The Washington State Parks Commission met again in a special session and “clarified” that the commission has authorized the director to issue permits for special operations training in state parks, and that, furthermore, nine months after the first permit is issued, the director may alter the mitigation conditions however they see fit with no further action needed from the commission. This is the equivalent of granting the Navy unconditional permits – only delayed by nine months. No further public process is anticipated and the decision of the director is all that is required.
Some troubling issues include:
A new parks director is being hired since the current director is retiring effective March 2.
The chair (biased toward the Navy) is on the hiring committee, has expressed a strong position to support the Navy however possible, and will recommend the top candidate to the whole commission in the next couple of weeks – out of public view.
A Parks Commissioner position is now open and the process for selecting a replacement is happening out of public view.
State parks belong to the people of Washington, not to the 7 appointed commissioners. The commission, as a whole, is not acting in the public good, rather, individual commissioners are bringing individual biases to decisions instead of listening to the people of Washington.
Various groups are coming together to create an organized campaign to reverse the commission’s decision to allow military training in state parks and welcome help with:
Writing the governor, legislators, and the parks commissioners
Assisting with a legal challenge to the decision
Helping to maintain the infrastructure (website, database of supporters, organizing fundraising, coordinating direct actions, etc.)
Donations at https://www.whidbeyenvironment.org/Donate
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved.