British Columbia

Western U.S. states disregard Trump to form united front with B.C. in fight against climate change

State and provincial governments on the Pacific Coast are displaying their unity in response to an 'absence of leadership' from the White House.

The western governments say their collaboration is important now more than ever

Premier John Horgan shook hands with Washington Governor Jay Inslee following their meeting for the Pacific Coast Collaborative. (CBC)

Governments from western U.S. states have been meeting with B.C's provincial government for 10 years as part of an initiative called the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) — but this year the U.S. governors seem to be putting more value on this cross-border relationship.

Following the leaders' meeting Friday morning, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was particularly vocal about the need for collaboration, given what he sees as a lack of leadership coming from the White House.

"We do not have a federal government that is protective of our state right now," said Inslee.

The Pacific Coast Collaborative is an agreement between B.C., the state of Washington, the state of Oregon, and the state of California to work together on protecting the environment, boosting their respective economies, and as of this year, responding to the overdose crisis.

Emphasis on climate change

When the leaders spoke at a news conference following their closed-door meeting, the emphasis was on tackling climate change.

"On the West Coast, we know that climate change is not a hoax. It doesn't matter what foolishness comes out of the White House, the leaders on the West Coast are united in understanding science," said Inslee.

Inslee also told reporters his government feels very vulnerable right now, which is why it is looking to its neighbours for support.

"We have to recognize a reality that we have a brighter future and a cleaner future, and it's being realized under the leadership of your premier and we stand with him up and down the Pacific Coast," Inslee said, in reference to Premier John Horgan.

He said Washington is learning from B.C.'s carbon pricing system, and that the state intends to have a similar model in place down the line.

Health of ocean and fisheries a priority

Inslee also spoke about the need to have a salmon treaty in place to protect salmon stocks, as well as the starving orca population, which he says he doesn't believe Trump cares about.

"It is very sad to say but I don't have a leader in the White House who has shown any interest in protecting the Haro Straits or protecting us from ocean acidification."

The Secretary for Environmental Protection in California, Matt Rodriguez, echoed Inslee's message and said that co-operation among the governments on the West Coast is more important now than ever.

"It's incumbent among us to work together," he said.

John Horgan was in agreement and affirmed that the members of the PCC have a common purpose, which is to protect the environment, so that the economy can flourish.

"Working together on the West Coast, I believe we're demonstrating to the rest of North America the commonalities that we have, despite artificial boundaries," he said.


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