We’ve written before about why it’s important for lawmakers to find a solution to the water rights uncertainty left in the wake of the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision (for example, here and here).The Association of Washington Business recently published a one-page brief that clearly explains the issue.
Without a legislative fix, the Hirst decision will have significant impacts. During the legislative session, lawmakers heard testimony from citizens who bought a piece of property and designed a home, and even drilled a well, but were then denied a building permit because of the Hirst decision. Banks will also deny loans on projects that do not have guaranteed water. Washington Federal has already announced they will no longer lend on properties that have had wells drilled after October 6, 2016.
Read the whole thing. The current situation is unsustainable and untenable.
AWB reports talks continue, but no joy so far.
The Senate passed a Hirst fix four times this year, but the House did not bring that bill or any Hirst fix of its own up for a vote. Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, lead sponsor of that Senate bill, met with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle last week, but there was reportedly no substantial progressmade toward a much-needed fix.
And without a Hirst fix, a capital budget in 2017 remains unlikely. A constructive resolution to the impasse shouldn’t be this difficult.