Weyerhaeuser and Glacier Northwest Give $150,000 to Stop Peter Goldmark

I saw mustachioed-Eastern-Washington rancher Peter Goldmark, the Democratic candidate for Commissioner of Public Lands, speak at a Sierra Club event in downtown Seattle on Wednesday night. The Sierra Club has endorsed Goldmark.

It was the same day word got out that $16.8-billion-timber-giant Weyerhaeuser had dropped $100,000 into the Committee for Balanced Stewardship, the forest products industry PAC that’s supporting Goldmark’s opponent, Republican incumbent Doug Sutherland. And man, was Goldmark fired up about that.

“We will not allow the industry to buy another election,” he boomed, “I pledge not to take any money from the industry I regulate.”

He made the case, citing a report by the Seattle Times , that Sutherland’s lackadaisical oversight of Weyerhaeuser land had led to the devastating landslides in Lewis County in December 2007. “There is an obvious connection between campaign donations and lax regulations,” he told the crowd of environmental activists who were packed into the 1st Avenue loft.

Sutherland disputes the claim that he’s at fault for the devastation in Lewis County, recently telling the Seattle Times: “It’s hard to say I could have stopped that storm, through regulation, at the Washington border.”

Goldmark’s campaign manager, Heather Melton, scoffs at that, saying: “The storm made a bad situation worse. Rather than relying on Weyerhaeuser, the Department of Natural Resources should have had a state geologist come out and review that site before allowing a clear cut on a steep slope to identify if there was unstable soil.”

Goldmark’s strong showing in the August primary has turned this low-profile race into one of the sharpest showdowns this season: Doing better than any other challenger on this year’s ballot, Goldmark got 49 to Sutherland’s 51. On Wednesday night, he told his Sierra Club supporters that his campaign to unseat Sutherland was about “the public interest vs. the special interests” and that it was time to stop “doing political favors in exchange for campaign donations.”

His argument about political quid pro quos rang true. When I covered the legislature in 2007 and 2008, I watched a series of bills to prevent Glacier Northwest from expanding its strip mining work on Maury Island get gutted by Sutherland. Glacier Northwest, which gave $50,000 to the timber industry PAC the same day as Weyerhaeuser (September 8), also made a couple of handsome donations to Sutherland last year, totaling $2,800, according to the Public Disclosure Commission.

According to the latest numbers from the PDC, Goldmark has raised $629,000 (mostly from environmental groups, the Democratic Party, and unions). Not including the timber PAC, Sutherland has raised $502,000 (mostly from timber according to a recent Seattle Times article.)


  1. 1


    What stands between Peter Goldmark and the position of Public Lands Commissioner is, IMHO, name recognition. I’ve done some extrapolations of both the governor’s race and the CoPL race, applying 2004 general-election county turnout percentages to the results of the 2008 primary.

    The low turnout in King County results in an artificially-low Gregoire result. From my analysis, I’d estimate that her edge over Rossi is actually at least twice as great as what’s shown in the primary.

    While Goldmark gets (even) closer to winning in my extrapolations, he still wouldn’t get over 50% if 2004 turnout is applied to the 2008 primary. It’s not only that his percentage in King County was about 1.3% lower than Gregoire’s (and about 4% lower if you look solely at the two “real” candidates). It’s that he got only 47.7% in blue Thurston, a mere 44.4% in toss-up Pierce, and had similar results in the other big western counties.

  2. 2

    Bill Cruchon spews:

    Good god no, we wouldn’t want to mine anywhere, or cut down trees, or drill for oil. Well at least not in this country.

    I swear, liberals so totally don’t get it.

    Lets see you dimbulbs do without forest products, oil products, and mining,(gee, where does that silver sticking through your eyebrows come from?).

    You are nuttier than fruitcakes.

  3. 3


    Bill @2,

    And I swear, you’ve never read nor listened to a thing Peter Goldmark has said. Goldmark comes from Eastern WA. He’s all for sustainable resource extraction. But that’s not what Sutherland has been giving us.

    You know, it is possible that a candidate could be somewhere in between a hippie and a whore to the mining and forestry industry.

  4. 6

    Bill Cruchon spews:

    The answer of course Goldy is “none”.

    When you refer to Sutherland as a “whore to the mining and forestry industry” you let your entire liberal nutcase cat out of the bag.

    It’s simply amazing to me how liberals constantly deride the very people who have progressed civilization beyond your ability to comprehend. If the earth’s resources weren’t “exploited” you’d be starving in a mud hut.

    Always there is the implication that “conservatives” want to clear cut the entire state and strip mine the Cascades into piles of rubble. Nobody wants that, you idiot.

    What you people want is what you’ve gotten. Fighting for the past 40 years against any kind of progress, whether it be oil drilling, or nuclear power development. And then you are the first to crybaby about “dependency on foreign oil” and high energy prices. Any time a company wants to drill or mine you send out your lawyers to stop it.

    It just might surprise you but it appears most people in this country have had it up to here with liberals.

  5. 8

    Bill Cruchon spews:

    Geez. YLB you don’t have the faintest idea about what I’m saying here.

    Funny though, you apparently have no problem using a computer made not only from oil products but from metals that (gasp!) have to be mined. Darn those corporate whores!

  6. 9

    Farmer Fred spews:

    3, 5: Goldmark couldn’t even hold his own county (I believe in this primary or the last congressional elections, he lost at least one). If your neighbors don’t support you, how does this look? Do you really think the sierra club is going to watch out for our public school funds? Good grief, the D’s had this whole election cycle locked up. So now you pander to the left, and “POOF”, it now looks in jeopardy. I had high hopes for Goldmark as a CENTRIST. Looks to me like Sutherland is now becoming the best choice.

  7. 10

    Bill Cruchon spews:

    And while you’re at it you phonies, can you elaborate your wonderful plan to power our trains, ships, long haul trucks,and farm equipment, with “wind and solar power”?

    Of course you haven’t got even the slightest clue but you keep braying “wind and solar” as if you were the Wizard of Oz.

    In words you might be able to understand, fuck you.

  8. 11

    YLB spews:

    Uh.. Bill.. I think we’re going to ignore you.

    Because an exchange with you is like.. you know..

    really boring..

  9. 12

    Reformed republican spews:

    Bill – keep trying to show what an idiot you are – you are doing a good job of impersonating a truly ignorant person.

    Goldmark says we should not clearcut on really steep slopes and use industry shills to determine what slopes to cut.

    Are you in favor of clear cutting on steep slopes so we can have massive downstream flood damage?

    Are you in favor in industry supervisig themselves as to what to cut? Do you have the fox guard the henhouse?

    Exactly what do you oppose? Besides making you ridiculous statements about cutting NO trees. Goldmark is just saying that science not industry should be the determining factor for safety. What do you propose?

    Maybe you believe that we should wait for big stroms to blow in and flood out everyone downstream – like Sutherland. As long as the logging industry gets what they want – everything is fine – right?

  10. 13

    zip spews:

    Goldy and crew,
    Goldmark’s ignorant use of the clearcut landslide in Lewis County to tar and feather Sutherland is the same old “coulda shoulda woulda” we always hear from the democrats in every race for a Republican incumbent seat.

    Maybe 20-20 hindsight turns you lefties on as much as calling Doug Sutherland a whore, but it is doubtful that it will win him any votes. Perfectly illustrates the “politics of hope” doesn’t it?

  11. 14

    km spews:

    One small point seems to be overlooked in these diatribes against Sutherland. Most of the landslides from the Dec. storm occurred on forested hillsides, where there had be no logging of any kind what-so-ever. The level of destruction is more accurately related to the massive size and power of the storm than to the management practices. No matter how you slice it, electing Goldmark isn’t going to influence the weather.

    Sutherland has done a fine job as Commissioner of Public Lands and deserves to be re-elected.