Greenwire (subscription required) has a great analysis circulating on Seattle City Councilman Greg Steinbrueck's proposal regarding the greenhouse gas emissions of new developments. The ordinance, which the Council will debate on November 28, would indeed be a novel approach:
John Norquist-- president of the Congress for the New Urbanism, a Chicago-based group that supports compact, urban development-- said Seattle would become the first city to require road and building developers to go the additional step of mitigating their emissions.
The article also notes that King County Executive Ron Sims, who recently issued an executive order requiring large road and building projects to measure climate impacts in their review process, may soon also add on an express requirement for GHG mitigation. Regardless, it appears that Seattle and its surrounding county might well end up leading the entire state along this bold path:
Meanwhile, Governor Gregoire’s task force – called the Climate Advisory Team or “CAT” – is considering recommending the adoption of similar state-wide requirements under the State Environmental Policy Act (“SEPA”)...Two of [CAT's] working groups are considering a number of “high priority” options modeled after King County’s approach, as well as initiatives undertaken in California and elsewhere. The options currently under review by the CAT can be reviewed here.
One possibility being discussed is to require assessments and potential mitigation for all private and public projects subject to SEPA review – regardless of whether they require approval at the local, county, or state level. A final slate of recommendations will be adopted by the CAT and presented to Governor Gregoire in January 2008.