Judge Scolds Regulators in Ruling on DNR Sublease

Cites “arbitrary and capricious” decision by the state


OLYMPIA
— Calling the Department of Natural Resources’ decision “arbitrary and capricious,” a Cowlitz County Superior Court judge is sending the state back to the drawing board to develop a solution to the Millennium aquatic lands sublease.

“Friday’s decision validates the concerns of many watching this process unfold. It’s clear from the decision that the judge believes the state is exceeding its regulatory authority and acting from a political perspective in these matters— not following the rule of law,” said John Stuhlmiller, CEO of the Washington Farm Bureau and a KWC board member.  “This ruling suggest a deep frustration with state regulators who seem bent on gaming the regulatory system. There are laws and processes in place, and the need to be followed, regardless of one’s political bent.”

“This is an important decision for Millennium, but it is also a crucial ruling for anyone trying to navigate the state’s unreliable permitting process,” said Stuhlmiller. “This sort of regulatory political gamesmanship does nothing to build trust in the system or engender interest in Washington state as a place to do business. Friday’s decision is a breath of fresh air in what continues to be a very challenging regulatory environment.”