Democratic presidential candidate Jay Inslee announced his “Freedom from Fossil Fuels” plan Monday at a news conference at Everglades Holiday Park.
“In America we adore freedom, we cherish freedom, we celebrate freedom. And today, we’re announcing a new freedom in American and that’s freedom from fossil fuels,” Inslee said.
Inslee’s detailed plan is laid out on his campaign website. Among its goals: stop burning coal within 10 years, push for legislation to end various tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry and end the production of fossil fuels in federal lands and offshore waters.
The current Governor of Washington has made climate change a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. He reiterated his focus on the issue in remarks made to reporters regarding his new plan.
“Our very survival depends on our ability to transition off of fossil fuels,” Inslee argued.
“This is a national attack on the health, and security, and economy of the United States. And there is a culprit in this drama, and it is the fossil fuel industry.”
The Governor was joined by South Florida environmental advocate Matthew Schwartz and KC Golden, a policy analyst at Climate Solutions.
The event was held in the Everglades in part to highlight a recent court decision allowing Kanter Real Estate to begin oil drilling in a 150-mile stretch of the Everglades between Miami and Fort Myers.
“Florida, the Everglades, Miami Beach, is ground zero in the attack on American by the pollution from fossil fuels,” Inslee said.
While his new plan highlights various executive actions Inslee says he would take if elected President, it also requires the cooperation of Congress.
That could be difficult to come by. While Democrats control the House and could plausibly earn a majority in the Senate following the 2020 election, it’s a near impossibility that they would be able earn a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats.
Inslee says the way to get around that is to push for an end to the filibuster itself, arguing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has abused the tool to prevent legislation from reaching the President’s desk.
“That has to stop,” Inslee asserted. “We need to take that tool of destruction away from him so we can do the right thing for Americans in passing a clean energy plan.”
Inslee also repeatedly compared the heft of the effort required to tackle climate change with the effort to defeat the Nazis in World War II.
“There is only one method of winning, just like there was only one method of defeating fascism, and that is total victory,” Inslee argued.
“We cannot win half of this battle, just like we couldn’t win half of World War II. The middle ground is a fatal position.”
Inslee was, however, one of the 20 presidential candidates who qualified for the first debate of the primary cycle. That event will take place in Miami and will be spread over the course of two nights. Inslee will be among 10 candidates debating the night of Wednesday, June 26. Another set of 10 candidates will debate the following night, June 27.