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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 15, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 16
Dave Upthegrove to run for Commissioner of Public Lands
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Dave Upthegrove to run for Commissioner of Public Lands

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove announced April 11 that he will run for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands. The incumbent, Peter Goldmark, said he would not run for a third term.

The Commissioner of Public Lands heads the state Department of Natural Resources and is responsible for managing state-owned lands, including aquatic lands and more than two million acres of state forests.

Upthegrove also announced his opposition to the controversial Gateway Pacific coal export terminal at Cherry Point, north of Bellingham. If built, the terminal would be able to export 48 million metric tons of coal a year.

The $700 million project is currently on hold while developer SSA Marine awaits a decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Indian treaty rights. The Lummi Nation opposes the project on the grounds that it would interfere with its fishing rights.

'Voters expect the Commissioner of Public Lands to be an environmental champion,' Upthergrove said. 'I am excited to be that champion and continue the work I've done to combat climate change, support responsible conservation, and protect Puget Sound.

'I will oppose leasing of aquatic lands for coal export terminals. We need to respect tribal treaty rights and create jobs by investing in environmental cleanup and renewable energy, not by building massive coal export terminals.'

Upthegrove is in the middle of his first term on the King County Council, where he is one of two openly Gay members. His colleague, Joe McDermott, is running for Congress in the 7th District.

Before being elected to the County Council, Upthegrove was elected to seven terms in the state House of Representatives, where he chaired the Environment Committee, sponsored legislation creating the Puget Sound Partnership, and was honored as 'Legislator of the Year' by Washington Conservation Voters in 2011.

In 2012, the Kent Chamber of Commerce honored Upthegrove as its Public Employee of the Year for his work to support local small businesses. The NW Marine Trade Association, which represents hundreds of small businesses, also honored Upthegrove as its 2012 Legislator of the Year.

Upthegrove has the backing of former governor Christine Gregoire, Rep. Adam Smith, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, and Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission executive director Steve Robinson.

Fellow Democrat Karen Porterfield announced earlier this year that she would also seek the Commissioner's office.

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