Washington sued to stop Trump Administration from taking nearly $89 million from Bangor sub base
SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today that, because the $89 million in congressionally approved military construction funding meant for Naval Base Kitsap has been preserved, his lawsuit challenging Trump Administration-efforts to “reprogram” the funds for a wall along the U.S. southern border was no longer needed.
“Our legal victory ensures that this $89 million appropriation will be used the way Congress intended — to support a military construction project in Washington state,” Ferguson said. “This money was preserved thanks to our standing up for the rule of law and stopping executive overreach.”
“National emergency” used to divert funds
In February 2019, President Donald 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.
The list of targeted projects included nearly $89 million to build a pier maintenance facility at Naval Base Kitsap.
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.
On Jan. 20, 2021, President Joe Biden terminated the national emergency declared by President Trump.
President Biden’s order declared that “no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.”
The proclamation ordered the federal government to halt all border wall construction projects, and only use the diverted funds to pay contract termination costs, or costs to remediate damage caused by wall construction to private property and natural, historic or cultural resources. The remaining $2.2 billion was released to fund 66 deferred military projects.
Among them was the Naval Base Kitsap project.
As a result, today Attorney General Ferguson voluntarily agreed to dismiss his lawsuit.
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 to 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 that 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.
Washington’s Attorney General serves the people and the state of Washington. As the state’s largest law firm, the Attorney General’s Office provides legal representation to every state agency, board, and commission in Washington. Additionally, the Office serves the people directly by enforcing consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental protection laws. The Office also prosecutes elder abuse, Medicaid fraud, and handles sexually violent predator cases in 38 of Washington’s 39 counties. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.firstname.lastname@example.org