- The Washington Times - Monday, June 24, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Jay Inslee on Monday unveiled a broad plan aimed at winding down fossil fuel production by taking on “corporate polluters” and imposing a new “Climate Pollution Fee” on those who don’t comply with new standards, among other priorities.

Mr. Inslee wants to immediately end federal tax subsidies for oil, gas and coal companies; ban new fossil fuel leasing on federal lands and offshore waters; and end “low-cost, non-competitive leasing practices for coal extraction.”

Mr. Inslee said “fossil fuel corporations” “have polluted our air, our water, with impunity, raking in huge profits, all while taking huge subsidies from our federal government.”

“The gravy train is over,” he said, saying his plan “will finally hold these corporations accountable for their pollution, wind down their production, and take away their sweetheart deals.”

The proposal is the latest plank of the Washington governor’s climate change agenda, which he has made the central focus of his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

He would also seek to end U.S. financing for overseas fossil fuel projects and work with Congress to impose a nationwide ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as well as a permanent ban on fossil fuel leasing on public lands and coastal areas.

Mr. Inslee would also work with Congress to impose a new “climate pollution fee” on emissions, with the money going to help “frontline and low-income communities” address impacts of “climate disasters,” as well as to fund environmental quality protections and economic development.

The plan would also impose a “carbon duty” on imports from countries who haven’t committed to implementing their own climate plans along the lines of the Paris Agreement.

The plan also entails “aggressive enforcement” of the Clean Air Act, and rejects any proposal to limit companies’ legal liabilities for “climate damages that their pollution has caused.”

Mr. Inslee would also establish an “Office of Environmental Justice” within the Justice Department “to hold offenders fully accountable under maximum application of federal law.”

“This includes the aggressive pursuit of maximum civil and criminal penalties under environmental law — in particular against repeat offenders,” his plan says. “The Inslee Administration will ensure polluters pay for their actions, and will not hesitate to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”

Mr. Inslee would also establish a special presidential commission focused on phasing out fossil fuel production across the country, and change the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy into the “Office of Industrial Decarbonization.”

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