While a great many citizens of all walks of life attempt to digest and work on solutions to the Supreme Court decision in the Hirst case, the mess created for citizens of this state, especially those who live and work in the rural areas of the state's counties, CAPR establishes a firm stand on any solution that may be considered. We at CAPR will hold firm to these important concepts:
The Doctrine of Separation of Powers must be adhered to, it is the legislature that is to create law!
Exempt wells are exempt!
Water Banking is NOT a free market!
The doctrine of the separtion of powers enumerated in our Washington State Constitution is of the utmost importance in establishing true equality for the citizens of this state. Its importance shines in situations like we find ourselves involved in unwillingly, with the Hirst Decision, where an agency has abused and carelessly used administrative law, relinquished to them by the authority of the legislature. The legislature has allowed the agency the authority to create law that does not comport with legislative intent. The judiciary, the Supreme Court has overstepped its bounds by legislating from the bench, rather than make decisions based on the rule of law and the constitution, they have taken it upon themselves to decide and direct policy. Separation of Powers Doctrine was created to avoid the destruction of the values of society and the rule of law. The separate powers doctine, when respected, protects the integrity of governance and constitutionally protected rights. We can see how severe that destruction has been allowed to become by the blurring of lines among the branches of government. And by the practice of government to tend to picking losers and winners through a misguided and misapplied concept of citizen inclusion via selected "stakeholder" groups.
It is far past time to admit that flawed rule-making in our water basins by Ecology lacks science and common sense. Exempt wells should remain exempt as that is the law, and exempt wells have a De Minimis impact on their surrounding environment. This is exactly the footing our State Legislators should start with and hold to. It is time to listen to the citizens who are impacted, not just the agencies and stakeholders.
Mitigation through inventive market schemes called water banking are not free market solutions and are not needed for the De Minimus impact of exempt wells. The definition of a free market is an economic market or system in which prices are based on competion among private businesses and are not controlled by a government. Quite obviously a water banking system is anything but a free market, with no actual competition, and a heavy dose of governmental control as to who will own water rights, how they will be parsed out, and where they can originate and be used. Water Rights Mitigation Banks are not a solution to faulty water basin availability determinations, and frankly are a large part of the problem. This should be easily seen even by a casual observer and certainly must have been clear to any legislator looking at the facts.
A recent Senate Agriculture, Water, and Rural Economic Development Committee heard testimony from Alan Reichman of Washington Ecology. He and Dave Christiansen of Ecology described how the Hirst Case does impact every rural property in the state because of the rulemaking that has occured through Ecology in combination with past poorly decided supreme court cases, coupled with the Growth Management Act and has resulted in every water basin having a common problem of landowners not being able to develop properties because water availability has become restricted, closed, or left in doubt. At this point, there is no solution to the mess government has created. And has left the door open for a continuous string of litigation by Futurewise and other similarly fond of control through litigation sets of individuals. The solution is a harsh determination on the part state legislators.
Solutions will be hard to come by and many past errors must be sorted out, but CAPR will stand firm on the right of citizens to be adequately represented. Citizens will not be told what is best for the environment, property owners, commerce, and communities by those who do not take into consideration our interests, points of view, and scientific fact. Stakeholders and various organizations do not represent our best interests and do not necessarily represent the best interests of the enviornment and communities. A close look at the facts and of the losses and hardships of individual citizens, a loss of tax revenue for basic services of municipalities and counties, and the demise of responible and meaningful environmental policy portrays a set of circumstances that can no longer be swept under the rug. It is time for the legislature to face the facts and realities of this current system of leading through litigation and endless studies that are little more than propaganda rehashed over and over again, leading to continued loss of the basic mechanisms that can and will correct these problems.
The time for repeated propaganda is past, no matter how pretty the package it is delivered. You will see a heavy dose of such propaganda in the coming weeks; from agencies, organizations, and those who stand to profit from poor governance. Get ready to hear the constant mantra of water Quality, Quantity, and Availability. Many times what is ignored are the facts that do not fit the story. We reject this kind of selective "truth".
CAPR will continue to point out the problems in government, shout for accountability, and demand agencies follow the rule of law, even laws they create! We all must work together in these water wars, combine your voice with that of CAPR! Help us offer solutions to the legislature based on the rule of law, and accountable government!