Protecting health and safety by zoning out major fossil fuel infastructure

Over the past decade, Northwest communities have successfully fought back against fossil fuel development in their backyards. As the climate crisis deepens and coal, oil, and gas industry interest continue to eye Washington and Oregon for new projects, cities and counties are taking proactive steps to prevent this infrastructure from being allowed for in the first place. On January 28th, King County can be next. Councilmember Dave Upthegrove is set to introduce a moratorium on these harmful projects.

Working with 350 Seattle, WPSR has published a short report detailing the risks to health and safety they pose and the importance of land use planning to prevent these threats — with an eye to King County.

Dr. Margaret Kitchell, a physician on WPSR’s Climate & Health Task Force, speaks about the health and safety risks of fracked gas infrastructure and the Kalama methanol refinery..

Dr. Margaret Kitchell, a physician on WPSR’s Climate & Health Task Force, speaks about the health and safety risks of fracked gas infrastructure and the Kalama methanol refinery..

Physicians and health professionals are already seeing climate change harm their patients. Zoning out fossil fuel infrastructure protects communities from the safety threats of pipeline explosions, toxic air pollution, and other hazards. It’s also a growing part of the movement towards policy solutions that support the transition we know we need away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.

Called by the prevention principle, physicians and nurses have been a key voice in campaigns for fossil fuel infrastructure moratoriums in Tacoma, WA and Portland. Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility strongly encourages King County leaders to join the list of communities employing these powerful land use strategies to protect health and safety from these projects.