- The Washington Times - Monday, July 29, 2019

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday unveiled the latest plank in his climate change agenda, vowing to emphasize “community climate justice” as a central governing philosophy in his administration.

Mr. Inslee would seek to screen new federal spending for its effects on climate and pollution, and work to make sure at least 40% of new federal spending on clean energy goes to “front-line” communities most affected by climate change, among other priorities.

“We know that the communities who are being hurt first, and who will be hurt worst, by climate change are low-income communities and communities of color,” said Mr. Inslee, who has made combating climate change a central theme of his presidential campaign.

Economic and environmental “justice” are also major priorities of the Green New Deal to tackle climate change that’s being pushed by liberals in Congress.

Building on programs in states like Washington, Mr. Inslee wants to implement an “equity screen” on major federal spending, using special mapping to track pollution hotspots and “environmental health disparities” in order to color public policy decisions.



He also wants to direct federal agencies to examine “historic patterns of racial discrimination and environmental racism,” and transform the White House Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) into a Council on Environmental Justice (CEJ) that would center federal environmental policy around “equity, justice, and inclusion.”

His plan calls for at least 40% of federal investments in clean energy initiatives, or at least $1.2 trillion, to go toward “front-line” communities “experiencing the greatest environmental burden, economic inequality, and climate change impacts — so frequently communities of color.”

Mr. Inslee had already said he wants to establish a new office of environmental justice within the Justice Department, and his plan said his administration would “ensure polluters pay for and are held fully accountable” for their actions.

He also proposed setting up a “universal clean energy service fund” to help defray families’ energy bill costs as the country shifts to “clean” electricity under his plan.

Mr. Inslee is scheduled to appear in Michigan on Monday, ahead of the Democratic National Committee’s presidential debate in Detroit on Tuesday and Wednesday.

He has failed to catch fire in public polling on the 2020 race, though many candidates have taken his cue on climate change to roll out and champion their own policies on the issue.

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