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Water Issues

Water-rights decision could have disastrous consequences for Washington families, workers

WA State Senate majority reacts to report detailing economic impact of Hirst

News release issued by Kimberly Wirtz, Senate Majority Coalition Caucus 

 OLYMPIA, WA – 9/14/2017  The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus shared the following statement in response to a report released today by the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) detailing the statewide economic impact of the Hirst water-rights decision.

  Some of the details revealed in the study include:

  • $6.9 billion lost in economic activity each year in Washington, predominantly in rural communities
  • $452.3 million in lost employee wages due to the impacts of Hirstannually
  • Nearly 9,300 lost jobs (FTEs) in rural Washington,  annually
  • $392.7 million in lost taxes to state and local governments, annually
  • $4.59 billion in losses to the construction industry, annually
  • $37 billion in lost property values in areas impacted by Hirst
  • $346 million in property taxes shifted to other properties in Washington

Continue reading

Siskiyou County, CA: Irrigation district participates in groundwater recharge program

By Damon Arthur of the Redding Record Searchlight

Posted 2/29/2016

A Siskiyou County irrigation district is the first water agency in the state to take part in a new groundwater recharge program.

Under the program, the Scott Valley Irrigation District divert 5,400 acre-feet of water from the Scott River during the rainy season when the river is running high. The district can divert water from the river until March 31.

The district uses the water to flood select areas in the valley, where it can then percolate into the ground and recharge the amount of water stored underground. Continue reading

Lawsuit challenges Obama Administration’s new “waters of United States” power grab

PLF lawsuit on WOTUS

Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) lawsuit challenges Obama Administration’s new
“waters of United States” power grab

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SACRAMENTO, CA; July 15, 2015: On behalf of a number of landowners and major organizations representing landowners, including the state cattlemen’s associations of California, Washington, and New Mexico, Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) sued the Obama Administration today over its vast new expansion of Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction — an expansion that could bring virtually all the nation’s water and much of the land under direct federal regulatory control.

——————————————
M. Reed Hopper
Principal Attorney
Anthony Francois
Senior Staff Attorney

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SPECIFICALLY, the lawsuit seeks invalidation of the new regulatory rule defining the “waters of the United States” that are subject to CWA jurisdiction. Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, the rule is illegal — and unconstitutional — because it sets no limit on the CWA’s reach, while explicitly expanding it to waters that the Supreme Court has already ruled to be off-limits to federal control. Continue reading

Clean Up the Clean Water Rule

US News & World Report

Posted 9/3/2015

The EPA’s water rule needs more input from farmers and small businesses.

Whether you’re a farmer in Indiana or a rancher in Wyoming, a Republican from Oklahoma or a Democrat from North Dakota – we all want clean water.

On Friday, EPA’s new rule is supposed to go into effect and will attempt to redefine which sources of water can be regulated under the Clean Water Act. Thirty-one states and several industry groups have sued to prevent the rule from moving forward. The EPA wrote and finalized its “Waters of the United States” rule without consulting with some of the people who care about clean water the most: farmers, ranchers, small business owners. Continue reading

Landowners express anger over water rights issue that blocks their ability to build

By Shannen Kuest
Skagit Valley Herald

The meeting was called by the Skagit chapter of the Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights.

About 120 people filled the American Legion Hall on Tuesday night to discuss the water and property rights issues facing Skagit County. Among them were property owners and Alliance members, who took the state’s 2001 instream flow rule to task.

When some at the meeting suggested building on their properties without county permission, one audience member shouted, “To hell with the county!”

Continue reading

PLF sues the Corps and EPA over expansive water rule

July 15, 2015

SACRAMENTO, CA;  July 15, 2015:  On behalf of a number of landowners and major organizations representing landowners, including the state cattlemen’s associations of California, Washington, and New Mexico, Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) sued the Obama Administration today over its vast new expansion of Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction — an expansion that could bring virtually all the nation’s water and much of the land under direct federal regulatory control.

Continue reading

New federal rules on stream protection hailed, criticized

Seattle P-I
By MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press

May 27, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — New federal rules designed to better protect small streams, tributaries and wetlands — and the drinking water of 117 million Americans — are being criticized by Republicans and farm groups as going too far.

The White House says the rules, issued Wednesday, will provide much-needed clarity for landowners about which waterways must be protected against pollution and development. But House Speaker John Boehner declared they will send “landowners, small businesses, farmers, and manufacturers on the road to a regulatory and economic hell.” Continue reading

Sequim/Dungeness community listens to drought concerns

by Lois Krafsky-Perry
for Citizen Review
Posted Saturday, May 23, 2015

Water Drought Forum, Sequim WA, May 2015Sequim, WA – The Water Drought Forum was held in the Guy Cole Center at Carrie Blake Park Thursday, May 21, 2015 to a crowd of approximately 250 people, there to ask questions about their concerns. Instead, according to several people who attended, they were treated to a “dog-and-pony show” for the first two hours of the evening.

Scott Chitwood, Dungeness River Management (DRMT) Chairman, opened the meeting and announced, Here’s “what we may expect…may happen this summer.” Chitwood was former Natural Resource Director for Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. He complimented Shawn Hines, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe representative, for her work on water interests.

To see photos of the slideshow presentations, click here. Continue reading

Photos from Water Drought Meeting

Photos from the Water Drought Meeting held in Sequim, WA on May 21, 2015 at Carrie Blake Park. (Click on images for larger views.)

The ROSS Approach to Puget Sound – Restoration Shell Game

Editorial by Pearl Rains-Hewitt
Behind My Back

Posted 5/11/2015

A highly convoluted “GAME OF RESTORATION” that is involving the sleight of many, many hands, in which hundreds of inverted Federal agencies, WA State agencies, WAC’S and /or other NGO, NUTSHELLS are moved about, and hard working taxpayers must attempt to spot which is the one, of many thousands, with  NGO’S or other government agencies are underneath the “RESTORATION” plan.

 

WOW! HOW MANY NUTS CAN YOU GET UNDER ONE RESTORATION SHELL?

“WE’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING THE MORE THAN 600 PARTNERS TOGETHER,

designing a unified plan, and making sure money is being spent efficiently, and our region is making progress,” says Gerry O’Keefe, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership. Continue reading

Droughts, Envirochondricacs, Leftism, and Power

Guest Editorial by Susan Shotthafer

Posted 4/14/2015

The lefties are self-deluding again with another crisis, excuse to spend more of our earnings, and seize more control. Yes, it’s another—you guessed it—environment crisis, this time a Washington state “drought?” Duh! Drought?

Yes, Governor Inslee declared a “drought emergency” because the Olympics lack a snowpack. With that troublesome human habit, never troubling the lefties (bless their hearts) many of us try to make sense of this announcement as we do of all life’s events. Conversely, once more, leftist masterminds hope to convert make-believe into reality. Continue reading

Shoreline Master Plan: What has Clallam County got to lose?

by Pearl Rains-Hewett
www.behindmyback.org

Posted 3/21/2015

RCW 90.58.290
Restrictions as affecting fair market value of property.
The restrictions imposed by this chapter shall be considered by the county assessor in establishing the fair market value of the property.
[1971 ex.s. c 286 § 29.]

INDEED, ONE MUST CONSIDER  ALL OF THE  RESTRICTIVE SMP  “SHALLS” ON PRIVATE VESTED SHORELINE PROPERTY OWNERS, AND IN PARTICULAR… THE UNDEVELOPED PRIVATE INVESTMENT SHORELINE PROPERTIES, VIEW, ETC?

AND, ONE MUST CONSIDER THE VALUE OF PROPERTY  LEFT “HIGH DRY AND DESTITUTE”  BY THE DUNGENESS WATER RULE? Continue reading

River levee proposed setback to be revealed by agencies

Posted 3/13/2015

An open house to be held on March 19, 2015, will be given by the agencies who plan on moving back the levees (dikes) along the Dungeness River.  (See proposed map below)

See the Notice here: levee setback mtg., 3.19.2015

In 1997, the Dungeness River Management Team (DRMT) promoted the “restoration” ideas as set out in the “Recommended Restoration Projects for the Dungeness River” or so-called “Blue Book” developed by the Dungeness River Restoration Work Group. Continue reading

Just Water Alliance fights for water rights

from Just Water Alliance

Posted March 5, 2015

The Just Water Alliance,  a non-partisan group of citizens, farmers and landowners that demand an open, fair and transparent water planning process in the Skagit River watershed, is urging folks to pay attention and support the following bills:

As posted on their website:

1)  Request Support for Senate Bill 5801 (by Senator Pearson) – “The legislature finds that there is a critical need to establish a single purpose agency to administer Washington’s water resource laws and that the agency be directly accountable to the voters of this state.”

If passed, the bill would create a new water commission, thereby terminating the Department of Ecology’s role as manager of our State’s water supply. A public hearing was held by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Water & Rural Economic Development at 8am on Feb. 10th. Unfortunately, due to such short notice, we were unable to get to Olympia in time to testify. However, Tom Loranger, Ecology’s Water Resources Director, protested vehemently, as did lobbyist Bruce Wishart who obviously hasn’t paid attention to Ecology’s sorry history regarding water resources management practices during the past two decades. Continue reading

Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project commentary & Objections

by Pearl Rains Hewett
www.behindmyback.org
Posted 1/11/2015

Comments-Objections to Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem “RESTORATION” Project (PSNERP)

I strongly oppose the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem “RESTORATION” Project (PSNERP) and, in my opinion, it should be irrevocably terminated immediately.

IT’S FEDERAL, IT’S STATE, IT’S OUR MONEY

AND,  IT’S THE ENTIRE PUGET SOUND

THE FOLLOWING ARE WRITTEN PUBLIC COMMENTS/OBJECTIONS ON PUGET SOUND NEARSHORE ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION PROJECT (PSNERP)

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Subject: FW: Skagit CAPR Chapter: FW: submittal of PSNERP written comment

From: Kathy Mitchell
Date: Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 6:13 PM
To: <nearshore@usace.army.mil>
Subject: PSNERP Projects Comment

——————————————————

From: Roger Mitchell
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2015 2:56 PM
To: Nearshore@usace.army.mil
Subject: submittal of PSNERP written comment

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Subject: FW: submittal For Clallam County  PSNERP written objection

From: Pearl Rains Hewett
Sent: Thursday, January 09, 2015
To: Nearshore@usace.army.mil
Subject: submittal of PSNERP Clallam County written objection

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My PSNERP written public comments and objections PLUS…..

The fact that these ideas were churned out by the Puget Sound Partnership and by the Envisioning people at OSU, is no surprise.

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My written comment on the SHADY? history of the Puget Sound Partnership

In May 2010, auditors found the partnership “circumvented state contracting laws, exceeded its purchasing authority and made unallowable purchases with public funds,” incurring “costs without clear public benefit.”

scroll down for more

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My written comments on RESTORATION….. period

Behind My Back | RED FLAG WARNING Page 2

www.behindmyback.org/category/red-flag-warning/page/2/

Apr 9, 2014 – EPA RESTORATION OF PUGET SOUND … the cost of an unfunded WA STATE RESTORATION “RAIN TAX” TO CLEAN UP PUGET SOUND? ….. Goggle behindmyback.org for the full text of “Sue and Settle Sucks”

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Behind My Back | The “RESTORATION” Shell Game

www.behindmyback.org/2014/06/09/the-restorationshellgame/

Jun 9, 2014 – A highly convoluted GAME OF RESTORATION that is involving the … HOW MANY NUTS CAN YOU GET UNDER ONE RESTORATION SHELL?

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Behind My Back | $14.8 Billion for Restoration

www.behindmyback.org/2014/06/10/14-8-billion-for-restoration/

Jun 10, 2014 – http://apwa-wa.org/Uploads/CommitteeFiles/Stormwater/1110009.pdf … The “RESTORATION” Shell Game In the state of Maryland, their elected representatives, legislators, passed a $14.8 …. The “RESTORATIONShell Game.

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Behind My Back | Bang for their buck? Restoration

www.behindmyback.org/category/bang-for-their-buck-restoration/

Dec 3, 2014 – www.behindmyback.org/2013/07/14/surfrider-foundation/ …… for planning, authorizing and implementing the RESTORATION SHELL GAME .

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INDEED, while we’re RESTORING

While we’re in the “RESTORATION” business I’d like a few things restored, too:

Behind My Back | American Restoration of Law and Order

www.behindmyback.org/2014/…/american-restoration-of-law-and-order/

Jun 11, 2014 – American Restoration of Law and Order? OF OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY IN AMERICA?

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Behind My Back | Senate Hearings on EPA

www.behindmyback.org/category/senate-hearings-on-epa/

Sep 1, 2014 – GIVE “STATE’S SOVEREIGNTYBACK TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!http://heartland.org/policy-documents/replacing-environmental-protection- ….. Is anyone in congress addressing the Restoration of “Law and …

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THE HISTORY OF PUGET SOUND PARTNERSHIP 2007-2010

read the complete text at

Behind My Back | The Bad News On Kilmer

www.behindmyback.org/2013/08/31/the-badnews-on-kilmer/

Aug 31, 2013 – US. Reps Kilmer and Heck promise to continue the work of Norm Dicks on behalf of WETLANDS, SHORELINES By ROB CARSON — Staff writer …

“Everyone was scratching everyone’s back with this PUGET SOUND PARTNERSHIP,” said Republican state Sen. Mark Schoesler, who has been a vocal critic of the partnership. “They were banking on daddy Dicks to bring money home, and then his son squandered it.

”PUGET SOUND PARTNERSHIP” May 2010
In May 2010, auditors found the partnership “circumvented state contracting laws, exceeded its purchasing authority and made unallowable purchases with public funds,” incurring “costs without clear public benefit.”

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I Pearl Rains Hewett, submit and concur, with the following PSNERP Projects comments.

——————————————————————————————————

From: Kathy Mitchell
Date: Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 6:13 PM
To: <nearshore@usace.army.mil>
Subject: PSNERP Projects Comment

C/O: Nancy C. Gleason

USACOE

CENWS-EN-ER

POB 3755

Seattle, WA 98124-3755

nearshore@usace.army.mil

The PSNERP projects, especially those for Skagit County, must be abandoned; the enormous waste of tax dollars for these ill-conceived and harmful projects to precious farmland under the guise of flimsy reasoning and faulty assumptions is wrong.

The fact that the concept for these unneeded and unnecessary projects got this far, especially with such an outrageous price tag, is a disgrace. These proposed projects would necessarily cause ruination of thousands of acres farmland, and more than likely cause unforeseen and unintended consequences to those and adjacent lands.

Furthermore, in my opinion, the fact that these ideas were churned out by the Puget Sound Partnership and by the Envisioning people at OSU, is no surprise; both groups are well known for their inferior, ideology-based recommendations rather than sound work based on pertinent, fact-based science, on appropriate field work, and on site-specific work.  Since when do they ‘know all’ and ‘see all’ about what restoration really means for areas they really know nothing about?  As a classically trained geologist, I do know that the land is in a constant state of flux and that these people’s notions of exactly what ‘snapshot in time’ to use as this golden state of restoration is laughable.  Do we go back 30 years?  Go back 300 years?  Go back 3,000 years?  Go back 3 Million years? Erosion, sedimentation, and associated processes are dynamic – the land will change over time.

Finally, I am appalled and quite dismayed that the Army Corps of Engineers has had anything to do with this wasteful boondoggle.

Sincerely,

Kathy Mitchell

1155 Chuckanut Ridge Drive

Bow, WA 98232

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From: Roger Mitchell
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2015 2:56 PM
To: Nearshore@usace.army.mil
Subject: submittal of PSNERP written comment

 

Written Comment on Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project (PSNERP)

Roger H. Mitchell, Bow, Washington

I strongly oppose the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project (PSNERP) and, in my opinion, it should be irrevocably terminated immediately.

Opinion:

The entire premise for PSNERP is scientifically flawed, ideologically driven, and just another veiled attempt to socially engineer and control the lives of private property owners. At it’s best, PSNERP is a government make-work program; at it’s worst PSNERP is merely another chapter in irresponsible environmentalism run amok.

Procedurally, this proposed project has been seriously flawed. There are significant inconsistencies and discrepancies between pugetsoundnearshore.org’s website and the website at nws.usace.army.mil. Discrepancies include different numbers of affected acres and in cost projections. If the goal was to confuse the public then, for once, government has succeeded. Why are we just getting to comment now on something that has been proceeding for years ? Why and how are we now being “steamrollered” into supporting this proposal in what appears to be a predetermined outcome that, once gain, bears little resemblance to the “consent of the governed?

The proposed project is at odds with RCW 36.70A – the Growth Management Act (GMA). PSNERP will cause destruction and loss of farmland and rural business that is contrary to GMA mandates.  Some ideologues have relentlessly made it more and more difficult for farmers to grow the crops that feed the rest of us. Why let PSNERP add to the decline of farmland, farming, and farmers ? Any PSNERP proposed project must show, in detail, how it complies with the GMA. Thus far, that demonstration of compliance has been disregarded, overlooked, or intentionally omitted in PSNERP proposals.

Among the many problems with PSNERP and its many clones is that the instigators are never held accountable for their mistakes and failures. They play with other people’s money or, in this case, other people’s properties. Essentially they have no “skin in the game”. Ten years from now, when PSNERP has failed to do anything positive, and has had numerous, negative, unintended consequences, do you think the current PSNERPers are going to say, “Gee; I’m sorry ‘bout that PSNERP thing and wasting that Billion dollars. Do you want your refund in cash or a check ?”

Actions:

The EIS should be withdrawn. My preference would be to abandon this proposal and not waste another taxpayer dollar on it.

There needs to be a true cost/benefit analysis. We’re talking about potential misappropriation and misapplication of taxpayer dollars. Without an honest cost benefit study, the public cannot properly determine whether the proposed project is acceptable or worthy of full funding, partial funding, or, my personal favorite, no funding at all.

Let’s have a little chat about “restoration” and unanswered questions:

re·store

rəˈstôr/

verb:  return (someone or something) to a former condition, place, or position.

res·to·ra·tion

ˌrestəˈrāSH(ə)n/

noun:  the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition

So, I ask you, where are the answers to the following “restoration” questions ?

1.       Apparently there is a specific time and condition to which we should presumptively “restore”. How do we know that that chosen time and condition was, in fact, optimal or better in any way relative to the current time and condition ?

2.       Who actually knows the details and dynamics of that presumptively chosen optimal time and condition to which PSNERPers would have us restore to from current conditions ?

3.    Who gets to make the determination of what time and condition we are restoring to ?

4.       Even if the PSNERP proposal could be determined to be either good or bad, who has decreed who has the authority to decide for all of the rest of us whether the proposal is good?

5.       The issue is “restoration” projects; these projects do not exist in a vacuum — they affect other people, locations, and conditions as well. Worldviews, movements, and projects — these things all have consequences. What are PSNERP’s costs in resources (time & taxpayer dollars) and what other possible projects and programs will PSNERP preclude ?

6.       What are the unintended consequences of the proposed PSNERP projects ? Forces result from interactions. The proposed PSNERP projects are interactive forces. Newton’s Third Law of Motions reminds us that For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. When you poke the balloon in one place it pops out in another. When PSNERP projects “poke” the balloon of status quo, what is going to pop out elsewhere as a result ?

7.       Does anyone at PSNERP realize that the earth’s geology, biology, and ecology have been in a constant state of change since their very inceptions and will continue to change for infinity ? How incredibly arrogant, condescending, and egocentric of some to think they can determine exactly what is “best” in terms of time or condition for any of these dynamic, natural processes.

8.       By what criteria has someone determined that current conditions are not “best” and has chosen the particular, proposed, “restore to” slice of time and conditions as better or optimal?

9.       Purportedly, PSNERP is, like detrimental instream flow rules, all about salmon. Why are some people so wrapped up in attempting to “protect” one particular species (salmonids) to the detriment of others ? Who chose salmonids over other worthy species (including humans) who are left to compete, unassisted and unprotected, in the Darwinian battle with the rest of us ? We call it, “life”.

PSNERP proposals have not provided good or acceptable answers to any of the above questions.

Fallacies:

PSNERP is yet another exercise in governmental fallacious reasoning. Fallacies can be divided into categories according to the epistemological factors that cause the error:

The reasoning is invalid but is presented as if it were a valid argument

  • The argument has an unjustified premise
  • Some relevant evidence has been ignored or suppressed

 

The PSNERP proposal has all of these fallacies. But, just be sure, PSNERP also has the types of fallacies listed below:

False Dilemma

A proposal that unfairly presents too few choices and then implies that a choice must be made among this short menu of choices

False Cause

Improperly concluding that one thing is a cause of another.

Reversing Causation

Drawing an improper conclusion about causation due to a causal assumption that reverses cause and effect.

Unfalsifiability (Untestability)

This error in explanation occurs when the explanation contains a claim that is not falsifiable, because there is no way to check on the claim. That is, there would be no way to show the claim to be false if it were false. There is no null hypothesis.

And the environmentalist ideologue’s perennial favorite:

Scare Tactic

Terrorizing people in order to give them a reason for believing that you are correct.

By the way, while we’re “restoring”:

While we’re in the “restoration” business I’d like a few things restored, too:

I’d like my inherent, natural property rights restored.

  • I’d like my pursuit of happiness restored by not being constantly barraged with yet another manic, trumped up, Chicken Little environmental “crisis” that needs to be “mitigated”.
  • I’d like my Washington State government restored to what the state’s founders intended in

that calls for “consent of the governed”.

Will it help if I ask nicely ?

Please ! Stop wasting our time, money, and goodwill. PSNERP is wrong for many, may reasons; it should be irrevocably terminated immediately.

Continue reading

Levee setback discussion resumes with DRMT

Report from Pearl Rains-Hewett
www.behindmyback.org

Posted 1/11/2015

Source Dungeness River Management Team

and online documentation…

Partnership, Ecology, Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project (PSNERP).

Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project Selection and Design

Lower Dungeness River Floodplain Restoration: Project Overview and ACOE Levee Setback Feasibility Study Results (Cathy Lear, Clallam County and Chris Behrens, US Army Corps of Engineers)

Continue reading

ORPC files lawsuit challenging Dungeness Water Management Rule

from ORPC website

Posted Jan. 6, 2015

December 31, 2014 – A Petition for Declaratory Judgment has been filed with the Thurston County Superior Court to determine the validity of the Dungeness Water Management Rule by the Olympic Resource Protection Council (ORPC).  ORPC has been critical of the rule because of its significant and  unnecessarily costly impacts on Clallam County residents seeking to utilize their properties in a manner that is consistent with established county land use designations and planning policies and with the private well exemption under Washington State water law. Continue reading

Skagit County backs couple’s right to use their well

Posted: Tuesday, December 2, 2014 6:00 am | Updated: 8:55 am, Tue Dec 2, 2014.

By Daniel DeMay | Skagit Valley Herald

Richard and Marnie Fox have a right to use the well on their Sedro-Woolley property, regardless of an instream flow rule that limits water use in the Skagit Basin, Skagit County said in a response filed last Monday in Skagit County Superior Court.

The document is in response to the Foxes’ motion asking the court to force the county to issue a building permit — an action the county has not taken because a Department of Ecology rule appears to say there is no legal access to water in much of rural Skagit County.

In the response, the county argues that Ecology removed a paragraph from the draft 2001 instream flow rule before publication that would have allowed rural landowners to continue the use of permit-exempt wells for single homes.

Continue reading

Proposed Water Rule Could Put ‘Property Rights of Every American Entirely at the Mercy’ of EPA

by Ron Arnold
for Daily Sentinel

Posted 11/12/2014

It seems incredible, but a single missing word could turn a water law into a government land grab so horrendous even a U.S. Supreme Court justice warned it would “put the property rights of every American entirely at the mercy of Environmental Protection Agency employees.”

The missing word is “navigable.” The Obama administration is proposing a rule titled “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act,” which would strike “navigable” from American water law and redefine any piece of land that is wet at least part of the year, no matter how remote or isolated it may be from truly navigable waters, as “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS. Continue reading

Gov. Inslee proposes new water-quality rules

Posted July 9, 2014

From WA Farm Bureau Newsletter

Today, Gov. Jay Inslee announced his policy direction to the Department of Ecology to adjust state water quality standards related to fish consumption and cancer risk.

Washington Farm Bureau has been very concerned that the new standards would disproportionately impact agriculture. While the exact impact of the yet to be developed rules and accompanying legislation remains to be seen, we will continue to fight for reasonable standards based on sound science and a reasonable risk standard. Our bottom line is that any proposed “solution” not impair the economic viability of agriculture or reduce agriculture’s capacity to provide healthy food for the local community.

In his announcement, Inslee directed Ecology to use the following general framework: raise the average daily fish consumption assumption from the current rate of 6.5 grams to 175 grams (roughly equivalent to eating 16.5 pounds of Washington fish per month); apply a “1-in-100,000” (10 to the -5) rate of cancer risk for approximately 70 percent of currently regulated chemicals (making standards significantly more restrictive related to those chemicals); provide variance tools to help regulated point source permit holders comply with the new requirements; and introduce “toxics reduction” legislation to broaden Ecology’s regulatory authority over “upstream” non-point / non-permitted chemicals and pollution sources, including an alternatives assessment process to ban toxic chemicals of concern.

The exact impact of the yet to be developed rule and accompanying legislation remains to be seen, but Washington Farm Bureau will continue to ask the state for assurance that these new regulations will not impair the economic viability of agriculture or reduce agriculture’s capacity to provide healthy food for the local community. 

See the governor’s press release here.

 

PRESS RELEASE FOLLOWS:

 

Inslee takes new approach to create meaningful, effective state clean water standards

July 09, 2014

Media Contact:

Jaime Smith
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office
360.902.4136

Sandi Peck
Department of Ecology
360.407.7004

Inslee takes new approach to create meaningful, effective state clean water standards

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced his proposed update to the state’s water quality standards, saying he worked until he found a solution that advanced the values of human, environmental and economic health.

The federal Clean Water Act requires states to establish water quality standards used by state regulators to set limits for certain pollutants discharged by permitted dischargers such as local governments and some businesses. Washington’s current standards were set in 1992 and focus on controlling pollution coming out of large pipes from large facilities. Inslee said the standards are out of date and the federal approach to clean water is inadequate to address today’s threats to clean water.

“It is clear to me that Washington state needs to reach beyond the confines of our historical regulatory approaches and recognize how water pollution has changed in the 40 years since the Clean Water Act became law,” Inslee said. “Forty years ago we were fighting big pipes spewing toxic contaminants into our water. We’ve come a long way since then in getting that kind of pollution under control. Today the majority of toxic pollution comes from chemicals that are used to make so much of what we use today, from the brakes on our cars to the flame retardants in our furniture.”

The primary purpose of the Clean Water Act is to ensure water is safe for its intended uses. The standards — which apply to just 96 out of tens of thousands of chemicals in daily commerce — include calculations for multiple factors, including theoretical cancer risk rates and how much fish Washingtonians consume. The federal government provides some leeway to states in determining these numbers, which have been the subject of public debate.

Current standards assume Washingtonians consume 6.5 grams of fish per day, or about one serving per month. There is widespread agreement that many people in the state consume much more fish than this, but disagreement about whether the new rule should account for the highest-consumers — such as Native Americans or those who fish for recreation — or a lower average number. The higher the fish consumption rate, the more stringent water quality rules become for businesses and local governments.

The current standards also assume a theoretical cancer risk rate of 10-6, meaning that if a person were to eat a 6.5 gram serving of fish from Washington waters every day for 70 years, he or she would have a 1 in 1 million chance of developing cancer.

“Many people have seen the mandate to update our water quality standards as a choice between protecting human health or protecting the economy. I reject that choice because both values are essential to our future,” Inslee said.

Inslee’s proposal updates Washington’s water quality standards to be more protective of those who consume 175 grams of fish per day — an increase from one serving per month to one serving per day — with a 10-5 cancer risk rate. In every case where this cancer risk rate would result in less protective standards than we have today, current standards will be maintained. In fact, of the 96 chemicals regulated under the rule, about 70 percent will have new, more protective standards.

A separate approach will be used for arsenic, a naturally occurring element in waters throughout the state. Because the current standard for arsenic is set below levels that occur naturally in much of our surface and ground water, the governor proposes using the federal drinking water standard for arsenic.

“Washingtonians’ actual risk to cancer and other harmful effects will be reduced by this proposal,” Inslee said. “We are making our waters cleaner and safer.”

The governor also proposed new implementation rules that will make it possible for businesses and municipalities to comply with the more stringent requirements.

But Inslee said the state must also act on the many toxic chemicals from other unregulated sources that the Clean Water Act doesn’t address. Inslee said he is calling on the Legislature next year to pass a toxics reduction bill as part of the state’s submittal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“We could set standards at a thousand grams per day with a cancer risk rate of 10-20, but it still wouldn’t do anything to protect our children from exposure to too many toxics that cause neurological and reproductive damage,” Inslee said. “This toxics reduction bill gives us the tools to tackle pollutants at their source and make meaningful improvements in the health of our water, our fish and our children.”

Inslee’s toxic reduction package is based on five key elements:

  • Immediate action by the state departments of Health and Ecology to identify actions to combat PCBs, phthalate plasticizers, toxic flame retardants and zinc.
  • Removal of toxic chemicals from consumer products where they are causing pollution and safer alternatives are readily available.
  • Elimination of specific sources of problem chemicals in polluted watersheds.
  • Investment in more monitoring and research related to improving how we identify pollution sources and development of new prevention and cleanup strategies and technologies.
  • Accountability and transparency measures to ensure resources are being prioritized effectively and measurements of progress are reported to the public and Legislature.

Inslee is directing the Department of Ecology to issue a preliminary draft rule no later than Sept. 30. He will submit legislation to the Legislature in 2015 and will make a decision on whether to adopt the final rule only after seeing the outcome of the session. He will ask the EPA to consider the benefits of the full package in determining federal approval of Washington’s clean water standards.

“I believe this approach honors our commitment to keep our children healthy and protect those who regularly eat fish, and doesn’t create ineffective and undue requirements on a small number of businesses and governments,” Inslee said. “I look forward to working with legislators, businesses, tribes, health care professionals and others to ensure we do the right thing for Washington state and work together for successful implementation of this integrated plan.”

Policy brief: www.governor.wa.gov/documents/2014_clean_water_policy_brief.pdf

Fears of EPA ‘land grab’ create groundswell against water rule

The Hill

Posted 7/2/2014

Lawmakers are up in arms over an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal that they fear could give federal officials expansive new powers over private property and farmland.

The EPA is seeking to redefine what bodies of water fall under the agency’s jurisdiction for controlling pollution. The scope of the final Clean Water Act (CWA) rule is of critical importance, as any area covered would require a federal permit for certain activities.The rule is facing a groundswell of opposition from lawmakers, who fear the EPA is engaged in a “land grab” that could stop farmers and others from building fences, digging ditches or draining ponds. Continue reading

Enemy at the gates: New Mexico plots criminal charges against feds in land fight

Gov’t, locals want to fend off a new Bundy-type clash

By Valerie Richardson | The Washington Times

Posted 5/26/2014

New Mexico ranchers are plenty mad over the U.S. Forest Service’s refusal to open a gate blocking their cattle from reaching water, but all sides say they are working hard to avoid an armed showdown reminiscent of Nevada’s Bundy ranch skirmish any time soon.

 

Continue reading

Ecology’s Scientific Water Twaddle

Commentary by Pearl Rains Hewett 

Posted 5/20/2014

Ecology (DOE) scientific evidence on the water cycle?

What a load of gibberish, nonsense, rubbish, garbage, gabble, twaddle, claptrap

————————————————————————————————–
Exactly? What parts of the scientific water cycle does Ecology (DOE) not understand?

———————————————————————————-

Historical water cycle fact (biblically recorded)

Ecclesiastes 1:7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; to the place from where the rivers come, thither they return again.

Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Continue reading

Federal report says removing 4 dams on Klamath River will boost salmon

The Oregonian

Posted 4/25/2014

Four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River in Oregon and California and restoring ecosystems will produce a big increase in salmon harvests and boost farm revenues.

The 400-page report was produced by federal scientists to help the Secretary of Interior evaluate whether it is in the public interest to go ahead with the $1 billion project, which is considered the biggest dam removal in U.S. history if it goes through as planned in 2020.

“In the long run, all the anadramous fish (salmon, steelhead, and lamprey) benefit from dam removal, according to our analysis,” Dennis Lynch, program manager for the U.S. Geological Survey, who oversaw the report, said Monday. Continue reading

State needs attainable water quality standards

Editorial from Tri-City Herald

Posted 4/13/2014

Last week, representatives of the state’s biggest economic development agencies, city and county governments and major industries sent Gov. Jay Inslee a letter warning that pending changes in clean water regulations could result in “economic turmoil.”

The letter is signed by leaders of 25 organization, ranging from the Association of Washington Cities to the Aerospace Futures Alliance of Washington to the Northwest Food Processors Association.

They are worried Washington will adopt standards so stringent they will bring growth to a standstill. It’s not an entirely unrealistic fear. Continue reading

Group to sue state agency on water rule

Peninsula Daily News Sunday April 6, 2014

By Joe Smillie
     SEQUIM—The Olympic Resource Protection Council plans to sue the state over a rule that governs water in the Dungeness Valley.
     The group agreed Thursday night to pursue a lawsuit against the state Department of Ecology in hopes it will force the agency to review the Dungeness Water Rule.
     They have enlisted Seattle attorney, Sarah Mack, according to council President Greg McCarry.
     The cost of the case, likely to be filed in Thurston County Superior Court, is estimated to be $100,000 to $150,000, McCarry said.  Continue reading

GOP lawmakers push EPA to ax proposed water rule amid outcry from farmers

Fox News

Posted 4/11/2014

More than a dozen Republican lawmakers are pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider asserting regulatory authority over streams and wetlands amid intense backlash from farm groups over the agency’s proposed water rule. 

In a letter Thursday, the GOP senators faulted the EPA for announcing a proposed rule last week before the government’s peer-reviewed scientific assessment was fully complete. They are calling on the government to withdraw the rule or give the public six months to review it, rather than the three months being provided.

The senators’ move puts them among several groups — from farmers and land developers to Western governors worried about drought management — in expressing concern about a long-running and heavily litigated environmental issue involving the Clean Water Act that has invoked economic interests, states’ rights and presidential power. Continue reading

EPA land grab? Agency claims authority over more streams, wetlands

Fox News

Posted 4/11/2014

In what critics are describing as a government land grab, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a change Tuesday to the Clean Water Act that would give it regulatory authority over temporary wetlands and waterways. 

The proposal immediately sparked concerns that the regulatory power could extend into seasonal ponds, streams and ditches, including those on private property. 

“The … rule may be one of the most significant private property grabs in U.S. history,” said Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  Continue reading

Idaho lawmakers voice treaty concerns

Sean Ellis | Capital Press
 
 
Idaho lawmakers are asking the U.S. State Department to respect Idaho’s sovereignty over its water rights in the Columbia River Treaty negotiations with Canada.

 

BOISE — The Idaho Legislature will send a message to the U.S. State Department that outlines Idaho’s position on the Columbia River Treaty review.

The main message of House Joint Memorial 10: “Recognize and protect the value of irrigated agriculture in the United States and promote additional development.” Continue reading

Spokane, WA: Landowners concerned over new Ecology river rule

Matthew Weaver | Capital Press
 
The Washington Department of Ecology is developing an instream flow rule to protect water in the Spokane River. There’s supposed to be little impact to agriculture, according to the department, but local landowners are concerned the new rule will constitute a taking of private property without compensation.

The Washington State Department of Ecology’s proposed rule to protect instream flows in the Spokane River has landowners concerned about potential takings of property without compensation. Continue reading

Bill passed helps ‘environmental protection’ turn into a lucrative business

 
Posted 3/18/2014
 
In the dark of night, while most folks were sleeping – oblivious – a piece of legislation that only had its “first reading” in Olympia twelve days ago passed by a vote of 93-5. This little slip of a bill, a mere three pages, will kick the principles of justice and liberty as we know them closer to the proverbial cliff.

      That sounds mighty dramatic, maybe over the top.  What’s this bill about?

Waal…  HB 2454 is a bill that paves the way for “water quality trading” in Washington State. Painted as accommodating and innovative, and dressed-up as so many bills are nowadays in predictable, wolf in sheep’s clothing buzzwords like “voluntary” and “market-based,” the legislature is setting up tables in the temple of environmental justice for the sale of Get Out Of Jail Free cards.  Instead of nabbing those who pollute, and correcting real problems appropriately, this bill says:
Continue reading

Oregon Man Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail — for Collecting Rainwater on His Property

 
July 26, 2012

(CNSNews.com) – A rural Oregon man was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines because he had three reservoirs on his property to collect and use rainwater.

Gary Harrington of Eagle Point, Ore., says he plans to appeal his conviction in Jackson County (Ore.) Circuit Court on nine misdemeanor charges under a 1925 law for having what state water managers called “three illegal reservoirs” on his property – and for filling the reservoirs with rainwater and snow runoff.

“The government is bullying,” Harrington told CNSNews.com in an interview Thursday.

“They’ve just gotten to be big bullies and if you just lay over and die and give up, that just makes them bigger bullies. So, we as Americans, we need to stand on our constitutional rights, on our rights as citizens and hang tough. This is a good country, we’ll prevail,” he said. Continue reading

Water-bank funding bill dead for this year

 

By MIKE JOHNSTON senior writer | Daily Record News

Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014 1:55 pm

A measure that would have helped county governments fund water-right bank programs for rural home development has died in Olympia.

Counties in the state with restrictions on new groundwater wells would have been allowed to use a portion of state sales tax revenue to buy existing water rights, under the bill sponsored by state Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger.

The bill would have allowed county commissioners to use some of the tax funds in an existing state program that earmarks funds to come back to counties for infrastructure projects, economic development and jobs. Continue reading

Yakima: Only matter of time before new rural wells are metered

Posted 2/16/2014

Daily Sun News

Yakima, WA – Water supply and water quality are at the forefront of Yakima County’s plans for 2014.

That’s according to Yakima County Commissioner Rand Elliott, the featured speaker Wednesday morning for the Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary Club.

In something like a “state of the county” address, Elliott said changes are underway within the next year or so on new wells in Yakima County. Continue reading

Green Drought: For the sake of the smelt, California farmland lies fallow

By Charles C. W. Cooke
National Review

Posted 1/31/2014

San Joaquin Valley, Calif. — “We have the greatest factory anywhere on earth,” Harris Farms’ executive vice president, William Bourdeau, tells me, as our car bumps rapidly along the dirty, uneven track. “These are pistachio trees,” he says, sweeping his hand across the horizon. “Over there, we have asparagus.” He points through the windshield. “And in that facility, we process garlic.”

Around the corner and away from the freeway, I see almonds, broccoli, onions, watermelons, and tomatoes. Lettuce, which in the grand scale of things is a mere afterthought for Harris, is produced nevertheless on an astonishing scale, with 3 million cartons — 72 million head — being shipped out each year, the fruit of 700,000 man-hours. On neighboring Harris Ranch, the largest in the West, there are 100,000 cattle, most of which will eventually end up at In-N-Out Burger joints along the Pacific Coast and throughout the Southwest. The smell of the cattle permeates the air for a good mile around, announcing the farm to travelers before any signs come into view. In the distance, the mountains loom large.

Continue reading

Water Rule Implementation meeting offers little in way of solutions – why do we need it?

Posted 1/15/2014

The Water Rule Implementation Forum met at John Wayne Marina on Jan. 15, 2014, starting at 12:30 p.m. 

(Editor’s Note: This rule essentially covers Clallam County East of Morse Creek and has significant and costly impacts for property owners needing a new well or those owners who would like a change of use for their existing well.

Those who will be affected include those owning property in WRIA 18 West (up to West of the Elwha River), where the WRIA 18 East rule will likely serve as a template when a similar rule is imposed there in the near future, and those who own property not directly affected by the rule whose property taxes will increase to make up for the decrease in assessed value and property taxes of “water have not” properties affected by the rule.)

The following report from the forum is by Marguerite Glover:

There were only had two members of the “public,” in the audience. Both of them arrived an hour or more after the start of the meeting–Bob Forde and Mark Couhig. I did tell the group that Pam Cameron (local farmer/landowner) said that the Water Exchange should be providing mitigation certificates for stock watering, from a well. Mike Gallagher said that Amanda Cronin (Washington Water Trust) was working on that–and, it should become available, in the near future. 22 mitigation certificates have been issued, with about 3 or 4 of those being for outside watering. Continue reading

Brown’s budget includes plan to regulate groundwater

January 12, 2014
Tim Hearden
for Capital Press
 
 
Gov. Jerry Brown’s nearly $107 billion spending proposal includes $7.8 million for regulating groundwater use and could lead to restrictions in pumping from wells, officials say. The groundwater measures are part of a statewide Water Action Plan proposed in the fall.

SACRAMENTO — The nearly $107 billion spending plan proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Jan. 9 includes $7.8 million for groundwater management and could lead to restrictions on pumping from wells, officials say. Continue reading

Environmental Lawyers and the Middle Class

Commentary by Charlie Crabtree
The Fourth Corner

Posted 1/12/2014
(original published on 7/9/2013)

All humans need food and water to survive…  The State Growth Management Board’s micromanaging will decide who has “rights” to water in Whatcom County… NOT common sense or our elected Whatcom County Council.

The Bellingham Herald has an article here on a “Growth Management Board” decision concerning water rights in Whatcom County.

The Herald’s headline is: “State board tells Whatcom County to impose restrictions on water use

Does the extremist Special Interest group FUTUREWISE control both sides of this important debate at the state Bureaucracy level? You Decide. Continue reading

Parties settle lawsuit over 90-year-old dam

December 29, 2013

Capital Press

Environmentalists who sued a Siskiyou County, Calif., water district over the operation of a roughly 90-year-old dam have reached a legal settlement with the district. The deal will result in only a slight decrease of irrigation water for area farms in average water years.

MONTAGUE, Calif. — Environmentalists who sued a water district here over the operation of a roughly 90-year-old dam here have settled the case with the district.

Klamath Riverkeeper and its ally, the Karuk Tribes, gained a slight decrease in diversions for irrigation from Shastina Reservoir to preserve the Shasta River, a key tributary to the beleaguered Klamath River. Continue reading

Water, water every where – Nor any drop to drink

The Whatcom Excavator

12/06/2013

WE suppose you know that northwest Washington is a rain forest. What you may not know is that some people are trying to gin up the idea that water is scarce around here; that we’re on the brink of a water shortage (or something), and (wait for it) that water needs to be rationed by a cadre of self-appointed busybodies and shake-down artists. Radical curtailment of both access to water and land use are being actively discussed right here in Whatcom County.  Is there a target on private landowner’s backs?  Yes, indeed there is. Continue reading

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