ADVOCACY STAYS WITH THE WILLAPA GILLNETTER CHALLENGE
Good news guys the Advocacy efforts are paying off on the Gilnetters effort in Willapa!
JUDGE REJECTS GILLNETTERS ATTEMPT TO BLOCK
INTERVENTION BY THE ADVOCACY AND CCA
On March 4, 2016, Judge Anne Hirsch heard the motion from the Twin Harbors Fish
& Wildlife Advocacy and the CCA to jointly intervene in the legal challenge
to the 2015 commercial season in Willapa Bay filed by the Willapa Bay
Gillnetters Association. In its response
to the joint motion, the WBGA asked the court to reject the intervention
claiming we would slow down the process and prejudice their case. If the
court did allow the intervention, the WBGA then asked that the two be required
to use a single attorney and help the WBGA pay the costs of producing the
extensive record of the public proceedings that resulted in the passage of the
WB Salmon Policy in 2014 by the DFW Commission and the subsequent gillnet
season that followed in 2015.
Advocacy counsel Joe Frawley drafted the reply
for the two groups and argued before the court. He pointed out to the
court that his clients had already conducted an extensive review of the record
and were waiting on the gillnetters attorney to do the same so any delay would
be on their side not ours. Then, he pointed out the inappropriateness of
one side trying to chose or limit the counsel representing another. He
then quoted the Administrative Procedures Act being litigated to show the
statute did not allow for one side to require the other to pay their costs of
producing the record as a condition of participation.
State Assistant Attorney General Michael Grossman appeared on behalf of the
Department of Fish & Wildlife. He confirmed the state's position was
the Department was not opposing the motion to intervene.
Judge Hirsch listened and then ruled from the bench. The WBGA's
opposition to the joint intervention was rejected and the motion to jointly
intervene was granted. The attempts by the WBGA to limit the counsel to
only one representing the two groups and to transfer costs of producing the
record from the WBGA onto the intervenors were likewise rejected. From
our prospective, it was pretty much a "clean sweep”.
The next step will be reaching agreement on how to reduce the size of the
record down to a volume that the court can absorb. Currently, it takes a
person familiar with all the proceedings about 48 hours to review the electronic
files. Then, approximately 30 hours of audio tapes of public meetings
will have to be reviewed to determine which one's need to be converted into
written text by a court reporter. While this significant task
is being completed, a schedule for the hearing before the Thurston County Court
will be set.
Posted on Tue, March 8, 2016
by Dave Hamilton