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Spin Control

Inslee calls McMorris Rodgers, Newhouse ‘climate deniers’

OLYMPIA -- Eastern Washington's Republican members of Congress should stop being "climate deniers" and work harder to reauthorize a key financing mechanism for international trade that helps the state, Gov. Jay Inslee said today.
 
The Democratic governor shot back at Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse, who two weeks ago wrote to Inslee that his efforts to reduce carbon pollution "do not align with pro-growth policies." The letter from the two House members came as Inslee was preparing to leave for a trade mission to South Korea and Japan, and said they appreciated his efforts to boost trade.
 
That prompted Inslee to write back, and bring up an issue that has Washington Republicans in a bind between their most conservative colleagues in their caucus and trade-dependent businesses in the state: the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which helps fund some foreign trade deals.
 
"I was disappointed but not surprised to see you echo climate deniers in arguing against action on carbon pollution," Inslee wrote in a letter dated today. "But I was surprised to see you express support for increasing international commerce as a priority, given that your party now controls both chambers of Congress and yet your House Republican caucus is blocking reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank." 
 
Inslee has long been an advocate of increased government measures to reduce carbon emissions, and proposed a carbon tax as an alternative to an increase in the gasoline tax to help pay for new transportation projects. That proposal didn't pass either house in the Legislature and the final transportation package carried language that said the state couldn't enact any new rules on carbon pollution without legislative approval. Inslee later asked the Department of Ecology to explore rules that would be within existing laws.
 
Increased carbon pollution is contributing to a wide range of environmental problems, Inslee contends, from higher acid levels in the oceans to warmer, drier weather patterns.  Washington has already made great strides in reducing pollution, the two representatives wrote, and new requirements could have high costs but low returns.
 
In his letter, Inslee doesn't detail his well-known views on carbon pollution's contribution to global climate change. Instead he focuses on the point of agreement between them, that increased foreign trade is a key source of jobs in Washington, then jabs them over delays in reauthorizing the bank. The sale of two Boeing jets has been delayed because financing isn't available through the bank, he wrote.
 
"The Ex-Im Bank provides support to hundreds of Washington businesses and tens of thousands of Washington jobs. . . including in both of your districts," he wrote. "On behalf of your state, I urge you to focus your energies on removing the road blocks that your caucus has needlessly placed in the way of the continued growth of Washington exports." 


Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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