Everyone knows that Jay Inslee failed to pass any of his extreme “green” policies out of the state Legislature this session. That reality has promoted the Seattle Times to question Inslee’s title of “greenest governor.” The Seattle Times points to Inslee’s failures to explain its doubt of Inslee’s title,
“Inslee proposed an ambitious set of policies to cut greenhouse gases, anchored by a California-like cap-and-trade system that would impose what amounted to a new tax on carbon emissions by refineries, fuel distributors and other industries. He also floated a new rule requiring cleaner-burning fuels to cut tailpipe pollution.
“But after more than six months and three special sessions, the Legislature adjourned without taking the kind of major climate action desired by Inslee and his environmentalist allies. Even some smaller asks were rejected, such as closure of an oil-refinery tax break.”
Inslee’s failures have not sat well with his extreme green supporters. Shift recently pointed out a blog entry on a far-left green website which lashes out at Inslee and his fellow Democrats for failing to pass a single extreme “green” policy. Indeed, the fact that House Democrats did not even bring Inslee’s cap-and-tax scheme to a vote and the fact that Democrat lawmakers and Inslee agreed to Senate Republicans’ consumer protection provision—what the left labeled a “poison pill”—as part of the transportation package, has infuriated extreme environmentalists.
In turn, Inslee is blaming Republicans for his failures. Attacking the party as the “stranglehold of the oil and gas industry,” Inslee is desperate to deflect criticism and win back the favor of extreme greenies. Of course, the reality is that Inslee could not muster enough support among members of his own party to pass his policies out of the Democrat-controlled state House.
Certainly, Inslee failed to exact his extreme green agenda this legislative cycle. But, that reality doesn’t strip him of his “greenest governor” title for two significant reasons.
First, Inslee’s “greenest governor” title is secure as long as he continues to fail at, well, being a governor. Inslee remains the “greenest governor” in the nation because—time and time again—he has proved to be an ineffective governor. In fact, it sometimes appears as though Inslee’s “greenness” is on constant display.
As Shift has pointed out, during the recent legislative session, Inslee persistently acted like a “player on the field” rather than a “referee-in-chief,” choosing his extreme priorities over the people’s essential business. In fact, long before the 2015 legislative session even began, Inslee sent a clear message via emails to his supporters based on one theme: partisanship.
Time and time again, Inslee chose to inject his hyper-partisan agenda (notably his extreme “green” policies) into the already partisan legislative environment. Inslee did not and has not governed. Rather, he has infused D.C.-style politics our state. Inslee has acted and continues to act as an obstructer, not as a “deal-maker-in-chief.”
Second, Inslee’s “greenest governor” title is secure because—no matter how many times it crashes—he remains obsessed with his extreme green agenda. Inslee has made his dedication to implementing a fuel mandate loud and clear.
In 2013, Inslee signed a climate reduction agreement with his partners in the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC), which include the governors of California and Oregon, and the British Columbia Premier. While the agreement is non-legally binding, it granted an important insight into Inslee’s extreme green plans.
A 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.” That’s why Inslee pushed to ensure the state Legislature does not block his ability to implement a fuel mandate by executive order (through the state Senate’s consumer protection provision) all session.
Though he was forced to concede and accept the consumer protection provision as part of the transportation package, Inslee has not given up on the idea of implementing a fuel mandate. The Seattle Times reports,
“Despite the poison-pill regulation, Inslee’s office has signaled he is still considering moving ahead on a low-carbon fuel standard. While that would trigger a shift in transit money, Inslee and his allies could gamble on a fight to restore the funding in a subsequent legislative session.”
In other words, Inslee is such a “green” governor that he is willing to sacrifice funding for transit if it means achieving his extreme green agenda. If Inslee does choose to move ahead with his fuel mandate, he will prove that he is a partisan player rather than a leader. He will prove that he cares more for his extreme agenda than anything else. He will prove that he really is our nation’s “greenest governor.”