A Washington state appeals court has upheld an agreement for a Hood Canal easement made between the U.S. Navy and the state Department of Natural Resources.
OLYMPIA — The Washington State Court of Appeals Tuesday upheld an agreement for a Hood Canal easement made between the U.S. Navy and the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
In 2014, DNR accepted a $720,000 offer from the Navy for 50-year control of 4,804 acres of Hood Canal seafloor.
A previous state-approved appraisal valued the lease at $1.68 million; the lower figure allowed the Navy to avoid congressional scrutiny of the agreement.
Thorndyke Resource, a company developing a pier project on the canal’s western shoreline, sued the state and the Navy to overturn the easement agreement, which halted the pier project.
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Tuesday’s court decision upholds a Jefferson County Superior Court ruling that DNR “had the authority to grant the easement to the United States Navy,” according to a DNR news statement.
A challenge to the easement in federal court was dismissed last September.
“This vital agreement between the Department of Natural Resources and the Navy has been affirmed in every venue in which it has been reviewed,” Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said in prepared remarks. “Today’s decision protects a priceless marine ecosystem while ensuring public access and preserving the operations of the Navy and the many jobs that rely on its presence in Hood Canal.”