Inslee unveils plan to fight fossil fuel pollution, ban fracking

Inslee unveils plan to fight fossil fuel pollution, ban fracking

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a 2020 presidential candidate, unveiled on Monday his plan for tackling fossil fuel pollution, including ending subsidies for oil and gas companies and phasing out fracking.

The proposal, Inslee’s fourth plan for addressing climate change, calls for taking on the oil and gas companies he calls “the greatest and most powerful special interests that are holding back our clean energy future.”

Even as candidates compete to showcase their environmental credentials, Inslee’s latest plan stands out in its attempt to tackle the source of emissions from what is now the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions: transportation.

“To build a clean energy economy, we must transition off of fossil fuels, and we will need a President who is willing to stand up to the fossil fuel corporations,” Inslee said in a statement on the plan's release.

The White House hopeful's plan would eliminate the nearly $20 billion in yearly subsidies to oil, gas and coal companies.

In additional to baring drilling on federal lands and offshore areas, Inslee’s plan specifically targets fracking--a controversial process of pushing water and other chemicals deep underground to push oil out of rock crevices and bring them to the surface.

The process has been associated with contaminated drinking water and credited with helping the U.S. increase its domestic crude supply.

Inslee says he would work with Congress to ban fracking, including limitations on air and water pollution that could stem from the practice.  

He also calls for a “G.I. Bill for Energy Workers" to help workers transition from the oil industry.

Inslee's administration would impose a "Climate Pollution Fee" to hold large polluters accountable for health and environment damages from emissions. It would also reverse President Trump's American Clean Energy rule, which rolls back Obama-era standards for coal-fired power plants.

The plan would also set a "Climate Test" to ensure all new infrastructure meets environmental standards.

Finally, the environment platform calls for improving corporate climate transparency, giving the government more financial oversight powers.

Inslee's campaign described the plan as a necessary step to achieving climate pollution goals like net-zero emissions by 2050, and several environmental groups praised Inslee’s latest plan.

Greenpeade called it  “the most comprehensive to date to end the fossil fuel industry’s stranglehold on our democracy and clear the way for a future built on clean, renewable energy. This is now the gold standard that all other candidates must meet if they hope to win over the millions of voters and young people demanding climate leadership from the next president.”

The plan would likely spur strong opposition from the fossil fuel industry.

Inslee, who has centered his campaign on the climate, has so far polled near one or two percent in nationwide surveys of the Democratic primary race.

Several other candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), have proposed comprehensive climate plans as Democratic voters continue call the environment one of their top priorities.

Inslee will try and gain traction Wednesday on night one of the 2020 Democratic Debate. He will share the stage with nine other candidates including high-profile hopefuls Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and O'Rourke.

Updated: 1:32 p.m.