Inslee on Using Emergency Powers on Climate Change: ‘Depends’ on Circumstances, Can’t Give Yes or No

On Thursday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” Washington Governor and possible 2020 presidential candidate Jay Inslee (D) stated that whether he would use the president’s national emergency powers on climate change depends on circumstances and he can’t give a definitive yes or no. Inslee also stated that action on climate change is something that “we should be able to do…on a legislative basis.”

Host Chuck Todd asked, “Marco Rubio said to me…he was not for the idea of this president using his powers to declare a national emergency to build his border wall. He goes, if he does that, the next president’s likely to declare a national emergency on climate change. Let me ask you this, if you were president right now, would you declare — and if Congress wasn’t giving you the funding you needed, do you believe it’s something that actually you should use the national emergency powers for?”

Inslee responded, “Well, it depends what the circumstance is, but we do need to understand the urgency of this situation. As your report was on your show you had a couple weeks ago, we have only a few years to actually act on this to really prevent potentially catastrophic events. So, we need the legislature, on a bipartisan basis, to act with the urgency that this requires. And that really does require focusing the nation’s attention during the next several years in this regard. And we should be able to do it on a legislative basis. There’s no reason not to be able to do that.”

Todd followed up, “But you wouldn’t be afraid to use that…national emergency power under certain circumstances?”

Inslee answered, “Well, it depends what it is. I will give you an example. I did put an executive order in place in my state, using our existing clean energy authority, to put a cap on carbon pollution. Now, that’s going to go to our supreme court and get a ruling about that. So, I can’t give you a yes or no. I can tell you that this is a matter that this is the 11th hour, and we will not have another chance to defeat climate change. We win now, or it’s too late. So, we need to all get together on this. And I look forward to when this is a bipartisan effort as well.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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