Editorial: The governor and Glacier

It’s impossible to know why Gov. Christine Gregoire has failed to take a public stance on Glacier Northwest’s dramatic expansion plans or whether she could have made a difference.

But it does seem clear that her silence has been, at the very least, confusing, at worst, a failure in leadership.

And it’s made particularly troubling by her otherwise clear support of Puget Sound’s recovery — support she’s demonstrated by one of the most powerful ways an executive shapes policy: her budget. In the 2009-11 spending plan she just released, she’s proposed huge cuts in social services and education while seeking a slight increase in funding for the newly formed Puget Sound Partnership. The Seattle Times, in a story on the issue, called Puget Sound’s recovery Gregoire’s “signature environmental issue.”

David Dicks, who heads the Puget Sound Partnership, recently suggested concern about Glacier’s impact. According to Kathy Fletcher, director of the nonprofit People For Puget Sound, Dicks — at a public lecture earlier this month — called Glacier’s expansion plans “an example of the kind of thing that should never, ever happen on Puget Sound.”

He made this comment days after Glacier began building its barge-loading pier.

Why a day late and a dollar short? Why silence from the highest office in the state? We don’t know. But it is, without question, a huge disappointment.