On Tuesday, Jan. 30th, 2018 the Whatcom County Council will address the removal of the moratorium imposed due to the WA State Supreme Court, Hirt Decision. With the passage of ESSB-6091, the County Council has not excuses not to lift their self-imposed moratorium…but wait for it…they showed their intent and likely possibility that they will not fully comply with the full faith of the new law due to the legislative Hirst fix by their questions at the recent Surface Water meeting.
Executive Louws has directed staff to bring forth an ordinance, with emergency effect, that will implement the law, as passed, by the legislature last week. It will have an immediate effective date and, theoretically, permits could be issued on Wednesday. Executive Louws has directed staff to follow the current statute!
However, Council members Rud Brown and Todd Donovan have asked the County Attorney to perform research on several items:
- The ability of the County Council to enact an ordinance that would further limit the amount of water available from a well to something below 3,000 gal./day – the suggestion was 2,000 gallons or less
- The ability of the County Council to place meters on new wells; and
- The ability of the County Council to conduct discussions on these matters outside the view of the public – waiver of the open meetings act.
Talking with other council members and members of the public present at the meeting, there are four votes on the Council to pursue this action.