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Jay Inslee goes on ‘climate mission’ at Las Vegas campaign stop

Updated March 9, 2019 - 11:20 pm

Democratic presidential hopeful and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee touched on a broad spectrum of policy issues during a campaign stop Saturday in Las Vegas, while denouncing the Trump administration for a secret shipment of plutonium to Nevada.

“To not even give notice is just atrocious,” he said in a speech at the Nevada Conservation League’s Lobby Day training event. “We should stop him in his tracks, and if we have to go to court to do that, we should.”

Inslee blamed President Donald Trump for the plutonium shipment, which the state has said put Nevada residents at risk of exposure equal to 100 to 200 chest X-rays for the next three years.

The environmental concerns in Nevada are not new to Inslee.

In Congress, he represented Hanford, Washington, home to the Hanford Site, a former nuclear production complex, and he said he is well-informed of the issues of disposing atomic waste — including the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is up for discussion in Washington, D.C., with support from states that are stockpiling waste at 31 sites nationwide.

Inslee said the government’s feet should be held to the fire when it comes to disposing of nuclear waste, and he supports alternative forms of long-term storage such as the glassification of nuclear waste.

“We can’t do what the Trump administration did, which is to shock and surprise Nevada citizens,” he said. “That’s just not going to work without the consent of the people in Nevada.”

“I know Gov. Sisolak will be very vigorous in protecting the state, and I will join him in any way that I can.”

With environmental concerns, Inslee reminded the small crowd at the Nevada Conservation League that the root of political policies for him has always been climate change.

He spoke to the group this weekend as part of his Climate Mission Tour, which started earlier this week in Iowa and focuses on his platform that there is a need to create millions of clean energy jobs.

His next stops are California and Texas.

“Climate change is not one issue — it is all the issues,” Inslee said. “But with the same extent it is in peril, it is just as big a greater promise for economic growth.”

He praised Nevada, where, he said, “Solar jobs are growing like crazy.” Inslee also said he sees wind turbines and electric cars as leading the clean-energy industry’s job growth but need to be expanded for future sustainability.

The next president, he said, should be willing to put climate change first. To Inslee, it’s a public health, national security and economic crisis.

“It’s humanity that’s in trouble,” he said. “It’s too expensive not to defeat climate change.”

Inslee said he has seen the devastation from the wildfires in California and the hurricanes in Florida, which cost billions of dollars in losses.

On Saturday, he cited his progressive record on other policy issues, including the state’s increased minimum wage to more than $13, marijuana legalization, paid family leave and gun safety regulations.

Inslee also noted the decreased water supply for Nevadans from the Colorado River and the concern about the state’s booming growth.

He said he expected to learn more about the water issues later as he spoke to Nevada educators.

“My state has been a template of what we’re capable of doing in the United States,” Inslee said. “We really do need a president that will make this the No. 1 priority.”

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @brianarerick on Twitter.

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