By Ashley Ahearn
February 11, 2013
SEATTLE — Gov. Jay Inslee’s pick to direct the Washington Department of Ecology is an Olympia insider with appeal on both sides of the aisle.
Maia Bellon has worked at the Department of Ecology since 2010, where she was director of water resources. That meant she was in charge of handling water rights – an often contentious area for the Department.
Water is a contentious issue in Honeyford’s home district and he’s no fan of the Department of Ecology, “But Maia has really impressed me,” he says. “She’s willing to look for solutions to problems and working outside the traditional way of doing things so I think she’ll be very good and successful in that job.”
Bellon’s ability to connect with people on both sides of the political aisle was no doubt a big selling point for her nomination to direct the Department of Ecology.
But her solid background in water law and management didn’t hurt either.
Governor Inslee’s first legislative move in office was to throw his support behind what’s called the Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan. It’s one of the largest ecosystem restoration projects in the West and will require balancing agricultural interests with those of environmental groups, tribes and communities.