ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Spin Control

Posts tagged: peter goldmark

Practicing for fire season

Inslee deploys a fire shelter during a practice session near the Capitol.

OLYMPIA — With wildfire season approaching, Gov. Jay Inslee used an annual exercise to push for more controls on carbon emissions, saying forest fires will get worse in Washington if the nation doesn't cut greenhouse gases.

The state is facing what Inslee called “the three horses of the fire Apocalypse” – drought, heat and beetle infestation killing trees – and doubled its wildfire fighting budget this year. The number of wildfires in Washington could quadruple by 2030 if steps aren’t taken to reduce carbon pollution and slow climate change, he said. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

Preparing for fire season

Inslee deploys a fire shelter.

OLYMPIA — Jay Inslee completed one of the annual spring rituals for a Washington governor this morning: passing the test for minimum wildfire training in the advance of the state's fire season.

To do this, one must walk a mile in no more than 16 minutes. He managed it in just over 13, strolling with Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark staff and assorted media, on a course laid out by the Department of Natural Resources at Capitol Lake. Possibly most impressive, he did it in his dress shoes.

One must also demonstrate the ability to unpack and crawl into a fire shelter in 26 seconds. He had a few seconds to spare.

“I'm trying to get a budget through the Washington Legislature. Geting into a fire shelter is nothing,” he told reporters afterwards.

This doesn't qualify one to fight wildfires in the forests or ranges. That's a much tougher test. This is the minimum for going up to the fire line.

Summers are getting warmer, drier and longer with each passing decade, and tree kills by beetles more frequent, Inslee said, which means fire seasons in most years are getting more longer and more intense.

One might assume that if the governor showed up at a wildfire, they'd let him go to the fireline if he wanted, but governors usually take the test to show support for the DNR.

Gregoire extends fire emergency

OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire is extending the fire emergency for all counties east of the Cascade Crest, which means the Washington National Guard will continue to help fighting wildfires and the burn ban stays in effect until at least next Monday at midnight.

Gregoire announced the extension while touring the town of Liberty and visiting with evacuees from fires in Kittitas County. The First Creek Fire was burning about four miles outside of town.

The burn ban means no outdoor burning in those East Side counties. That includes camp fires, bonfires, residential trash or brush cleanup fires, as well as no fireworks of any kind.

Gas stoves are permitted, as are charcoal grills at homes provided the stoves or barbecues are set up on nonflammabe surfaces and kept at least five feet away from flammable materials like dried vegetation.

Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark said with no rain in sight, the state is “in for a long haul.”

Wildfire in Goldendale

AP photo

OLYMPIA — Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn't the only governor that has to worry about wildfires. Washington state is battling a fire in the Goldendale area which drew both Gov. Chris Gregoire and Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark for a look-see on Thursday.

The Monastery Complex fire has forced some evacuations, has some 500 firefighters on the ground and as of this morning was not yet contained.

Split decision on AG power from High Court

OLYMPIA — It's a win some, lose some day for Attorney General Rob McKenna and his authority to join or not join various types of legal actions.

As noted elsewhere on the newspaper's website, the State Supreme Court ruled that it won't order McKenna out of the federal lawsuit over health care reform. But it did order him to take up the appeal of a case that State Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark lost in summary judgment, and McKenna didn't think was worth taking to the next level.

As one might imagine, McKenna was happy about the former: “It’s important that the state’s constitutionally-established, independently-elected Attorney General – whomever it may be — have the authority to protect the legal rights of the state and its people in the years to come,” he said in a press release.

As for the latter, not so much. Narrow ruling on a rare disagreement based on a specific statute, he said. And they're studying the inconsistencies between this and the health care reform case.

Goldmark,  not surprisingly, saw the lands case as a much bigger deal. “Historic” was the word he used to describe it. “I applaud the Supreme Court for striking down what would be a dangerous precedent by the attorney general to dictate policy for another statewide official.”

Fuse, a progressive group that is no fan of McKenna, used even stronger language, suggesting that the court said he “deserted  his duty under the law.” To be clear, the court didn't really use that kind of language, and two dissenting judges said he should have the ability to decide when to stop handling a case.

If you want to read the decisions and decide for yourself, you can find them here.

Goldmark v. McKenna and the Methow power line

OLYMPIA – The fight over a proposed power line in the Methow Valley pits Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark against Attorney General Rob McKenna.

Goldmark gets a chance later this year to persuade the Supreme Court to order McKenna to continue representing him in an ongoing legal battle over the proposed route for an Okanogan Public Utilities District transmission line.

McKenna says the legal work to appeal a case the state lost in May isn’t worth the time and energy it would take. Goldmark says McKenna’s office has the duty as the state’s legal counsel to continue the fight.

With each accusing the other of politicizing the case, the Supreme Court this week ordered attorneys for Goldmark and McKenna to file legal briefs this fall and to argue in November whether they should issue McKenna a writ of mandamus – an order from a court to a government official to do something because it’s his or her legal duty.

To read more on the dispute, click here to go inside the blog

Goldmark takes fight with McKenna to Supremes

OLYMPIA – The fight between the state’s top land manager and its top attorney is headed to its top court.

Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark said Monday he will ask the state Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus, essentially ordering Attorney General Rob McKenna to appeal an eminent domain ruling by the Okanogan County Superior Court.

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Spin Control.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here