Inslee met with youths who are suing the state to crack down on carbon emissions.

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Gov. Jay Inslee met with five young climate activists and their attorney who are waging a legal battle to force the state Department of Ecology to crack down on carbon emissions.

The Friday meeting with the youths — aged 11 to 15 — was initially scheduled to last 20 minutes but ran for 90, according to Andrea Rodgers, a Western Environmental Law Center attorney who represents the young people .

The youths initially unsuccessfully petitioned the state Department of Ecology to develop rules to regulate carbon emissions. Last month, they gained a legal victory as a King County Superior Court judge ruled the state must reconsider the petition.

After the ruling, the students asked to meet with Inslee, and the governor agreed, Rodgers said.

Inslee spokesman David Postman said that Inslee invited the young people because he appreciated their commitment to the climate-change issue, and that the informal meeting was not a part of settlement talks.

Inslee has been a big proponent of regulating carbon-dioxide gas, a greenhouse gas that scientists say is playing a major role in climate change. But the governor’s efforts to set up a cap and trade program to control these emissions failed to get legislative approval.

The young activists, in their lawsuit, argued that the Department of Ecology — even without additional legislative authority — still has the power to regulate emissions, and should do so.

During the meeting Inslee said he would consider the student’s request for the Ecology Department to propose new emission regulations, Rodgers said.

“He gets this,” Rodgers said. “I don’t think he would have given us an hour and a half if he thought this was a silly little proposal.

A settlement meeting between the plaintiffs and the Ecology Department is scheduled for later this month.