Left Coast United in Defense of our American Values
United in Defense of our American Values

Aban­don­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma’s noble efforts to bol­ster our com­mit­ment to car­ing for the Earth, our com­mon home, Don­ald Trump today signed an exec­u­tive order today that scraps the nation’s Clean Pow­er Plan, try­ing to undo one of the most impor­tant steps tak­en in recent years to com­bat the cli­mate crisis.

The move was met with loud and fierce denun­ci­a­tions from the Left Coast, which has a record of lead­ing on envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. In a joint state­ment, the gov­er­nors of Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon, and Cal­i­for­nia joined with the may­ors of Seat­tle, Port­land, San Fran­cis­co, Oak­land, and Los Ange­les to declare that that region was pre­pared to lead in tack­ling cli­mate dam­age and clean up our air, water, and soil, in defi­ance of the Trump regime and its back­wards agenda.

As the gov­er­nors of Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon and Cal­i­for­nia and the may­ors of Seat­tle, Port­land, San Fran­cis­co, Oak­land and Los Ange­les, we speak today in uni­fied oppo­si­tion to Pres­i­dent Trump’s Exec­u­tive Order with­draw and rewrite the Clean Pow­er Plan.

We won’t let the president’s mis­guid­ed deci­sion lim­it our region’s eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ties or our com­mit­ment to doing what’s right to make our cities and states clean­er and health­i­er for future generations.

We speak as a region of over 50 mil­lion peo­ple with a com­bined GDP of $2.8 tril­lion. There is no ques­tion that to act on cli­mate is to act in our best eco­nom­ic inter­ests. Through expand­ed cli­mate poli­cies, we have grown jobs and expand­ed our economies while clean­ing our air.

This Order moves our nation in the wrong direc­tion and puts Amer­i­can pros­per­i­ty at risk. We will assert our own 21st cen­tu­ry lead­er­ship and chart a dif­fer­ent course. Cli­mate change is one of our great­est threats, from more wild­fires threat­en­ing our homes and com­mu­ni­ties to ocean acid­i­fi­ca­tion rock­ing our shell­fish indus­try to drought hurt­ing our farm­ers. Too much is at stake – from our health and safe­ty to our jobs and liveli­hoods – for us to move backwards.

We will hon­or our com­mit­ments to our com­mu­ni­ties to do what’s right to keep our res­i­dents safe, secure, healthy and pros­per­ous as we accel­er­ate our clean ener­gy econ­o­my and put the inter­est of our peo­ple before those of big pol­luters. We will con­tin­ue to invest in clean ener­gy that cre­ates local jobs and keeps util­i­ty bills low, and we will elec­tri­fy trans­porta­tion to pro­vide con­ve­nient, safe, and afford­able ways to get around our cities, and make our neigh­bor­hoods healthy and vibrant.

Our cities and states will con­tin­ue to assert our lead­er­ship and posi­tion our region for eco­nom­ic suc­cess. We urge states, cities and busi­ness­es from across the coun­try to join us in lead­ing and re-affirm­ing our com­mit­ment to cut car­bon emis­sions and reverse the dam­ag­ing impacts to our com­mu­ni­ties of unfet­tered pollution.

Joint­ly signed by:

Cal­i­for­nia Gov­er­nor Jer­ry Brown
Ore­gon Gov­er­nor Kate Brown
Wash­ing­ton Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee
Los Ange­les May­or Eric Garcetti
San Fran­cis­co May­or Ed Lee
Oak­land May­or Lib­by Schaaf
Port­land May­or Ted Wheeler
Seat­tle May­or Ed Murray

Mean­while, Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell, Pat­ty Mur­ray, Dianne Fein­stein, Kamala Har­ris, Jeff Merkley, and Ron Wyden (rep­re­sent­ing Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon, and Cal­i­for­nia) joined col­leagues from New Mex­i­co, Neva­da, and Col­orado in send­ing Trump a let­ter urg­ing him to reverse course and leave the Clean Pow­er Plan in place.

“I am deeply dis­ap­point­ed that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion is doing exact­ly what we feared, and gut­ting our most crit­i­cal envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions,” said U.S. Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray in a state­ment released fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of the letter.

“By rolling back the Clean Pow­er Plan and revers­ing mul­ti­ple major U.S. ini­tia­tives to com­bat cli­mate change, the Admin­is­tra­tion is mak­ing com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try more vul­ner­a­ble to cli­mate change than ever before.”

“The health of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans is now at risk with Pres­i­dent Trump’s exec­u­tive order allow­ing coal pow­er plants, the largest source of the nation’s harm­ful car­bon pol­lu­tion, to emit green­house gas­es with no reg­u­la­tion or penal­ty. Ignor­ing cli­mate change won’t just affect our envi­ron­ment and health – but also key parts of Wash­ing­ton state’s econ­o­my includ­ing salmon fish­ing and out­door recreation.”

“Trump is also send­ing a dan­ger­ous sig­nal by mov­ing back­wards on major cli­mate change ini­tia­tives, show­ing oth­er coun­tries that they can do the same,” Sen­a­tor Mur­ray observed. “We will con­tin­ue to see ris­ing sea lev­els, more dis­as­trous storms, and in Wash­ing­ton state — the effects of ocean acid­i­fi­ca­tion and longer wild­fire sea­sons. We owe it to our chil­dren and our grand­chil­dren to fight back on this reck­less Exec­u­tive Order, and I will not stand down.”

Trump and his peo­ple are cer­tain to ignore the let­ter, but it’s good to see our mem­bers of Con­gress speak­ing out in opposition.

U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal (WA-07) also did­n’t mince words in her response to Trump’s dan­ger­ous and unhealth­ful order.

“This exec­u­tive order rep­re­sents more polit­i­cal pos­tur­ing from a pres­i­dent unwill­ing to rec­og­nize sci­en­tif­ic facts,” Jaya­pal said. “It rolls back progress we made under Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, puts the cli­mate and pub­lic health at risk, all while bail­ing out the president’s friends in the coal industry.”

“Don­ald Trump has tak­en his cli­mate change deny­ing rhetoric straight from the cam­paign trail to the White House, and is look­ing to do real dam­age to our efforts to com­bat glob­al warm­ing and pro­tect our plan­et,” she added. “The good news is that some of these safe­guards are on strong legal foot­ing, and the pres­i­dent can­not eas­i­ly revoke them with with­out a court challenge.”

“The sci­ence is clear on cli­mate change. The World Mete­o­ro­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion has warned us that 2016 was the hottest year in record­ed his­to­ry. It is our moral respon­si­bil­i­ty to pro­tect our envi­ron­ment for future gen­er­a­tions and to just­ly tran­si­tion our econ­o­my from fos­sil fuels to clean ener­gy, pro­vid­ing sus­tain­able jobs to our com­mu­ni­ties. This exec­u­tive order is a huge step in the wrong direction.

“We’ve fought back against this president’s back­ward and destruc­tive poli­cies before. We will bring the same com­mit­ment and orga­niz­ing strength to pro­tect­ing our envi­ron­ment, and I will con­tin­ue to fight him every step of the way.”

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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