Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dept of ecology: You have misinterpreted that presentation

Whenever I write about an official, as a matter of policy, I send an email to whomever I wrote about with a link to the blog entry, and an invitation to read what I've written and to correct me about any particular that I got wrong.   I want to make sure that I am accurately reporting their position. 

Part of the stated mission of ecology is to educate the public on environmental issues, and you see many references to education throughout their literature and website.  Since that's true, I think it's appropriate to ask Ecology to clarify their position and policies related to this, or any other, complaint. 

Mark "Mak" Kaufman did read the entry, and sent me the following in email: 

Mr. King,

You have misinterpreted the powerpoint presentation.  What the statute states is that we have the right to access properties that we suspect are polluting, but we do not have the ability to obtain warrants, and I never stated nor implied to you that we have access to your property without your explicit permission.  In fact, I openly stated to you that we would by no means enter any persons property without their explicit permission.  This has been longstanding agency policy and to my knowledge, no Ecology employee would ever think of entering a property without owner permission.  The powerpoint slide captures this..."
I replied to this via email, with the following question: 
If you believe you have the right to access, why would you need a warrant?  If you have the right to access but are denied, what is your recourse?  I'm sure that ecology has a policy.  I'd like you to state what it is. 
I've also asked him to identify the two staff members who accompanied him on the visit with name and title so that I can properly complete the public disclosure requests for those individuals as well. 
I have not yet received a reply to this email, but I'm sure that it's coming soon.  

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