Hirst Equity Bill Proposed

When it comes to water availability in Washington, one state lawmaker says large cities, such as Seattle, should share the same regulations as the rural residents suffering from the Hirst water decision. John Sattgast with Washington House Republicans reports.

 

Lawmakers have been grappling for more than a year on a state Supreme Court decision that has limited water rights of rural Washington property owners. Republicans want to roll back the 2016 decision to allow certain domestic wells to be drilled. But House Republican Deputy Leader Joel Kretz of Wauconda says Seattle-area Democratic lawmakers, backed by tribes and environmentalists, have blocked a Hirst fix.

“I think it’s easy for an urban legislator to say, ‘Well, let’s just keep supporting that kind of policy when it doesn’t affect their people.’”

Kretz says its time Seattle has a taste of its own medicine. He’s introduced legislation that would set new water standards for cities with more than 100-thousand residents.

“If they want to take water out of the rural parts of the state and make it unavailable, then I think we need to look at the impacts of the urban parts of the state.”

Under the proposal, new single-family homes would be limited to 350 gallons of water a day. Multi-family dwellings could only use 150 gallons a day. If they want more, it would cost a dollar a gallon.

The One Washington Water Act also requires an environmental impact statement before a building permit is issued that would take into account impacts on instream flows, Pacific salmon and tribal treaty rights.

“It’s similar to the proposals that they want to enact on rural Washington. And so we feel like, One Washington, baby! Let’s spread the love all around the state and all be living under the same kind of regulations.”

The measure awaits a hearing in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. John Sattgast, Olympia