Greenhouse Gas Inventory----State & Local Governments Want to Know Your Project's Carbon Footprint


A June 2007 Executive Order issued by King County Executive Ron Sims requiring all public and private development projects to quantify greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions during project review under Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act (“SEPA”) became effective on

October 15, 2007. As part of the implementation of this new requirement, King County released a revised SEPA checklist ( and new SEPA GHG Emissions Worksheet ( xls) to assist developers in calculating their projects’ GHG emissions. Currently, King County does not expressly require mitigation of GHG emissions as part of the SEPA process, but such requirements are not far behind. Representatives from the County have suggested they will be using the Comprehensive Plan update process to develop mitigation requirements, which is anticipated to be released in late 2008.

King County provides some guidance regarding its new GHG calculation requirement in the recently released Information Bulletin #26 (

regarding the SEPA process. The Bulletin warns that climate change impacts are not limited to automobile trips generated by a project. It suggests that development can contribute to climate change in the following ways:

• The manufacture and transportation of materials used in construction;

• The use of machinery during construction that burns gasoline and diesel;

• The use of energy to heat and light completed structures;

• The use of gasoline and diesel for transportation of people and goods to and from the development.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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