Lands commissioner backs Inslee

Woman who gave state the Hirst decision


Hilary Franz

— Getting behind Gov. Jay Inslee’s big push for a carbon tax, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz sent a letter to state leaders yesterday declaring that climate change poses a threat to state lands and waters.

In the letter, Commissioner Franz cited a new Department of Natural Resources Climate Risk Assessment that details how climate change, caused by carbon pollution, endangers the health and productivity of natural resources and communities.

The Climate Risk Assessment warns of:

• Increased frequency and extent of wildfire,

• Increased coastal flooding,

• Summer water shortages, leading to a lack of water for agriculture,

• Decrease in shell-forming organisms, such as oysters,

• Increase in landslides, and

• More non-native and invasive species.

“My duty is to ensure that our lands and waters remain healthy and productive – supporting Washingtonians not just today, but far into the future,” Franz said. “Climate change not only threatens our ecosystems, it threatens the productivity of the lands that sustain so many communities, from farmers to loggers to shellfish harvesters.

“If we are to keep our lands healthy and productive, we must reduce carbon pollution,” she added.

In order to meet the challenge of climate change head-on, Commissioner Franz outlined Four Resilience Principles of a smart carbon reduction policy:

• Tackle the root cause - carbon pollution - and invest in reduction efforts

• Strengthen the health and resilience of our lands, waters and communities

• Accelerate carbon sequestration

• Invest in and incentivize solutions with multiple benefits

These principles are intended to guide and inform the state’s debate on carbon policy, yielding solutions that prioritize investments in the health and productivity of our lands and waters, such as funding marine restoration and incentives to keep working farms from being converted to other uses, she said.

“Smart carbon policy means that we must both reduce carbon pollution and strengthen our communities,” Franz said.

“By strengthening our working forests and farms, by making investments to ensure they are resilient in the face of climate change, we also create economic security for the communities that depend on these lands.”


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