Former Seattle City Council member Peter Steinbrueck, who's a paid consultant for the Port on the arena, had an intriguing suggestion at our forum on the proposal (where he was speaking as a private citizen, with the caveat that he does work for the Port). He said the arena proposal should have to undergo a carbon impact study to determine what the impact of all those new cars---up to 6,000 for a "banner" event, according to the Port---will have on the city's carbon footprint.

We asked Steinbrueck if he thinks the coal train plan—16 to 18 1trains loaded with coal headed for Asia every day—should have to submit to a carbon study as well. He said: "Certainly an important issue, but the Port has not made an official declaration of carbon neutrality, and is not proposing to introduce 1,000,000 more vehicle trips into and out of Seattle." (We asked Port Commissioner Tom Albro about this same issue; Josh will have a post on the Port's position on the coal trains shortly.)

Steinbrueck's "1 million vehicle trips" is a reference to the 700,000 (or 1 million, if the Sonics make the playoffs) trips in and out of the city annually, according to Hansen's own study, the Port says. That number is based on the assumption that there will be between 71 and 100 events in SoDo drawing between 5,000 and 6,000 cars.

Contacted by phone, Steinbrueck said he personally supports a carbon study analysis any big project in the city, not just for the arena. As a city council member, he says, he sponsored legislation that would have required just that. "If it's a pollutant like any other pollutant, why isn't it regulated?" Steinbrueck says. "I think every major project should be analyzed for its impact on carbon emissions."

And---speaking, again, for himself and not the Port---he says he personally believes coal trains shouldn't be allowed to pass through the city, because they create pollution and block traffic.

Steinbrueck says environmental advocates on the current city council, like arena fan Mike O'Brien, should be pushing for a carbon analysis of the arena proposal. O'Brien has not yet returned a call seeking comment on Steinbrueck's suggestion.
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