As of Friday, January 19, 2018
DAILY SUN NEWS EDITORIAL
West of the Cascades, urban Democrats are patting themselves on the back for their effort to correct the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision, which essentially halted rural residents from drilling wells.
But Senate Bill 6091 doesn’t solve the issue. It’s really a slap in the face of rural land owners wanting to drill a well.
The measure sponsored by Sequim Democrat Kevin Van De Wege would implement a $1,500 fee on wells and cap withdrawal at 400 gallons per day. Proponents say the bill will re-open rural land for development and save water for fish. The new fees would also generate $200 million in 10 years for fish-related projects.
It’s obvious the measure was written by someone lacking an understanding of rural water use. Ruralites pay to drill and pump water out of the ground. The water is used and then returned to the same ground it was taken from, again at the owner’s expense.
Household wells have a negligible effect on water for fish.
The bill would also turn over well rulemaking to tribes and so-called environmental groups, which heretofore have shown complete contempt for the agriculture that drives Eastern Washington’s culture, heritage and economy.
Rural residents need to let Olympia know the bill should be shot down before it takes flight. The measure is not a solution for Hirst. It’s a way to give city folk control of the water rural residents own.