Judge dismisses challenge to Navy's Hood Canal land deal with state

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a challenge to a Hood Canal land deal between the Navy and Washington state.

The challenge was brought by a sand and gravel company, Thorndyke Resources, which hopes to build a pier for loading barges about three miles south of the Hood Canal bridge.

Last year, the Navy bought a 50-year marine conservation easement from the state Department of Natural Resources. The deal, covering 4,800 acres of land below the low-tide mark, was designed to prevent further commercial development along the shoreline and protect the Navy's ability to operate in the area.

Thorndyke sued on a variety of legal grounds, saying the Navy exceeded its land acquisition authority and discriminated against the company by barring commercial development while allowing residential uses.

In a ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle rejected those arguments.

The DNR and a citizen group called the Hood Canal Coalition praised the ruling in a news release Thursday, saying it will preserve the area's ecosystem.

Click here to see an earlier Q13 FOX News story on this issue.