West Coast leaders convey climate concerns

Governor Jay Inslee along with mayors and governors from various West Coast cities and states came together and addressed the General Body at the United Nations to talk about climate change – specifically in opposition to President Trump’s Executive Order which includes directives to withdraw and rewrite the Clean Power Plan.

Gov. Inslee has led aggressive action in Washington state to reduce carbon pollution and deploy clean energy solutions. Last year, Washington adopted a first-of-its-kind Clean Air Rule which limits carbon pollution from the state’s largest sources.

Inslee also worked with the Washington state legislature to create a Clean Energy Fund. The fund includes $76 million to deploy renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grid and other clean energy solutions alongside utility companies and the private sector.

“Our destiny is to use our human powers of innovation, genius, creativity and technological ability to build a clean energy economy, and the inevitable opportunities for prosperity that follow from those developments,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in front of the U.N. panel. “We know that mankind did not cross the millions of years from the first stone ax to the first lunar landing, only to destroy the natural systems and the climate that form the very foundation of our societies and our world. We know that such a bitter end cannot be our destiny.”

A joint statement from the West Coast representatives followed Gov. Inslee’s speech:

“As the governors of Washington, Oregon and California and the mayors of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles, we speak today in unified opposition to President Trump’s Executive Order withdraw and rewrite the Clean Power Plan. We won’t let the president’s misguided decision limit our region’s economic opportunities or our commitment to doing what’s right to make our cities and states cleaner and healthier for future generations.

This Order moves our nation in the wrong direction and puts American prosperity at risk. We will assert our own 21st century leadership and chart a different course. Climate change is one of our greatest threats, from more wildfires threatening our homes and communities to ocean acidification rocking our shellfish industry to drought hurting our farmers. Too much is at stake – from our health and safety to our jobs and livelihoods – for us to move backwards.

We will honor our commitments to our communities to do what’s right to keep our residents safe, secure, healthy and prosperous as we accelerate our clean energy economy and put the interest of our people before those of big polluters. We will continue to invest in clean energy that creates local jobs and keeps utility bills low, and we will electrify transportation to provide convenient, safe, and affordable ways to get around our cities, and make our neighborhoods healthy and vibrant.

Our cities and states will continue to assert our leadership and position our region for economic success. We urge states, cities and businesses from across the country to join us in leading and re-affirming our commitment to cut carbon emissions and reverse the damaging impacts to our communities of unfettered pollution.”

The joint statement included signatures from Gov. Jay Inslee, as well as signatures from California Governor Jerry Brown, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

The Environmental Protection Agency itself is facing a tough future. President Trump has proposed cutting the EPA budget by 31 percent. An analysis by Gov. Jay Inslee’s office found that the entirety of Puget Sound’s funding would disappear under the White House proposal.

“Today more than ever those powers of innovation are pivotal in our ability to save my state from the mortal threats we are now experiencing,” Inslee said. “Unbelievable forest fires we have never experienced. Unprecedented drought. Ocean acidification that has made it difficult for our shellfish industry to even grow baby oysters… And we refuse to resign ourselves to that state beyond repair.”