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The Maury Island Mine: The Commissioner of Public Lands Speaks

Construction of pilings for a new dock at the Maury Island gravel pit commences.
Construction of pilings for a new dock at the Maury Island gravel pit commences.

 

The battle over the Maury Island gravel mine continues! 
 
While I was paddling over there the other day I noticed that the barge and pile driver were gone, but there was still plenty of activity on shore.  
 
The good news is that the new Democratic Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark is going to do a full review of the decision by the previous Public Lands Commissioner (Republican Doug Sutherland) to lease the public tidelands to Glacier Northwest to allow them to build a dock that will transfer the gravel to barges for transport up the Sound. Even though Glacier Northwest stands to make millions from of this mine, former Public Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland (R) leased the land to Glacier for an unbelievable price of $1500!  By the way, he had received $50,000 in campaign contributions from Glacier last year.

The following is the response from Peter Goldmark to a message that my friend Richard Lovering sent regarding the mine:


RE: Maury Island Tidelands Lease Midnight Politics 
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 15:54:42 -0800 
From: CPL@dnr.wa.gov 
To: 
CC: LEONARD.YOUNG@dnr.wa.gov; Edie.Gilliss@dnr.wa.gov; RICHARD.DOENGES@dnr.wa.gov; Claire.Barrett@dnr.wa.gov; SANDY.DAVIS@dnr.wa.gov 


February 24, 2009

Dear Mr. Lovering:

Thank you for your email expressing concern over the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) aquatic lands lease for Glacier Northwest on Maury Island. Like you, I also have concerns regarding how this dock will impact the long term sustainability of Puget Sound. Although this lease was signed under the former Commissioner of Public Lands, I and other Washingtonians expect due diligence. So, I have directed my staff to review the lease to ensure the lease is consistent with the long-term sustainability and health of Puget Sound. DNR is reviewing this lease for consistency with the Puget Sound partnership's Action Plan. I have also asked my staff to examine the lease rent amount. A corporation making millions of dollars from the gravel transported through an access point on state lands should be compensating the citizens of the state more than $1,500. In addition, under my administration, DNR will follow three guiding principles in its decision making: sustainably manage our natural resources, conduct our work in the public's interest with the public's knowledge, and ensure that sound and credible science guides all of our actions.

Please let me know if you have any further comments or questions.

Sincerely,

Peter Goldmark,

Commissioner of Public Lands


-----Original Message-----

From: 
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 2:17 PM 
To: DNR RE CPL 
Subject: Maury Island Tidelands Lease Midnight Politics 
Dear Dr. Goldmark,

Finally you've arrived: congratulations on your new position, which I (with a great many others) helped you achieve. Now, on to an issue which greets you from your first official hour: Glacier Northwest and the Maury Island Tidelands lease.

Christine Gregoire has been ducking this issue from her first day in office. Her James Carville figure is the sister of Glacier's lawyer, which may or may not be relevant. In any event, our lady of the Clean Sound, Mme. Governor, has not seen fit to condemn or comment on the Glacier dock and prospective removal of 10% of Maury Island's landmass, leaving the whole mess to the tender mercies of your predecessor, M. Sutherland. We all know what he did, as he snuck away from office with his ill-gotten gains. I do not know what you can do now to prevent the destruction of habitat on Maury - or indeed if you're in sympathy with those who would protect the Maury Island tidelands and uplands; however, the south sound environmental community - Sierra Club, Audubon societies, and tree huggers of all descriptions - are looking on this as your emblematic move. Please don't disappoint us. There is little need for more gravel at this economic turn, the Taheiyo cement company of Tokyo is less in need of income than the Maury Island eagles, salmon, and orcas are in need of their environment. Please stop the dock.

Good luck in your new post; we'll all be watching to see how you handle this one.


Sincerely,

Richard Lovering

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