July 26, 2016
Appeals court upholds DNR-Navy easement
Hood Canal agreement conserves area, helps naval operations
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Court of Appeals upheld this afternoon an easement for Hood Canal aquatic lands between the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Navy.
The decision from a three-member panel of the Court of Appeals upholds a May 2015 Jefferson County Superior Court ruling that DNR “had the authority to grant the easement to the United States Navy” and the easement “was not arbitrary, capricious or unlawful.”
“This is great news for the people of Washington,” Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said. “This vital agreement between the Department of Natural Resources and the Navy has been affirmed in every venue in which it has been reviewed. Today’s decision protects a priceless marine ecosystem while ensuring public access and preserving the operations of the Navy and the many jobs that rely on its presence in Hood Canal.”
In July 2014, the Navy paid DNR $720,000 for a 50-year restrictive easement on 4,804 tidelands and bedlands in Hood Canal.
A federal lawsuit challenging the easement was dismissed in September of last year.
As steward of more than 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands, DNR ensures that the people of Washington benefit from the use of aquatic lands while also ensuring environmental protection of the state’s aquatic resources.