Navigation Top
AGO Logo Graphic
AGO Header Image
File a Complaint
Contact the AGO
AGO 1965 No. 63 - December 28, 1965
AGO Opinion Header Image
John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington


OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- STATE ‑- DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION ‑- FLOOD CONTROL PROJECTS ‑- PARTICIPATION WITH MUNICIPALITIES UNDER CHAPTER 86.26 RCW ‑- PORT DISTRICTS EXCLUDED.

Under existing state law the director of the department of conservation is not authorized by chapter 86.26 RCW to participate with port districts in flood control projects.

                                                              - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                               December 28, 1965

Honorable H. Maurice Ahlquist
Director, Department of Conservation
335 General Administration Building
Olympia, Washington

                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 65-66 No. 63

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged, you have requested our opinion on a question which we have paraphrased as follows:

            Is the director of conservation authorized by chapter 86.26 RCW to participate with port districts in flood control projects?

            We answer your question in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            In 1951, the legislature of this state by chapter 240, Laws of 1951 (now codified as chapter 86.26 RCW), authorized the director of conservation to assist municipalities and public corporations in carrying out flood control work by furnishing moneys to them from state flood control funds.  State participation in the cost of any flood control project is to be provided for by a written memorandum agreement between the director of conservation and the local sponsoring agency.  RCW 86.26.100.

            You have asked whether the director of conservation is authorized to participate with and assist a port district in a flood control project under chapter 86.26 RCW.

            RCW 86.26.020, as amended by § 2, chapter 84, Laws of 1961, provides as follows:

            "State participation in flood control construction, maintenance and betterments shall be with corporate  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] municipalities subject to flood conditions, namely, with counties, counties acting jointly, cities, towns, flood control districts, diking or diking improvement districts, drainage and drainage improvement districts, diking and drainage improvement districts, irrigation districts, and soil conservation districts."

            One of the familiar doctrines of statutory construction is "expressio unius est exclusio alterius," or the mention of one implies exclusion of another.  Ramsay v. Department of Labor and Industries, 36 Wn.2d 410, 413, 218 P.2d 765 (1950); 2 Horack, Sutherland Statutory Construction § 4915 (3rd ed. 1943).  In other words, where a provision of an act is expressly stated to apply to named persons or groups, those persons or groups not named are excluded.  St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Co's Appeal, 325 Pa. 535, 191 Atl. 9 (1937);Estate of Pardue, 22 Cal.App. 2d 178, 70 P.2d 678 (1937).  In RCW 86.26.020, the legislature has specifically enumerated the types of districts with which the director of conservation may participate.  Port districts are not included in this enumeration.

            Reading RCW 86.26.020, in light of the aforementioned doctrine, it is our opinion, and you are so advised, that the director of conservation is not authorized under chapter 86.26 RCW to participate with port districts in flood control projects.

            We trust the foregoing opinion will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

CHARLES B. ROE, JR.
Assistant Attorney General

Content Bottom Graphic
AGO Logo