Statement by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Burien), chairman of the House Environment committee, on President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement:

“The Paris Agreement was an unprecedented coming together of nearly every nation in the world to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through nationally-determined targets. It represents rare unanimity among many diverse countries stepping up to address a global threat. That is why it is so devastating to see President Trump revoke the United States’ commitment to this agreement, reflecting utter disregard for the future of our country and our world.

“The President’s decision today increases the urgency of action at the state level. We’ve already seen a swift response from our governor, who today announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance. I’m pleased to see Washington state leading the way with this, as we’ve led the way before in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are one of the least-polluting states thanks to our clean energy infrastructure, including our abundant hydropower. Nonetheless, since I joined the Legislature, we have taken further significant steps to protect our state’s future. We passed legislation to close Washington’s only coal-fired power plant in Centralia (2011). We passed legislation to begin phasing out imports of coal-fired power from Colstrip, Montana (2016). We have defended the integrity of Washington’s voter-approved renewable energy law, Initiative 937. We have fended off attacks on the Department of Ecology’s Clean Air Act authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. And we have made unprecedented investments in innovative technology and emissions reduction strategies via the Clean Energy Fund.

“While this represents good progress, these actions alone are not sufficient to reduce Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions to a safe level. The most meaningful step our state can take is to follow the lead of many jurisdictions around the world – including our neighbor to the north, British Columbia – and pass a modest price on carbon emissions so polluters, rather than the public, bear the cost of pollution. Together with many other legislators, I have put forward proposals to do this. The best response to this arrogant, destructive action by the President is for Washington to move in the opposite direction by reducing our pollution and moving towards a cleaner future.”