CCA would like to thank its supporters for their rapid action to speaking out against HB 2341 and SB 6456, bills sponsored by the Washington Military Alliance. These bills seek to reduce military-civilian incompatibility by giving more power to the military in civilian land use decisions.
We need one last push this week. HB 2341 will be in the Environment Committee on Thursday January 25 for its Executive Session at 8AM.
We need as many people as possible to email their comments to the Environment Chair, Representative Joe Fitzgibbon on Wednesday, January 24th.
His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. His legislative webform is: https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/memberEmail/34/2
Talking points are below. If you don't want to put any in, use the webform and mark "opposed". That takes only about 1 minute to fill out. If your comments are long, it's best to use email as there is no length limitation. Extra credit if you use both!
We know we've asked you for a lot this week. This is a tiring process, but the time for a push is now, so HB 2341 and SB 6456 don't make it out of committee. If they make it out of committee and are voted into law, the public and government planners will have a much smaller role in land use planning if they are in the vicinity of military populations.
Your legislative input is vital - thank you for your support!
Main talking points about this bill
Civilian-military incompatibility is currently more than adequately addressed in RCW 36.70A.530. No one has stated why there is a need for a new bill, much less one that hands more power to the military and takes it from the citizens.
HB 2341 makes the prohibition of incompatible development mandatory, even if development “may interfere” with current or future military activity. Requiring city and county governments to know what might be a future military requirement is an impossible demand. This bill assumes that all incompatibility issues come from civilian uses, which is not the case as military missions and operations continue to expand in the Puget Sound.
HB 2341 extends these prohibitions to public and private lands that are not adjacent to military installations, and leaves incompatibility decisions to military commanders. This could conceivably result in public and private land condemnations as far away as the sounds of explosives, military airports, or other military noise or activity may be heard. HB 2341 seeks to retroactively alter the original intent of the DOD's Joint Land Use Studies by forcing communities to bypass community comprehensive planning programs and processes, and to adopt military “recommendations.”
There are currently no regulatory or legal requirements for established Joint Land Use Studies. This was never the intent of the Department of Defense’s Joint Land Use Study Program, whose guidance says, “The JLUS program relies on strong community planning and land use regulatory (zoning) capabilities to implement the compatibility recommendations through local community’s comprehensive planning programs and processes.” This bill would effectively eliminate the public's right to due process by turning these decisions over to military commanders. It's a complete affront to democratic principles and practices that are the foundation of environmental law in this country
HB 2341 applies these prohibitions to the benefit of any military installation, no matter how small. As currently worded, HB 2341 would allow even small military installations to control land uses for surrounding communities.
By outlawing all land uses that may be incompatible with present or future missions of United States military installations, the bill presents an “inverse condemnation” of property, where the government takes property without compensating for it. This bill violates Article 1, Section 18 of the Washington State Constitution. That provision unambiguously states: “The military shall be in strict subordination to civil power.” It also violates the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. That amendment reserves to the States the powers not granted to the federal government or prohibited by it to the States. Sacrosanct among the powers reserved to the States is the power to adopt local zoning regulations.
Coupeville Community Allies thanks you for your support.