Washington’s very liberal Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark announced he would not run for a third term. Back in September, Goldmark announced he would run again.
No doubt, a serious look at his record made him reconsider that earlier decision.
Goldmark bears the responsibility of setting the state Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) policy of decreasing the amount of controlled burns, the most effective way to prevent bigger wildfires. Under Goldmark’s “leadership”, controlled burns in Washington State lagged far behind neighboring states, including Oregon and Idaho.
As Shift reported, in 2009, DNR dealt with public backlash from smoke that blew from the Naches Ranger District into the Yakima Valley from a controlled burn. Goldmark overreacted and imposed restrictions that “effectively halted all controlled burns in the Naches District for more than a year.”
The restrictions were slightly lifted in 2011 when Goldmark allowed for rules that required burns to be “be smaller and conducted over only one day.”
As we all know, our state has suffered extreme consequences of Goldmarks’ misguided restrictions.
When residents claimed gross government mismanagement after the devastating Carlton Complex fire, Goldmark and his agency denied any fault. His denials were contrary to claims made by firefighters who confirmed they were given a stand down order.
Goldmark is part of the problem of gross government mismanagement. Perhaps that’s why hyper-partisan Democrat State Senator Cyrus Habib (who is running for Lieutenant Governor) removed him from his list of endorsements. And, that’s likely why Goldmark decided to drop out of his race rather than be voted out of office.
At the very least, Goldmark’s choice leaves the potential for improvements at DNR.