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Property Rights

“WILD” and the EPA

by Pearl Rains Hewett –  Comment

Posted on July 17, 2013

Clallam County, WA – Are both government Taking and Controlling entities being used TO WILLFULLY DENY ACCESS AND RESTRICT the USE OF both PRIVATE and Public land.


While WILD IS at it, WILD IS creating 1/2 mile set backs
(buffer ZONES ) on private property.Creating those famous NON-CONFORMING, no man’s use of his own land, on private property that has been owned by families, like ours, for over 60 years.
The Rains Sr. family has lived in Clallam County for 93 years.
AFFRONT definition added for emphasis, to insult or offend somebody openly Continue reading

Whose community is it? Question raised where NGOs offer predetermined outcomes for Clallam County Shoreline

July 13, 2013 10:38 am 




My Clallam County SMP comment
There are 3300 vested private property owners
PRIVATE Landowners are the stewards of this critical zone
Those who live in the same COMMUNITY area
affected by the Clallam County SMP Update

From: zSMP Continue reading

Hijacking the Heartland – The “Blueways” System

By Doreen Hannes |

June 18, 2013

A massive land grab is underway in Missouri and Arkansas. NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) are lining up other states to be included in the Department of Interior’s “National Blueway System” designation. The Blueways System stems from Obama’s “America’s Great Outdoors” Presidential Memorandum, under which Secretary of Interior Salazar issuedSecretarial Order #3321. (scroll down)

The first Blueway designation occurred in May 2012, across the States of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut. That watershed encompasses 7.2 million acres. The “White River National Blueway” is 17.8 million acres, and includes 60 counties across Missouri and Arkansas. Not one elected official from these 60 counties knew a thing about the designation, or the plans put forward by the “nominating committee.” Continue reading

Property Rights Are Not Secure in Washington State


By Preston Drew, President,
Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights

Posted 7/6/2013


In 2008 the Washington State Court of Appeals threw out the most controversial section of the 2004 King County Critical Areas Ordinance, which was a provision that called for the set aside of as much as 65% of a rural landowner’s property when applying for a land use permit. The Supreme Court then refused to hear King County’s appeal, thus rendering the Appeals Court decision settled law. Yet the King County administration refuses to change the code to reflect the Appeals Court decision. When queried recently the reply was “Oh, we just don’t enforce that clause”.

Why? Aren’t county officials obligated to have the code reflect the law? Continue reading

PLF Wins Case Against Offsite Mitigation Extortion!

Posted 7/6/2013

Whatcom Excavator

Whatcom County, WA – In January WE shared news that the Supreme Court accepted a case fought by Pacific Legal Foundation related to wetlands mitigation for land disturbance, “Koontz v. St. Johns River Management District.”

We are happy to report that they won, and that nexus and proportionality really do matter.  


Additional information at the PLF site. Continue reading

Another Historic Victory for Property Owners


Supreme Court rules for PLF’s property rights case in Florida

 Pacific Legal Foundation

Posted 6/26/2013

Score another huge win for the nation’s property owners!

: A great victory for Pacific Legal Foundation and for all property owners to protect their property from the government interference!

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Tuesday inKoontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, Pacific Legal Foundation’s seventh consecutive victory at the High Court, gives clients Coy Jr. and Linda Koontz, and other property owners, assurances that government bureaucrats can’t use the land use permitting process as an excuse to shake them down.

Continue reading

Federal Court Finds Conspiracy, Orders FS and BLM to Reinstate Hage Grazing Permits

Posted 5/30/2013

News Release from Ramona Morrison
Liberty and Property Rights Coalition

(RENO, NV)  Friday, Chief Judge Robert C. Jones of the Federal District Court of Nevada issued a historic 104-page ruling protecting western ranchers’ grazing preferences and finding conspiracy by federal agents to deprive ranchers of vested property rights.  The decision stems from a 2007 trespass case, U.S. v. Hage,  brought by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) against embattled central Nevada rancher Wayne N. Hage and the Estate of his father, well-known property rights activist, E. Wayne Hage.


Wayne Hage commented from Pine Creek Ranch, “This decisions is landmark for western ranchers. I am pleased to announce for the ranchers of the Western states that it has been proven that a permit is not simply a revocable privilege, but rather there is a property interest in the permit for the purpose of the Due Process Clause, both procedural and substantive. This is important because it will safeguard rancher’s rights and historical grazing practices.”

Continue reading

Clallam Co., WA: Local activist raises questions to Congressman about EPA violations

U. S. Representative for the 6th Congressional District of Washington State recently held a town meeting, and at least one person raised questions.  Pearl Rains-Hewett, a property owner and grandmother, wrote the following as an open commentary to Kilmer:
I did attend your town hall meeting in Port Angeles Yesterday.
You stated you would answer all questions you received and asked that we report violations by government agencies.

WA State Senate coalition protects ag – Industry advocates say new leadership kept damage to a minimum

Capital Press

OLYMPIA — The Republican-led coalition that took over the Washington Senate during the recently ended session “absolutely” benefited farmers and ranchers, legislators and agricultural lobbyists say.

When two Democrats — Rodney Tom of Medina and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch — decided to caucus with the Senate’s 23 Republicans, it added a new dynamic in state government: a divided Legislature, with Democrats retaining control of the House and the GOP-led coalition in charge of the Senate.

“We did no harm,” said wheat farmer Mark Schoesler, leader of the Senate Republicans.

“It’s been years since we felt like we had a backstop if a bad bill came out of the House,” said Tom Davis, director of government relations at the Washington State Farm Bureau. Having different leadership in the Senate has made for more meaningful conversations, he said.

The new balancing act benefited small businesses “and anyone who has a wallet,” Jack Field, executive vice president of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, said.

Dan Wood, director of government affairs for Washington State Dairy Federation, called the coalition “a grand experiment (that) seems to have resulted in some decent compromises in the Senate.”

A supermajority held by either party is not good, he said, “But when parties have to work together in bipartisan fashion, generally you get better public policy.”

In general, conservative lawmakers are more cognizant of the challenges facing agriculture, Field said, and they played a pivotal role in many issues.

One of those issues was management of the state’s growing wolf population.

Legislators heard 11 wolf-related bills, some with similar intentions. They included establishing a funding source to compensate owners for livestock lost to predation, removing a cap on that compensation, authorizing county governments to declare imminent threat to commercial livestock and to authorize the sheriff or other county agent to kill wolves, and requiring state listings of the gray wolf as endangered or threatened to be limited to areas of the state where it is also listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

One bill, HB1258, introduced by Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, aimed to ensure that all Washingtonians “share in the benefits of an expanding wolf population.”

“The pro-wolf people typically love them as long they don’t have to deal with them,” he said in January. “It’s a chance for the people in those areas to step up and actually deal with the real problems happening in northeastern Washington.”

Only one wolf bill passed, Senate Bill 5193, which establishes a voluntary means of helping compensate livestock owners by increasing the cost of specialized license plates. It passed both houses with large bipartisan majorities and was delivered to Gov. Jay Inslee in the closing hours of the regular session.

SB5193 was not on Inslee’s signing schedule at deadline, but his spokeswoman, Jaime Smith, said he would likely sign it.

Davis said Inslee has been “pleasantly supportive of landowners’ rights to protect their livelihood,” and he expects SB5193 will become law.

He said the Legislature “punted” on a SB5187, which would allow the lethal removal of wolves caught in the act of attacking pets or livestock. A letter from legislators prompted the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission to adopt an emergency rule allowing livestock and pet owners to shoot wolves caught attacking their animals in the portion of the state where wolves aren’t protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Budget needs

When legislators return to Olympia May 13 to begin a 30-day special session, they will face the task of closing a $1.2 billion budget gap and putting additional money into K-12 schools in response to a Supreme Court ruling. The state spends about $13.6 billion of its current $31 billion two-year general fund budget on schools.

“The key difference is the House and the governor are obsessed with $1 billion in taxes,” Schoesler said. “(The majority coalition) showed how we can do that with no new taxes.”

In that budget is money to modernize the state’s capacity to trace animal diseases. Wood said a $1 million state investment would pay for itself many times over. The impact of a single case of BSE — bovine spongiform encephalopathy — in 2013 was $1 billion, he said.

The money would fully fund the up-front development of a traceability database, upgrading the current brand system. Wood said that after the first two years, the livestock industry will fund that operation through transaction fees.

Also in the budget is money to get the Voluntary Stewardship Program going. Wood said 28 counties have opted into the cooperative framework for addressing land use issues. Only two counties have been funded, he said, and he hopes the state can redirect federal conservation money into that.

Michele Catalano, executive director of the Tilth Producers of Washington, said she was glad to see money in the budget to restore the direct marketing program at the Washington State Department of Agriculture. That program was eliminated by the Legislature in 2011.

“It’s not at the $500,000 requested, but $250,000 was reinstated,” she said.

Heather Hansen, with Washington Friends of Farms and Forests, said she’ll also be watching how the WSDA fares in the budget. She’s also hoping the funding for fairs remains stable. “Many senators in the coalition caucus understand the value of fairs for community youths.”

Schoesler said the $8.8 billion transportation budget, which has been approved, includes $2.6 million for maintenance on the CW line, a branch of the PCC rail line, formerly Palouse River and Coulee City Rail Line that serves hundreds of Eastern Washington farmers.


Catalano said a bill to give small farms the same home site property tax exemption as larger farms was amended to affect only Thurston County.

“I couldn’t understand why. The cost is very miniscule,” she said. “It already applies to larger growers and handicaps smaller growers.”

Legislators should be trying to reduce barriers to agriculture, she said. “It’s a no-brainer. It should apply statewide.”

Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, a Central Washington orchard owner who crafts much of the state’s water-related legislation, said despite some “modest” successes, “I don’t think we as a Legislature have a real sense of how to effectively balance demands for water. We’re backing into it one crisis at a time.”

He said he is optimistic about progress made with the Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan as well as legislative support for continued progress in the Odessa subarea. Both houses have inserted $32 million into the capital budget for Odessa work.

Davis said the Farm Bureau’s priority is to ensure long-term viability of agriculture by keeping a rein on tax policy and regulations.

“House Bill 2038 flies in the face of that,” he said. Despite some changes, the bill increased a Business and Occupation Tax that affects the state’s ports and its competitiveness in imports and exports. “Every time there’s a change of hands, there’s a tax applied.”

That bill is part of the education funding issue that proposes narrowing or eliminating tax preferences and extending taxes set to expire.

Report card

Most ag lobbyists said they would give a “B” or “B-plus” to the Legislature this session, because it did little damage.

“We had some good discussion and advanced excellent policy,” Field said.

Holli Johnson, who represents the Washington State Grange, also gave the lawmakers a “B,” “though there are still a lot of balls in the air.”

She said she has been impressed by bipartisan efforts in wolf management and a growing awareness of small farm dynamics among legislators.

Davis said a “bright spot” was the approval of a bill requiring the state Department of Ecology and Department of Fish and Wildlife to identify the peer-reviewed science, scientific literature and other sources of information relied upon before taking significant agency action. Previous sessions have considered similar bills, but they did not make it out of committee. This year both bills passed unanimously without amendment.

“Interesting what a difference a couple of years can make,” he said.

Some ag industry representatives said lawmakers should get an “incomplete” on their report card.

“They didn’t do all their assignments and turn in their papers,” Davis said.

Overall, the Legislature did little damage to agriculture.

“There are no new taxes and regulations,” Wood said. He said a bill heard in the Senate would have added $10,000 in taxes to the average dairy farmer, “but we explained that’s not good policy.”

Hansen said a bill on pesticide drift got nowhere, and lawmakers did not advance a bill to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. That issue will show up on the November ballot.

As agriculture faces mounting pressure, Wood said, lawmakers have to be aware of the impact of their actions.

“Today’s farmer will have to feed twice as many people with less land, fertilizer, water with coming climate change,” he said. “Why tax and regulate ag more? You need to make it more enticing to get next generation to stay on the family farm. Legislators need to think on local, state and global levels.”

Dungeness water rule prompts queries for future meetings

SEQUIM –– Few answers were given to questions raised at the first in a series of meetings on the new Dungeness water rule last week, but several issues were tagged for greater exploration in subsequent meetings.

Various sectors affected by the state Department of Ecology’s Dungeness water rule, which regulates water use in the Dungeness River watershed, met Thursday at John Wayne Marina for the first meeting to gauge the impacts of the rule, which went into effect Jan. 2, on the area’s economy and ecology.

Thursday’s discussion, attended by about two dozen, centered on what might be discussed at future gatherings of the 17-member panel.

“This is just a way to have a structured session about the rule implementation,” said Clallam County Commissioner Jim McEntire, who chaired the panel with Sally Toteff of Ecology. READ MORE>>>

Can trees grow without Central Planning?

How many government employees does it take to plant a tree? 

April 17, 2013

by Glen Morgan, Property Rights Director
Freedom Foundation, Citizens Action Network blog
as posted on The Whatcom Excavator

It sounds like an old joke (the answer starts at five and grows from there), but it is a real question some of us have asked when we see the expansion of “Tree Ordinances” in local jurisdictions in Washington State.  The City of Tukwila, for example, is exploring a tree ordinance consisting of many pages of make-work rules to manage every aspect of pruning, planting, protecting, removing, and enjoying trees and landscaping.  The question, unanswered, of course, is how did the City of Tukwila become one of the most heavily treed cities (47% according to their “consultant” report) in Washington State without this critical, crucial, crises ordinance process to save our trees from ourselves?  This is indeed a mystery nobody in the Tukwila government appears able to solve.  However the citizens and elected officials of Tukwila still have the opportunity to avoid the tree ordinance fiasco which the Mercer Island City Council attempted to impose on their citizens (and which was impressively rejected by the residents in 2001). Continue reading

A Jewell Who’s Rough on Jobs – Commentary

Wall Street Journal

Posted 3/16/2013

As CEO of retailer REI, the incoming secretary of the interior was on the radical extreme, using investor dollars to wage open green activism.

Washington, D.C. – In naming Sally Jewell as Interior secretary, President Obama lauded the REI boss as a woman who “knows the link between conservation and good jobs.” Tell that to Kevin Lunny.

Mr. Lunny runs an 80-year-old California oyster business that had the bad luck decades ago of being enclosed in a federal park. On Monday, as Ms. Jewell polished her acceptance speech, a federal judge ordered the business evicted. Among the organizations working hardest to destroy the livelihood of Mr. Lunny and his 30 workers was the National Parks Conservation Association. Ms. Jewell is vice-chairman of its board. Continue reading

U.S. Claims Court To Hear Case Involving Unlawful Seizure of Livestock by U.S. Forest Service

from Liberty Scene

Posted 4/17/2013

Arizona – In a published decision handed down April 4, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims denied a U.S. Forest Service motion to dismiss in a case brought by Arizona rancher Daniel Gabino Martinez asserting a Constitution Fifth Amendment taking of property in the nature of cattle.   The cattle were grazing both on patented lands, and utilizing vested water sources on rangelands appurtenant to the ranch in the area at issue.  The Martinez complaint alleges a taking of property without a either a court order or a warrant, and the denial of Constitutional and statutory due process of law.  Continue reading

WA State Reps battle UN Agenda 21 with new bills

Jan. 17, 2013

By: Mikael Thalen

Washington State recently made news after local farmers in association with the Washington State Farm Bureau adopted new policy blocking all aspects of U.N. Agenda 21.

United Nations Agenda 21 is based off of the The Commission on Global Governance’s controversial 1995 report entitled “Our Global Neighborhood” that calls for more power to the United Nations in countries affairs, including the United States.

One of the most troubling aspects of this is the United Nations claim that it has the authority to change policy in the United States and even dictate what people can or can’t do on their own private property under the supposed guise of environmentalism to the point of restricting massive amounts of land to American citizens.

Continue reading

Maryland Rain Tax Goes After Residents With Driveways

by Zach Walton
Web News Pro

Posted 4/11/2013

Maryland – A rain tax sounds kind of preposterous, but the state of Maryland will be implementing such a thing very soon.

The Gazette, a local Maryland newspaper, reports that new regulations put into place by the EPA require Maryland to reduce the amount of stormwater that flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The reduction in run off would reportedly drop nitrogen levels by 22 percent and phosphorous levels by 15 percent. It’s a noble endeavor that comes with a $14.8 billion pricetag. Continue reading

Bainbridge Island, WA: Property owners group prepares for legal fight

Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
March 8, 2013 · 11:58 AM

Bainbridge Island, WA – The city’s update to the Shoreline Master Program spent months being hammered out by the Bainbridge Island Planning Commission. Now the city council is perched on a decision on the update of its regulations for seaside development amidst heavy public criticism.

Critics of the new rules are gearing up for a fight.

Island activist Gary Tripp has been amassing support for an assault on the proposed Shoreline Master Program.

Tripp manages an island listserv for interest groups around the island, and also oversees the Bainbridge Shoreline Homeowner’s blog. In a Feb. 20 email written to his followers, Tripp asked for financial donations in order to combat the city’s work on its Shoreline Master Program. Continue reading

CA: Agenda 21 stokes property-rights fears

by Tim Hearden
Capital Press

Posted 3/29/2013

Others say U.N.
land-use blueprint having no impact

QUINCY, Calif. — Carol Viscarra doesn’t consider herself a political activist, but Agenda 21 caught her attention.

The cattle, hay and vegetable producer from the Indian Valley near here is also an emergency-room nurse, so she doesn’t have much time to “bounce around the county addressing regulatory boards,” she said.

But battles over water from a stream that feeds her 450-acre ranch have taken Viscarra on a journey of research that led her to fight a proposed update of Plumas County’s general plan, which she believes could slowly destroy private property rights.

“I am an American,” she told the county planning commission recently, “and I believe that one of the primary pillars upon which rests our most fundamental freedoms as Americans is private property rights.”

Viscarra and some of her neighbors assert the updated plan closely mirrors Agenda 21, a United Nations document that’s drawn fire from some landowners and activists in the West who fear it’s behind a planned depopulation of rural areas. Continue reading

San Juans among 5 new national monuments to be named by Obama

Posted March 28, 2013

President Barack Obama is expected to grant protected status to 1,000 acres of federal land in the islands.

By Philip Rucker, The Washington Post


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday will announce five new national monuments that will be added to the nation’s list of protected land, including 1,000 acres in the San Juan Islands in Washington state. Continue reading

Whatcom Co., WA: Water Planning Hijacked, Needs Council Attention

Posted 3/16/2013

Whatcom Excavator

Yesterday, the county water district caucus of the WRIA 1 Planning Unit transmitted a letter to Whatcom County Council.  That may sound boring, but WE think it’s important and something everybody should see.   Why?

The letter describes in clear terms how water laws affect everybody.  It explains what’s supposed to happen.  Then it lays out how agencies and planners have basically run away with the process since 2009.  A lot of people have been dumped – citizens with wells, private water associations, the county’s public water districts, and even small cities in large part – even though the Watershed Planning Act (RCW 90.82.10) says:
Continue reading

The Difference between Planning and Social Engineering

By Henry Lamb

Posted 3/27/2013


About ten miles beyond the Libertyville city limit is a farm owned by Grandpa Jones.  The farm has been in the Jones family for three generations, but now all the Jones kids are grown and have moved away.  Grandpa Jones has decided to sell his 1,600-acre farm and retire.  He made a deal with ABC Developers to sell the farm for $1.6 million, subject to approval of ABC’s subdivision plan by the Planning Commission.


ABC presented the plan for “Pleasant Acres” to the Planning Commission.  It proposed changing the zoning of 1,400 acres from agriculture to residential, and 200 acres to commercial.  It dedicated 100 acres to the county school board, which would be held for ten years for the school board to purchase at the same price ABC originally paid for the property.  It proposed a final build-out of 3,250 homes (2.5 homes per acre).  It proposed a shopping center for the 200 acres zoned commercial. Continue reading

What happens when the Central Planners fail?

by Glen Morgan
Property Rights Director for
Freedom Foundation

Posted 3/26/2013

When I was in college, my peers and I would have our makeshift debates in the dorm hallways, arguing about the fundamental problems with Marx and other prophets of the left.  We usually came to the conclusion that Marx just didn’t understand the nature of man.  Columbia University still required all undergrad students to read a core curriculum of largely western thought at the time.  So we studied Marx, John Stuart Mill, The Federalists Papers, Plato, Hobbs, etc.  These debates were not unusual then (I hope they still happen today).  The influence of the Socialist Utopian view of the world is still with us today, of course, under a variety of different titles and schemes, and they all share the same fatal flaw that dooms Marxism every time:  that some “educated elite” or, to quote Plato, mythical “Philosopher Kings” could lead the masses to utopia .  Like a chronic disease, we can’t seem to shake these failed concepts regardless of how many times they end in disaster.  Continue reading

Commentary: Deprived Of Our Water

Posted on February 13, 2013

by Pearl Rains Hewett Commentary –
from Behind My


An introduction to a series by Pearl Rains Hewett” – CLOUDED WATERS

This series of on the taking and depravation of our water rights will report, document and expose the many ways we the people are being deprived not only of our water right, but to our right to water.
THE Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The source point of our deprivation comes from THE TOP via a federally Appointed Agency. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is federally funded by our centralized US Government in DC.

(previously posted Continue reading

Olympia bills offer some hope for positive change

from Trent England
Freedom Foundation

Posted 2/8/213

Olympia, WA – Here are some good ideas that have passed an initial hurdle-making it out of committee-in your state legislature.

Keeping Laws and Legislators Accountable
Sen. Barbara Bailey and the Freedom Foundation have for years called for reining in the abusive use of the “emergency clause,” which prevents citizens from challenging legislation by referendum. Persistence paid off and last week, Sen. Bailey’s bill was finally passed in committee and is headed for the Senate floor.

Helping Young and Unskilled Workers
Washington has the highest minimum wage in the nation, making it harder for teenagers and other low-skilled workers to find jobs. Sen. Janéa Holmquist Newbry introduced SB 5275 to allow a “training wage” to create new opportunities for those workers. (Watch our Talk Back video about minimum wage.) Continue reading

Commentary: How will the DOE Dungeness Water Rule work in Clallam County?

by Pearl Rains-Hewett
Behind My

Posted 2/5/2013

It happened  in Skagit County, and now it has happened  in Clallam County.

The SKAGIT River Flow Management Committee is comprised of the groups that signed the original agreement: Skagit County, the PUD, Anacortes, Ecology, state Fish and Wildlife, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, the Upper Skagit Tribe and the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

“The Dungeness Exchange will have a local advisory board with invited representation from Clallam County, Department of Ecology, the Dungeness Water Users Association, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, City of Sequim, Clallam PUD No.1, Clallam Conservation District and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.” Continue reading

San Juan County regulations “unfriendly” toward local farmer

by Scott Roberts
Freedom Foundation

Posted 2/3/2013


San Juan County, WA  – Charles Dalton just wants to grow blueberries on his small organic, no-till farm. He built a barn without a permit, and the “Friends” of San Juan County turned him in. Now, San Juan County is treating Charles like a criminal. Instead of helping him through the process, San Juan County is throwing the book at him and piling on the requirements. There seems to be no end in sight. Watch this video and decide for yourself if San Juan County is working for the citizens of San Juan County, or if they are unduly influenced by the Department of Ecology and powerful special interest groups like the “friends”.  Watch the report below:


GOP lawmakers want eminent domain regs strengthened

For the Olympia Report

Posted 1/28/2013

When Sound Transit decided in 2007 to build a light-rail stop on the property where Doris Cassan and her husband had operated an airport parking lot for 40 years, the city of Sea-Tac decided it was time to follow the trendy example of other cities by creating a “downtown” retail hub with the train station as a hub.

But in order to make that possible, the city would need to buy Cassan’s property or, when she declined to sell, use the government power of eminent domain to condemn the Cassan’s property so that private developers could enact its vision for the city.

The action, however, stretched the traditional understanding of eminent domain because it called for using the power in order to replace one private property owner with another rather than to build a public-use facility like a road or bridge. Continue reading

Royal City farmer to appeal Ecology’s $20,000 erosion fine

Capital Press

Posted 1/25/2013

A Royal City, Wash., farmer plans to appeal a $20,000 fine from the Washington Department of Ecology for erosion.

The department alleges B&G Farms owner Mike Brown failed to prevent extreme erosion on his farmland, but the farm says a torrential rain storm caused the problem.

According to Ecology, a heavy storm in July 2012 sent a large amount of soil down a hill into Lower Crab Creek, smothering fish habitat and polluting the creek with mud.

“Too much sediment, dirt and mud, once it gets into water, it causes problems, therefore making it pollution,” said Brook Beeler, communications manager for Ecology. Continue reading

Ecology’s Q&A session in Sequim about water ‘rule’ leaves many unanswered questions


By Sue Forde
for Citizen Review Online

January 17, 2013 – Sequim, WA – Approximately 120 citizens attended a meeting sponsored by the Washington State Dept. of Ecology and elected and staff members of Clallam County to review and field questions about the new so-called “Dungeness Water Rule” which took effect on Jan. 2, 2013.  The meeting was held on Jan. 17, 2013 at the John Wayne Marina near Sequim, starting at 4 p.m.

DCD [Department of Community Development] Director Sheila Roark-Miller moderated the meeting, with Tom Shindler, permits center manager for the county, and several other county employees present.  Roark-Miller introduced Sally Toteff, Regional Director of the WA State Department of Ecology (DOE), who commented that the people who showed up tonight “shows that you’re ‘ready to soak up information’ about the water plan.”  Others from the agency were Bob Barwin, Mike Gallagher, regional supervisor, Ann Wessell, along with Amanda Cronin and Susan Adams, from the Washington Water Trust (WWT). Later, Anne Soule and Andy Brastad were introduced, who both work for the County.

Of special concern are the areas shown on the “water plan” map.  Depending on the designated area on the map, water use for new wells is being limited to indoor use only, or no water at all in some areas.  People drilling new wells will be required to pay a “mitigation fee”, starting at $1,000, plus pay to install a meter on their well, to be “allowed” to use up to 150 gallon per day (gpd) of water, indoors only.  Previously, a property owner fell under the “exempt well” status, where no such requirements existing.  The WA State Department of Ecology has been pressing for the water restrictions for almost 20 years, and the people have managed to hold it back – until now.  The slideshow presentation by the County can be seen here: County water rule presentation.

Barwin stated that the DOE will be funding the Washington Water Trust (WWT) to “negotiate and acquire water rights from the Dungeness Water Users [Sequim-Dungeness Agricultural Water Users Association]”, who will purchase easements and equipment with the monies they collect from new water users.  “For the ‘customers’ of this program, we’re trying to keep it simple,” he said. This “service”, he said, will determine whether a water use is a “new” use, subject to the new Rules, or not.

Cronin (WWT) said, “We went over the mitigation packages; there are 3 packages we’ll be offering right now – the prices are there in nice round numbers.”  She said “you need to record your mitigation certificate; it’s non-transferrable and will stay with the land.”  The mitigation certificates are available now for applicants with pending projects, she said.  There will also be a “mitigation option”, where a payment of 25% of the indoor mitigation can be paid.  That fee “could” be “partially” applied toward the final mitigation certificate, she stated.  The “option” would be good for year 2, 3 or 4, and a portion might be refundable, for example, $150, $100 or $50, depending on the number of years.  “There may be some price adjustment,” she said.

Tom Shindler said that the role of the permit center is an “ongoing relationship”. He added that the county would “go to Ecology for the complex questions”.  He reviewed the county website ( as to where to seek information about the various layers of regulations on a piece of property.  “Every parcel is tagged on the map,” he said, “and we are going to add tags as certificates are issued.”

“We have a ‘product’ called ‘project review’ to outline the requirements on a property, Shindler stated.  The county planning department will “coordinate all the permit requirements”.  They will send the mitigation certificate request to Washington Water Trust, who in turn will review and then issue the certificate.  It is returned by email, and must then be signed, notarized and recorded.

“Don’t drill your well first; you may be in a Group A system”, Shindler said.  “We don’t know everything yet.”  Building permit requirements include road approach, drain ditch permit, critical areas review, septic permit, potable water availability (including quantity, quality and legality), and a water system or a well.

The question was raised by an audience member, “Who determines what is timely and reasonable?”  Shindler replied that a “year” is “timely.

He pointed out that the cost to connect to a water system is estimated to cost 1-1/2 to 2 times the cost of drilling a well.

Pearl Rains-Hewett of Port Angeles commented that our county is going to be doing all the work.   “It’s a money deal,” she said, adding, “Ecology sucks.”  The 71-year-old stated that the US Constitution is on her wall.  “Is Clallam County still in the U.S.?  Where are we living now?” she asked.  She talked about the problems on the Skagit River with Ecology.  “Has Ecology learned anything from the debacle in Skagit?” she wanted to know.

The DOE department director answered that the results with the Swinomish Tribe are still unknown.  Kittitas County needs to plan ahead to be sure people can develop their property “for your use and future generations”, he said. The State Supreme Court case is pending right now.

Karen Pritchard asked whether mitigation water is available now. “No” was the response.  “When might they be ready?” she wanted to know.  Cronin said the applications for indoor water should be available in “a week or two.” If in the “green” area on the map, mitigation projects with irrigation will “probably” will be selling outdoor packages in the summer, Barwin said.

Pritchard then asked, “After the salaries and monies are paid, where is the remainder of the money [collected from users] going?”

Cronin said they have to “move water” to the site; there is no “excess” money; it covers the cost for the “exchange.”

More questions were raised about the financial aspects of the WWT.  With the first 100 permits, what estimate of turnaround time, and what is the cost to the WWT?  Cronin responded that there is an “annual work plan”, a “local advisory board”, and “tax statements are available.”

Annie O’Roarke from the Builder’s Association asked whether there is “due process required”.  “How many packages can outdoor water purchase for a parcel – for example, 5 acres?”  “Just one per parcel,” Cronin responded, no matter what the size of the parcel.

“Do these packages apply to commercial projects?” one person asked.  Cronin said it “depends on the type of commercial business, domestic – industrial/manufacturing not covered.  The WWT will work on a case-by-case basis”, she continued. “There will be custom packages, which amounts only for indoor use.”

One person posed the question about the use of water if there are 8 foster children in a home, where definitely more than 150 gallons per day would be needed.  Shindler responsed that those packages are mitigation packages, “these numbers represent averages”; the program is “averaged out”, and that “not every person is limited to 150 gallons per day.”  He added that “adjustments may be made in the future – we’ll adjust over time if we need to.”

O’Roarke wanted a clarification: “So there is no personal ramification if a household is using 400 gallons per day?” she asked.  Shinder said, “If your use is consistent, a variation on the same question – you’re over 150, you’re fine.  If you ‘add’ a use – like a garden – that’s ‘not’ fine.”  He added that “Metering informs us, ‘are the averages correct’ – not for individual accountability.”

Mike McAleer said he is currently working with an engineer with a law degree.  He’s wanting a 5 acre parcel, and the property was in the ‘yellow’ area for a few days.  That means, no garden, no fruit trees, etc.  In the Bigfoot area.  Then the map line changed.  There is no county code to change the map – now it’s a different map.  What is the public process to change the mapping?

Roark-Miller said the process is in an advisory board or committee.  “We don’t have to change the code; it is passed down from the State – we have to implement it,” she said.

Shinder added that regarding the map issues, the county had to find out how DOE wanted it defined.  Their original map was from “old data”, it’s now been updated.

One person asked how the subsidized funding woks – is it ‘grant-driven”?  Where does the money go?

McEntire answered that it is event-driven; if more than 100 people want to start houses, the county will be asking the State legislature for additional funding.

Kaj Ahlburg asked how the amounts for mitigation fees were arrived at.  “How are  the amounts to be charged for mitigation arrived at?  At 10% consumptive use, $1,000 for 150  gpd of domestic mitigation corresponds to a cost of $43 million/cfs.  At 90% consumptive use, the additional  $1,000 for a 89 gpd Basic Outdoor mitigation package correspond to a cost of  $8.1 million/cfs for the additional water, and the additional $2,000 for a 200  gpd Extended Outdoor mitigation certificate correspond to a cost of $7.2  million/cfs for the additional water.  The midpoint of Bob Barwin’s estimate of the likely cost to Ecology of  mitigation water in WRIA 18 was about $1.2 million/cfs (or $1,700/acre  foot).  These are markups of between  500% and 3,400%.  Where is the extra  money going?”

Shinder said it’s hard to exactly say how – all the complexity – all the risk.  The buyers get the mitigation; Ecology takes the risks.  It’s not about putting water in a bucket several streams; anyone could have a problem – it covers operations for the long term.

Someone asked, “What about natural recharge?”  Shindler said that they were starting with the small lawn packages.

Ahlburg talked about the visibility to the public; time will tell whether that works out.  He wondered if there is a commitment after a certain amount of time to reassess, and whether the actual revenues and expenses would be available for the public to review.

Cronin stated, “Absolutely.  This is the lowest cost of mitigation in the State of Washington.”

Jeff Monroe of Quilcene asked whether the 150 gpd might be off by two or three times.  Shindler answered that “we’re talking about averages.  This is based on the data in Sequim.”

Someone said that there are a lot of people who don’t even know about this meeting.

Roark-Miller said “I hear your concern about the 150 gpd.”

Shindler said, “Our behind-the-scenes debiting is a program management problem – using the metering.”

Roark-Miller added that the market price may change, so the price for the mitigation certificate may change as well.

“Once you reassess, what’s your next move, now that you have your foot in the door?” one person wanted to know.  What is your flow currently?  What penalties for noncompliance?  Can you shut off people’s water?  Are there fines?

Barwin responded that “if you overuse – use up the mitigation program, cost will likely rise. We will look at the average use.” He added, “If you use 175 gpd, Ecology will not consider that a violation.”  A violation could result in fines up to $5,000 a day; and you could have your water ‘curtailed’, he said.

One person said, “Neighbors against neighbors?”

Dick Pilling said, “I’m always a little leery when government comes to ‘help’ me.  Can we use storage tanks to capture water?”

Roark-Miller responded, “With a building permit.”  There are restrictions on water caught and stored.

Christina Nelson-Gross asked about mitigation for final plats.  Under the subdivision code, she said, it is required that water is “available”.  She referenced the JZ Knight case.  According to RCW 58.17, water must be found at the time of approval.  Now we have to pay for mitigation.

Carol Johnson asked by what authority does the WWT act as the “water bank.”

Jim McEntire said the county had a grant from DOE during the water rule.

Barwin said the WWT has been in business for 12 years, and has been working with Ecology.

Johnson then asked how the WWT became the “water bank” throughout Washington State.  DOE is the authority which took on the WWT.  It’s in Walla Walla and here; are there other water banks across Washington?  How about Skagit?

The response was that Skagit does not have a water bank.

Johnson asked, “For outdoor water, what constitutes a change in use?  A lawn to a garden?  Horses to llamas?”

Barwin said “no.”

Roark-Miller said “If you have a home that you are watering when you sell, and the person who buys it wants to build a mother-in-law building or addition, that would be a change of use.”

“What science was used for the yellow part of the map?” asked one member of the audience.  “What value was assigned by DOE for the value of the property to go down?”

Shindler responsed that it was his “best professional judgment for the lines on the map”.  The science, he said, was “hydrology by modeling.”

“Are the lines on the map for all time?” queried one person.  Shindler responded, “No, just for this year.  We are working with other ‘partners’ to “expand the green areas”.

Barwin said the “numbers are not readily available.  The cost benefit analysis has to do with where “we think the growth will be.”

Rick Rose asked how DOE established mitigation requirements.  “What number was used for all the ‘exempt’ wells?, he queried.

Shindler said they didn’t look at existing wells.  They used the information from gages in the river. The mitigation program was built on 150 gpd and 10% consumption.  Irrigation, he said, is at 90% evaporation with a garden or a lawn.

The focus returned to the WWT.  Greg McCarry asked “What can the public do for oversight?”

Cronin responded that there is an “advisory council.”

McCarry pressed on.  “How do we see the books?  Are the meetings public?  Who’s on the advisory council?” he wanted to know.  “Can I accumulate the minutes I save in the winter for summer use?  We get roughly 9 minutes of watering time under the “Rule””.  You said earlier you are not going to enforce the amount of water used?  “Are we to take your word for that?”

Marguerite Glover said that Bob Barwin told us we could buy mitigation for the property.  Now tonight, we can’t.  “Why can’t we buy mitigation now?  Why are there so many things we don’t know about?  Why wasn’t this map [she held up a DOE water rule map] available?”

Shindler said, “The map was available.”  Glover then pointed out that a “different” map was available for the public to view at the public hearings than is now being used.

Shindler stated the change in the map was a “mistake.”

A woman asked “Why do we need a building permit for our well?  We just want to raise cattle on our property.”  Shindler told her she needs to go directly to the Water Exchange (WWT) for agricultural use.  “When you build, you’ll have to get another mitigation permit.”

“For agricultural use, what will it cost?” she asked.  “Can we even get it?”

Susan said it’s done on a case-by-case basis, and has no ballpark of the cost, if they even allow water usage.

Cherie Kidd wanted to know about Ecology’s enforcement action.  “Where can we view this information on the website?”  What protocols to monitor the Rule; can the Rule be abandoned, if so, what is the timeline?

Tom (DOE) answered that she can look at RCW 90.03.600 and 605 for information about enforcement.  “There are other scattered authorizations for enforcement,” he said.  He added that the Dungeness River Management Team would review the conditions and reconvene another group if there is a controversy about the set flow.  It’s currently set for 105 cfs flow; we’ll talk about a higher flow once we get there.

Mrs. Cameron asked why WWT is no longer working in Walla Walla.  The response from Ecoogy was that they were paid to run the bank for two years; it is being turned over to the county.

It was asked about the cost of the meter that will be required when any new “use” takes place. Tom responded that a meter runs around $250 plus the cost of installation.  The going rate is approximately $95 per hour for labor.

Tom Martin from PUD said the water rights will “run out in about five years”.  He wanted to know how future customers will work through the water exchange after the water rights run out.

Commissioner Jim McEntire has stated repeatedly that there is no water crisis on the North Olympic Peninsula.

You can access the State Department of Ecology’s website re: the water rule here:

See a list of questions raised by individuals which may or may not have been answered adequately by the DOE and county staff: WRIA 18 WATER EXCHANGE QUESTIONS

Stories by the Sequim Gazette about the watershed plan – click here

Previous stories about the watershed plan as posted in the Citizen Review Online – click here

The WA State Department of Ecology’s take on “Sustainable Development”

What IS Sustainable Development?  Watch this 20 minute video to see how it will affect YOU.

Land Trust Scams on the Rise

By Elizabeth MacDonald
for Fox Business News

Posted 1/23/2013

The Great Recession has triggered a rising tide of real estate and tax abuse centered around land trusts that is going ignored, the Internal Revenue Service, Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation and the Government Accountability Office have all warned.

Land trusts, in which landowners donate land to trusts in an effort to obtain billions of dollars in federal tax deductions, have allowed some property owners to wipe out all of their federal tax bill.

More than 47 million acres are estimated to be in land trusts across the country as of 2010, nearly double the amount in 2000, according to a census done by the Land Trust Alliance, a nationwide conservation group. In the 48 contiguous states, there are twice as many acres in conservation easement as National Park land, says the Land Trust Alliance. Continue reading

Property owners air grievances with Growth Management Act

By Jeff Rhodes
The Olympia Report

January 21, 2013

Judging from the parade of witnesses testifying on Friday before the House Local Government Committee in Olympia, many Washington residents would dispute the Wikipedia definition of Washington state’s Growth Management Act.

According to the online encyclopedia, “Rather than centralize planning and decision-making at the state level, the GMA built on Washington’s strong traditions of local government control and regional diversity.

“The GMA,” the narrative explains, “established state goals, set deadlines for compliance, offered direction on how to prepare local comprehensive plans and regulations and set forth requirements for early and continuous public participation. Within the framework provided by the mandates of the Act, local governments have many choices regarding the specific content of comprehensive plans and implementing development regulations.”

In the view of those speaking at Friday’s hearing, however, the impetus of the GMA is anything but local.

“If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the GMA is a freeway,” said Glen Morgan, property rights manager for the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation. “I would recommend repeal of the GMA and sending decisions on land-use policy back to the local level, where they belong.” Continue reading

Koontz gets hearing at the High Court over property rights


Posted 1/17/2013

Pacific Legal Foundation’s property rights case, Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, was heard at the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday with Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard II arguing on behalf of Coy Koontz, Jr., and his family.


VIDEO: Watch clips of the press conference following the Jan. 15 oral argument.

A statement from Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard II after the oral argument (from our January 15 press release):

Continue reading

Bureaucrats unfairly charge for permits -U. S. Supreme Court to hear case

By Timothy Sandefur and Ilya Shapiro

Published in The Washington Times

November 30, 2012

The right to build a home or a business on your own land is basic to the very concept of property rights. Of course, government can impose reasonable conditions for health and safety, but too often, officials misuse land-use permitting to enrich the public sector rather than for legitimate regulation. In fact, many bureaucrats view the right to develop one’s property as a privilege landowners must purchase, sometimes at the cost of their constitutional freedoms.

Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court recently accepted a Florida case that could force an attitude change on regulators across the country. Continue reading

Home Gardening Forbidden? The Battlefront in the Front Yard

New York Times

Posted 1/5/2013

JASON HELVENSTON was at work on his second crop, spreading compost to fertilize the carrots, bok choy, kale and dozens of other vegetables he grows organically on his property in Orlando, Fla., when the trouble began.

Mr. Helvenston spent last Super Bowl Sunday planting the garden outside his 1940s cottage, in a neighborhood of modest houses close to downtown. Orlando’s growing season is nearly year-round, and Mr. Helvenston, a self-employed sustainability consultant for the building trade, said he saw the garden as “a budget thing” — a money-saving supplement to the chicken coop he and his wife, Jennifer, installed a few months later behind their house.

Since his backyard doesn’t get much sun, Mr. Helvenston ripped out the lawn in his front yard and put the 25-by-25-foot, micro-irrigated plot there. The unorthodox landscaping went largely unnoticed for months, perhaps because he lives on a dead-end street next to Interstate 4. Continue reading

Growers weigh canal spending – Odessa water project could cost up to $17,000 per acre

By Matthew Weaver
Capital Press

Nov. 8, 2012

MOSES LAKE, Wash. — Irrigators in the Odessa subarea will ultimately pay most of the cost of replacing well water with water from the Columbia River, a state official says.

Derek Sandison, director of Washington Department of Ecology Office of the Columbia River, said the cost of the project is roughly $730 million. The department will request $36 million from the state Legislature for canal improvements, but the bulk of the cost will likely fall to landowners, he said. Continue reading

Dungeness Water Rule: Working the numbers

Sequim Gazette

Posted 12/1/2012

Clallam County, WA – Clallam County Commissioner Jim McEntire says the county is at “the beginning of the end” in putting into place the new Dungeness Water Rule.


He added that he hopes that when the discussions are done, there will be funding available for as many as 20 years’ worth of indoor domestic water use.


The rule, which has been percolating for more than 20 years, was signed by Department of Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant in mid-November and will become effective Jan. 2, 2013. Continue reading

Senate to vote on the Federal Land Seizure Act on Thursday

from Gun Owners of America

Posted 11/18/2012

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) — who is “F” rated by Gun Owners of America — is pushing a “hunting” bill that authorizes the Obama administration almost unlimited power to seize private lands for “environmental” purposes.

Anti-gun Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled Tester’s bill for a vote, and it will probably take place on Thursday.

Final Dungeness water rule to be signed Friday

November 16th, 2012 – 11:19am


(Port Angeles) — The state Department of Ecology will sign a controversial water rule for the Dungeness Valley today.

But the public won’t get a chance to see exactly what the final rule looks like until next week.

Clallam County officials were contacted earlier this week by DOE officials indicating the final rule will be signed, but even the county won’t get to see it for three days. DOE rules say the agency must wait three days before it is opened to the public. The day before Thanksgiving will mark the public unveiling of the rule.

County commissioner Mike Chapman says there are still a lot of questions the county has on the final rule.

The county will still have to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the state for implementing the rule since many of the tasks, such as building permits, fall under the county’s jurisdiction.

It’s not known yet if the rule will contain specific language that would set up a different method of mitigation for new well water users in the Sequim area. DOE and county officials came to an agreement in principle on the change earlier this year. The rule has been more than a decade in the making and is intended to deal with what some experts say is declining water supplies in the Dungeness Valley and protecting salmon runs.

Response to questions on Dungeness water management

Posted 11/6/2012

The following is correspondence between Sequim Realtor and property owner Marguerite Glover, who has been active in the water issues surrounding Clallam County, WA, and elected representatives and the unelected, unaccountable state Department of Ecology. The proposed “water rule” will cut out much in the way of outdoor water usage, and limit indoor water use.  “Mitigation credits” can be purchased to obtain more water – from a private company.  Be sure to read this article – this is currently happening in Clallam County, WA, but it’s bound to be happening all across Washington State – and has already adversely affected several other counties.  For our readers in other states, let us know if this is happening in your area…  Editor.

_____________________________________________________ Continue reading

Wild Olympics – Oct. 8, 1992 to Oct. 29, 2012

Commentary by Pearl Rains-Hewett

Posted 10/29/2012


CONSPIRACY EXPOSED Oct. 8, 1992 The notarized document  was written on Oct. 8, 1992 by George C. Rains Sr. when he was 77 years old.


OVER 20 YEARS AGO George C. Rains Sr. WROTE


How can a Federal Government of ours pay money for things like this when our government is many trillions of dollars in debt?


This conspiracy will never end unless you people, property owners and tax payers start fighting back to stop the conspiracy and the taking of all our property on the Olympic Peninsula.


The Olympic National Park has doubled in size to over one million acres or more.


Most people have no knowledge of these vast encroachments to take our property and property rights on the Olympic Peninsula, and it is time that the truth be known. Land and Power Grab


The National Park Service has no respect for private property ownership and rights.

 Attempts are being made to grab land corridors on each side of the major rivers on the Olympic Peninsula. If they succeed here attempts will be made to grab land corridors on smaller streams on the Olympic Peninsula.


Pearl Rains Hewett

Read on if you are concerned Continue reading

Dungeness Water Rule debate continues

Published on Wed, Sep 12, 2012
Sequim Gazette
With the deadline for approval approaching, the Washington Department of Ecology is still hard at work on the new Dungeness Water Management Rule. Agency Director Ted Sturdevant says they have a lot of important work left to do.


The agency had hoped to adopt the rule formally this month, but with 940 public comments on the rule that require responses, and a few very important questions to answer, agency officials have been required to rethink that deadline.

Continue reading

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