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WA State News

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

WA: Ecology buying water rights from irrigators at pennies on the dollar to “sell back” at a profit?

Letter to the Editor:

Posted 3/30/2013

As a Realtor and property owner in Skagit County I’ve followed the Skagit water wars closely.  I am also a property owner, dependent on irrigation water in Okanagon County where I have been involved in DOE/Tribal lawsuits for 20 years.

This is a state wide issue that goes far beyond any local jurisdiction.  In Eastern Washington water shortages are not created by government agencies or tribes attempting to move forward their political agendas.  They can be a reality.  Therefore most water rights are secured by deed and superior to any claims by the State or DOE.

In these cases Ecology and the Tribes have brought in federal Regulators to assist, and even though the water is an actual right, the State is still able to take it from the landowners.  They just continue to sue, when they lose on In Stream Flow because of the senior water rights of the landowners, they start with the  Endangered Species Act.   Eventually they either wear the people out or defeat them economically so they can no longer fight back. 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

WA State Farm Bureau weighs in on bills in committee

The policy cutoff is now behind us, and this week all eyes are on the fiscal committees that have until Friday, March 1, to move bills out of their committees. The one caveat is that this cutoff does not apply to bills that are considered NTIB – Necessary To Implement the Budget. Speaking of the budget, there are no visible signs that any serious discussions about the budget have yet occurred between the House and Senate. It is also still unclear what role the new governor will attempt to play in this year’s budget discussions.

Supermajority Vote Needed to Increase Taxes?

The Legislature is still waiting for a ruling by the state Supreme Court on the constitutional challenge to the supermajority vote requirement on the Legislature to increase taxes. Rather than waiting for the court decision, the Senate Majority Coalition amended its operating rules to require a two-thirds vote for passage of tax bills. The House Democrat majority is not likely to act on this issue.

Two bills are moving through the Senate (SJR 8204 and SJR 8205) that would place the supermajority vote requirement in the Constitution. This constitutional requirement should easily pass If legislators vote how their individual districts voted on Initiative 1185. Farm Bureau supports both bills. Continue reading

Our elected representatives aren’t representing the ‘people’

Posted 3/2/2013

WA State – Pearl Rains-Hewitt raises the following question: “WHO IS DEAD IN OLYMPIA? OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES?”  She reports the following proposed bills which would help the people of Washington state as “dead on arrival”

Reclassify hydropower as renewable energy.

House Joint Resolution 4200 proposes an amendment to the state Constitution to require hydroelectric generation be recognized as a renewable resource. It would help recapture our state’s competitive advantage of offering abundant, affordable, clean energy for manufacturers and consumers. Did Not Receive a Public Hearing in House Environment Committee

Prioritizing state investments in storm water control.

House Bill 1235 would require the Department of Ecology to prioritize storm water assistance funding to local governments to help them satisfy their storm water permit requirements before funding other storm water-related projects. Public Hearing in House Environment Committee Continue reading

Federal court dismisses suit against Elwha hatchery; tribe drops nonnative steelhead stocking plan

A federal judge has dismissed a suit against the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s hatchery plan as moot, and the tribe has terminated its plan to stock the Elwha with nonnative steelhead.

By Lynda V. Mapes
Seattle Times staff reporter

Posted 2/17/2013

A federal judge has thrown out a suit against the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s hatchery plan, and the tribe has backed away from stocking the Elwha River with nonnative steelhead.

The Elwha is at the center of the region’s long-running debate on hatcheries and their role in salmon recovery. A $325 million federal recovery project for the river is now under way, with one dam out of the river and another soon gone in the largest dam-removal project in history. With so much at stake, hatchery plans for the fish-recovery effort drew fire early. 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

Tiny counties seek exemption from Growth Management Act

February 9, 2013

By Jeff.Rhodes
The Olympia Report

Washington state lawmakers on Friday grappled with the question of whether the counties with little history — or prospect — of growth should be held to the same standards as their larger brethren under the state’s Growth Management Act.

Enacted in 1990 and 1991, the GMA is the comprehensive land-use planning framework for city and county governments in Washington state. The law establishes numerous requirements for local governments, including:

• adopting a countywide planning policy;
• adopting ordinances to protect areas designated as critical environmental areas;
• designating urban growth areas and directing future growth into those areas; and,
• adopting a comprehensive plan and regulations to implement that plan within four years.

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

Is the Dungeness Water Rule etched in stone? Perhaps not…

from Pearl Rains-Hewett
Behind My

Posted 2/5/2013


7 Sec. 1. RCW 90.38.005 and 1989 c 429 s 1 are each amended to read

8 as follows:

9 (1) The legislature finds that:


It appears that the WA State Legislators can change WA State DOE Water Rules with a House Bill 1414 ?

36 to satisfy both existing rights, and other presently unmet as well as

37 future needs of the basin;

  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

In WA State Senate, Republicans put new muscle behind old pursuits

By Andrew Garber
Seattle Times Olympia bureau

Posted 2/3/2013

Senate Republicans are using their newfound political muscle to introduce bills that would have died before the ink dried when Democrats were in control.

Sen. Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, right, chats with Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, left, on the Senate floor last month as Republicans were able to wrest control of the state Senate with the help of two Democrats.

Senate GOP proposals

Here are some of the bills being introduced by the state Senate’s Republican-led caucus. Some Democrats have signed onto a few of the bills:

Abortion: Senate Bill 5156 would prohibit a provider from performing an abortion on a minor without at least 48 hours advance notice to the minor’s parent or guardian.

Family leave: Senate Bill 5159 would repeal the state family leave act. The Legislature passed a law six years ago giving parents five weeks of paid time off to be with a new child, but never came up with a way to pay for it. Lawmakers postponed implementation until 2015. Republicans want to get rid of the law.

School performance: Senate Bill 5328 would assign a letter grade — A, B, C, D or F — to each public school based on the performance of its students on standardized tests and other measures. 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:


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.

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

WA State Reps battle UN Agenda 21 with new bills

Posted 1/20/2013

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.

Residents across the country and in Washington State are attempting to block Agenda 21 by stopping its policies that are often labeled under more friendly names such as “sustainable development”, a term coined by the United Nations. Opponents of Agenda 21 point out that they agree on taking better care of the planet but it needs to be left out of the hands of foreign government’s, especially when the proposed plans are far beyond anything rational.

Washington Republicans Matt Shea, David Taylor, and Jason Overstreet, a group known for their principled and consistent support of the constitution, sponsored 3 new bills that would halt any foreign encroachment on private property.

The first bill, HB 1164, would prohibit the use of international law to infringe on property rights within the state. Rep Jay Rodne, the primary sponsor of HB 1165, proposses prohibiting the state of Washington and it’s political subdivisions from adopting and developing enviromental and developmental policies that would infringe or restrict private property rights without due process. The third bill, HB 1167, would repeal growth management planning requirments already on the books in Washington in chapter 36.70A RCW, a bill that “is the single largest attack on private property rights in Washington State over the last 23 years,” says Rep David Taylor. Continue reading

Washington State Bills under consideration – 1/14/2013

House Bill 1040: Revising real property valuation notices
Introduced by Rep. Dean Takko, (D-Longview) (D) on January 14, 2013, authorizes county assessors to combine or separately state land and improvement values on annual real property value notices that inform taxpayers of changes in real property and improvement values.

House Bill 1049: Modifying the administration and operation of flood control districts
Introduced by Rep. Dean Takko, (D-Longview) (D) on January 14, 2013, provides that contracts for construction or maintenance, or for labor or materials used in any improvement authorized by a flood control district, may only be awarded through a public bidding process Notices calling for sealed bid proposals must be published in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the district. The notices must be published at least once fourteen or more days before the deadline for submitting proposals; and bid proposals must be in writing, must be filed at the location specified in the notice, and must be opened and read in public.

House Bill 1052: Authorizing local government selection of appropriate sewer systems in urban areas
Introduced by Rep. Jan Angel (D) on January 14, 2013, specifies that in providing urban governmental services within the urban growth areas, counties and cities may choose as the main source of sewage treatment for any location any approved systems for sewage and solid waste handling systems, plants, sites, or facilities, which includes approved on-site sewage systems.

House Bill 1053: Requiring notice to property owners when a county, city, or town modifies its zoning requirements
Introduced by Rep. Jan Angel (D) on January 14, 2013, provides that any city or town that is considering a proposal to rezone private property must ensure that, prior to any hearing at which the rezone will be considered, written notice of the proposal is provided to the owners of the real property for which the rezone would apply.

House Bill 1055: Concerning metropolitan park district property tax levies
Introduced by Rep. Jan Angel (D) on January 14, 2013, provides that certain metropolitan parks may submit a ballot proposition to voters of the district authorizing the protection of the district’s tax levy from prorationing. A district may impose all or any portion of the district’s twenty-five cent per thousand dollars of assessed valuation tax levy outside of the five dollar and ninety cent per thousand dollar of assessed valuation limitation established by statute. A simple majority vote of voters voting on the proposition is required for approval. Continue reading

Report: ‘Affordable’ housing actually costs more to build

For The Olympia Report

Posted 1/16/2013

The state of Washington actually pays more to build affordable housing than the private sector does to build market-rate housing, one comparison of two projects in Seattle found.

Members of the House Capital Budget Committee were shown on Wednesday that the affordable housing project studied cost $14,804 more for each unit built than a comparable market-rate development.

Although the affordable units were larger than the market-rate units, other factors typically add substantial costs to the state-funded building, witnesses said.

Those include prevailing wage requirement, which compels builders on publicly funded projects to pay union wages even when non-union workers are used. Continue reading

Ranchers expect new water quality regulations soon

Capital Press

Posted 1/5/2013

Washington state ranchers expect the state Department of Ecology to propose new water quality regulations soon.

“It’s imminently close,” said Jack Field, executive vice president of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, noting that the proposal could come before the state legislative session begins Jan. 14.

A Washington Department of Ecology spokesperson declined to comment on specifics of the proposal.

“We have not nailed it down and it would be unfair to talk about something that was not going to be viable,” said Ecology water quality program spokesperson Sandy Howard. Continue reading

Why Government Employee Collective Bargaining Must Be Reformed Now

Op/Ed from Bob Williams article on State Budget Solutions on June 5, 2012.

Posted 12/30/2012

There are three important lessons from the Wisconsin collective bargaining battles over the past eighteen months:

1. The power of the government-sector unions and their impact on elections is greatly overestimated. With a victory for Gov. Walker, Wisconsin Government employee union will have suffered their fifth major defeat since March 2011.

2. When given a choice, government employees will quit their union in large numbers. 3. Government employees’ salaries and benefits, particularly pensions, are financially unsustainable in most states and collective bargaining reform is needed.

This paper outlines the problems with government-sector collective bargaining and lists a series of collective bargaining reform options; and has background information on the history of federal government-sector collective bargaining. Continue reading

Washington State Senators Cross Aisle and Tilt Ideological Balance

New York Times
Published: December 26, 2012


OLYMPIA, Wash. — From the governor-elect on down, through both chambers of the Legislature, a tincture of blue political monoculture drifts through Washington State politics like mist through the pines.

Or is the Democrat-led consensus an illusion, a distortion of liberal Seattle, Washington’s urban center and the heartland of the Pacific Northwest left? Two Democrats in the State Senate, in bolting from the party’s ranks this month to join with Republicans in creating a new majority coalition, say yes.

True representation of state residents — republican government with a small “r” — demanded a broader discussion and a larger voice, they said, for marginalized segments of the electorate. Continue reading

Water testing by agency questioned in State Dept. of Ecology’s case against rancher

By Steve Brown
Capital Press

Posted 12/6/2012

Washington State – Rancher Joe Lemire questions whether inspectors from the Washington Department of Ecology got valid readings from Pataha Creek before accusing him of polluting state waters.

In 2009, the state Pollution Control Hearings Board ordered Lemire to avoid the risk of pollution from his 29 head of cattle. After a Superior Court judge dismissed the order, the hearings board and Ecology appealed the case to the state Supreme Court.

Laura Watson, a lawyer from the state attorney general’s office representing Ecology, told the Supreme Court justices that Ecology’s action was in response to fecal coliform samples taken from the seasonal creek downstream from Lemire’s property. Continue reading

Two counties – same problem – water and land use regulations

from Pearl Rains-Hewett
Posted 11/18/2012

How Water and Land Use Regulations and Litigation Are Destroying Us

“The hand writing on the wall” is an idiom for “imminent doom or misfortune” and for “the future is predetermined”.

Timber harvesting is the dominant land use in the County with 285,842 acres in large commercial timber holdings. Widespread timber harvesting in the area began in the 1920’s and continued intensively through the 1980’s, when the rate slowed significantly due in part to federal listings of the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet.
At one time, it was the largest timber production area in the state.
However, our forest industries have been devastated by Federal and State regulations.
How many sawmills and wood processing facilities are gone?
There is no doubt that the restrictions on timber harvest from public lands under the Northwest Forest Plan have played a significant role in this decline.
Eighty- one % (81%) of the land base in Clallam County proper is in Federal (or state) ownership.
Olympic National Forest Is over 1 millions acres.
There are more than ? miles of wild and scenic rivers in Clallam County.
What is the unemployment rate? 9.1% of the labor force Sep 2012
One aspect of this is land conversion from private to Federal lands.
acquisition or conservation easements Continue reading

Dungeness Water Rule Signed by the Ecology Director

Comment by Marguerite Glover:

There are a few new details in the article. Ecology, thanks to discussions with Senator Hargrove and Commissioner McEntire, will be providing up to $1,000 per building permit, for mitigation, through June 30, 2013. After that, it is hoped that the Legislature will provide the funds. These are intended for the inside (domestic) water use, which I understand will be spelled out in the Rule, which will be published on Tuesday. I am not sure, but I believe that Ecology providing funds for private usage is unprecedented. However, it is water mitigation money, which should help the Dungeness Watershed, as a whole. The money will go into the Water Exchange, to buy water, for future mitigation. Here’s the article:

The link to the Ecology’s Dungeness Water Management Page is
I imagine that there will also be a bullet on Ecology’s main page, once the Rule is posted on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012.

PDN Story follows:


Dungeness Water Rule Signed by the Ecology Director


By Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News


SEQUIM — A controversial new state rule to manage water use, including individual wells, in the Dungeness River watershed will go into effect Jan. 2.

State Department of Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant signed it Friday.

The final rule, which must be certified by the state Office of the Code Reviser before it is released to the public, is expected to be available to view Tuesday, said Dan Partridge, Ecology spokesman.
Continue reading

Dungeness Rule due in late November

Sequim Gazette
Posted 11/18/2012

The Washington Department of Ecology has announced it plans to formally adopt the new Dungeness Water Management Rule in the second half of November, but questions continue to arise.


This week the agency released internal e-mails that include a statement that the rule isn’t subject to Washington’s Administrative Procedures Act. That means the rule isn’t subject to laws that require a cost-benefit analysis that shows the rule’s benefits outweigh the costs. Continue reading

WA farmers block federal drones and Agenda 21

by Mikael Thalen

Posted Nov. 17, 2012

The Washington State Farm Bureau just convened its 93rd annual convention.

Started in 1920, The WSFB is a voluntary, grassroots advocacy organization representing the social and economic interests of local farm and ranch families.

Every year the WSFB’s volunteer leaders from across the state get together to discuss issues and adopt new policy. The WSFB is unique in that its members, delegates from each of the 25 county Farm Bureaus, adopt the policies, ranging from land use to fiscal issues.

This year’s convention was especially exciting due to the passage of new policy, set to put a barrier against the overreach of the federal government and even foreign ones. Continue reading

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

Farm Bureau challenges county’s new Critical Areas Ordinance

Posted 10/30/2012

by Steve Brown
Capital Press

The state and county Farm Bureaus have appealed the updated Critical Areas Ordinance filed by the Thurston County Commission, claiming it doesn’t abide by the state’s rules.

John Stuhlmiller, director of government relations at the Washington Farm Bureau, said the state’s Voluntary Stewardship Program includes the commitment “to make no changes as it relates to agriculture.”

But the Thurston County Farm Bureau claims the county government did just that when it split farming into “existing” and “new” and then applied different rules to each. It also failed to define what “change of use” is.

Every county in Washington that agreed to participate in the stewardship program committed to involving farmers and other landowners in updating its Critical Areas Ordinance. The ordinance addresses issues including agriculture, wetlands and aquifers, preserving and protecting land from urban impacts. Continue reading

Agency metering rule to require mitigation fees, legality questionable

Posted 6/27/2012


On June 28 at 6 pm Ecology will hold the public hearing on the WRIA 18 East rule at the Sequim Community Church, 950 North Fifth Avenue in Sequim.  Everyone interested should attend and provide comments by July 9 to .  Details can be found at .


This rule requires well metering and mitigation payments in the thousands of dollars for all new construction east of Morse Creek.

Continue reading

PLF client Vicki Luhrs wins the right to save her home from erosion

Bellevue, WA; March 29, 2011:  Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) announced today that Vicki Luhrs, who owns a bluff top home on Lummi Island, has finally been allowed by Whatcom County officials to build a revetment to protect her property from erosion – and the revetment has now been completely installed.

“The completion of Vicki Luhrs’ revetment is a victory for her property rights – and for the principle that all homeowners should be free to take commonsense steps to safeguard their homes and their land,” said Brian T. Hodges, managing attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation’s office in Bellevue, Wash.  Hodges represented Luhrs through several levels of appeal in fighting the County’s prohibition against shoreline protection.  “But the fact that she had to fight for a decade to vindicate her rights as a homeowner and property owner is a sad commentary on the extremism and obstinance of some government officials.” Continue reading

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