Washington sued to stop Administration from taking nearly $89 million from Bangor sub base
SEATTLE — A federal judge today reversed and permanently blocked the Trump Administration’s unlawful decision to “reprogram” funding for more nearly $89 million in congressionally approved military construction funding meant for Naval Base Kitsap to help build a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
Judge Barbara Rothstein in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington granted summary judgment in Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit challenging the Administration. The Trump Administration’s unlawful decision would have diverted nearly $89 million from the Kitsap Peninsula’s Bangor submarine base.
“This judgment is an important victory for the rule of law, and the system of checks and balances our founders enshrined in our Constitution,” Ferguson said. “We’re looking forward to this $89 million being used the way Congress intended — to support a military construction project in Washington state.”
“I am pleased that the Court agreed that money from Washington state projects should not be diverted to help subsidize President Trump’s border wall,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “Washington will continue to fight against any proposed efforts to move funds out of our state for unlawful and unconstitutional purposes. I thank the Attorney General for his continued fight on behalf of Washingtonians.”
Two federal judges — one in Texas and one in California — previously issued injunctions blocking the border wall project, but those injunctions have been lifted. Today’s ruling means that congressionally approved funding meant for Washington will not be diverted to that project.
This ruling marks the 25th legal victory for the Attorney General’s Office in litigation against the Trump Administration.
In February 2019, President Trump declared a “national emergency” to reallocate funds for his long-promised border wall despite the fact that Congress has repeatedly refused to approve the funding he requested.
Congress voted with a bipartisan majority to overturn President Trump’s “emergency” declaration with bipartisan support, but President Trump vetoed their legislative action.
Ferguson filed his lawsuit in September 2019, after the Trump Administration identified the specific military construction projects it intended to target — seven months after the “emergency” declaration. Ferguson waited to file the lawsuit until the Trump Administration identified Washington projects that would be implicated.
A bipartisan group of more than 100 former members of Congress filed a brief in support of the challenge, along with the U.S. House of Representatives and 60 former national security and State Department officials who served presidents of both parties.
Bangor pier project
Washington’s Bangor submarine base is home to the U.S. Pacific Fleet of Trident ballistic missile submarines. The Trump Administration’s plan would have subverted a congressionally approved $88.96 million project to build a pier and maintenance facility at the base, complete with a boat shop, small-craft fueling station and storage tank, and permanent berthing for two 250-foot blocking vessels. The vessels, which escort and provide security for submarines between the base and dive points in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, currently have no dedicated pier space, forcing them to operate in a “nomadic state” according to the Department of Defense.
The Department of Defense asserted in writing that the Bangor pier project is important to sailors and their families. According the Department of Defense, for example, when there is no space at the existing pier, sailors are subject to “extensive berth shifts and unnecessary days spent away from homeport.”
The Department of Defense also wrote about the Bangor pier project’s importance to military readiness, asserting that if the Bangor pier project is not funded, “full operational capability of the [transit protection] mission cannot be executed. [Nuclear Weapons Security] posture will continue to fall short of DoD directives and requirements.”
Additionally, a converted barge is currently providing diesel fuel at the facility, which was designed for temporary use, is costly to operate and carries serious environmental risks, according to the Department of Defense.
Lawsuits against the Trump Administration
Including today’s case, Ferguson has 25 legal victories against the Trump Administration. Seventeen of those cases are finished and cannot be appealed. The Trump Administration has or may appeal the other eight, which include lawsuits involving Dreamers and 3D-printed guns.
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.firstname.lastname@example.org