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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.

Among other things the “Growth Management Board” demands that a new tax be imposed on septic system owners by forcing them to have their systems inspected by contractors or other people and not allowing the home owner the right to self-inspection.

The result of the decision again is to pour cold water on ANY retention of farmland, jobs, and economic activity in rural Whatcom County by muddying the ability of local governments to act in the environments and citizens best interest.

The fourth corner has discussed what this board is before, but this specific case gets into a process that some would say if not corrupt then reeks of possible cronyism.
A copy of the 51 page decision is located here.

The following people brought the complaint to the Growth Management Board:

  • ERIC HIRST (Former President of Futurewise Whatcom),
  • LAURA LEIGH BRAKKE (“Friends of Chuckanut” formerly 1000 Friends of Chuckanut),
  • WENDY HARRIS (Currently on Advisory Committee Futurewise Whatcom),
  • DAVID STALHEIM(Former candidate for County Executive… Former County Planning Department),
  • AND FUTUREWISE
represented by Jean Melious(Former candidate for County Council)(Current Environmental Lawyer and “Planning” Professor at WWU).
So who makes the decision about the complaint thus filed?
The Growth Management Board is a quasi judicial board created by the legislature in 1990; three members are appointed by the Governor for six year terms.  The following are the three members (not judges) but environmental lawyers who constructed this 51 page report to overrule local control.
Members Listed as signatories on this decision from the Growth Management Board are:
All of these are environmental lawyers with probable heavy connections to ONLY environmental interests.

There are those who believe the State Growth Management Board and the State Growth Management Act have created or added greatly to problems all over the state using ONLY a one-dimensional approach to their decision making  …Being an extra step between elected governments locally and the final decisions a judical system can supply.  Should the Growth Management Act be repealed??  You decide.

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