- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 16, 2019

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who is making climate change a central focus of his 2020 presidential run, on Thursday unveiled an economic plan geared toward clean energy his campaign says would create 8 million jobs and spur $9 trillion in investments.

“This plan is built on our successes in Washington state, where we have passed strong clean energy laws and we have the fastest-growing economy in the nation,” Mr. Inslee said. “We need to rebuild the middle class with strong union jobs, while making the investments needed to power America’s clean energy transformation.”

The plan envisions using $3 trillion in federal spending to generate roughly $6 trillion in additional investments.

It features initiatives like a $90 billion “Green Bank” devoted to clean energy initiatives, a doubling of investments in public transit, new investments in energy and climate research, and a “G.I Bill”-like program for workers and communities reliant on fossil fuels.

Mr. Inslee’s campaign said the new proposal is one plank of his climate agenda, which is aimed at putting the United States on a path to achieve “net-zero” climate pollution before 2045. His campaign said the proposals outlined Thursday would help meet new energy standards for vehicles and buildings he had rolled out last month.

Environmental and climate change issues are emerging as major battle lines in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, amid pressure from the left to get candidates to support the “Green New Deal” to cut carbon emissions that is being pushed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has defended his record on environmental issues in recent days after Ms. Ocasio-Cortez took an implicit swipe at him this week in the wake of a report that said he was eyeing a “middle ground” on climate policy.

“If you start your assessment that you have to be moderate or be in the middle ground, you’re going to leave people in the flood[s] seeking high ground in Iowa, which is happening today,” Mr. Inslee said at an event outside a water treatment plant in Washington, D.C.

But Mr. Inslee also said he would await more details from Mr. Biden, who said he’ll deliver a more detailed speech on the topic this month.

“I was concerned, like most everyone was, [about] the comments coming out of his campaign,” the governor said. “But I will reserve judgment until we see what Joe Biden actually proposes, and I will wait and see if he can match the commitments that I have made to the American people. If he does that, I think it will be a great day for the Democratic party.”

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