that, in many cases, the state can’t prove have consistently been met. It is
irresponsible for government officials to block a family’s access to potable water
in the hopes of chasing aspirational stream levels with no historical backing.
In addition, many urban dwellers are drawing water from sources to which our
constituents no longer have access. How is it OK for a new 400-home
development to have access to water, but a single well tapping into that same
source does not? The inequity is staggering.
Some proponents of Hirst would like to stake a claim for sticking up for the
minority. Yet, that’s exactly what we’re doing in the state Legislature by tying the
state’s capital budget to a permanent Hirst solution.
The capital budget funds government construction projects via billions of dollars
of state debt. In tying this budget to the permanent solution to Hirst, we had to
ask ourselves, “Why is it OK for state government to construct a building and
have access to water when a state citizen owning land across the street may not?”
If Republicans don’t leverage the opportunities we have — that of approving
construction bonds, which require a 60 percent approval vote from the
Legislature — then the majority will run roughshod over rural communities.
We’re protecting the families who’ve invested life savings; the migrant worker
who wants a place of his own; the young couple who can’t afford to live in the city
or who would prefer to raise their children in a more rural community.
We have a governor and other politicians who like to talk about one Washington,
yet actions speak louder than words. The Hirst decision is the worst example of
urban Washington forcing its priorities on rural Washington.
When Boeing needs a tax break, or Amazon needs a zoning alteration, the
impacted economic activity is the rallying cry for change. Well, folks, the Hirst
decision is rural Washington’s Boeing and Amazon, combined.
We continue to work toward a permanent, bipartisan solution that would allow
counties to rely on the state’s designated water resource manager to determine
the legal availability of water for the purposes of the Growth Management Act.
This solution would remove the double layer of bureaucracy imposed by the state
Supreme Court and allow a family to build a home based on a well report, as has
historically been the case, instead of expensive and unnecessary hydrology
A simple, permanent Hirst solution is doable. It’s within reach. Legislators just
have to separate themselves from special interests and take the interests of our
rural families to heart.