“I applaud President Barack Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for taking this critical step in setting the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. Today’s announcement is a vital component of the President’s Climate Action Plan, and represents bold federal action needed immediately to address this challenge. Washington state and the Pacific Coast are moving forward on climate action, and our work will be much more effective with committed federal allies.
“Under the Clean Air Act, our nation has for more than 40 years placed limits on how much mercury, arsenic, soot and other pollutants power plants can put into our air. But there have been no limits on carbon pollution — even though power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution in the country. The approach announced by the President and EPA provides flexibility to states to create solutions that best fit their needs and spur innovation. I fully support the President’s commitment to securing significant emission reductions, both by 2030 and incrementally over time, starting in 2020. It's both common-sense and imperative.
“The damages and dangers that climate change poses to our state and nation are real and they're happening now. Farmers, fisherman, public health experts and more Americans every day see those damages for themselves. Many new climate facts published in recent months have confirmed both the changes happening to our climate, and the resulting impacts that threaten our economy, environment and way of life. In Washington, climate change is driving more devastating wildfires and straining water resources, ocean acidification is harming our historic shellfish industries, sea-level rise is hurting our coastal communities, and more. These impacts will cost our state almost $10 billion per year after 2020, unless we take additional actions. And with the President's help, we will take action. We have an obligation to protect our state, our economy and our environment for our children and for future generations.
"In the Evergreen State we have been and will continue to be leaders in addressing climate change and the carbon pollution that drives it. Eight years ago Washington voters established targets for new renewable energy generation in this state. That law built upon our state's strong legacy of carbon-free energy production and helped drive more than $7 billion in investment in our clean energy economy. We have reached agreement to close our last coal power plant and secured funding that will help that community and the state’s electrical grid transition to cleaner energy.
“Recently I signed an executive order that establishes a process for finding the best tools to reduce carbon pollution in Washington, in accordance with emission limits set in state law. My executive order also calls for an end to the importation of coal power generated in other states and for the development of policies that drive energy savings for businesses, renewable deployment for economic growth, and more. This EPA carbon pollution standard will greatly assist our state along this path.
“I commend President Obama and his administration for their courage and foresight in stepping up to this challenge and giving the country the tremendous opportunities that will come with this bold action to address climate change.”