After Climate-Focused 2020 Bid, Inslee Faces Indigenous Campaigners’ Demand to End All Fossil Fuel Projects in Washington

Yves here. Wellie, this story confirms my instincts about Jay Inslee, that anyone who was a fan of the scapegoating, educational-attainment-and-resume-fabricator Marcie Frost could not be all he was cracked up to be. Readers in Washington pointed out that he was a staunch neoliberal. But worse, he’s a flagrant hypocrite on his big issue, climate change.

By Julia Conley, staff writer at Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams

Indigenous land defenders on Tuesday demonstrated outside the Washington State Capitol, calling on Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) to declare a climate emergency and halt all fossil fuel projects. (Photo: International Institute for Sustainable Development/Jay Inslee/Flickr/cc)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee won praise during his now-ended, five-month presidential campaign for setting the tone of the climate debate in the 2020 Democratic primary and forcing other candidates to propose bold climate action—but on Tuesday, indigenous residents of his own state demanded the governor make his commitment clear at home.

Indigenous Protectors of the Salish Sea assembled in Olympia on Tuesday outside the Washington State Capitol—a building that stands on Nisqually tribal land—and called on Inslee to declare a climate emergency in the state and end all fossil fuel projects in the state.

Inslee is “breaking all of the treaties with Washington State Tribes by contributing to climate chaos that is causing the shallowing and warming of our rivers and estuaries which in turn is causing salmon populations to go into shock and die,” the Indigenous Protectors for the Salish Sea said in a statement.

The campaigners erected indigenous structures outside the capitol and announced they would not leave until Inslee met their demands and demonstrated commitment to honoring treaty agreements.

The group demanded that Inslee end numerous fossil fuel projects which are moving forward in Washington, including an 8-million gallon liquefied natural gas (LNG) tank in Tacoma, a methanol refinery in Kalama, the Par Pacific Tar Sands Expansion Project, the Puget Sound Pipeline Tar Sands Expansion Project, and the North Seattle Lateral Pipeline.

The Indigenous Protectors also called on the governor to convene a special legislative session to address the climate crisis, including the voices of “youth, indigenous leaders and other communities in Washington who are disproportionately affected by climate change.”

The projects, his critics charge, run counter to Inslee’s public image as a climate leader and violate the trust of Washington residents, especially indigenous people, placed in him when they voted him into office in 2012.

“If Inslee wants to be a truly progressive person he cannot continue to support fossil fuel expansion,” Paul Cheyokten Wagner, co-founder of Protectors of the Salish Sea, said in a statement. “Our children, his children, all children, deserve a future free of the threat of climate disaster and toxic water. It’s their birthright. Unless he turns it around and stops these projects then he’s lobbying against his own children’s birthright.”

The demonstration at the capitol comes four days after the Protectors of the Salish Sea began a four-day, 40-mile trek from Puyallup land in Tacoma where the LNG containment tank is currently halfway-built. Puyallup leaders call the project an “environmental injustice” and that fracked gas leaks at the site could harm water supplies and air quality.

As they began their journey on Friday, the group was cheered on by students and adults who attended the Global Climate Strike in Washington along with four million other people around the world, demanding an end to fossil fuel projects and shift to renewable energy.

“As our governor,” wrote the Indigenous Protectors in a letter to Inslee, “you bear the responsibility to uphold the supreme law of the land laid out in the treaties between the U.S. government, U.S. citizens, and Washington Treaty Tribes by deescalating the largest existential threat to all life—our current climate emergency, which is resulting in the displacement and cultural genocide of indigenous peoples around the globe.”

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  1. Ignacio

    So Inslee is a Fake Climate Activist (FCA). Not alone in this business for sure, let’s see… Jeff Bezos?. But good to be unmasked!

  2. drumlin woodchuckles

    These Nations could also perhaps have Treaty Rights cases for suing against every fossil carbon project in Washington State in every relevant court.

    One wonders if they have out-of-state supporters who could name and target every brand-named oil, gas, and etc. product for sale anywhere owned and sold by the particular companies pursuing these projects that could be boycotted till the owners of those branding-names drop their projects.

  3. ChrisPacific

    Would that be Jay “I want to be able to look my grandchildren in the eye and say I did everything I could to stop climate change” Inslee, by any chance? How will he tell this part of the story?

  4. xkeyscored

    It’s people like the Indigenous Protectors and the school climate strikers that give me some slight hope for the future.
    The science has been clear for decades: we need to decarbonise, stop using fossil fuels. The only thing that’s changed is that today you don’t need to take it all on trust from scientists. It’s in your face.

  5. Eclair

    Native Daily Network is reporting live from Olympia, where police in riot gear have tried to force the encampment and protestors to disperse. The live stream seems to be only on the hated FB, so I will not embed the URL. But, those who are on FB, can search for Native Daily Network and watch. And, if anyone who is more tech savvy that I, can find a direct link, please post.

  6. Clemmonsfan

    To the best of my knowledge, Inslee”s never given a reasonable-sounding explanation for his refusal to support I-732, which conceivably proved fatal to a measure designed to establish a modest carbon tax in Washington a few years ago, had it passed. I think, were he to be honest, he’d say “Because it wasn’t my idea.”

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