Government moving to seize more land.
By Larry Killion TPP Citizen Journalist
Norm Dicks (Wa. D) and Patty Murray (Wa. D) toured a Shelton Shell Fish Facility with several County officials last month promoting their latest draft of Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2012. It would designate more than 126,500 acres of new wilderness in Olympic National Forest including nineteen Olympic Peninsula rivers and their major tributaries as “wild and scenic.” The proposed legislation is now in committee. HR 5995 is sponsored by Dicks and Congressman Jim McDermott and SB 3329 is sponsored by Murray.
The Aberdeen and Cosmopolis city councils and Grays Harbor County commissioners have passed resolutions opposing the Wild Olympics campaign. Dicks and Murray say they have made compromises to overcome objections that it would be too restrictive on logging and recreation. Carol Johnson, executive director of the North Olympic Timber Action Committee, said her group is opposed to the Wild Olympics act because of its potential impact on jobs. “One of the issues with us about the Wild Olympics proposal is that we met with the Norm Dicks and Sen. Murray staffs and they pretty much ignored all of our suggestions,” Johnson said.
“We’ve tried to make this benefit the area and not do any harm. I think we’ve made this much more acceptable to people on the Olympic Peninsula,” Dicks said. Whether they turned around public opinion after nearly three years of talks is questionable. The Peninsula is filled with signs charging a “land grab.”
If the bill does not pass this year, Dicks won’t be here to make it happen again. He is retiring his seat after 36 years in office. It is unlikely the bill will make it through either the House or Senate this year but Patty Murray said she would continue pushing forward with the legislation after Dicks retires. Derek Kilmer, is the man Norm endorsed to fill his slot in the Washington State 6th Congressional District. Kilmer’s campaign had $714,674.54 cash on hand at the end of the 2012 2nd quarter to carry on the agenda of the Democrats.
The Republican candidate for the 6th District seat, Bill Driscoll, said, “It makes no sense to push forward a proposal to lock up broad tracts of land without the support of the people who live and work in the affected areas. This is an important decision that will define our region for generations to come. It would be a shameful failure to have a politically divisive plan imposed on us by special interests in Seattle or politicians in Washington D.C.”
Tea Party Patriot Washington State Coordinator Peggy Hutt says, “The only issue here is whether the GOP takes control of the Senate. If they do, none of the Wild Olympics Bills will make it out of committee in either the House or Senate. If the Democrats hold the Senate, it still will get nowhere in the House.”
Ben Kuhner, President of the Board of the Kitsap Patriots Tea Party said, “”Kitsap Patriots Tea Party supports the opposition to the Wilderness Act by those who have studied the proposed legislation and will be most closely impacted by it. While we in Kitsap County are not as directly affected as counties to the west of us, we have an abiding interest in protecting the continued access and enjoyment of our lands for all Washingtonians, not just the elite few who will be deemed ”acceptable” under ever increasingly restrictive designations.”