Connecting state and local government leaders

Fight Brews Between West Coast States and Trump Over Climate Policies

Rudy Beach on the coast of Washington state.

Rudy Beach on the coast of Washington state. Shutterstock

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

“To have a president who will in the next few days, or weeks, announce he intends to roll back our efforts to fight climate change is unacceptable,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said this weekend.

The Democratic governors of Oregon and Washington pledged Saturday to fight moves by President Trump that they see as threatening the environment or undermining policies meant to curtail climate change.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington indicated that legal action on this front would be an option. Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown made their comments at a news conference in Seattle. It’s widely expected Trump will act to reverse climate policies enacted under the Obama administration, including the Clean Power Plan--which is aimed at curbing power plant emissions.

According to news reports, the president may seek to lift a suspension on new coal mining leases on federal lands as well.

“To have a president who will in the next few days, or weeks, announce he intends to roll back our efforts to fight climate change is unacceptable,” Inslee said.

Trump also proposed in a budget blueprint issued earlier this month to slash 31 percent from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s budget.

On Wednesday, Inslee, Brown, California Gov. Jerry Brown, who is also a Democrat, and mayors from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle and Portland, Oregon released a joint statement in support of the Clean Power Plan.

“We’re going to have to see what he proposes,” Inslee said of Trump on Saturday.

“But I can tell you that if we have the legal right to prevent [the president] from rolling back protections against pollution,” he added, “we will exercise it.”

During her comments, Brown alluded to drought conditions and wildfires in Oregon during her time in office.

She also said a regional approach on climate and environmental issues was important. “For a small state like Oregon, we get more bang out of our buck by partnering with other states,” Brown said.

Washington was one of the states that led-up a legal battle against executive action Trump took in January to restrict travelers from seven largely Muslim nations from entering the U.S. After key components of the directive were blocked in federal court, Trump issued a new order earlier this month that now faces court challenges of its own.

West Coast governors also criticized a House GOP plan, backed by the White House, to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare. On Friday, the legislation collapsed, with Republicans unable to muster enough votes to get it through the House.

Referring to Trump, Inslee said: “He saw some fights on the travel ban.” And on the Affordable Care Act repeal attempt, the governor noted. “But,” Inslee added, “he hasn’t seen anything yet.”

Bill Lucia is a Senior Reporter for Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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