Environmental Stewardship Plan

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Thank you to everyone who took a survey, attended a community workshop, participated in an online townhall, and provided feedback on the plan. 

The Environmental Stewardship Plan was adopted by City Council in December, 2020. We look forward to working with you on implementing the plan. 

little girl kneeling on the ground and planting a tree

A big THANK YOU to all the people and organizations who have taken our surveys, asked questions, submitted comments, attended events, and more. After nearly two years of work and lots of feedback, the Environmental Stewardship Plan was adopted by Council on December 14, 2020.

We are now shifting gears towards implementing the plan, and will have new opportunities to learn and engage soon. We will save this site as an archive of the planning process and engagement we received.

To learn more about the plan update process, go to: Environmental Stewardship | City of Bellevue (bellevuewa.gov).



A big THANK YOU to all the people and organizations who have taken our surveys, asked questions, submitted comments, attended events, and more. After nearly two years of work and lots of feedback, the Environmental Stewardship Plan was adopted by Council on December 14, 2020.

We are now shifting gears towards implementing the plan, and will have new opportunities to learn and engage soon. We will save this site as an archive of the planning process and engagement we received.

To learn more about the plan update process, go to: Environmental Stewardship | City of Bellevue (bellevuewa.gov).



Leave Your Feedback


Bellevue's Draft Environmental Stewardship Plan public comment period -  Complete


Thank you for your feedback on the Draft Environmental Stewardship Plan, which was released on September 24th.  The survey was open from September 24th through November 11th. The Phase 3 Outreach Summary outlines the feedback we received from over 100 residents through our online town hall, survey, and other communications. 

Stay tuned for more opportunities to engage in the implementation of the plan in early 2021. 



CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

To: City Council and the Environmental Stewardship Committee.

As a Downtown Bellevue homeowner and owner of SMART CITIES STRATEGISTS, LLC, I want to thank you for your service and commend your commitment towards making Bellevue among the top sustainable and smart cities in the world. To contribute to this goal, my firm partnered with SmartCities Consulting, based in Vienna, Austria. Vienna is consistently ranked among the world‘s top smart and environmentally sustainable cities. This joint letter proposes the adaptation of digital tools and strategies for local climate change preparedness.

Urban areas and the linking transportation infrastructure are highly vulnerable to climate change. The smart use of existing climate intelligence can increase urban resilience and generate added value for business and society.

The long-term effectiveness of the Bellevue Environmental Stewardship Plan relies on the utilization of digital tools. These tools include data on climate and environment, modeling, and standardized workflows to improve the decision-making process and allow for scenario assessments before investment. Furthermore, the digital tools support the local community with co-creation and collaborative development of measures - from knowledge to action.

Building on the results of the European R&D and the pilots in selected European cities, we will be able to contribute to the implementation of the Bellevue Environmental Stewardship Plan as follows:

Provide an online "Climate Change Adaptation Screening Service" for Bellevue/K4C that includes:
• Co-creation and prioritization of relevant use cases related to climate change, energy, mobility, and land use.
• Generate a model to transfer indices using local climate data (high quality, high resolution).
• Develop collaboration with academic, scientific, and research organizations, administrations, and stakeholder groups.

Establish a Regional Climate Change Adaptation Marketplace to foster collaboration on climate adaptation and sustainability

The overall goal is to develop strategies and build solutions to bring climate and environmental relevant data into a data marketplace by addressing: architecture, legal, domain, and use case requirements to turn applied research to local partners' activities.
However, the strength will be the anchorage with the global database to match solutions and projects, fostering trans-regional knowledge transfer, collaboration opportunities for enterprises, finding new suppliers, or distributing their services community-wide.

We can contribute to the focus area CLIMATE CHANGE, Strategy C.1. (Mitigate emissions and plan for the long-term impacts of climate) shortly, including insights in best practices from Europe.

The long-term action for Climate Resilience builds up as soon as the online screening service starts. It will provide insights into the impact of climate change immediately.

[TABLE]

Additionally, we can promote a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the City of Bellevue, USA, and the Austrian City of Linz to foster collaboration on solutions and resources. The City of Linz (200k population) is developing a local screening, planning tool, and marketplace that can be adapted for the City of Bellevue, WA.
We look forward to discussing this plan with the city and the community.
Sincerely,
Andrea Geyer-Scholz
SmartCities Consulting, Vienna, Austria

Maria Claudia Noreña
SMART CITIES STRATEGISTS, Bellevue, WA

SMART CITIES STRATEGISTS, LLC about 1 year ago

I have already left a comment detailing specific actions I would like to see taken, but I just want to say that this plan is important. Climate change is dangerous, and it is affecting us far more than we would like to think, such as in the case of the recent wildfires that made this area have some of the world's worst air quality for some time. This affected my daily life, and the daily routines of people around me. We cannot put off action any longer, and we need to be prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to fight climate change. I think that updating or at least reviewing the Environmental Stewardship Plan more often would be a good idea.

Kavya Rao about 1 year ago

Environmental Stewardship - Tried to leave input but got redirected elsewhere. What's up? You can do better than this!!

Dwight Schrag about 1 year ago

This is my second input to the plan. It dawned on me after submitting my first input that I had not seen anything in the plan about costs, so I reread the plan and found that costs were indeed addressed. However, the costs are addressed with minimal if any detail such that it is not possible to make a value judgement as to what I would prefer, any of these proposed actions or parks, or public safety, or libraries, etc. Attaching an assessment of costs of each specific plan component does nothing to identify the potential total costs of the effort. Total cost of the effort yields tax increase estimates and that level of detail is critically important to any discussion of the plan.

The sources of additional funding are indeed listed, but without any detail. I would recommend that you consider including in the plan some detail about how you will address the costs increases to the taxpayers. Many residents are living on fixed incomes and so additional tax burdens are significant to us. Of note, I just voted against funding for Harborview Medical Center's ballot proposition, not because I don't believe the things they want to do with the funds they are soliciting would improve our community, but because they didn't address in any detail how the $1.7B would impact my annual tax bill. I cannot simply agree to pay for things without some detailed estimate of what it will mean to me in terms of taxes.

There is no endless string of money readily available, we have to be able to make logical choices and to do so, Bellevue's plan needs to address the process of choosing between alternatives and what the Council believes is a reasonable bill to ask taxpayers to foot.

I strongly recommend you spend a lot of time thinking about cost and cost-benefits and including a more detailed part of the plan addressing cost and taxing. As a taxpayer, it's easy to say I want our city to be leading edge in environment issues. It is another thing to pay for these initiatives. If you want support for your plan, then address the costs and increase taxes likely to follow implementation.

rsdearth@comcast.net about 1 year ago

I support all the goals, but would like to see more done.
* We have a significant homeless population. There are many other reasons to address this problem, but the homeless have an outsized effect on the environment, and they (and all low-income residents) are benefited less by many of these proposals. There should be more goals that specifically address this population's needs.
* More attention should be given to upgrading the existing infrastructure (buildings and homes). Reducing use of natural gas and supporting energy efficiency retrofits should not be a "longer term action"; these actions would have a more rapid impact, perhaps at a lower cost than relying on the increased efficiency of new construction.
* More EV charging stations are needed, but most charging stations I see are placed very close to the buildings served (which probably keeps their cost down). Unfortunately, they are usually in what would be prime locations for handicapped parking. Standards should be set that will prevent this.
* Protection of open spaces and the tree canopy should be a more urgent priority. Also, I would like the terms used to be defined. Does a 40% tree canopy mean that 40% of Bellevue's land area is under a tree's canopy? And when a developer cuts down trees, are they required to plant trees that immediately balance the canopy lost, or are the new trees counted based on their coverage at maturity in 10-15 years?

Thanks to all who have participated in this effort!

Karl about 1 year ago

I would like to see more concrete actions identified with a shorter time window for implementation on many of the initiatives contained in the Plan. There are too many "soft" action verbs used (i.e. study, propose, research). I realize that budgets and resources may be constrained, especially due to COVID impacts. To address that, I suggest Staff consider recruiting citizen volunteers to provide support and allow for more rapid implementation where appropriate. There is a lot of brain power and energy among the citizens of Bellevue. Tapping into this resource would go a long way towards achieving the goals set out in the Stewardship Plan as well as engaging the community to build grassroots support.

SFantle about 1 year ago

People would drive less if there were corner stores. Residential zoning laws should be changed to allow more corner stores and other shops in residential areas, even (especially) with minimum parking. The entire idea of a residential neighborhood is outdated and destructive.

DonaldAlan about 1 year ago

I am a tree hugger. I like trees. I fully support the aims of the City to reduce its environmental impact. I understand that we need all the trees we have and I love that we have so many of them. And yet...I live next to a greenbelt with a seasonal stream. I cannot remove any bushes or trees on about 2/3 of my property. When I moved here twenty years ago, the trees were medium size. Now they are very tall. From my inquiry with the City, it is next to impossible for me to remove any trees (full environmental impact statement and the requirement to mitigate for any removed tree: there is no room on my property to mitigate for a single large tree let alone several.) Even when a tree is dangerous, it is very difficult and expensive to prove it. I just spent this morning cleaning up a single branch from one of the trees that broke in the last week's wind and that took out my neighbor's fence. No one was hurt but sooner or later someone may.
The bottom line is that I would like to see a simpler process for determining whether a tree can be removed. I witnessed this already. In the greenbelt next to my property there are a number of trees. A few years back, there was one that looked unhealthy and was leaning towards the house. An arborist from the City came, examined it and decided on the spot what to do. But that was in a greenbelt administered by the City so it was easy. If I want to do anything in my property, I understand that I am to get my property surveyed and marked, get a private arborist to certify that a tree is dangerous, submit forms, pay fees... This is weeks of my time and, in my estimate, $6 to $10k before I find out if I can have the tree removed. I think you understand how this may not sit well with people and lead them to oppose otherwise excellent and praiseworthy environmental goals that the City has. Thank you for considering on how to meet the lofty goals and not leave people behind.

J. about 1 year ago

Thank you so much for the work that has been put into this new Draft Environmental Stewardship Plan. As a high school student in Bellevue, global warming is one of the biggest crises that will have large, direct impacts on me. I am concerned that this plan is not strong enough-- there needs to be significantly ambitious goals, especially our actions in the "energy" section. Energy use in residential and commercial buildings is responsible for almost half of our emissions, but the actions proposed in this plan are relatively weak and the goals are quite vague. Additionally, out timeline for evaluations must be shortened-- there must be annual evaluations, to keep us on track. 2030 is the date by which we MUST have at least a 50% reduction in emissions. There is lots of language in this plan that is vague, and we must have quantifiable, measurable actions that are ambitious and cutting edge. Bellevue must be a leader in sustainability, and take large steps immediately.

Sue about 1 year ago

I am very pleased with the amount of time and energy that has been devoted to the new Environmental Stewardship Plan. It is an impressive achievement.

However, I'm concerned about some of the fuzzy and unaccountable goals that I found in this document. For example, the summary uses the word "explore" seven times, like "EXPLORE a single use plastic bag ban," or "EXPLORE the need for a city arborist." When we look back at this plan, it's pretty easy to clear that low bar. "Yes, we explored it, and now we're done!"

Some of these goals are important and urgent. Let's do more than just explore; let's DO!

Please remember, we are doing this to protect the health and quality of life for our children and many future generations. Bellevue is a smart city that leads in innovation, education, and respect for our natural resources. If Bellevue can't be bold, specific, and accountable, to what other city should the country look for leadership and inspiration?

I urge our Environmental Stewardship staff and our council members to really stretch toward ambitious goals. We can do this! And if we fail to achieve every goal because they were set very high, that is preferable to setting the bar low and easily striding over it. That won't inspire our kids or anyone who expects Bellevue to excel in every way.

Don Marsh about 1 year ago

Dear Environmental Stewardship Plan Leaders, thank you so much for putting out this plan for the city of Bellevue and having citizens publicly review it. As a freshman at Newport High School, and one of Peter Donaldson's Sustainability Ambassadors, I believe that is crucial that we continue to push forward as a city and truly lead the world in sustainability. That said, I do immensely appreciate the work that the city has done so far, and especially like how the city is committed to achieving 100% renewable energy and 100% EV ownership by 2050. However, if we are to reach those goals, we must start now. Not in 2040, or 2030, or next year, but NOW. As shown by recent wildfires, climate change is beginning to reach a critical stage, and delaying action and effective climate change reduction to later years may mean the difference between a sustainable future or a runaway greenhouse effect that is beyond our control. We should be setting measurable and brave goals for the next few years, because in these next few years, if we are not on track for achieving goals for 2030 and beyond, we are setting up ourselves for a grim future. Thank you for committing to a clean and sustainable environment for all of us Bellevue residents and contributing to a more sustainable world for all people.

William Liu about 1 year ago

To Jennifer Ewing and the Bellevue City Council,

I am a Bellevue City resident and a retired public school educator. I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the draft Environmental Stewardship Plan which I found to be well organized and which covers a lot of important areas.

However, I am concerned that the plan is not strong enough. Bellevue must be willing to take on some crucial and very challenging targets. These targets such as a 50% emissions reduction by 2030 are not just ‘nice to have’. The scientists who wrote the Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report of 2018 made this very clear. We must aim for strong, leading-edge action in the Plan if we are to avoid a runaway climate change catastrophe that will continue for generations.

This is particularly true in the ‘Energy’ section of the Stewardship Plan. As shown by your graph on page 37, our largest single sector of carbon emissions is from energy use in residential and commercial buildings, which together account for 47% of emissions. However, the ‘Energy’ section is light on clear action and relies heavily on “pilot programs” “evaluating effectiveness”, and “reviewing opportunities”.

I am asking that this section of the plan be strengthened by adding timeframes to say when the evaluation/review must be complete and when action is to be started, as well as specifying the outcomes (ie how many green buildings or retrofits are being aimed for). Additionally, actions from existing lists, such as the lists from People for Climate Action, the King County Toolkit and other sources should be utilized.

Finally, I encourage you to engage with volunteers who are committed to mitigating climate change, who have the time and the knowledge and the desire to work with you and help you to craft a plan that will meet these challenging goals. There are many in our community with expertise in the area of energy and buildings. Given tight budgets, engaging such volunteer expertise can make all the difference for the climate action work we must achieve.

A livable climate is essential for our future. Please help ensure that Bellevue aims for leading edge climate action in our Environmental Stewardship Plan!

Thank you,
April Stevens

aprilstevens about 1 year ago

Hello, I'm a Bellevue resident and a junior at Sammamish high school. While I think Bellevue's ESP is a step in the right direction, I don't believe it is strong enough. I believe that it is crucial for us to take bold action and strive to hit challenging targets. We need to take the entire plan one step higher, especially the Energy section, and make sure to take basic evaluations every year to really see where we are and where we need to make improvements. Thank you for all the work you've done so far on this and I can't wait to see where this goes!

Sumedh about 1 year ago

Topic: Materials Management & Waste Regarding: Strategy M.W.1 – Improve Green Purchasing Practices and Sustainable Materials Management in City Operations

& M.W.1.3 – Support vendor stewardship programs or partnerships for ongoing or bulk purchases

Strategy

Comment: Specifically, with regard to Strategy M.W.1.1., Green, Local Procurement, and in light of the new Washington State compost law regarding compost and use (RCW 43.19A.120), the city should prioritize utilizing compost, created from its own city, business and residential recycling programs, wherever possible in parks, landscaping projects, stormwater management and more. Prioritizing green purchasing around soils would also position the city to utilize the new (2020) King County Universal Compost contract which allows cities to secure favorable bulk pricing for soil needs and offers free technical training for city staff. Additionally, the new law regarding compost buy back (RCW 43.19A.130) is also important to consider, especially as the city seeks to divert more material to composting, through this plan. RCW 43.19A.120 stipulates that municipalities must consider whether compost products can be used in government-funded projects when planning or soliciting and reviewing bids.

If compost products can be utilized in the project, city must do so, subject to a few exceptions.

Both actions, the compost laws and the county’s universal contract, make it easier for the City of Bellevue to support its own and the broader region’s organics recycling and waste diversion goals by increasing its use of locally manufactured compost, created from its own municipal organics collection programs for residents and businesses.

The City of Bellevue has a robust organics recycling program and this is a great opportunity to bring those materials back to the city to ensure a sustainable program.

Topic: Materials Management & Waste

Comment: Regarding waste diversion, it is important that the City of Bellevue consider and address contamination at the curbside. When the recycling or compost cart are contaminated with things that cannot be recycled or composted respectively, those materials are not truly diverted and still wind up in the landfill. But when that garbage is placed in the wrong container (either the recycling container or organics cart), a great deal of labor and direct cost is spent by processors to remove those materials, sort them, and pay for their disposal.

Topic: Materials Management & Waste Regarding: True Cost of Garbage Collection, Recycling & Composting

Comment: By embedding the costs of recycling and composting into garbage rates, the City of Bellevue, Bellevue businesses and Bellevue residents do not know the true cost of those three distinctly unique services. There are consequences of embedding the recycling and composting rates into the garbage rates that may not be immediately obvious to the city or its businesses and residents. They include:

1) Bundling rates, instead of showing the true cost of service, provides a huge barrier to entry for local, privately-held companies to bid against the large, national, publicly-traded hauling companies. It forces the proposer to estimate what the participation rates will be in order to propose costs, presenting the bidder with tremendous financial risk. The incumbent hauler holds a tremendous advantage with regard to knowing the current diversion rates, information not privy to a new bidder. This allows large, national, publicly traded firms to monopolize local contracts.

2) With embedded rates, contamination increases. As seen in a recent study published by Cascadia Consulting for the City of Issaquah, one of the most frequent contaminants in the organics stream is “bags of garbage” – people simply throwing additional garbage bags that don’t fit into their garbage bin into the organics/compost cart. The “free” recycling and organics carts provided to residents and businesses in Bellevue disincentivize parties from rightsizing their garbage container to match their garbage volume and effectively incentivizes them to use their “free” recycle and organics carts for leftover garbage. By showing the city, businesses and residents the true cost of each service, they can subscribe at the proper level for each service and ensure they keep each waste stream properly separated, avoiding contamination.

3) This issue can be addressed by the city by, in any future RFP for waste services, requiring that the true cost of service be provided to the city, businesses and residents for each waste stream.

Topic: Materials Management & Waste Regarding: Mandatory curbside organics collection proposal

Comment: If the curbside collection of organics becomes mandatory for residents, some mechanism for addressing contamination at the curbside needs to be in place by the city via the haulers such as a cart tagging program. When participation is mandatory, people sometimes are not invested in the program or its outcome and could be more likely to contaminate their bins with items that are not compostable, especially when the service is being offered for “free”.

I would refer the City of Bellevue to the City of Kirkland’s cart tagging program which Waste Management, Kirkland’s current hauler, and the city collaborate on.

Resources: Washington Organics Council Contamination Workgroup Report: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/585c2db75016e175c9d685b7/t/59932c0be4fcb58c9335fec5/1502817295485/Washington+State+Organics+Contamination+Reduction+Workgroup_FINAL.pdf

Topic: 2050 Target – 80% GHG Emissions Reduction

Comment: The City of Bellevue has an opportunity to bring its organics recycling program full circle and make the city more climate resilient by incorporating compost in its parks, roads and stormwater projects. The benefits are innumerable including opportunities to store carbon, filter toxins, reduce

irrigation needs and add valuable nutrients to the soil. The city can do this at its new and existing parks, roads, culverts, bridges, and more.

Additionally, the City can accomplish this by strictly enforcing the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Post Construction Soil Standard: BMP T5.13 – Post Construction Soil Quality and Depth: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/madcap/wq/2014SWMMWWinteractive/Content/Topics/VolumeV2014/VolV%20Ch5%202014/VolV%20Ch5-3%202014/VolV%20Ch5-3-1%202014/Volv%20BMPt513%202014.htm

By enforcing that standard, especially on commercial and residential developments, the city will ensure it is using the best, most climate resilient, environmental practices and design standards as it relates to soil. Additionally, with State of Washington’s new compost law (RCW 43.19A.120), regarding compost procurement and use, and the King County Universal Compost Contract and its respective, free technical training for municipal staff, the city has great opportunities to leverage existing BMPs and programs to accomplish goals outlined in this sustainability plan. The City of Bellevue is doing great work in this space and there is always room to do more and have an even greater impact.

Additionally, through stricter inspection and enforcement of projects, the city would see more compost use as projects strive to meet the existing post-construction soil standards and, in doing so, establish more robust end markets, protect waterways and natural habitats and manage stormwater; all key priorities articulated in this plan.

Topic: Strategy N.3 – Improve natural stormwater retention systems and reduce water pollutions

& N.3.1 – Stormwater Retrofit

Comment: The city can utilize compost, generated from the City of Bellevue’s organics collection program in green stormwater solutions, fish passage improvement projects and other low-impact design projects.

Resource:

Article from Stormwater magazine: Compost: The Sustainable Solution - https://www.stormh2o.com/erosion-control/article/13024565/compost-the-sustainable-solution#:~:text=Compost%20is%20an%20incredibly%20versatile%20product%2C%20which%20provides,architects%2C%20public%20agencies%29%2C%20policy%20makers%2C%20and%20project%20

The Nature Conservancy & Washington State University: Solving Stormwater -https://www.washingtonnature.org/cities/solvingstormwater

Soils for Salmon: https://www.soilsforsalmon.org/

Topic: M.N.1.4 – Sustainable Landscaping Certifications

& M.N.1.3 – Reduce pesticide and fertilizer impacts. Reduce pesticide and fertilizer use and impacts on city owned property.

Comment: Ensure that WDOE post construction soil standards are incorporated. Perhaps consider other soil-related requirements such as stipulating that soils come from the city’s own recycling programs to ensure a closed loop cycle.

BMP T5.13 – Post Construction Soil Quality and Depth: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/madcap/wq/2014SWMMWWinteractive/Content/Topics/VolumeV2014/VolV%20Ch5%202014/VolV%20Ch5-3%202014/VolV%20Ch5-3-1%202014/Volv%20BMPt513%202014.htm

Another idea would be to build out rain gardens or food forests surrounding city properties to demonstrate to the city businesses and residents what can be done on their own properties or even at their apartments via a container garden to incorporate green design elements, contribute to the city’s stormwater management, climate resilience and maybe even reduce their shopping trips by growing food in their yard or on their balcony.

Topic: “The City will lead by example.”

Comment: All City of Bellevue councilmembers, staff, businesses and residents can have a positive impact on climate resilience in Bellevue by the choices they make every day. And some employees are uniquely positioned to have a positive impact, through the application of knowledge and best practices. For instance, with regard to mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration in soil, preserving water, preventing toxic runoff from entering local waterways, staff training on compost use, available through King County, could be very beneficial.

Not only would individual staff members learn about climate friendly practices for tasks they are already doing in Bellevue parks and along Bellevue roads, but their awareness and knowledge will likely be shared with other City of Bellevue employees, businesses and residents, expanding the impact of that education and training, raising the city’s collective awareness around climate.

Resource:
Composting in America Report: A Path to Eliminate Waste, Revitalize Soil and Tackle Global Warming: https://uspirg.org/reports/usp/composting-america#:~:text=%20%20%201%20Require%20government%20projects%20to,community%20gardens%2C%20through%20grants%2C%20free%20advertising...%20More%20

https://uspirg.org/sites/pirg/files/reports/USP%20Composting%20in%20America%20FINAL.pdf
[Refer to page 17, Create Markets for Compost: "...cities and towns should also buy back locally-produced compost for use in public projects or to distribute to residents, community gardens or other local projects.153 To achieve this, some municipalities require agencies to use local compost in their public works projects.154 This helps create steady demand for the compost produced at local composting facilities and also helps ensure governments and their contractors use environmentally friendly practices. Cities can also require residents and businesses to use compost in landscaping renovations or large projects. This is done by more than 10 Colorado communities as a way to promote water conservation, but also has the additional benefit of stimulating compost demand."

Karen Dawson about 1 year ago

Dear Bellevue Environmental Stewardship Leaders,

Thank you for your action and support of protecting the environment through the Environmental Stewardship Initiative. Climate change and environmental degradation is the most critical problem facing mankind today. The US government is mostly ignoring the problem, so action must be initiated by local governments and pushed up to the national and global levels.

I appreciate the update to the plan to have more concrete goals, rather than "studies", "evaluations", and "reviews". We need to focus on the biggest environmental problems, with plans that have aggressive deadlines. We can't get bogged down with endless proposal/review cycles.

I believe the biggest risk in the plan is how to make progress in the face of pushback by developers, utilities, and businesses who view environmental progress as threatening to their business. The City Council says they need to hear more from the citizens, but unfortunately, as we all know, most citizens are consumed with their day to day life and may not understand or recognize the peril we face. And even if they do, they're not inclined to contact the council or speak out about climate issues.

Because of this, the demands of developers like Kemper Freeman and utilities like PSE will always be louder than the citizens. You need a plan to counter their attempts to sabotage progress on environmental protection, and counter their mis-information campaigns.

I appreciate that you are doing an excellent job of encouraging public participation, making it very easy to participate in the ESI process. But please understand that the vast majority of people simply aren't paying attention to the crisis. There are many other short-term crises they are consumed by (COVID, politics, job loss, etc). As such, you will need to act boldly based on science, rather than relying on public outcry.

Thank you for your excellent work, and please continue to do your best to protect the earth for future generations.

Curtis Allred
13609 SE 43rd Place, Bellevue
206-718-2182

Curt about 1 year ago

Good morning City Council, Ms. Ewing and Ms. Brod,

I am a retired Bellevue resident, proud parent and grandparent. I appreciate this opportunity to comment and the hard work the Bellevue Council and Program Staff put into the draft Environmental Stewardship Plan (ESP). It covers important areas but I’m concerned the plan is not strong enough.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report of 2018 makes perfectly clear—we need to cut emissions by half by 2030 to avoid a runaway climate change catastrophe that will continue for generations. As the graph on page 37 of the ESP shows, our largest single sector of carbon emissions is from energy use in residential and commercial buildings, which together account for 47% of emissions. Please strengthen the ESP, especially the “Energy” section, which addresses buildings, where nearly half of our GHG emissions emanate.

In addition, please shorten the timeline for evaluation of the ESP from five years to one year. The ESP says, on pages 120-121, that it will be “evaluated and updated on a five-year cycle.” This might make sense for other City plans, but for the ESP, the ten-year mark (2030) is critical.

We have to reduce emissions much faster than the 6.4% reduction of our past ~9 years and waiting five years to evaluate is too long. If we discover in 2025 that we’re behind our targets, we will not be able to recover and we will face life-threatening outcomes. We need to do an evaluation every year as our emissions data comes in, asking ourselves whether we are on track for our targets? If not, we must take immediate additional actions.

A livable climate is essential for our future, especially for our young people, and the 2030 target is imperative. Please ensure that Bellevue proposes the required climate action in our Environmental Stewardship Plan.

Thank you,
Paul Bruno

Paul Bruno about 1 year ago

I'd like to echo some of the other comments on here that while studying, reflecting, and assessing are of course crucial steps, they must quickly be followed by concrete actions, and this principle could be better reflected in the Plan.

In the goals, strategies, and actions for municipal operations, I love how you are first focusing on reducing your operational impact, such as by purchasing renewable energy, developing a green fleet, and improving the City's buildings. However, until you are able to reach zero operational emissions (which I assume won't be for a while), best practice seems to suggest that you purchase high-quality carbon offsets for your remaining emissions (https://www.smithschool.ox.ac.uk/publications/reports/Oxford-Offsetting-Principles-2020.pdf). Obviously carbon offsets aren't perfect and don't exonerate the emitter, but it's certainly much more responsible for the City to offset your remaining carbon footprint than to not offset it, and in all likelihood, it will not be very expensive at all (high-quality offsets are around $15 per ton of CO2). Offsetting remaining emissions is increasingly seen as a non-optional responsibility for jurisdictions and organizations who are able to take it on. So I would really encourage that you at least consider purchasing carbon offsets from rigorous certified offset projects, like those offered by Gold Standard, so that the City's operation's can lead by example in terms of best-practice sustainability (and, by some definitions, that would even make the City's operations carbon-neutral).

In item M.C.1.2, I would encourage you to consider including in your trainings ways that employees can take sustainable action in the workplace, and one of those actions that would be great to mention in the trainings is using Ecosia as a default search engine (45 searches on Ecosia plants one tree, on average). Or, even better, the City of Bellevue could make Ecosia the default search engine across the City's operational network (while of course still allowing individual employees to set Google as their personal default if they so choose). If you look into it, I think you'll find that this would actually be quite quantitatively impactful, even though it seems like a small switch. You can find out more here: https://explore.ecosia.org/use-ecosia-at-work

Benjamin Mousseau about 1 year ago

Thank you for your efforts toward improving the city’s Environmental Stewardship Plan. I know it has been a lot of work. I was glad to see that the updated Plan has some sound ideas and is well organized. There’s a lot of good information there, laid out in a clear fashion! I do have some concerns about the Plan, however.
I want to acknowledge that we face a lot of uncertainty since the start of the pandemic. Even so, this is an absolutely critical time for our city to lay out strong climate action plans. When we build back from the current economic setbacks, we must build back better-- with cleaner energy sources and with greater efficiency in our buildings and transportation. Planning for that now can help us accomplish it when it’s feasible.
It has been made clear by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report from 2018, sometimes called "SR15," that we must limit Earth's heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius or less, which means we must cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030. That IPCC target is in line with our target of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030, which is the County goal and our agreed-upon target in the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration or K4C, which I’m very glad that Bellevue signed onto again recently (thank you). It’s an ambitious target, but without such a target, we will be faced with runaway heating of the planet. We need to do our part to cut emissions. It’s the future of our young people we’re deciding about.
All of that means we must aim for strong, leading-edge action in our Environmental Stewardship Plan. Here are my suggestions for improving the Plan.
* Make the “Energy” section (covering energy and buildings) stronger: The graph on page 37 of the Plan shows that our largest single sector of carbon emissions is from energy use in residential and commercial buildings. Together, these account for 47% of emissions. But when I look at the “Energy” section, I see a lot of “pilot programs,” “evaluating effectiveness,” and “reviewing opportunities.” I don’t see much in the way of strong action, which is what we need in order to meet our targets. See my other suggestions, below, for specific ways to strengthen this part of the Plan, or any element in the Plan that is worded as exploration, study, or assessing, rather than truly being about action.
* Include timeframes in steps oriented toward exploration: From what I see, there are a lot of steps that use verbs such as “assess,” “explore,” “study,” “pilot,” “consider,” or “review.” These steps point in a good direction, but are unlikely to move us as quickly as we need to move. To these, we need to add a phrase such as “Begin to act on our findings no later than... ” followed by a timeframe, such as “the summer of 2021” or “the beginning of 2022.”
* Move exploration-oriented steps toward action: Again, in the Plan, I notice a lot of verbs such as “assess,” “explore,” “study,” “pilot,” “consider,” or “review.” These make it sound as if we did not face an urgent timeline.
We need actions, requirements, and/or regulations, of course with some time built in for residents and businesses to adjust and find their way into patterns of greater efficiency (which in many cases bring cost savings in the long run too). We can allow ourselves to be inspired by some of the well-known businesses in our area that are placing requirements on themselves. If they are recognizing the value of taking definite action as businesses, we can recognize that as a city. We don’t have to devise actions from scratch, of course, because we can draw on existing lists, such as the lists from People for Climate Action, the King County Toolkit, and other sources of lists and case studies.
Exploration and study have already been done, all over the world, and they point at excellent ways to reduce emissions, increase jobs, increase resilience (that is, avoid the costs of catastrophe), and improve health. Let’s use what has already been learned and begin to move.
* Shorten the cycle for evaluation and update: The Plan says, on pages 120-121, that it will be “evaluated and updated on a five-year cycle.” I can understand that this might be a fairly ordinary way to approach a city plan. But we are not in an ordinary situation. For this plan, the ten-year mark (2030) is asbolutely crucial. We know that the 10-year mark for reducing emissions by 50% is crucial, and we know that this is much faster than the 6.4% reduction of our past ~9 years. If we just try some evaluations and pilots, plus a limited number of actions, then circle back in 2025, what would we do if we were behind our targets? We almost certainly wouldn’t be able to catch up. That time would be lost, and our young people might well face life-threatening outcomes. So, as a basic process for this plan, we need to take a good look every year as our emissions data comes in, then ask ourselves whether we’re on track for our targets. If not, take more action! A deeper evaluation at about 5 years is probably a good idea, but truly, waiting 5 years to make adjustments is just too long.
We can create an Environmental Stewardship Plan that truly aims for sustainability. It’s worth considering what sustainability means: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of our young people, and future generations, to meet their own needs.
A livable climate is absolutely essential for the future of our young people. Please ensure that Bellevue aims for strong, leading-edge climate action in our Environmental Stewardship Plan. Thank you.
Jennifer Keller, longtime Bellevue resident

Jennifer Keller about 1 year ago

I really appreciate this opportunity for getting involved in the City's police reform endeavors. As it was reiterated repeatedly at the Listening Session, it is crucial that the community work closely with the BPD for the wellbeing and protection of the community as a whole. I look forward to more of an opportunity like this to get engaged!

hank wang about 1 year ago

I am a Bellevue resident and have attended the outreach sessions for the Environmental Stewardship Plan. I want to thank the City Council for putting money in the budget to hire a consultant and to support the development of a climate action plan as presented in the Environmental Stewardship Plan (ESP).

The ESP is outstanding for its clarity, visually and verbally. For example, goals and focus areas are succinctly but effectively well defined. The Wedge analysis is excellent for visualizing the various ways GHG can be reduced to meet a target. It was very useful to include the benchmarks for other cities and communities. The ESP clearly set out the framework for Phase II when strategies will be analyzed against a stated criteria. I was impressed by the thought that went into the criteria.

Yet, I was disappointed that the ESP went for the Bold approach—not the Leading Edge, which most of the public supported, and I thought the City Council had suggested a more Leading-Edge approach in its October study session. The urgency of addressing global warming requires a Leading-Edge approach.

The plan needs to set an aggressive target of 50% reduction in emissions by 2030. There should be yearly updates and not wait for 5 years as we will have lost precious time. We need to reduce emissions faster than the 6.5% of our last 9 years.

We need to take aggressive steps to reduce energy use in our buildings. The ESP is weak on details in this area. Just relying on incentives for new construction is not enough. There needs to be programs for retrofitting our existing stock of residential and commercial buildings, making sure lower income residents can participate in these programs through subsidies. Reducing and replacing natural gas is critical as natural gas is a big contributor to emissions. Timeframes need to be established to analyze the progress being made so corrective steps can be taken.

I am repeating my request that any Advisory group include citizens—not just the business community. There are many qualified residents, including members of People for Climate Action--Bellevue who have been instrumental in urging the City of Bellevue to take stronger, measurable action to address global warming. They have studied climate action plans in cities that place a focus on emissions reductions. They have passion and expertise that needs to be drawn upon.

The urgency of global warming is calling us to work harder (Leading-Edge goals) and sooner (adopt goals for 2030). The citizens of Bellevue want to protect our environment.

Kristi W about 1 year ago