LOCAL NEWS

Washington needs to ‘defeat climate change at its source,’ says Gov. Inslee

Dec 3, 2021, 5:03 AM
climate change, flood...
In this photo taken from a drone, farm fields and a road remain flooded near Sumas, Wash., on Nov. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

There has been severe flooding in recent weeks in the northern counties of Washington state that damaged hundreds of homes and killed one person.

‘It’s not sustainable’: Destructive flooding highlights need for solutions in Whatcom County

During a press conference Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee expressed his respect for the community and the local leaders who pulled together to help their neighbors through this difficult time. Inslee also called out the leadership of two mayors in some of the hardest hit cities, Everson and Sumas.

“We have the national guard on duty, which we appreciate,” he said. “We had the sheriff’s and fire department doing great jobs. We have fast water rescue that did some great rescues. And we want to thank the hundreds of local volunteers who pitched in, both to do rescues and help people with cleanup.”

Gov. Inslee said the state is going to do everything it can to help these communities through this difficult time, including repair and rebuilding.

“We’re actively looking at the damage to come up with a sum total to present the federal government to see if we could obtain federal assistance,” Inslee added. “We now have … some cash assistance. We’re making some progress on housing options that we’ll have more to say about in the coming days.”

The governor says work is continuing.

“Again, I want to really commend the community for the community spirit they showed in so many different ways,” Inslee said.

The Lummi and Makah tribes were also affected, Gov. Inslee noted, at one point unable to access food or fuel because they were cut off by the flood.

“At the same time, the Lummis have lost a lot of their Dungeness crab industry because of the invasion of a foreign species — the green crab — that out competed the Dungeness, in part because of warming waters, because of climate change. And I think what we saw during the last couple of weeks is the really disastrous face of climate change which is sweeping across our country, our state yet again.”

Gov. Inslee recalled visiting a home where the Nooksack River went through the picture window, and he says he knows those folks and more will be “victimized by climate change” in the coming years.

‘Fingerprints of warming planet’ amid Seattle area’s year of record-breaking weather

“So we’re going to have to do everything we can to protect this and other communities in the future,” Inslee said. “We’re going to do what we can to become more resilient. We’re going to have to build up our roads. We’re going to have to build up our communication systems.”

“But ultimately, we have to fight climate change at its source,” he continued. “We can’t just build up the entire towns of northwest Washington to avoid floods. We have to defeat climate change at its source or we will continue to be over swept by floods, and fire, and invasive species destroying our seafood industry.”

Gov. Inslee said he will be presenting proposals to the Legislature that he hopes they act on to continue the state’s leadership against climate change by building a clean energy economy.

“We also had a loss of our Chinook. The Chinook were damaged because of the floods in the Nooksack River, and we know how Chinook are critical to our orca,” he said. “This was yet another loss to all of us because as the salmon go and the orca go, so do we.”

“I hope this can serve as an inspiration to our state legislators to take more action against this scourge that we’re facing in the state of Washington,” he added.

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Washington needs to ‘defeat climate change at its source,’ says Gov. Inslee