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AGO 1957 No. 33 - March 14, 1957
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington

INSTITUTE OF FOREST PRODUCTS ‑- AUTHORITY OF DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES OVER

The institute of forest products is an autonomous agency with respect to forestry matters, subject to the department of conservation and development only with respect to certain administrative matters.

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                                                                  March 14, 1957

Honorable L. T. Webster
Supervisor
Department of Natural Resources
Public Lands-Social Security Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 57-58 No. 33


Dear Sir:

            You have verbally requested our opinion on the following question:  Does chapter 38, Laws of 1957, authorize the department of natural resources to exercise any control over the institute of forest products?

            Our answer is that it does not.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The department of natural resources must find its powers in the act which created it, chapter 38, Laws of 1957.  The two sections under which it might be argued that the department of natural resources may exercise control over the institute of forest products are here set out.

            "Sec. 7.  The department shall exercise the powers, duties and functions of the following state agencies,  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] and the said agencies are hereby abolished and all of their powers, duties and functions are transferred to the department of natural resources:The division of forestry of the department of conservation and development, the board of state land commissioners, the state forest board and all state sustained yield forest committees.

            "Sec. 8.  The department shall exercise the powers, duties and functions of the director of conservation and development with respect to forestry powers, duties and functions as set forth in RCW 43.21.020, 43.21.030 and Title 76 RCW, and such powers, duties and functions are hereby transferred to the department."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            Under § 7, the department of natural resources would acquire all powers that the division of forestry of the department of conservation and development formerly had over the institute.  Under § 8, the department of natural resources would acquire all forestry powers that the director of conservation and development exercised over the institute.

            We must now look to chapter 177, Laws of 1947, (chapter 76.44 RCW) the institute of forest products act, which created the institute and defined its objects, to determine whether or not the division of forestry of the department of conservation and development exercised any powers over the institute, and if it did not, whether the director of conservation and development exercised any forestry duties as to it.

            From a reading of the institute of forest products act in its entirety, it clearly appears that the legislature intended to create an autonomous agency for the promotion of research in forest utilization and in the marketing of forest products.  The institute is to be administered by a nonsalaried commission composed of the governor, the supervisor of forestry, the president of Washington State College, the dean of forestry of the University of Washington, the director of the Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, and four additional members appointed by the governor.

            There is nothing in the act to indicate that the institute was intended to be an adjunct or agency of the division of forestry of the department of conservation and development.  Therefore we conclude that the department of natural resources has not, by virtue of § 7, chapter 38, Laws of 1957, acquired authority over the institute from the division of forestry.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            There is indication, however, that the institute was intended to have some relation to the department of conservation and development.  Section 2 of the institute of forest products act refers to the institute "operating within the department of conservation and development."  Section 7 thereof provided an appropriation, with such appropriation being made to the department of conservation and development for the institute.

            Based upon these provisions, it is our opinion that it was the intention of the legislature that the department of conservation and development take care ofadministrative matters of the institute.  This interpretation is in accord with the actual operation of the act.  The department of conservation and development has received the funds for the institute and made its disbursements, but it has not attempted to direct research projects of the institute.  These latter matters have been left to the discretion of the commission designated to administer the institute.

            We must therefore conclude that the department of natural resources has not acquired authority over the institute by taking over the forestry duties of the director of conservation and development.  With respect to forestry duties the institute remains autonomous.  Its administrative operations remain the responsibility of the department of conservation and development.

            We hope this information will be of use to you.  If you have any further question, please feel free to call upon us.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General


H. T. HARTINGER
Assistant Attorney General

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