Presidential candidate Jay Inslee pushes most comprehensive climate plan, ending fossil fuel use
Governor Jay Inslee's Freedom From Fossil Fuels plan says it will "End Corporate Welfare, Hold Polluters Accountable and Transition the U.S. Economy Off of Fossil Fuels".
The plan, is a set of 16 initiatives to phase out fossil fuel extraction and export, banning all new fossil fuel production on public lands. The plan would ban the most destructive extraction practices such as mountaintop removal for coal and fracking of oil and gas.
In addition, Inslee would support a "Climate Pollution Fee", but it is unclear how similar his plan is to the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) "Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act" that a growing number of Congressional Representatives have signed on to.
To ease the transition and increase buy-in of those working in the industry, retraining of fossil fuel workers would be supported.
A particularly interesting aspect of Inslee's plan is a plan to force the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and land agencies to consider the climate impact before approval of pipelines and other fossil fuel expansion projects. Other candidates have neglected to be specific on plans to regulate the FERC, known to activists as the agency that "never met a pipeline it didn't like".
Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed a ban on fracking for natural gas and other fossil fuel restrictions. He has consistently stated that we must transition away from fossil fuels to a clean energy system.
Senator Elizabeth Warren has suggested a ban on drilling on public lands. After waiting in line to speak with the senator, I talked to her about the impact of pipelines on our health, safety and climate. I asked her if she would reform FERC and how. She responded, "you can count on me", with no further detail. To date, no plan to reform FERC has been proposed.
Inslee would ban all fossil fuel production federal lands on day one of his administration. He would create a Presidential Commission on Energy Transition with a plan for net zero carbon missions by 2045, with leaders from ten federal agencies such as the FERC and the EPA.
When Inslee's "Freedom From Fossil Fuels" plan hit the media, there was an immediate buzz and much anticipation about how it would play out in the first Democratic debate on June 26th. The ever-polite statesman did not seize the opportunity to jump into lively, if not adversarial, discussion on the debate stage, losing some of the momentum his plan had created.
Inslee has said from the start that he is running with climate action at the forefront of his campaign and has been true to that goal. In his final statement in the first night of Democratic debates he stated, “If you join me in that recognition of how important this is, we can have a unified national mission. We can save ourselves,” he said. “We can save our children. We can save our grandchildren. And we can save literally the life on this planet. This is our moment.”