FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2010
Commissioner Goldmark files with Supreme Court to compel Attorney General to represent the state
In the meantime, AG McKenna to file appeal “contingently” in Okanogan PUD condemnation case
OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark today filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Washington State Supreme Court. The petition asks the court to compel the state Attorney General to represent their client, the Office of the Commissioner of Public Lands and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and the interests of the state.
Commissioner Goldmark was forced to appeal to the Supreme Court following multiple refusals from Attorney General Rob McKenna to file an appeal with the Division III Court of Appeals of the State of Washington or even appoint a Special Assistant Attorney General to do so. Goldmark has retained the pro bono legal services of attorney David Bricklin, at no cost to the state or trusts.
“It is essential that the Office of the Commissioner of Public Lands has the ability to carry out its fiduciary responsibility to the trusts, and not having counsel leaves the Common School Trust defenseless,” said Goldmark. “The Supreme Court will be answering a very important question around the role of the Attorney General to set policy for the entire state.”
The original deadline to appeal the Okanogan PUD condemnation case was June 10. That deadline was extended by two weeks due to actions by interveners in the case. Attorney General McKenna has now agreed to file the appeal “contingently,” pending action from the Supreme Court on the writ of mandamus. Should the petition fail, the Attorney General has signaled that he would withdraw the appeal.
Commissioner Goldmark has requested that the Supreme Court rule on the petition in the next 30 days.
Past statements regarding the Okanogan PUD case appeal
June 8, 2010 – McKenna refuses to stand up for schools, Goldmark is forced to seek other options, http://bit.ly/aik3yT
June 10, 2010 – McKenna refuses to appoint Special Assistant Attorney General to protect Common School Trust lands in Okanogan County, http://bit.ly/9m6oMG
DNR – managing trusts and protecting natural resources
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR manages 2.9 million acres of state-owned trust lands, including forests, range, agricultural land, and commercial properties. Trust lands earn income to support schools, universities and other state institutions; and they help fund local services in many counties. Trust lands provide habitat for native plant and animal species, protect sources of clean water, and offer public recreation and educational opportunities statewide.
DNR is also steward of 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands, the bedlands under Puget Sound, the coast, including many beaches, and navigable rivers and natural lakes. These are managed on behalf of all Washington State citizens to protect fish and wildlife, and to facilitate commerce, navigation, and public access.
DNR provides wildfire protection and supports the state Forest Practices Board in protecting public resources on 12.7 million acres of private and state-owned forestlands. DNR geologists regulate surface mine reclamation, while DNR staff provide technical assistance for forestry and mining. DNR provides financial and grant assistance to state and local communities through a number of programs, including the Urban and Community Forestry Program and the Forest Stewardship Program.
Media Contact: Aaron Toso, Director of Communications & Outreach, 360-902-1023, firstname.lastname@example.org
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