fog.png
Sunday July 21st, 2019 7:32AM

Inslee eyes national climate fight, has struggled at home

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee kicked off his presidential campaign with a call for making the fight against climate change the nation's "first, foremost and paramount duty," and the former Democratic congressman says his long history as an advocate for the environment sets him apart from other candidates.

"This is a compelling passion of my life," Inslee said Friday after making his announcement at a Seattle-based solar panel installer. "I'm the only person who's been working on this, literally, for decades."

Inslee, who is in his second term, received national attention in 2017 for helping to launch the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors, after the Trump administration announced it would withdraw from the Paris climate accord. He has also pushed back against other White House environmental policies.

But his track record at home has been mixed. Major proposals such as cap-and-trade and a fee on carbon pollution never gained traction in the Legislature, and the carbon tax failed twice at the ballot box.

Greenhouse gas emissions spiked about 6.1 percent under his watch, from 2012 to 2015, in part because of increasing fossil-fuel-generated electricity and a booming economy, according to a January report from the state's Department of Ecology.

Inslee blames the setbacks on oil companies that spent tens of millions of dollars against the most recent ballot measure and Republicans who controlled the Senate for the first five years of his tenure.

But GOP Sen. John Braun, ranking Republican on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, notes that the House never moved on many of Inslee's key pieces in the years Democrats controlled that chamber.

"The governor loves to blame it on the other side, but the truth is he's had trouble building consensus on his own side," Braun said.

This year, the Washington Legislature is moving on measures that would advance Inslee's climate agenda. The same day he announced his presidential bid, the state Senate passed a bill that seeks to eliminate fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal from the state's electricity supply by 2045. Washington, which relies heavily on hydroelectric power, generates 75 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources. Inslee's proposal would require utilities in the state to eliminate coal as an energy source by 2025, with a goal of having all clean-energy sources by 2045.

Another major effort would implement a clean fuel standard — similar to a program in California — that requires fuel producers and importers to reduce the carbon emissions associated with transportation fuels.

"This is not easy sledding," Inslee said during a recent interview in his office in Olympia. "But the reality is climate change isn't going away."

Republicans have opposed the governor's latest plan, saying market incentives are a better plan than government mandates.

"I don't think there are any people out there who don't want a better environment," Braun said. "It's simply that most reasonable people think we should do it in a way that is sustainable."

Inslee, who was a champion for the clean-energy industry while in Congress and wrote a book on the topic, said a clean-energy economic-development plan dovetails with national discussions on jobs, public health and national security. His "Climate Mission Tour" starts Tuesday in Iowa.

Barry Rabe, a professor in the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan whose research examines climate and energy politics, said Inslee's consistency on the issue adds to his credibility on a national level. But "there's a big challenge, and that's matching his very strong concern and passionate rhetoric with his actual record on climate change in Washington state."

"It's really unusual to have a governor to declare for the presidency when he has a make-or-break year to deliver at home," Rabe said. "I think for him to be credible, he better be able to deliver on some major legislative advances when he's campaigning."

Inslee's optimism that this year may be different than previous years is because Democrats significantly increased their control of both chambers in the November election.

Up to this point, "the Legislature has failed to meet the challenge, there's no question about that," said Democratic Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, chairman of the House Environmental and Energy Committee.

In spite of that, Fitzgibbon said that Inslee has "raised the profile of this issue exactly the way I'd want a presidential candidate to do."

The governor's watch has included adoption of a clean energy company development fund, investments in electric cars and a charging system to support them, and a growing portfolio of renewable energy, including solar and wind.

His biggest move is currently in litigation. After failing to persuade state lawmakers to pass climate legislation, the governor directed state regulators in 2015 to use existing authority to limit carbon emissions from Washington's largest sources. The Department of Ecology approved the so-called Clean Air Rule in 2016 requiring refineries, fuel distributors and dozens of other major industrial emitters to reduce their carbon pollution.

The Association of Washington Business, several utilities and others sued the state that same year, arguing that the agency exceeded its authority. A Thurston County judge agreed and invalidated major parts of the rule. The state has appealed, and the state Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in the case March 19.

In December, an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that Democrats were driving an increase in the share of Americans who name the environment and climate change as an important issue for the government to work on in 2019. In an open-ended question, nearly a quarter of Americans overall (24 percent) listed environmental issues among the top five priorities for the government in 2019, up from 18 percent who listed the issue as a priority for 2018.

Inslee said the devastation of last year's wildfires and hurricanes increased the urgency people feel about climate change.

"This used to be something people thought was 50 years from now," he said. "It's today, and it's in their lives."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP Business, AP Elections - Campaigns, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
23 dead, dozens missing in tornado-blasted Alabama community
Rescuers are searching for victims after a tornado ripped through the rural Alabama community of Beauregard and killed at least 23 people
4:01PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Trump eases restrictions for vets to be Merchant Mariners
President Donald Trump is making it easier for active-duty service members and veterans to find civilian jobs by becoming U.S. Merchant Mariners
3:46PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Justices: Nebraska county owes $28M for wrongful convictions
The Supreme Court is rejecting an appeal from a Nebraska county that has to pay a $28 million court judgment to six people wrongfully convicted for a 1985 slaying
3:46PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Putin suspends Russia's obligations under 1987 nuclear pact
President Vladimir Putin has suspended Russia's participation in a key nuclear arms treaty following the U.S. withdrawal
3:13PM ( 52 minutes ago )
House Democrats launch aggressive new Trump probe
The House Judiciary Committee is launching a sweeping new probe of President Donald Trump, his White House, his campaign and his businesses
3:10PM ( 55 minutes ago )
New US House election in NC to be held on Sept. 10
North Carolina officials set a Sept. 10 date for a new election for the nation's last unresolved congressional race after the November results were thrown out over concerns of ballot tampering
3:06PM ( 59 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Estonia's political landscape reshaped by far-right party
Tiny Estonia has become the latest European country with a political landscape reshaped by a populist party promising to be the bulwark for national survival in an age of globalism, a development noted in light of European Union parliament elections
1:04PM ( 3 hours ago )
McConnell: Enough Senate votes to reject Trump's wall move
The Senate's Republican leader says opponents of President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration at the Mexican border have enough Senate votes to prevail on a resolution aimed at blocking the move
12:59PM ( 3 hours ago )
House Judiciary panel launches sweeping Trump probe
The House Judiciary Committee is launching a sweeping new probe of President Donald Trump, his White House, his campaign and his businesses
12:03PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Spielberg's push against Netflix at the Oscars hits a nerve
Spielberg's push against Netflix at the Oscars hits a cultural nerve and reignites the streaming versus theatrical debate
12:30PM ( 3 hours ago )
N Carolina elections board to set date for US House election
North Carolina's elections board is expected to set a date for voters to decide who will fill a congressional seat still vacant after November's result was tainted by ballot fraud concerns
10:30AM ( 5 hours ago )
Bill Clinton has 2020 advice, but few candidates seeking it
Former President Bill Clinton is taking meetings with some Democrats running for the White House, but the early front-runners and the women have stayed away
9:29AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Elections
Bill Clinton has 2020 advice; few candidates are seeking it
Former President Bill Clinton is taking meetings with some Democrats running for the White House, but the early front-runners and the women have stayed away
3:30AM ( 12 hours ago )
On Selma anniversary, Booker calls for new fight for justice
Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker says anniversary of infamous "Bloody Sunday" attack is a time to recommit to fight for justice
12:56AM ( 15 hours ago )
The Latest: Sanders says much work to do for civil rights
Sanders says it's "incomprehensible" that people of color and poor people are still fighting for voting rights
12:49AM ( 15 hours ago )
General Presidential Election News
Stocks slide as investors wait for details on trade talks
Health care companies are leading a broad slide on Wall Street as investors wait for more details on reports that the U.S. and China are moving closer to a deal to resolve their costly trade dispute
3:07PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Trump symbolically tightens embargo on Cuba
The Trump administration is tightening the six-decade trade embargo on Cuba by allowing lawsuits against Cuban companies using properties confiscated after its 1959 revolution
2:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
OxyContin maker: Lawsuit distorts facts, scapegoats company
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma is asking a Massachusetts court to throw out a lawsuit filed by the state's attorney general that accuses the company, its owners and top executives of deceiving patients and doctors about the risks of opioids
1:58PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Hungary's leader calls EU parliament critics 'useful idiots'
Hungary's populist prime minister says members of a European Parliament group calling for his party's expulsion are playing into the hands of left-wing opponents
6:55PM ( 21 hours ago )
Hungary's Orban: European party opponents 'useful idiots'
Hungary's populist prime minister says members of a European Parliament group calling for his party's expulsion are playing into the hands of left-wing opponents
2:14PM ( 1 day ago )
Sanders returns to NY roots, says he can defeat Trump
Bernie Sanders has kicked off his presidential campaign _ miles from the rent-controlled apartment where he grew up in Brooklyn
2:28AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Stocks fall as investors wait for details on trade talks
Stocks edge lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street as investors wait for more details about trade talks between the U.S. and China
12:16PM ( 3 hours ago )
As hope grows for China trade deal, US stocks edge higher
US stocks are edging higher in morning trading over optimism for US-China trade deal
10:57AM ( 5 hours ago )
Hope for US-China deal pushes stocks higher
US stocks move broadly higher in early trading over optimism for US-China trade deal
10:06AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Washington Gov. Inslee focuses on climate change in 2020 bid
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is launching his bid for president, joining a growing Democratic presidential field
5:03PM ( 2 days ago )
Grounded ship leaks 80 tons of oil near Pacific UNESCO site
Australian officials say an environmental disaster is unfolding in the Solomon Islands after a large ship ran aground and began leaking oil next to a UNESCO World Heritage site
12:36AM ( 3 days ago )
PG&E: Company equipment 'probable' cause of California fire
Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. is inching closer to taking responsibility for the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century
6:42PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Trump eases restrictions for vets to be Merchant Mariners
President Donald Trump is making it easier for active-duty service members and veterans to find civilian jobs by becoming U.S. Merchant Mariners
3:46PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Justices: Nebraska county owes $28M for wrongful convictions
The Supreme Court is rejecting an appeal from a Nebraska county that has to pay a $28 million court judgment to six people wrongfully convicted for a 1985 slaying
3:46PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Oregon man snowed in with taco sauce grateful for rescue
An Oregon man who had only taco sauce and melted snow to eat while he was snowed in for five days with his dog says he's grateful to his rescuer and sorry to have caused so much trouble
3:31PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Fast food at White House for North Dakota football champs
It's fast food at the White House again, this time for North Dakota State football champs
3:25PM ( 40 minutes ago )
FBI: Meticulous work links deadly bomb to California suspect
Authorities say a California man was arrested in an explosion that killed his ex-girlfriend last year after authorities painstakingly analyzed remnants of a bomb and traced them to the suspect, his home and car.
3:21PM ( 43 minutes ago )