Local Realtors issue DOE Water Rule Alert
Posted June 4, 2012
Clallam County, WA – Sequim Realtors recently mailed a postcard to approximately 22,000 households around the Sequim-Dungeness area to alert people about the “rule” issued by the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE). Following is information from their website:
New Link: Sequimwater
Local story: Dungeness water rule put to test
Effect on development
The development of the rule has been watched intently by local real estate professionals, with many contending it will hurt the industry.
Marguerite Glover, who has been participating in the conversation for several years, said she wants to see the local environment protected and doesn’t object to a rule, but rather is concerned about the details, particularly Ecology’s focus on wells. Like many of her colleagues, she believes that pulling water from the area’s aquifers, especially the lower aquifers, has a minimal impact on the flow within the streams.
She also doesn’t doubt the rule has the potential to slow or stop development within much of the county.
Rachael Paschal Osborn, co-founder of Washington’s Center for Environmental Law & Policy, says Ecology has been simply “dithering for 20 years” about taking the action necessary to protect the area streams.
Osborn noted that the discussion has been ongoing since 1991 when a pilot program was launched to determine and put into place solutions to water issues within the Dungeness Watershed.
“Where does it end?” she asked. “Do we just allow continued pumping without regard to the impact?”
“The damage is being done now,” she said. “What does the future hold?”
She pointed out that in upper Kittitas County, Ecology filed an emergency rule that closed the area to all new groundwater withdrawals. She suggested the same rule may be required for the Dungeness Watershed.
Dick Pilling presented a letter on behalf of the Port Angeles Business Association that said Ecology is “proposing a number of significant, even draconian, limitations on the water usage” in the name of protecting fish.
“In the opinion of many, however, DOE [Department of Ecology] has proposed a solution in desperate search of a problem,” Pilling said.
“But there is no problem, and moreover if there was, DOE’s proposed solutions would have little impact on it.”
Speaking for himself, Pilling said the watershed plan was based on 20-year-old data.
“We should determine if we’re acting in the name of real science, some science or merely political science,” he said, drawing applause.
At the end of the meeting, commissioners remanded the public testimony to county staff to formulate a response to Ecology.
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