Legislators Consider Hirst Case
Senate Republican Caucus Chair Randi Becker says rural Washington is being hurt by water restrictions ...
RANDI BECKER ... "The Hirst decision is a huge issue in all of our districts, it isn't just mine. But I will tell you, even my neighbors have called me and said, we've invested in this as our future and we thought we would have the ability to sell and live our lives the way we want to live, and they can't. When they sell a piece of property, the permitting process is so expensive the people buying it will not buy it any longer. What about the banks that are holding the notes on that piece of property? This is a big issue, and it is a huge issue for those of us that live in unincorporated communities."
Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler says the Hirst decision prices farmers right out of the market ...
MARK SCHOESLER ... "Now if you want growth in counties that are actually losing population, pretty good chance you might have to drill and "exempt" well. That took affordability of that well right off the table for those property owners. If you financed that property thinking that somebody was going to build one or more homes on it, good luck, you don't have water."
Schoesler says if nothing is done, the Hirst ruling will require homebuilders to prove a new well won't draw down rivers and streams, which could be prohibitively expensive.
The Senate Ag, Water and Economic Development Committee reports being deluged with calls from landowners to "fix it."