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King County Executive
Dow Constantine

Executive outlines King County’s green initiatives to protect environment


In line with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day this week, King County Executive Dow Constantine today outlined actions he and the county are taking to protect the environment, and encouraged residents to think about what each person can do individually.


Earth Day Celebration

In line with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day this week, King County Executive Dow Constantine today outlined actions he and the county are taking to protect the environment, and encouraged residents to think about what each person can do individually.

“On that first Earth Day, I was a second grader at West Seattle’s Schmitz Park school. At recess that day, instead of kickball, and with just a bit of teacher encouragement, we held a pro-environment ‘demonstration’… complete with anti-DDT placards!” said Constantine. “We’ve made incredible progress on protecting the environment over the last 40 years. But, at the same time, population and development pressures have dramatically increased. The decisions we make today about transportation, land use, and environmental protection will allow the current crop of second graders to enjoy a healthier environment when they grow up.”

The Executive outlined several of the county’s recent and upcoming initiatives:   

  • In 2009, the county increased use of hybrid-electric buses saved more than $1.2 million in fuel expense while reducing greenhouse gases by over 10,900 metric tons.  The county will soon take delivery of an additional 94 hybrid-electric buses that will result in a 30 percent reduction in both fuel use and greenhouse-gas emissions.
  • In 2010, King County Metro Transit will add more than 21,000 hours of transit services in partnership with cities through the Transit Now initiative.  
  • Last week, the County Council approved installation of electric vehicle charging stations at county facilities such as park-and-ride lots.
  • Using funds awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to advance electric vehicle technology, the county will purchase all-electric vehicles for county vanpool and motorpool programs.
  • This year, the county will undertake a package of energy efficiency projects backed by Energy Efficiency Community Development Block Grants, including green jobs training, a green schools program, and development of new tools for assessing greenhouse-gas emissions.
  • Over the next two and a half years county agencies will put $3 million in federal stimulus funding to work to improve energy efficiency of county buildings and buildings that house community programs. Projects include upgrades to the Maleng Regional Justice Center and the Black River building, as well as energy efficiency components of affordable housing projects, including the YWCA Family Village in Issaquah.
  • The county is redeveloping a waste-to-energy project at West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant that will convert methane gas (a byproduct of wastewater treatment) into enough renewable electric power to supply the equivalent of 2,300 homes.
  • Working with Puget Sound Energy and Bio Energy-Washington, King County last year began turning the public’s garbage at Cedar Hills Regional Landfill into natural gas – an innovation that will generate enough electricity to power an estimated 24,000 homes in the area while at the same time cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and creating green jobs.

Constantine noted that “It’s critical that we support and recognize the efforts of individuals to protect the environment, and make it easy to ‘do the right thing.’”

  • This week the county launched a “Bag Your Bags” campaign in collaboration with 127 stores in unicorporated King County and 37 cities to promote the use of reusable bags and in-store recycling of plastic bags. News release.
  • The county has established a new climate website that provides a “one-stop” source of information about King County climate change efforts along with resources and tools individuals can use to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • King County’s popular Bike Map, a great tool for green travel, and was recently enhanced with an interactive online version. Bike riders can now pan and zoom to follow a route, and find services and places of interest along the way.
  • On April 29, the Executive will be honoring 21 “Earth Heroes,” whose contributions to protecting the environmental are an inspiration for all.
  • Tomorrow, on Earth Day, King County will offer a variety of tips for everyday green living at King County’s Earth Day Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Westlake Center, at 4th and Pine in downtown Seattle. 

“In these economic times, we need to make smart investments in transportation and energy conservation that provide additional transportation choices for residents, save energy and money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and build a green economy,” said Executive Constantine. 

“Many years of involvement in local and regional salmon recovery efforts have taught me that partnerships are essential to getting projects done on the ground,” he added. “This week, I helped release kokanee salmon fry into Lake Sammamish, bringing hope for a local salmon run on the brink of extinction. This project was possible only through cooperative efforts by governments, federal and state agencies, local residents, and community groups.”

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography