The Washington State Court of Appeals has overturned a Thurston County Superior Court ruling on John’s Creek. In 2009, the Sqaxin Island Tribe petitioned the State Department of Ecology to withdraw Johns Creek from new water appropriations pending a study of water availability in the basin, and requested various revisions to the WRIA 14 water management rule. The Tribe says John’s Creek is not meeting the flows set in the rules due to development in the basin. Ecology denied the petition. The Tribe appealed to the Governor, who also denied the petition. The Tribe then appealed to Thurston County Superior Court which ruled Ecology’s denial was arbitrary and capricious, and required the Agency to engage in rulemaking as requested. However, in a ruling filed Wednesday, November 13, 2013, the State Appeals Court Justices “disagree” with the Superior Court’s ruling and “reverse the contrary decision…”
Justices Forbes, Quinn-Brintnall and Johanson “hold that Ecology complied with the APA’s requirement to specifically address the Tribe’s concerns” in its denial letter and that the denial “was not arbitrary and capricious.” The Court of Appeals also upholds the denial and “thereby reverse the superior court’s order.”
The full ruling can be found by clicking here.