WEC Letter to Governor Locke RE Ecology Collusion

Governor Gary Locke March 23, 2000 Legislative Bldg. PO Box 40002 Olympia WA 98504-0002 Dear Governor Locke; In January 2000, the Northwest Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) released a 22 page report documenting the evidence, and concluded that Washington State officials colluded with the wheat industry to avoid regulation of field burning and obstruct public involvement in an important public health controversy. On February 7, 2000, Judge Richard Strophy of Thurston County Superior Court awarded nearly $17,000 in attorney's fees and costs to Save Our Summers for a document disclosure lawsuit brought against the Department of Ecology. Although collusion between Washington State officials and wheat growers can perhaps never be "proved", Judge Strophy ruled that Ecology withheld documents from SOS last January, which is an unlawful act. The above referenced events cast doubt on the validity of the wheat stubble burning Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between Ecology and the wheat growers, signed on February 7, 1999. For this reason, Washington Environmental Council urges the Office of the Attorney General to revoke the referenced MOU, and direct the Department of Ecology to institute a proper public process to deal with and fairly resolve this important public health issue. Sincerely; Rodger Herbst Chair, Pollution and Health Committee cc: Tom Fitzsimmons Director Department of Ecology