, 2020

The SAFE Cities movement is growing stronger and stronger

By Zeiser, US Oil & Gas Climate Campaigner ,

A lot of progress has been made this summer in the SAFE Cities movement! We wanted to give you an update on all the exciting work that's happened in the US and Canada over the last few months...

King County, Washington
After passing a temporary moratorium on new fossil fuel projects last January, the King County Council voted unanimously on July 24th to pass bold, permanent protections from fossil fuel expansion. This victory comes after years of community organizing and activism, led by our SAFE partner 350 Seattle.


Vancouver, Washington
After an emergency (and surprise) moratorium was passed on June 8, the Vancouver City Council unanimously voted this July to approve a six-month moratorium on new bulk fossil fuel storage facilities. We want to celebrate that the policy includes gas (e.g. methane, butane, etc.) in its definition of “fossil fuels.”

Tacoma, Washington
On May 19th, the Tacoma City Council renewed the Tideflats Interim Regulations, which not only ban new fossil fuel infrastructure in the Tideflats, but also improve and expand the process for notifying the community about upcoming projects. Our SAFE partner Citizens for a Healthy Bay and other coalition members have organized to pass and renew these regulations every six months since 2017.

Whatcom County, Washginton
Since September 2016, the Whatcom County Council has voted every six months to renew the temporary moratorium on shipping unrefined fossil fuels at Cherry Point. The protections were most recently re-upped on June 2nd, and we continue to work with our partners in Whatcom to secure permanent protections from fossil fuels.

Ventura County, California
On July 30th, the Ventura County Planning Commission voted 4-1 to recommend an update to the Zoning Ordinance so that new wells under “antiquated permits” will be subject to greater transparency and environmental review. Big Shout-Out to Climate First: Replacing Oil & Gas - and Los Padres ForestWatch for working on this issue for years and leading the charge!

Los Angeles County, California
There is a draft Ordinance in LA County that only establishes 500 ft setbacks and grandfathers in old oil wells – even if the wells are right next to homes and schools. Oil companies wanted to fast track the ordinance, but thanks to hundreds of members from the community, thousands of others concerned neighbors, and dozens of organizations in coalition, it appears LA County has decided to develop a fully inclusive process that takes into consideration the needs and demands of frontline impacted communities. The process has been delayed as a result of community pushback.

Culver City, California
Culver City councilmembers took the first necessary steps to phase out oil extraction in the city’s 78-acre portion of the Inglewood Oil Field. After a presentation on the amortization study and virtual public testimony, the council unanimously directed staff to develop a framework and timeline for the phase out of active wells and begin the just transition for well remediation and beneficial reuse of the site. This is a historic and precedent-setting victory as all the wells are within 2500-ft of homes and include all active and idle oil wells.

Brentwood, California
After thousands of people (including hundreds of Stand community members!) submitted comments in opposition to the Powerdrive Oil and Gas Wells Project – which would place wells near neighborhoods and schools – the Contra Costa County Department of Conservation and Development determined that additional environmental review is required for the project proposal.

West Vancouver, British Columbia
The local government district council is using British Columbia building step codes to incentivize new all-electric buildings. After passing a Climate Emergency declaration, the council voted on policies that give homeowners and developers big incentives to switch from oil and gas heating to electric heat pumps. They also threw in regulations around electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, limits on parking stalls in new buildings, and bonuses for building new transit corridors.

North Vancouver, British Columbia
North Vancouver has created a plan for staff to report back on that would “effectively eliminate the use of fossil gas for heat and hot water systems” by making Greenhouse Gas Intensity targets a prerequisite for rezoning, and requiring embodied carbon reporting for all new construction.

Vancouver, British Columbia
The City of Vancouver is also trying to minimize gas in new homes – aiming for zero emission buildings, with strong incentives for developers to build all-electric homes, or homes with gas used only for cooking.

The SAFE Cities movement is standing up to the fossil fuel industry – and we're winning. We know that nothing's more powerful than when communities work together for a common cause. We know that a clean energy future, free from toxic air and water pollution, is possible for all of our communities. 

We can't wait to see what victories come out of your neighborhood!