WSR 00-03-065


[ Filed January 18, 2000, 4:07 p.m. ]

January 18, 2000

SaltWater Islanders for Timberedlands

c/o Laura Bienen

13337 108th Avenue SW

Vashon, Washington 98070

Re: December 3, 1999 appeal of the November 4, 1999 denial by the Department of Natural Resources Forest Practices Board (the "Board") of that certain Petition for Adoption, Amendment, or Repeal of a State Administrative Rule, presented to the Board on May 14, 1997, filed by SaltWater Islanders for Timberedlands ("SWIFT"), seeking rulemaking related to saltwater islands (the "Petition")

Dear Ms. Bienen:

Pursuant to RCW 34.05.330(3), I have fully reviewed your appeal of the Petition and the relevant statues and regulations, and after careful consideration, hereby deny the appeal. Your letter did not state the reasons for your appeal other than your belief that the Board's action did not respond to your original proposal. The Board denied the Petition in good faith after substantial review and consideration, and did not abuse its discretion. The actions of the Board in denying the Petition are not such that intervention by the Governor is appropriate.

The Board divided the issues you presented into four categories. As the Board stated in its November 4, 1999 letter, the first three categories are being or will be addressed by the Board, or addressed by the Department of Natural Resources administratively. Accordingly, they do not pertain to your appeal.

The fourth category is the subject of your appeal. Requests in this area were officially denied because, in the Board's words, they were "outside of the Board's authority." I have reviewed your concerns and concur with the Board's decisions for the following reasons:

1. Forest fragmentation on islands. While forest fragmentation is not limited to island geography but is a statewide issue, the Board's rulemaking authority does not extend directly to this area. Forest fragmentation is a local government land use issue to be covered under the Growth Management Act and other authorities.

2. Regulatory incentives to limit forest conversion. The Board has limited authority in this area to restrict conversion, and existing tools for that purpose are already in place. A more full regime of regulatory incentives is beyond the purview of the Board's authority and would require new state law or local government actions.

3. Compliance with the Shoreline Management Act. Local government, with state Department of Ecology oversight, has responsibility to ensure compliance with the Shoreline Management Act. The Board does not.

4. Problems with absentee ownership. State law allows absentee ownership and therefore the Board has no authority to apply forest practices regulations on that basis.

For these reasons, I have affirmed the Board's decision to deny rulemaking on these issues. Thank you for your obvious concern and extensive efforts to protect the ecology of our state.


Gary Locke


cc: Dennis W. Cooper, Code Reviser
Tim Martin, Co-Chief Clerk, House of Representatives
Cindy Zehnder, Co-Chief Clerk, House of Representatives
Tony Cook, Secretary of the Senate
Amy F. Bell, Forest Practices Board

Washington State Code Reviser's Office