Washington and B.C. united on climate action, building sustainable future, increased connectivity

Gov. Jay Inslee and Premier John Horgan met this week to discuss regional issues and promote opportunities for collaboration between British Columbia and Washington state. The two leaders committed to act jointly to fight climate change and protect salmon and orcas in shared waters, increase connectivity and transportation links, grow the innovation economy and tech sector, grow mutually beneficial trade and create good jobs for people on both sides of the border.

The trip marks the fourth meeting between Horgan and Inslee in the 18 months Horgan has been premier. Inslee addressed the British Columbia legislature in Victoria during a visit November 2017.

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Gov. Jay Inslee in Seattle, February 7, 2019 (Office of the Premier photo)

“We are honored to have Premier Horgan visit Washington. Our meetings this week built on the important work we’ve done together over the past few years,” Inslee said. “Washington and British Columbia share so much from our natural beauty to our innovative economies. This visit was a great opportunity to for us to come together to advance concrete proposals to advance our common interests.”

Horgan’s visit included a conversation with Inslee before members of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce at the Rainier Club in Seattle on Thursday. Horgan also visited the University of Washington and Microsoft.

On Friday, the premier was scheduled to give a formal address to a joint session of the Washington State Legislature, however it was canceled due to adverse weather conditions.

Climate change

Inslee joined Horgan Friday in Olympia as he signed the Stepping Up Climate Ambition statement. The states of Washington and California, the Government of Canada and other governments and agencies from around the world have supported the statement, which emphasizes the need to increase ambition and strengthen efforts to tackle climate change. Inslee signed the statement in September.

“B.C. and Washington are taking important steps forward together to fight climate change, grow the innovation economy, and build a sustainable future,” Horgan said. “I’m very optimistic about what we can achieve to make life better for the people who live in the Pacific Northwest.”

Both Horgan and Inslee introduced climate action plans in December of 2018.

Inslee proposed a plan to the state legislature that would accelerate the innovation and efforts already underway across the economy to transition to 100% clean energy, construct ultra-efficient buildings, establish a clean fuel standard, electrify the state’s transportation system and phase down super-pollutants in certain products.

The CleanBC climate action plan is designed to help B.C. reduce climate pollution while creating more jobs and economic opportunities for people, businesses, and communities.

Gov. Jay Inslee and Premier John Horgan address members of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Feb. 7, 2019. (Office of the Premier photo)

Transportation

As part of ongoing work to improve connectivity and strengthen ties in the region, Horgan announced that B.C. will help fund the next proposed phase of a study of a potential ultra-high-speed corridor service linking British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.

“Gov. Inslee and I recognize the enormous potential for growth in our region to deliver strong, sustainable economic development, create good jobs and a better future for people on both sides of the border,” Horgan said. “Improving transportation connectivity is a critically important part of the path forward, and we’re going to keep working together to seize opportunities and strengthen the relationship between Washington and B.C.”

“I thank Premier Horgan for his generous contributions to the ultra-high-speed corridor project,” Inslee said. “Our Cascadia region has the critical mass of a growing population, the muscle mass of a strong economy and the traffic problems to justify ultra-high-speed connections, and this investment will help move the project to the next level.”

Inslee’s proposed budget includes more than $3 million for the development of a new ultra-high-speed corridor authority for Washington, British Columbia and Oregon. It is part of his broader clean energy proposal, which would advance electric transportation and help achieve Washington state’s climate action goals.

Premier John Horgan and Gov. Jay Inslee address the media in Seattle, Feb. 7, 2019. (Office of the Premier photo)

Looking ahead

At the lunch in Seattle on Thursday, Horgan said, “ British Columbia’s economy has been adapting and creating more good paying jobs in the clean energy economy through research and technology. This is an opportunity for all of us to benefit from a transformation in our way of living.”

Inslee agreed, “We share more than just geography. When you think about the successes we’ve enjoyed as a province and a state — it’s a common approach to our communities, our investments and our openness to the rest of the world. It’s not an accident that British Columbia has the best economy in Canada and that Washington has the best economy in the U.S., it’s a product of the cultural and economic outlook of the entire region. We believe in welcoming talent from all over the world to grow and expand our innovation.”

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