OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna issued the following statement today regarding his determination not to appeal a decision of the Okanogan County Superior Court. After considering all of the arguments presented, the superior court ruled that the Okanogan Public Utility District has authority to acquire through condemnation an easement over school trust lands for a transmission line.
“It’s unfortunate that the Lands Commissioner has inserted politics into a purely legal decision by the Attorney General’s Office. The assertion that politics played any part in our decision is wrong, and frankly, insulting.
This decision was thoroughly processed in the manner in which we handle all appeal decisions. The legal underpinnings of an appeal were researched and analyzed by attorneys assigned to DNR and by our Solicitor General’s Office, staffed by some of the finest appellate lawyers in the nation.
The decision not to appeal the Okanogan County Superior Court decision was based, as all of our appellate decisions are, on whether legal error was made by the trial court judge, consideration of the trial court record, and the likelihood of the appeal’s success. This process for handling appeals has been in place for many years.
It is regrettable that Commissioner Goldmark seeks to undermine the integrity of the Attorney General’s Office.”
Janelle Guthrie, AGO Communications Director, (360) 586-0725