Friday September 22, 2017 •
Every environmental attack by the Trump Administration further emphasizes the importance of taking local action on climate. Climate inaction at the federal level isn’t new--and neither is real success on climate action at the local level.
Hidden by the barrage of bad news stories about hurricanes, wildfires, and international climate agreements, are dozens of good news stories about frontline communities defeating dirty fuel projects and municipalities leading the way on zoning out new fossil fuel infrastructure.
Towns and counties have local land use powers that allow them to change regulations to prevent the siting of new fossil fuel infrastructure. Around the US, activists and NGOs have been working with these city and county governments to effectively “zone out” the ability to permit new dirty fuel projects.
A few of the examples:
- In Whatcom County, Washington, the County Council will hold a public hearing on 9/26/17 and vote to pass an extension of the moratorium on accepting applications for new infrastructure that could be used for unrefined fossil fuel export. This will eventually become codified in the county’s land use policy.
- In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the board of Harbor Commissioners and Public Works department, operating under the City of Milwaukee, amended a lease to not allow US Oil to "receive, handle, store, ship or otherwise process or distribute crude oil" at the port.
- In Tacoma, Washington, a permitting freeze similar to Whatcom’s is close to passage, with plans to alter the port’s industrial zoning to prevent new dirty fuel projects.
- In Portland, Oregon, an ordinance was passed to prevent the siting of bulk crude storage in the city. The legal challenge from industry is winding through the courts, but the ordinance has a good chance of being upheld.
If implemented broadly, passing municipal land use ordinances can prevent the growth of the fossil fuel economy, and be a critical element in fighting global warming, regardless of what the Trump Administration tries to do.
We hosted a recent webcast with activists from the efforts in Whatcom County, WA and Portland, OR.
Want the local resources mentioned in the webcast? We got you covered. Click here.