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Inslee’s bold climate plan addresses ‘common good’

johnson-jeff-13SEATTLE (Dec. 18, 2014) — Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, introduced Gov. Jay Inslee at Wednesday’s press event unveiling the governor’s set of proposals to transition Washington to cleaner sources of energy and meet carbon pollution limits adopted by the State Legislature in 2008. Here are Johnson’s remarks from that event:

On behalf of the labor movement, I am proud to be here today at the unveiling of a bold, positive, and historic proposal that addresses not “special” interests, but the common good.

I am proud to be here with a man who wakes up every day, thinking about how we make the state a better place for our children and our grandchildren to live.

I am proud to be here with a leader who focuses on how we actively transform the crisis of climate change into opportunities to create a just, healthy, and environmentally sustainable economy.

And I am proud to be here with a governor who challenges us to face the reality of climate change by doing our part in lowering our carbon emissions while creating tens of thousands of family wage jobs in repairing our failing physical and social infrastructure, incentivizing the growth of the new energy economy, and by tackling extreme inequality by protecting people and communities who are most adversely impacted by climate change but whom had the least to do with causing the problem.

A good friend and mentor of mine once said: “Every problem was once a solution.”

Governor Inslee’s proposal today deals honestly and directly with a problem that for 150 years was viewed as the solution. Pollution — or externalities as economists like to characterize it — was the unassigned and unaccountable cost of economic growth.

With the support of working people, environmentalists, our communities, and business — we can stop this today!

Governor Inslee’s proposal challenges the status quo by putting a price on carbon, putting a price on pollution, and creating a jumping off place for creating economic growth that is more sustainable, more equitable, more accountable, and creates healthier communities.

It is my pleasure and honor to introduce the Governor of the state of Washington, Jay Inslee.

Here is some of the press coverage of the event from today’s newspapers.

► In today’s Olympian — Inslee proposes a carbon-pollution cap and trade system to raise $1 billion a year — The governor’s package includes plans to spend $380 million of that new revenue on K-12 public schools. Another $400 million would pay for transportation projects rather than relying on a gas tax increase, and about $163.5 million is earmarked to assist low-income families and energy-intensive industries that are hurt by higher fuel costs.

ericksen-doug► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Whatcom senator stands in the way of Inslee’s cap-and-trade climate proposal — Whatcom County industries are likely targets of Gov. Jay Inslee’s ambitious cap-and-trade proposal that would require the state’s largest polluters to pay for every ton of carbon they release. That list of polluters is sure to include BP Cherry Point refinery, Phillips 66 Refinery and Alcoa Intalco Works… If Inslee’s legislation is to become law, it needs the approval of Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale), chairman of the Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee. In two years as committee chair, Ericksen has blocked environmental legislation favored by Democrats.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Inslee carbon tax plan would help complete North Spokane freeway — The proposal, which also would pay for a significant portion of the remaining work needed to complete the North Spokane freeway, was part of a broader package that the Democrat said would help the state meet a 2008 mandate to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

inslee-jay-presser► In the Seattle Times — Finally, Inslee’s big moment (by Danny Westneat) — This, right now, is Inslee’s “go big or go home” moment. All this week Inslee is rolling out his budget, but it goes well beyond the usual fiscal tinkering. For instance, after years of recession he’s proposing a major ramp-up in education spending — the largest percentage shift upward in education’s share of the state budget in decades. What’s really different is what’s at the core of it all. It’s the Full Inslee: A plan to pay for ambitious expansions in government programs by charging the state’s 130 largest air polluters for the carbon they emit.


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