By Simon Thomas
Western Washington University hosted an Energy Symposium where Gov. Jay Inslee gave a speech about regulating pollution, developing new ways to create and store renewable energy and his goals for the future of transportation in Washington.
In attendance, were representatives from Boeing, Alaska Airlines, PACCAR, and other businesses, as well as John Creighton, the Seattle Port Commissioner.
Out of the 160 seats available, about half were taken by students and faculty from the Institute of Energy Studies at Western, who were allowed to ask the governor questions after he spoke.
Gov. Inslee spoke for about 25 minutes and answered student questions regarding the need for change in policy, as well as the possibilities of new, cleaner sources of energy.
Gov. Inslee also addressed the recent controversy about Washington’s Clean Air Rule, which puts a cap on carbon emissions, while talking about the direction our country is heading in conservation.
“We have, today, a limitation on the amount of carbon dioxide that comes from our largest polluting industries in the State of Washington. We’re being sued on this, but guess what, science is on our side, the law is on our side, economics is on our side, and the ability for our grandkids to have a beautiful Washington State is on our side,” Gov. Inslee said.
The governor failed to win support in the legislature for a bipartisan agreement regarding the Clean Air Rule in 2016, but he made an executive order to go through with it. After the rule was adopted, a coalition of employer groups led by the Association of Washington Business filed a lawsuit challenging the rule.
Some lawmakers are still pushing for a carbon tax in this state, to reduce carbon emissions further, even though the bid was rejected last year.
Stressing on the necessity not to stand by and wait for federal laws to pass, Gov. Inslee believes we must learn how to regulate ourselves as a state, and should be more progressive in our efforts to reduce energy usage.
“We are not waiting to win the battle in D.C., we are doing it right here in Washington State,” Gov. Inslee said.
The governor described our atmosphere as the free dumping zone for the coal industry, and even though he claimed to speak from a non-partisan standpoint, he made it clear how he felt about the conservative view on clean energy laws.
“We need legislators who understand climate change,” Gov. Inslee said.
The governor said President Trump is wrong to not want regulations on pollution.
In 2007, Gov. Inslee wrote a book titled “Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy,” where he writes about the necessity for policies and laws that are being pushed for in the U.S. government today.
Gov. Inslee emphasized the necessity for young people to be passionate about climate change, and how students doing research should not be afraid to share that research with their legislator.
“You guys are my heroes,” he told the students in the audience. He thanked them, and encouraged them to continue their research.
Gov. Inslee made his goals to improve the environment clear. He wants Washington State to have a tax on pollution, increase research grants for students, and to increase the amount of electric cars in this state by 50,000.
After Gov. Inslee spoke, each business got a chance to explain the most recent technological advancements they have been developing in the transportation industry.
From electric 18-wheelers to biofuel powered planes, the most innovative and modern advancements were shared with those in attendance for the rest of the afternoon.