Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Archive for the 'Environment' Category

Jan 23 2010

City Light and Waste Management: Turning Waste into Electricity

Columbia Ridge Exterior

You may recall in April of 2009 I presented legislation to the Full Council that passed which allowed City Light to enter into a 20 year power purchase agreement with Waste Management Inc. This agreement allows Seattle to receive electrical output and renewable energy credits from the Columbia Ridge Land Fill Gas (LFG) electric generating facility in Oregon. We are operational now, converting landfill gas from our garbage into energy!

Video link: Seattle City Light - Garbage to Power Program

City Light is purchasing approximately 5.78 average megawatts of power annually. This is enough to power over 5,000 homes! This is yet another element of renewable energy City Light can add to its portfolio as is required under I-937. By way of background, there are 509 LFG facilities nationwide and two-thirds of those facilities generate energy. Washington State currently has four operational facilities. As Chair of the Energy Committee, I will continue to add renewable energies to our already-clean hydroelectric power. If we generate energy from waste, it is a win-win for everyone.

Columbia Ridge Generator

I celebrated this partnership of clean power between City Light and Waste Management at a press event. Video link >>>

Following is a press release for that event. Continue Reading »

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Apr 08 2009

A Small Business Solution:
Compostable Container Buying Co-op

The Seattle City Council, while intending to help the environment, unintentionally hurt small restaurants and possibly your wallet or pocketbook. I am advocating for a smart fix.

Last year the City Council passed a bill which prohibits food service businesses from serving food in containers made of expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) in conjunction with the plastic bag fee legislation. The legislation was created because the disposal of Styrofoam creates a burden on the city’s solid waste system and is harmful to the environment. While the environmental impacts are significant, I am also concerned about the economic burden that food establishments have faced by switching to compostable products. Restaurant owners are now stating the shift to compostable products has increased their boxing costs 35-40%, which is significant for a small business. The increased costs to business are likely to be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. I am proposing the establishment of a buying co-op where local food service businesses could combine their collective buying power to reduce the cost of compostable products.

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Compostable Container Buying Co-op

Feb 27 2009

Turn in Your Books, Recycle Your CFLs:
A New Idea and Approach

Since 2006 more than 300 million Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs have been purchased in our country. In addition, Seattle City Light recently announced that its “Twist and Save” program has garnered sales of over 1 million CFLs locally. The number of people using CFLs will continue to rise as the US Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) which lays out performance thresholds that incandescent bulbs simply do not meet. To be clear, this does not ban the sale of incandescent bulbs. If an incandescent bulb were produced that was able to meet the threshold, its use would not be prohibited.

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A New Idea and Approach