SUBSTITUTE HOUSE JOINT MEMORIAL 4005
State of Washington 54th Legislature 1995 Regular Session
By House Committee on Natural Resources (originally sponsored by Representatives Hargrove, Cairnes, Pelesky, Goldsmith, Buck, Johnson, Clements, Carrell, McMahan, Campbell, Koster, Padden, Huff, Backlund, Reams, Pennington, Stevens, Fuhrman, Silver, Crouse, Casada, Thompson and Sherstad)
Read first time 03/01/95.
TO THE HONORABLE BILL CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED:
We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:
WHEREAS, The United States Congress has in this new session entertained, debated, and passed legislation that would prohibit federal mandates upon states without the coincident provision of the means necessary to implement the mandates; and
WHEREAS, The United States government negotiated a number of treaties, known as "the Stevens Treaties," with several different Indian tribes in Washington Territory in the mid-1850's; and
WHEREAS, In these treaties, the United States government secured to these Indian tribes "the right of taking fish, at all usual and accustomed grounds and stations"; and
WHEREAS, These federal treaties became binding on, indeed, became a federal mandate on, the State of Washington upon its entry into statehood; and
WHEREAS, Interpretations in federal court decisions of this treaty language regarding the right of taking fish, most notably in a 1974 decision by federal district Judge Boldt, have resulted in fishing privileges for tribal members in areas well beyond the boundaries of tribally owned lands; and
WHEREAS, In December 1994 federal district court Judge Rafeedie interpreted this same portion of the treaties to include a tribal right to harvest shellfish on ancestral tribal fishing areas, including on what are now privately owned lands; and
WHEREAS, This federal treaty provision, a mandate imposed on the state of Washington by the federal government, has already cost the state and numerous other parties millions of dollars in litigation costs. This most recent decision is having a significant negative impact on the state's economy, particularly on private citizens who depend on shellfish harvesting for their livelihood, threatens to erode private property rights to tidelands and other privately held natural resources, and may deprive many Washington citizens of the opportunity for recreational shellfish harvesting;
NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully implore the United States government to do the following:
(1) Be part of the solution to the conflicts caused by this federal treaty by offering federally owned tidelands for tribal shellfish harvest as part of any implementation plan, for example, offering tidelands on Indian Island and at the Bangor Naval Base;
(2) Assist the state of Washington with funds to help offset the costs of the state's appeal of the shellfish decision; and
(3) In the event that the state's appeal is unsuccessful, provide funding for the administrative costs of development and implementation of a dual shellfish management program, for compensation to the state's commercial shellfish industry, for compensation for private property owners for this federal taking of their property, for the purchase of tidelands for tribal and public recreational shellfish harvesting, and for any other costs associated with implementing a final order of the court in the shellfish subproceeding.
BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to the Honorable Bill Clinton, President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each member of Congress from the State of Washington.
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