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Jay Inslee proposes ending fossil fuel subsidies in latest proposal to combat climate crisis

Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday laid out a plan to end fossil fuel subsidies, rolling out his latest proposal to combat the climate crisis ahead of this week's first Democratic debate.

Inslee, a Democratic presidential candidate, outlined five policy prescriptions that aim to end the country's reliance of fossil fuels, including eliminating roughly $20 billion in yearly subsidies to oil, gas and coal companies, banning the federal government from granting new fossil fuel leases on public lands or offshore waters, and imposing a new Climate Pollution Fee that aims to charge corporations for polluting.

"To build a clean energy economy, we must transition off of fossil fuels, and we will need a President who is willing to stand up to the fossil fuel corporations," Inslee said in a statement about the plan. "They have polluted our air, our water, with impunity, raking in huge profits, all while taking huge subsidies from our federal government. The gravy train is over."

Inslee added that his plan would "finally hold these corporations accountable for their pollution, wind down their production, and take away their sweetheart deals. It is time to confront the fossil fuel industry, and take on their corporate power. I'm ready to do that."

Inslee's so-called "Freedom from Fossil Fuels" plan calls government subsidies "the gravy train of government largesse for fossil fuel companies that for too long has padded corporate profit at the expense of the public good" and pledged the plan would impose "meaningful safeguards for public health and the environment, and finally hold polluters liable for the climate, health, and environmental damages they are causing."

Inslee's rollout comes at a critical time in the Democratic primary. On Wednesday and Thursday, 20 of the 23 Democratic candidates will attend the first series of Democratic debates in Miami.

Inslee is basing his entire campaign on his pledge to combat the climate crisis, making the issue central to his entire bid.

To date, the Washington governor has unveiled three other policy proposals rooted in the issue.

In May, Inslee rolled out a plan that pledged to make wholesale changes to the way the United States builds buildings, manufactures cars and supplies the power grid and includes a proposal to cut US coal production by 2030. Later that month, Inslee announced a jobs plan that projected the creation of 8 million jobs over the next 10 years by combating climate change. And in June, Inslee released a plan that looks to reimagine American foreign policy to combat climate change.

Inslee will discuss his latest plan -- which includes reinstating a Crude Oil Export ban and creating a new Department of Justice Office of Environmental Justice to go after polluters -- on Monday during a visit to Florida's Everglades Holiday Park, the site of a proposed oil exploration in the Everglades.

"It is time to challenge the legacy of subsidized pollution, delayed action, and political obstruction that threatens our country with the tremendous human and financial costs of a diminished future," Inslee's plan states. "It's time to choose instead a new path, free from fossil fuels and the ravages of unchecked climate change. Although this path will be hard, no other option leads to a better future for all."

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