Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Washington Military Installations Workshop
May 11, 2004
Good morning, and welcome to this workshop on protecting Washington’s military installations from incompatible development.
I would like to especially thank our guests from the National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices and the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment. We deeply appreciate your co-sponsorship and support of this workshop. And we appreciate your willingness to invest your time and resources to help Washington state further strengthen our relationships with our military installations. We are very proud of these strong, longstanding relationships.
And we are always looking for ways to improve. We recognize how important these bases are to America and to Washington.
Our state’s military installations are strategically important to our national defense. We are well-positioned to deploy force around the world, especially in the Pacific and Asia. Fort Lewis, McChord, and the Port of Tacoma give the Army rapid access to air and sea transport. Our naval stations have deep-water corridors for rapid deployment as well.
Our state’s facilities are unique on the West coast. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is the only nuclear capable shipyard on the West coast. Bangor is the only ballistic missile submarine base on the coast. We have two facilities for surface ships close to the shipyard and to each other. But they have the advantage of not being located in one long row of docks that make an easy target for terrorists or other forces. Puget Sound is in essence one large naval station. It is effectively dispersed to take advantage of opportunities for meeting unique needs.
Washington is also an outstanding training environment. The Air Force is able to fly over every kind of terrain. The Navy has access to large expanses of Special Use Airspace. Fort Lewis and the Yakima Training Center offer both woodland and dry land training environments. The Air Force’s Survival Training School has 500,000 acres of land under contract and another 500,000 acres of land under option in Eastern Washington. And the great expanse of encroachment-free airspace over Eastern Washington even allows for training in airborne refueling.
Our bases are on the cutting edge of transformation, like the Fort Lewis Stryker Brigade. And our bases play a crucial role in airlift, refueling, and electronic warfare. All the activities necessary to defend our interests around the world.
Our military installations are also extremely important to our state’s communities and our economy. There are more than 90,000 uniformed and civilian personnel on our bases. We value the diversity that these people and their families bring to our state, and the contributions they make to our communities.
Economically, Washington military bases supported our private sector with $528 million in purchases last year. More than half of our state’s counties have businesses supplying the bases.
The uniformed and civilian personnel received $3.75 billion in income in 2003. We also attract a lot of retired military people—this is a great place to live, and many stay or return here when their service career concludes. The total of these retired military pensions was $1.15 billion last year.
Purchases of off-base health care services also contributed $120 million to our economy last year.
Even using a conservative “multiplier,” we estimate that the total impact on our state from military base purchases and payroll was $7.3 billion last year. We also estimate that Washington military installations add approximately 200,000 total jobs, both direct and indirect, to our economy.
Obviously, our military bases are a very significant and vital presence in our state. So protecting this presence from encroachment through good land use planning and growth management is an important priority for our state, especially if we want to ensure the viability of our military bases.
Washington State is also committed to planning for growth and to protecting sensitive areas. The Growth Management Act was passed in 1990. The Act requires local governments to balance 14 goals in their planning. These goals are:
· Guide urban growth
· Reduce sprawl
· Encourage efficient transportation
· Develop affordable housing
· Encourage economic development consistent with our goals
· Protect property rights
· Ensure timely permit processing
· Preserve and enhance our natural resource industries
· Preserve and enhance open space and recreational opportunities
· Protect the environment and preserve our quality of life
· Involve our citizens in planning
· Make sure public facilities are available in conjunction with growth
· Preserve lands, sites and structures that have historical significance
· Protect our shorelines.
We have a strong commitment to identifying and protecting critical areas, natural resource lands and agricultural lands of long-term commercial significance.
Local plans must be updated on a regular cycle. Many counties and cities are in the midst of an update that is due this fall. Others will update their plans within the next couple of years.
Last year we recognized that the Growth Management Act didn’t specifically address land use planning in the vicinity of military installations. Local jurisdictions have worked with military installations for years to incorporate the needs and issues of the military facilities into the plans and development regulations. But that was on a voluntary and informal basis.
So my office supported the Joint Committee on Veterans' and Military Affairs in recommending that the law be amended. We wanted to require protection of military bases from incompatible development and to require formal consultation with the bases. Senator Rasmussen sponsored the legislation, and I signed it in March. The new law goes into effect next month.
Leonard Bauer, our Director of Growth Management at the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, will brief you more fully on the new law and on Washington's implementation of the Growth Management Act and planning with the military.
Of course, the responsibility to protect military installations from incompatible development is not just a local responsibility. The federal government and the state must provide expertise and resources as well. We’re all in this together.
And that’s why we are here this morning. This is a great opportunity to coordinate, focus, and marshal our resources. We need to identify and resolve existing land use conflicts. And we must also plan for the future growth around our military installations to prevent incompatible development. The goal today is to learn, to share, and to start developing a work plan to resolve these issues.
There are many partners in this effort. State and local government. Congress and our state Legislature. The Department of Defense. Land conservancy organizations. Many others. I am confident that this core group of leaders here today can give us a strong start in bringing all of these partners together.
I have named Juli Wilkerson and General Lowenberg as co-chairs of this meeting and the project. I ask that each of you give our Department of Community Development and our Military Department your best candid advice on how to proceed.
Again, I deeply appreciate your participation today. Our military installations are very important to us here in Washington, and compatible development is a very high priority. We want to make sure that our state remains a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Thank you, and good luck in today’s endeavor.