Spokane adds fuel surcharge to city fleet to help fight climate change | Washington
(The Center Square) – The Spokane City Council is moving forward with its plan to replace all city-owned vehicles with electric models by 2030 as part of a comprehensive strategy to combat change climatic.
The vote to establish a fuel surcharge on departmental vehicles to pay for charging stations was approved by council chairman Breean Beggs and councilors Betsy Wilkerson, Karen Stratton, Lori Kinnear and Zack Zappone.
Councilors Michael Cathcart and Jonathan Bingle voted in opposition.
The green fleet implementation plan provided to the city by Frontier Energy calls for the installation of various electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city.
The fuel surcharge that took effect on Tuesday will be in place for the next five years. The surcharge for unleaded fuel is currently calculated at 34 cents per gallon and 46 cents for diesel.
However, the total charge per gallon will not be greater than the difference between the local average retail fuel prices and the Fleet Services gasoline and diesel charge, including markup and applicable taxes.
City officials argue this will ensure that fuel prices for service vehicles remain lower than those at retail gas stations.
The money raised by the surcharge will be placed in a reserve account to be used for charging stations that municipal authorities will make available to the public to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The city’s official policy, as set by the council, is “to recognize and acknowledge the occurrence of human-induced climate change.” The city also acknowledges the broad scientific consensus on this matter and recognizes that the potential impacts of climate change pose a real threat to the health and well-being of the citizens of Spokane.
In 2018, Spokane adopted a goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030. This goal became a requirement (with a deadline of 2045) when Washington lawmakers passed the Clean Energy Transformation Act the following year. .
On Monday, the board reconstituted its Sustainability Action Subcommittee (SAS) with structural and governance changes to achieve that goal. The panel will explore ways to implement an 80+ page plan that dates back to 2009 and was updated last year with specific climate targets. City officials believe the plan will also make the entire region more resilient to economic pressures and disasters.
The SAS will design a roadmap of action to reduce fossil fuel consumption through a combination of energy initiatives, such as creating a low-income solar program and expanding regional access to transportation by clean common.
The sustainability plan also aims to ensure that construction takes into account efficiency and renewable energy. Community health is another part of the plan, with a focus on equitable access to housing and food.
There will now be a steering committee for the SAS which will include designated seats for “historically underrepresented communities”. These are identified as low-income, youth and population groups considered to be at high risk from the impacts of climate change.
Data will be collected by the Environmental Justice & Equity Workgroup, another arm of SAS, on how city proposals and programs will affect race, ethnicity, gender identity, national origin, income level, disability, sexual orientation or other existing disparities.
Other SAS working groups include Buildings and Energy, Transportation, Land Use and Planning, Waste and Recycling, Water Resources, Natural Environment, Health and Wellness, communications and sustainable workforce.
Each of these groups will have an advisory vote to help the steering committee in decision-making.