Governor Jay Inslee Rolls Out More Climate Policy

Photo: Susan Walsh, AP

When it comes to climate policy, Governor Jay Inslee already has a plan to address nearly every element of the climate crisis, but on Monday he rolled out a new one — this time aimed at creating “Freedom from Fossil Fuels” by ending corporate welfare, holding polluters accountable, and transitioning the U.S. economy off fossil fuels.  Monday’s plan provided greater clarity on some issues like training for displaced fossil fuel workers and enforcing current environmental laws, and added proposals on a carbon or “climate pollution” fee, banning oil and gas development on public lands and oceans, and banning destructive practices like fracking and mountaintop removal mining.

Why This Matters: Going into the debate and beyond, Governor Inslee has raised the bar on climate crisis policy proposals.  When examining all the candidates’ proposals, the only prominent elements that we have not noted in Inslee’s various position papers are a that his plans do not deal with the impacts of climate change on military installations and readiness, and they do not specifically target the health impacts of climate change.  These two climate issues are important.  For example, yesterday nearly 100 medical and public health groups wrote an open letter calling on elected officials and candidates to commit to an agenda to combat climate change calling it the “greatest public health challenge of the 21st century.”  Nevertheless, Inslee’s detailed policy proposals are the most comprehensive and detailed of all the candidates and if implemented would likely address most health impacts of climate change and would address the underlying conditions that threaten our military installations and readiness.

The Inslee Freedom Plan Has Five Planks.

  • End Fossil Fuel Subsidies: “the first rule in defeating climate change is to stop giving special breaks to fossil fuel corporations whose pollution is responsible for driving global climate change.”
  • Ban New Federal Leasing and Phase Out Fossil Fuel Production:  “Under the failed leadership of President Trump, America is on pace to expand the extraction of oil and gas four times faster than any other country in the world, representing 60 percent of global production growth.” On Day1, he will ban all new fossil fuel leasing on federal lands and offshore waters, including coal, oil, gas, oil shale, and tar sands.
  • Hold Polluters Accountable: the “Plan supports a range of new and enhanced environmental standards, fees, and enforcement to address damages from climate change and other ongoing liabilities from our fossil fuel dependence, such as oil spills, decommissioning of coal plants, eliminating fugitive methane emissions from fracked gas wells, and more.”
  • Reject New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure:  “invest only in climate-safe infrastructure that does not contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution that is driving the climate crisis, and fund only resilient or climate-smart infrastructure that is not unduly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.”
  • Improve Corporate Climate Transparency: “hundreds of the world’s largest corporations lack transparency as to their environmental impacts. Without proper incentives and appropriate market structures, corporations could fail to shift their own investments with the scale, speed, and awareness that is necessary.  The U.S. federal government must play an active role in increasing responsible and accountable corporate behavior…”

Here is our updated Cheat Sheet for night 1 — Inslee’s new plan is reflected in this.  We will continue to update these as we get more information and/or candidates issue new plans or make new statements.

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