Opinion: Washington must hold climate polluters accountable

Unprecedented and deadly heat waves. Stronger storms and coastal flooding. Worsening droughts and extreme weather that threaten our health, agriculture, and economy, from the streets of my district to the farms and fisheries across our state. Washingtonians are seeing sign after sign of the accelerating climate crisis that the United Nations recently called “code red for humanity.”

As a former federal prosecutor, I look for the catalyst of this devastation, and ask who bears responsibility. The truth is, we did not all equally contribute to climate change. Giant fossil fuel corporations and their executives, who were warned decades ago that the emissions from their products were likely to cause “globally catastrophic events,” lied to the public, funded climate denial while protecting their own business operations, and continue to deceive consumers about their central role in the crisis.

Washington’s leaders are taking action to stem the damage and put our state on a path to being more resilient and sustainable. My colleagues and I passed measures to reduce the emissions that drive climate change and speed a just transition to a green economy for all. But true justice must include holding accountable those who knowingly caused this crisis and ensuring that our residents aren’t left holding the entire bill for the resulting costs…

Read the rest of my opinion piece in The Olympian.