OLYMPIA, Wash. — For the second straight day, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee had a direct message for President Donald Trump about the ongoing wildfires across the West Coast.
Inslee’s comments at a Tuesday news conference in Olympia followed his open letter to Trump on Monday, in which the governor called on the president to listen to climate scientists and recognize the effects of climate change on the already historic fire season in Washington and down the West Coast.
As of Monday night, more than 600,000 acres in Washington had burned since Labor Day, bringing the yearly total to more than 800,000 acres.
Inslee said he was disappointed in President Trump’s visit to California Monday, where the president met with climate scientists.
“The President had a chance to learn about that yesterday in California but instead he just gave deception and smoked in the faces of those who have had terrible losses and those who have been working so hard to reduce these risks of fires,” Inslee said.
According to Inslee, local firefighters have said that the rules of fighting fires have changed due to the changing climate and have specifically highlighted the challenges in dealing with the combination of extreme aridity and strong winds.
“This is despite our efforts and despite our investments in land management, which we are doing in the state of Washington,” Inslee said. “It appears that the President just really doesn’t understand that.”
The governor went on to say it that was “outrageous” that Trump has criticized states when he has called for cutting budgets that could be used to take care of National Forests.
“The President’s budget proposal for 2020 would have cut $950 million from the US Forest Service including a 16% cut to state wildlife action plans,” Inslee said.
Inslee said that two years before that, Trump proposed cutting $100 million from the Forest Service Wildlife Initiative.
“So we’re not going to have someone who doesn’t know which end of an ax to hold be criticizing us when he himself has tried to reduce some of these actions on the West Coast.”
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