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Greg Nickels: Mayor, Seattle

Mayor Greg Nickels' first term has been marked by an ambitious agenda – and fortunately, environmental considerations have played an ever larger role in Nickels' plan. In fact, Seattle has been leading on regional and national environmental issues. Most notably, Nickels committed Seattle to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all public and private sources to the levels called for in international treaties (which President George Bush opposes). More than 170 other cities around the country have since made the same commitment.

Early in his term, Nickels expanded recycling for businesses and residents. He reduced subsidies for parking. He has proposed green building standards for new development, greater residential growth in Seattle to help reduce demand for sprawling development in rural areas, and impact fees on Seattle developers to pay for new parks in our urban cores. He has begun an initiative, Restore Our Waters, requiring city agencies to coordinate and expand efforts to improve water quality and habitat in creeks, lakes and in Puget Sound.

Cities play an astonishingly large role in confronting environmental challenges, and Greg Nickels has produced a refreshingly proactive response to some of our most serious ones.