Politics Undercover Operative: Washington State’s Commissioner of Public Lands
posted by April 4 at 12:43 PMon
A public records request by Preserve our Islands, the community group that’s been fighting Glacier Northwest’s strip-mining on Maury Island, reveals that the Republican State Commissioner of Public Lands is doing opposition research for the mining industry.
Email correspondence between land commissioner Doug Sutherland and Bruce Chattin, the executive director of Washington Aggregate & Concrete Association—the group that lobbies on behalf of mining companies like Glacier—shows that a week after Chattin hung out with Sutherland at a Glacier NW fundraiser for Sutherland that raised $18,000, Chattin sent a detailed outline of the Concrete Association’s agenda that he wanted Sutherland’s department to put into play.
Of interest to me, however, is Sutherland’s brief response. He doesn’t pledge to enact Chattin’s agenda, but he does say this: “I understand there is some talk about legislative action regarding Maury Island. you may want to run your ground wires.”
What we have here is the Commissioner of Public Lands doing a bit of intel for the business lobby—tipping them off to legislation they’re going to have to gear up for and fight against.
Indeed, legislation to halt strip-mining on Maury was proposed (and killed) last session.
The interesting question to me is this: Who tipped Sutherland off to legislation that was brewing in the House Democratic caucus? I mean, it couldn’t have been a Democrat, could it? And certainly, it couldn’t have been Democratic House leadership.
Here’s my suggestion to Preserve Our Islands for their next public records request. Never mind emails between Sutherland and the Concrete Association. How about checking emails between Sutherland and House Speaker Rep. Frank Chopp?