King County OKs moratorium on major fossil-fuel facilities

SEATTLE (AP) — The King County Council has approved a six-month moratorium on building or expanding major fossil-fuel infrastructure, joining other local governments in the Northwest with similar measures that aim to use local zoning laws to restrict fossil-fuel pipelines, storage facilities and other infrastructure.

The Seattle Times reports that the ordinance was approved Monday. Introduced by Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, it disallows permitting for fossil-fuel projects in unincorporated King County.

It also directs the county executive’s office to produce a survey of existing facilities, study those facilities’ impacts on communities, analyze the existing regulations that apply to them, recommend changes to regulations and permitting, and evaluate county-owned facilities for health impacts.

The moratorium is fairly limited. The ordinance does not apply to gas stations or other fossil-fuel products sold directly to consumers.

It does not disallow existing infrastructure or directly address rail lines or pipelines, which are regulated by the federal government.