Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Shoreline Guidelines Agreement News Conference
December 20, 2002
Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming.
I am very pleased to announce that a signed settlement has been reached and filed this morning in Thurston County Superior Court establishing a new set of guidelines for protecting and managing the shorelines of the state of Washington.
This agreement has been in the works for a long time. The Department of Ecology first proposed new shoreline guidelines three and a half years ago in response to a law passed by the legislature. But as you would expect with an issue that raises such passions, many opinions needed to be heard.
Thousands of people attended hearings and submitted letters and postcards. It seemed that everyone in the state had a strong opinion. Some believed the guidelines did too much. Others thought they didn’t do enough.
So Ecology rewrote the guidelines and tried again a year later. The shorelines haring board invalidated the rules but upheld the authority of Ecology to revise the rules. But not everyone was satisfied, and this time the matter ended up in court. It looked like things might be tied up for years.
But Attorney General Gregoire and I believed that we could resolve this disagreement faster, cheaper and more cooperatively through mediation. And Tom Fitzsimmons believed he could make it work.
Over the past 15 months, many diverse groups worked arduously to resolve this issue. The Association of Washington Business, the Washington Environmental Council, the Washington Aggregates & Concrete Association, and the Department of Ecology all came to understand each other’s concerns. And by sitting down together and communicating openly, they learned that there was plenty of common ground to work out a compromise.
The resulting agreement is not the end of the road. The Department of Ecology still has to go through formal rule-making on the negotiated guidelines, and there are some provisions we will need from the Legislature.
But it will be easier now that we have the business community, the environmental community, and many local governments in agreement, working together, side-by-side.
I have always said that we can accommodate economic growth without losing valuable habitat. And without losing the advantages of clean water, salmon and the quality of life that shorelines and wetlands provide.
Our shorelines will be healthier – and our citizens will be better protected from floods and erosion. This is a legacy we can all be proud.
I thank all of you who helped bring it about:
· Attorney General Gregoire for convening the mediation…
· Don Brunell and Kristen Sawin of the AWB and Jody Slavik from the Building Industry Association of Washington – for keeping your coalition of businesses and local governments organized and on track.
· To Bruce Chattin of the Aggregates & Concrete Association, for supporting the mediation process.
· To Jay Manning and Michael Rissotto of WEC—for reaching out to the business community to forge agreement.
· And special thanks to Tom Fitzsimmons for your leadership in the mediation, and for retaining strong environmental values within the guidelines while making them more workable and more acceptable to businesses and local governments.