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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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February 21, 2008 4:55 PM

The spirit of cooperation, when politically convenient

Posted by David Postman

Being an environmental champion in Congress takes different approaches. When Congressman Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, talks about energy policy, he says it’s an issue that Democrats and Republicans must work on together. As it says in the book Inslee co-wrote: “Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy.”

“Now it is our task to scrub ideology out of the energy discussion, so we can make bipartisan progress toward investing in a shared and better future.”

But when it comes to protecting open space, non-partisanship is apparently not as important. When Congressman Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, asked Inslee to co-sponsor a bill to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area, Reichert says Inslee told him no.

“We want to beat your ass in 2008," Reichert quoted Inslee as saying. (Inslee's office declined to comment.)

"Jay, I'm not feeling the love here," Reichert responded.

UPDATE: I just talked to Inslee about this. He feels the Times story was inaccurate and treated him unfairly. Times editors are looking into his complaints, and if I hear more about this I will add it here.

Inslee doesn’t deny making the comment to Reichert, but he says it was meant as good-natured ribbing, and that he had other reasons for not signing on to the wilderness bill; specifically that he wanted to see Congressional action on another Washington state wilderness bill first, and he had concerns about the boundaries of the proposed wilderness area in Reichert’s bill.

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