The Advocacy has filed a second suit in Thurston County court in its ongoing legal battle with WDFW over its secretive salmon season setting processes. This time the issue is over the Department’s performance related to the Public Records Act. This action rose out of WDFW’s refusal to maintain a rule making file available for view by the public as required by state law. When the Advocacy notified the Department a team would becoming to view the file for the season set in 2018 and the process underway in 2019, WDFW took the remarkable step of claiming the Advocacy or other members of the public had to file a Public Document Request (PDR) to view the rule making files (see June 3, 2019 Update #3- below).
In the latest filing, the Advocacy notes for the court that it had already taken that route by filing a PDR request three years ago for the records of the “List of Agreed Fisheries” (LOAF) adopted behind closed doors in 2016. Three years later, the request is still open and the Advocacy is still receiving a monthly trickle of records (mostly irrelevant) that were created and known to the Department years ago. Accordingly, the second suit alleges WDFW intentionally and purposefully delayed delivery of some records and refused to disclose other requested records.
The Advocacy believes this second suit will prove a valuable tool to educate the court on why the public can not wait three years for WDFW to process a PDR to access information for participation in the North of Falcon season setting process when the comment period set by WDFW is due to expire in three months. We also believe the combination of the suits will show all that WDFW is setting salmon seasons in a manner that is contrary to the Open Public Meeting Act (OPMA), Administrative Procedures Act (APA), and the Public Records Act (PRA).
The latest suit is available for viewing HERE.