Seattle Comprehensive Plan  [Printer-friendly version]
March 5, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: Thanks to more than two years of hard work by
the Seattle Precautionary Principle Working Group, the Seattle
Comprehensive Plan has now been amended to include reference to the
precautionary principle.]

[Here is the new language of the Introduction to the Environment
Element of the Seattle Comprehensive Plan. Its origins can be found
in a white paper on precaution by the Seattle Precautionary
Principle Working Group.]

Environment Element of Seattle's Comprehensive Plan


Environmental stewardship is a core value of this Plan, and it plays
an integral role in guiding how the City accommodates growth and
provides services.

There are many ways the City can protect and improve the environment
while acting in its roles as a large employer, builder, land owner and
regulator. For example, the City can lead by its own behavior in
delivering services, operating its facilities and managing its land in
an environmentally sustainable manner.

When environmental goals compete with other City goals, such as those
related to economic development, the City is committed to giving just
consideration to the environmental goals to protect the functions that
natural systems can perform and to prevent harmful effects on human
health. The City will continue to engage the community about ways in
which the City can give consideration to the "precautionary
principle," which generally provides:

"Where threats of serious or irreversible harm to people or nature
exist, anticipatory action will be taken to prevent damages to human
and environmental health, even when full scientific certainty about
cause and effect is not available, with the intent of safeguarding the
quality of life of current and future generations."

This element of the Plan contains broad environmental goals and
policies. Some of the Plan's other elements include goals and policies
addressing how environmental values specifically relate to the topics
covered in those elements. For instance, the Land Use Element includes
policies governing development near environmentally critical areas
such as wetlands and stream corridors, and the Transportation Element
addresses possible environmental impacts and improvements associated
with transportation choices.