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Has current land commissioner sacrificed forest health for politics, asks Didier

Posted 8/28/2012

According to Clint Didier,  candidate for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands, current lands  commissioner Goldmark may have sacrificed forest health in Washington State to  gain political advantage.  Didier  explains the remark saying, “When commissioner Goldmark took office in 2009,  the Department’s annual report on forest health for 2007 had described pine  bark beetle populations as continuing …at epidemic levels with 255,376 acres of  mortality mapped statewide.”  The 2009  report charted ever increasing numbers of acres suffering tree mortality.  Action to begin to combat the epidemic should  have been taken immediately.”  “Instead,”  Didier continued, “The Commissioner waited until early this year to convene a  panel of experts regarding the epidemic, knowing full well the panel’s results  would not become available until the primary election season.  Hearings on the forest health hazard,  accompanied by suitable, self-serving announcements about the emergency, and  the need to act, are only now coming from the department’s media center.”

According to Didier, the  commissioner’s delay in taking appropriate action is inexcusable.  “We already knew, when Commissioner  Goldmark took office, that entire forests across the west were being destroyed by the pine beetle,”  Didier commented.  “A near four-year  delay in aggressively addressing the problem may have put  Washington’s forests at risk of the same fate.   How can that look like anything less than playing politics with  the health of our forests and the overall health of our environment?”

“As Commissioner I will  immediately move to put every resource possible into the effort to control the further expansion of the pine  beetle epidemic. I consider it  especially important to work with the tribes   on this issue. From what I’ve seen, the tribes appear to  take this dire situation more seriously than either the Federal or State  governments have. Their expertise and  cooperation are essential to any successful effort to reduce the  impact of the epidemic on Washington’s forest health.”

NOTES:  Reports on forest health can be found at
The first of several election  time-frame press releases regarding the Forest Health Hazard announcement can be found at

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