State, Navy sued over Hood Canal agreement

HOOD CANAL, Wash.-- An agreement that prohibits commercial construction on Hood Canal is the largest in state history, according to the state's Department of Natural Resources.

It's also illegal, according to Dan Baskins.

"It is so apparent the DNR is trying to sell something they have no right to do," said Baskins, Project Manager for Hood Canal Sand & Gravel.

Baskins' company planned on building a near-1000 foot pier to load sand and gravel from a nearby mine along Hood Canal.

The agreement reached between the DNR and the US Navy last month prevents the pier from being built.

State Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark would not comment on the pending lawsuit.

Goldmark said two years ago the Navy approached the state concerned about encroachment issues for submarines training in and around Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.

Goldmark said Hood Canal and Dabob Bay are good areas for submarine training because they are relatively undisturbed waterways.

"That is a huge issue for the US Navy wherever they are," said Goldmark, "Any kind of encroachment can hamper their ability to carry out both training and safe operations."

The Navy paid the state $720,000 to limit development along 70 miles worth of Hood Canal.

The area covered in the agreement is in waters from 18 to 70 feet deep. Homeowners will not be impacted by the deal.

Recreational construction can continue and the agreement will not affect fishing operations.

Goldmark called the project a "win-win."

"To be able to conserve an area like this, that's a big deal," said Goldmark, "To be able to help the US Navy, that's a big deal."

Unless overturned in court, the agreement between the state and the Navy will remain in place for 55 years.


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