HOUSE JOINT MEMORIAL 4001
State of Washington 55th Legislature 1997 Regular Session
By Representatives Buck, Cairnes, Sheldon, L. Thomas, Carlson, Talcott, Doumit, Johnson, Mitchell, Hankins, Lisk, McMorris, Clements, Kessler, Schoesler, Grant, Dunn, Alexander, Mastin, Hatfield, D. Sommers, DeBolt, Mulliken, Honeyford, Thompson and Mielke
Read first time 01/17/97. Referred to Committee on Natural Resources.
TO THE HONORABLE JENNIFER BELCHER, COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC LANDS:
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 Legislature is the ultimate trustee of our state's federal grant lands and the county forest board transfer lands; and
WHEREAS, Article III, section 23 of the state Constitution states that "the commissioner of public lands shall perform such duties ... as the legislature may direct"; and
WHEREAS, This language, calling for the Legislature expressly to direct the Commissioner of Public Lands, is different and distinct from the language in the Constitution regarding other state elected officials, which calls on these state officials to perform duties "prescribed by law"; and
WHEREAS, The Commissioner of Public Lands has indicated that she plans to sign an implementation agreement with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service binding some one million six hundred thousand acres of state trust lands to the constraints of a habitat conservation plan for the next seventy to one hundred years; and
WHEREAS, The Commissioner of Public Lands intends to enter into this agreement in spite of the serious reservations expressed by the Legislature and by many trust beneficiaries that entering into this particular habitat conservation plan is not in the best interest of the beneficiaries and does not comply with the fiduciary duties of the state, the Commissioner, and the Board of Natural Resources; and
WHEREAS, The Legislature would be remiss in meeting its own obligations as the ultimate trustee of these state forest lands if it did not exercise its constitutional authority to correct this action; and
WHEREAS, The particular language of our state Constitution with regard to the Commissioner of Public Lands allows the Legislature to direct the Commissioner through legislation and through joint memorial;
NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists expressly direct the Commissioner of Public Lands not to sign the implementation agreement for this habitat conservation plan.
BE IT RESOLVED, That, if the Commissioner has already signed the implementation agreement when this joint memorial is passed, the Legislature directs the Commissioner of Public Lands to immediately exercise the provision in the habitat conservation plan implementation agreement terminating the habitat conservation plan and the implementation agreement, and further directs the Commissioner to immediately notify the Legislature upon completion of this directive; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Legislature prohibits the Commissioner of Public Lands from entering into an implementation agreement for this or any other habitat conservation plan or any other related agreement under the provisions of the Federal Endangered Species Act unless and until the Legislature by bill or by joint memorial approves the terms of any such proposed agreement; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this memorial be immediately transmitted to the Honorable Jennifer Belcher, Commissioner of Public Lands.
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