Tumwater City Council met last night to discuss the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan, a 30-year interlocal agreement, that would acknowledge the urgency of global warming and the deterring effects of the climate in the last decade. Although not a definitive plan, it would provide a lot more detail on the city’s next steps in acknowledging the climate crisis and taking action.
Extension of Comcast's franchise agreement was included in the consent agenda with no further discussion.
Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan
Before making the decision to pass the climate mitigation plan, the Council heard comments from 17 concerned citizens. Here are some of their comments and concerns:
Thurston Climate Action Team member Lynn Fitz-Hugh spoke about the urgency of the matter. “I encourage Tumwater to pass this historic action plan. We may pass the critical 1.5 degree celsius point that scientists tell us we must stay below to survive by 2026. We have such little time left that we must act as if there is not a minute to waste, because we don’t have a minute.”
Connie Campbell, member of the Thurston Chapter of the Climate Reality group, shared her opinion on the plan. “I am impressed with the vision of this plan that includes local governments and local tribes, all working together. Often those who have contributed the least to the climate crisis are affected the most.”
16-year-old Rebecca McMillian-Hastings shared her opinion on the plan affecting her generation. “This is not a one and done plan, it will be molded and refined for the next 30 years. It is also necessary to declare a climate emergency, because it is an emergency. This is not just us planning for our future, this is us trying to reclaim what we lost and build a new future.”
Another high school student, Elsie Sabel, also commented on the urgency of the matter: “It’s easy to ignore it and say it is not our problem. If we do that, the future generations will suffer. The good news is that we have a plan and a way to fix this.”
Robert Berman, 26, also commented on what this plan could provide for future generations: “This plan kickstarts the change for us, it lays the groundwork. This plan isn't everything but it is an excellent start. For my peers and young family members and for all the young community members, please say yes to the climate action plan and declare a climate emergency tonight.”
After deciding to approve the plan, councilmember Michael Althauser, clarified what the plan will provide right now: “Tonight what we are doing is passing a framework, and the big work is really yet to come.”
The Board also approved a companion resolution to the Thurston Climate Action Plan. This resolution declares the state of the environment clearly as a climate crisis.
After approving this resolution, councilmember Tom Oliva, addressed the resolution’s down-playing of the seriousness of the situation, “I am troubled that we still call it a climate crisis and not a climate emergency like the many other cities and countries that do so. The 10 hottest years in the last century have occurred in the last 15 years. A crisis is like recognition and an emergency calls this into action. I think it is an emergency.”
After some discussion, the Council voted to amend the parts of the resolution which labeled the current situation as a ‘climate crisis,’ substituting it for ‘climate emergency.’
Capital Boulevard Corridor Plan
The Council also approved the continuation of the Capitol Boulevard Corridor Plan, after looking over and discussing the professional services agreement request.
This transportation project will encompass the area on Capitol Boulevard from Custer Way to Israel Road, which spans about one and a half miles. It will involve full construction of Capital Boulevard with a focus on new building and site design guidelines, new land use and zoning categories, and street design.
The project will also include the construction of three roundabouts, with a total estimated cost of about $1.5 million. By voting to approve the continuation of the project, the Council essentially signed off on the beginning of construction work for the corridor plan.