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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

Gregoire: Protests, what protests?

Gov. Chris Gregoire said today she's checked out some energy-efficient cars while at the climate sumitt in Denmark, talked up Washington state with "green" manufacurers, had meetings with other governors and provincial premiers and spent time assuring delegates from around the world that things are happening in the United States to address climate change.

She got a chance to watch reports of the maiden flight of the Boeing 787 on Danish television, and  while she didn't understand what the newscaster was saying, the video looked good. 

But she hasn't seen any of the protests, which is part of the coverage  many Americans are getting seeing from the UN Climate Summit in Copenagen.

"It's sad that's the representations we're left with. I have not seen any of the disruptions," Gregoire said in a telephone press conference.

Although she's been told Danish security is respectful of free speech rights, she described their reaction to protests as anything but: They'll round up 700 protesters, let 699 go the next day and just cite one.

"Nothing gets started. They take immediate action," she said.

Gregoire's trip to Denmark isn't coming out of Washington state's distressed budget. The tab is being covered by the Georgetown Climate Center, which is also trying to arrange for carbon credits to cover the "climate cost" of the travel, Chris Coil, a center spokesman, said.

Gregoire and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle's trip were sponsored by the center in an effort to show the United States is doing something about climate change, even though the previous administration and recent Congresses have dissed the Kyoto accords. Gregoire was chosen for her work in getting Western states and Canadian provinces to take on climate change issues, Coil lsaid.

The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.