Inslee hits O'Rourke: 'He did not lead on climate change in Congress'

Inslee hits O'Rourke: 'He did not lead on climate change in Congress'
© Greg Nash

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOvernight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum Yang floats nominating Inslee as 'climate czar' The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate MORE criticized his fellow Democratic presidential candidate, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, on Monday, saying O’Rourke “did not lead” on climate change as a member of Congress.

"Climate change will be the top issue in this primary, and it's good news that Democratic candidates are putting forward ideas on the issue,” said Inslee, who has made climate change the central issue of his campaign. “But, voters have a right to look closely at Democratic candidates' plans to separate rhetoric from results on climate change.”

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Inslee released the statement in response to a $5 trillion climate change plan O’Rourke issued Monday, in which he called for efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, as well as updates to infrastructure and investments in climate sustainability in local communities.

The plan, the Inslee campaign wrote, contains several policy initiatives Inslee undertook as governor, including expansion of zero-emission vehicles, hydrofluorocarbon restrictions and accelerated clean energy deployment.

"Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Fox's Ed Henry to Trump: 'Are you willing to stand up to the NRA?' Sanders, Yang to miss CNN's town hall on LGBTQ issues MORE will need to answer why he did not lead on climate change in Congress and why he voted on the side of oil companies to open up offshore drilling,” the Inslee campaign wrote. “We look forward to a climate debate — where voters will have the opportunity to hear about which candidates have a strong, extensive record of fighting climate change and which candidates have a record of siding with fossil fuel companies."

O’Rourke has declined to sign a pledge refusing donations from oil companies, and has taken heat over his 2015 vote to lift the ban on exporting oil.