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From Olympia, Governor Jay Inslee joined Western students and statewide universities in a virtual conference about climate change and a proposal for action Tuesday, April 7.

Inslee discussed his proposals on carbon emissions, clean energy and energy efficiency that were announced in December. Students from each school took turns with Inslee giving insight, and asking and answering questions. They discussed how to approach topics in the proposals and how to spread awareness of environmental issues and solutions.

Four Western students joined groups of students, in an hour long discussion, from University of Washington Seattle, University of Washington Tacoma, Washington State University in Pullman, Washington State University in Vancouver, each in conference rooms on location. Inslee sat at a table with UW Tacoma students.

“The most important proposal is a way to reduce carbon emission,” Inslee said. “It will charge polluting industries and the funds will go to education and transportation. It may also generate revenue so we can help finance colleges.”

Wendelin Dunlap, Environmental Education major and the director of Western’s L.E.A.D. program, said she was impressed the governor asked college students and he wanted them involved.

“The conversation was a lot more interactive and less political than I expected,” she said. “I was really impressed about how much he seemed to be asking, ‘hey what do college students think about this?’”

She asked Inslee about concerns of oil transportation by rail and how to address it with Washington state residents.

“I loved his answer,” Dunlap said. “He said his number one concern was the continued development of an economy that relies on fossil fuels because if we keep finding and burning all the oil and coal we can, what are we going to do after that?”

During the conference, Inslee said transporting oil by rail is dangerous.

“I was really interested in what the governor had to say and how he was working with other campuses,” said Marika Weber, a senior at Western and environmental science major.


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