Last week, Jay Inslee—once again—threatened to pursue his extreme “green” agenda by executive order. The story starts with Inslee deciding to abandon draft rules for clean-water standards that have been under development by the state Department of Ecology (DOE) for the past several years. Inslee announced last year that he intended that the rules would be implemented – but also proposed legislation featuring a new set of regulations to reduce certain chemicals to appease some of his far-left friends.
Inslee claimed that the state lacks the “necessary broad approach to protecting our water in a way that advances human, environmental and economic health” without the accompanying legislation. But, of course that’s not true. According to a DOE official, the legislation is not necessary for the rules to move forward.
The reality is that Inslee failed to draw enough support from lawmakers to pass his unnecessary legislation out of the state Legislature—it’s a situation that our green governor should be accustomed to by now. Due to his failure to get his away through the normal process, Inslee decided to throw a fit of sorts—throwing years’ worth of work away without hesitation and making executive order threats.
This isn’t the first time Inslee has threatened to use an executive order to pass his extreme green agenda. And, unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last. This Throw Back Thursday, we’re taking a look back on two executive order threats Inslee has made pertaining to his fuel mandate and carbon reduction obsession.
Inslee first signaled his plans to impose a fuel mandate by executive order back in 2013 when he signed a climate change pact without legislative or public consultation. The pact—called the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC)— included the governors of California and Oregon, and the Premier of British Columbia. While the agreement is non-legally binding, it granted important insight into Inslee’s extreme green plans.
Throughout 2013 and early 2014, Inslee and his staff denied the existence of any plan to bypass the Legislature and impose a fuel mandate by executive order. At a January 2014 forum hosted by the Associated Press, Inslee claimed not to have made a decision concerning a fuel mandate. That proved to be false. Shift’s investigation—which discovered the true intention of the PCC agreement—forced Inslee to abandon his denials and tell the truth.
The Shift investigation revealed Inslee’s true intentions for his PCC agreement. Our green governor promised his partners that Washington State would establish a fuel mandate by “administrative rule” (a.k.a. an executive order) in “Q1 2015.” During the course of the 2015 legislative session, Inslee pushed to ensure the state Legislature did not block his ability to implement a fuel mandate by executive order (through the state Senate’s consumer protection provision). That, of course, didn’t work out in his favor.
Lawmakers agreed on a state transportation package that included the consumer protection provision, which would shift $2 billion in non-vehicular projects funding to roads if Inslee imposed a fuel mandate by executive order. Inslee could do nothing else but sign the package into law. But, even the threat of the consumer protection provision did not cool Inslee’s fuel mandate obsession.
Shortly after he signed the transportation package, news broke that Inslee was considering imposing a fuel mandate by executive order anyway. Spokesperson David Postman told the media that our green governor was “reviewing options” on his fuel mandate and discussing those options with “lawmakers, transit and bike advocates, seniors, environmentalists, business people and others.” The fact that Inslee was even considering moving forward with his fuel mandate and triggering the consumer protection provision sent various advocacy groups, including “green” organizations which pump millions into Inslee’s war-chest, into a tizzy over the possible loss of state funding.
Perhaps due to the pressure, Inslee decided to against pursuing his fuel mandate. Instead, he deflected his obsession onto… his cap-and-tax scheme.
Instead of jamming through his gas-price raising fuel mandate, our “green” governor is now opting to impose his cap-and-tax scheme—a scheme that his fellow Democrats would not even vote on in the state House—by executive order. By opting for a cap-and-tax approach rather than a fuel mandate, Inslee would avoid triggering the consumer protection.
During the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers from both parties largely ignored Inslee’s cap-and-tax scheme. Democrat state Rep. Judy Clibborn—chair of the House Transportation Committee—went as far as to call it a “non-starter.” Inslee begged—time and time again—for lawmakers to consider his scheme to no avail. So, he has decided to move forward on his “green” agenda with an executive order on his carbon reduction obsession, even after the failure of his cap-and-tax scheme to even get voted on in the state House this year.
Inslee’s new carbon rule must go through a year or more of development. And, it will face significant legal opposition. That’s in part because Inslee—simply put—cannot impose a cap-and-tax by executive order because he does not have the power to levy taxes. That’s the legislature’s job.
More than anything, Inslee executive order threats display his ineffective leadership. It is clear that Inslee is rushing to save face after his many legislative failures. And, he is such an ineffective leader that the only way he can pass his agenda is by forcing it on the state. So, that’s exactly what he is trying to do.
Inslee is our nation’s greenest governor, just not for the reasons he would like.