Inslee completes climate change policy proposals with plans aimed at agriculture

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee released a plan on Wednesday to enlist farmers and agriculture workers in combating climate change, completing the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate's series of proposals aimed at making fighting a warming climate a central part of the federal government's policies.

Inslee's latest plan -- titled "Growing Rural Prosperity" -- ties revitalizing rural America and ending President Donald Trump's trade wars together with incentivizing farmers to take steps that help remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere.

Inslee, who has staked his candidacy on combating climate change, has released a series of plans that tie different issues facing the United States -- from the economy to foreign policy -- to battling climate change. Wednesday's plan is his sixth such proposal and, according to a senior aide, his final major climate policy rollout.

The latest proposal pledges to triple the budget for the Conservation Stewardship Program -- which looks to help farmers conserve aspects of their land -- to $3 billion. The governor's plan would also launch an initiative that would pay farmers who take certain steps to remove carbon from the environment and would increase the federal government's research into agricultural innovations aimed at capturing carbon.

The plan takes aim at other issues facing rural America and farmers in particular. Inslee dedicates part of it to strengthening farmworkers' rights, including protecting their right to join a union. And he proposes expanding rural broadband access by requiring that large technology companies pay into the Universal Service Fund, a program within the Federal Communications Commission that subsidizes telephone access to certain parts of the country.

"Solutions to the climate crisis, and to rural disinvestment, can unlock unprecedented waves of growth and innovation for rural America," Inslee writes in the plan. "This future calls for regenerative agriculture that rewards farmers for putting carbon back into the ground where it can improve the soil fertility and crop productivity. Climate solutions and inclusive prosperity for the 21st century will come from new value-added agricultural production, community-led economic growth, and resilient infrastructure that will help to revitalize local economies."

Though voters have named the climate crisis among their top issues, Inslee and his proposals have not found a great deal of success on the campaign trail. While the Washington governor made the first two debate stages earlier this summer, he is at risk of missing the third set of debates in mid-September. Inslee has reached the fundraising threshold laid out by the Democratic National Committee, but he is not close to meeting the polling threshold.

Inslee's campaign, however, has continued to push plans aimed at combating the issue, and Wednesday's release is no different.

In addition to climate change, the Inslee rural America plan takes aim at two Trump priorities: the President's ongoing trade war and his attempts to shrink the amount of public lands in the United States.

"America's rural and agricultural communities face a triple threat. First, an urgent challenge from an erratic Trump administration that's harder to predict than the weather," Inslee writes.

As president, Inslee says, he will "reverse Donald Trump's chaotic trade policies."

The governor also proposed sizable changes to the way the federal government handles public lands, including by rewarding landowners who plant trees as a way to remove carbon from the environment.

Inslee adds that he would address "the $12 billion backlog of maintenance projects on federal lands" and make entrance to all national parks free.

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