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Action Alert: WA State Bills Give Base Commanders Veto Power Over WA Land Use Issues

CCA is asking its supporters to write the members of the State Senate Local Government Committee and your State legislators by Thursday January 25 to oppose House Bill 2341/Senate Bill 6456 each of which give veto power on civilian land use issues to military base commanders.

Senate Bill 6456 and House Bill 2341 are identical. These bills prioritize military land use over civilian land uses, even when properties are not adjacent to military installations. They give veto power to the base commander to prohibit land use changes that s/he feels impact current or future missions, not only adjacent to the military installation, but anywhere in the vicinity of its operations. This could theoretically include the entire State of Washington.

Your action is needed immediately as we want to prevent SB 6456 from getting out of the Local Government committee when it has a public hearing this Thursday January 25th. HB 2341 has already left the House Environment Committee. These bills are being pushed forward by the Washington Military Alliance, a taxpayer-funded political action committee to expand military base presence in Washington State, without regards to the health, welfare or will of the citizenry.

If these bills are enacted into law, the military will have absolute priority in any land use issues in Washington State. Military community compatibility is important, and as a democracy, the military should not be given priority over the needs of the citizens of our State. There are supposed to be checks and balances.

Coupeville Community Allies maintains that the Growler Expansion is not compatible with the economy or public health of Whidbey Island. If this bill passes, Whidbey and other communities in the State will have no say in military land use issues. NONE.

Action Request, in order of priority: all contact info is below. Do whatever part of this you can. It is not necessary to contact all legislators. We would rather you did some of the list than none

  1. Contact Washington State Senate Local Government Committee Members (there are 5 of them)

  2. Contact your State Legislators

  3. Contact the State's Attorney General

Contact your State Representatives *today* here - you can find them by district and on each listing, there is a webform where you can include the bill number and cut and paste your comments or even just mark opposed if you don't have enough time to leave a comment.

If you want to leave comments, we recommend writing some short comments and then cutting and pasting them. We have included Talking Points and Background info below for you that you are free to cut, paste and/or modify.

We know this is time consuming. But if we don't stop this bill, our chances of pushing back against the Growler Expansion fall precipitously. We need your help. Please write the following legislators and ask them to oppose SB 6456 / HB 2341.

Senate Local Government Committee:

District 10 legislators for Whidbey Island are:

Please also contact the State's Attorney General, as this bill promotes an inverse condemnation, prohibited by the State and US Constitution.

Your legislative input is vital - thank you for your support!

Talking Points

  1. These bills put the military in charge instead of the citizens, the people they are protecting. This bill paves over any input from citizens about what they want in their communities. There is no process to hold the military accountable to the citizens for the impact of its operations. There is no process for resolving incompatibility between military operations and public health, economy or environment. In essence, it gives the military a blank check to determine civilian land use however it sees fit.

  2. Base commanders should not have any right to dictate land use - this is up to the local governments and their citizens. Giving up this right to support "present and future" military missions constitutes a seizure of land use rights by the federal government, and is an inverse condemnation of public and private property. Such actions are prohibited by Article 1, Section 18 of the Washington State Constitution, and by the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.

  3. These bills weaken our economy by giving military commerce a higher priority than any other kind of commerce in the State. Our economy is threatened when we become dependent on any one industry. We need a sustainable economy based on a variety of jobs including high tech, education, agriculture, tourism, outdoor recreation and small manufacturing. Not one dependent upon a single federal industry.


House Bill 2341 and Senate Bill 6546 are identical - they prioritize military land use over civilian land uses, even when properties are not adjacent to military installations. Full text HB2341:

The wording in HB2341/SB 6456 REQUIRES land use planning to incorporate any present or future missions of the military bases anywhere in the state - for any reason deemed appropriate by military base commanders. This means that the military mission trumps the local citizens' desires. This turns local governing authority upside down. This gives veto power to a base commander over land use theoretically anywhere in the State and for any reason.

The bills prioritize all military uses, whether they improve or damage the State's economy, over any private, tax-paying, industrial, agricultural, residential or other development.

They amend current legislation by:

  1. Making the prohibition of incompatible developments mandatory

  2. Extending the prohibition to lands that are not adjacent to the military installation

  3. Applying the prohibition to the benefit of any military installation, no matter how small

  4. Allowing the State Department of Commerce to spend up to $25 million every two years to acquire property to eliminate an existing incompatible use, or to increase the availability of housing affordable to enlisted military personnel

By outlawing all land uses that might be incompatible with present or future missions of United States military installations, the bills accomplish an "inverse condemnation" of property, where the government takes property without compensating for it.

Coupeville Community Allies thanks you for your support.

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