Hirst Plaintiff – Stalheim Blasts Council With Emails Asking Them to Vote “NO”

Sign in a farmer's field near Klamath Falls, OR. The farmers were protesting a federal ruling where water was reserved for three endangered species of fish and was not given to the farmers for irrigation in 2001.

It appears that one of the plaintiff’s from the Hirst Case has been busy sending out emails with his opinions asking the Council to deny Whatcom County properties a lawful permit to build. Hirst plaintiff, David Stalheim (former Whatcom County Planning Dept. head) has sent numerous emails to the Council asking them to vote NO on tonight’s action to lift the moratorium on permitting for well-dependent properties.

The Washington State Legislature gave all counties the lawful tool needed to address the Hirst case and restore private wells as an exempt right in the eyes of the Washington State law, by passing ESSB-6091.

Will the Council listen to David Stalheim? Or, will they continue to do the right thing for the “all” the people who live here?

We’ll know soon.

~ LR

Attached Message:

From David Stalheim <stalheim@aol.com>
To council@co.whatcom.wa.us; bbrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us; rbrowne@co.whatcom.wa.us; bbuchana@co.whatcom.wa.us; tballew@co.whatcom.wa.us; tbyrd@co.whatcom.wa.us; ssidhu@co.whatcom.wa.us; tdonovan@co.whatcom.wa.us
Cc jlouws@co.whatcom.wa.us; ‘Mark Personius’ <MPersoni@co.whatcom.wa.us>
Subject RE: AB2018-057a
Date Tue, 13 Feb 2018 07:27:54 -0800

Please add the additional review of inconsistency with the comprehensive plan to the record for this action:

Land Use Chapter

Policy 2A-15: Strive to improve predictability to property owners regarding the connection between legal water use, and land use and development by:

  • Encouraging the Department of Ecology to protect instream flows, particularly in times of extremely low summer flows.
  • Coordinating with the Department of Ecology to find solutions to provide adequate water for out-of-stream users while protecting instream flows. Potential solutions may include consideration of recycling, conservation, water banking, public water system interties, stream recharge augmentation, change in place of use, desalinization and other alternative water supply measures.
  • Requesting the Department of Ecology to create a water management plan for exempt wells in closed water basins that better aligns instream flows with current water rights and legal decisions on hydraulic continuity.

Goal 2M: Protect and encourage restoration of habitat for fish and wildlife populations including adequate instream flows.

Policy 2EE-5: Ensure that adequate onsite wells and onsite sewage and septic systems are properly installed, monitored, and maintained. Provide technical assistance to property owners, and require necessary improvements when needed to protect health, safety and environmental quality.

Environment Chapter

Groundwater Protection & Management Groundwater is contained in aquifers, which are subterranean layers of porous rock or soil. Most aquifers are replenished by rainwater, though some may contain water trapped during glacial periods. Aquifers are often integrally linked with surface water systems and are essential for meeting instream and out-of-stream water needs, such as for drinking water, agriculture, and industry. Whatcom County residents rely heavily on groundwater for drinking water, agriculture, and commercial and industrial needs. Groundwater also plays an important role in maintaining stream flows. p10-24

Policy 10I-3: Develop and implement plans to comply with the Department of Ecology’s instream flow and water management rules and water resources management programs. p10-33

Policy 10I-6: Use water use data to encourage conservation and maintain availability of water for agriculture and instream flow. p10-33

David Stalheim

From: David Stalheim [mailto:stalheim@aol.com] Sent: Monday, February 12, 2018 10:04 PM
To:council@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <council@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘bbrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <bbrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘rbrowne@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <rbrowne@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘bbuchana@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <bbuchana@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘tballew@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <tballew@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘tbyrd@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <tbyrd@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘ssidhu@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <ssidhu@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘tdonovan@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <tdonovan@co.whatcom.wa.us>
Cc:jlouws@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <jlouws@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘Mark Personius’ <MPersoni@co.whatcom.wa.us>
Subject: RE: AB2018-057a

Please find additional comments regarding AB 2018-057a for your consideration.

David Stalheim

From: David Stalheim [mailto:stalheim@aol.com] Sent: Monday, January 29, 2018 7:25 AM
To:council@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <council@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘bbrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <bbrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘rbrowne@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <rbrowne@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘bbuchana@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <bbuchana@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘tballew@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <tballew@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘tbyrd@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <tbyrd@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘ssidhu@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <ssidhu@co.whatcom.wa.us>; ‘tdonovan@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <tdonovan@co.whatcom.wa.us>
Cc:jlouws@co.whatcom.wa.us‘ <jlouws@co.whatcom.wa.us>
Subject: AB2018-057

Council members,

The County Executive and his staff appear to think that allowing thousands of people to build homes in rural areas on exempt wells is somehow a public emergency. The county charter is clear. An emergency ordinance must be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety or support of the County government and its existing institutions. The proposed ordinance fails to meet any of those requirements.

Delaying any sort of action is critical to return to the conversation about getting this right. I have asked county planning staff for the required environmental review (SEPA) of this ordinance – and of this writing, I have received nothing. I presume it doesn’t exist; at least it doesn’t exist to address the impact of this new state legislation and the proposed emergency (or any future interim) ordinance.

The impact of the state law on the environment cannot be brushed aside. It now clearly allows impairment of our instream flows. It allows the withdrawal of 3,000 gallons per day, ON AVERAGE, meaning that someone could withdraw more during the summer for irrigation when water flows are most critical for fish and other habitat. Of course, compliance with the 3,000 gpd is on a voluntary basis because no meters are required. What environmental review under SEPA has taken place to inform decision-makers about this impact? I have seen none. Have you?

It is time that the county administration put into the public record the number of existing and potential lots that would be able to use this new “exemption”. The information out there in the media is 8,000 lots, meaning that 8,000 x 3,000 gpd = 24,000,000 gallons of water per day that you could be authorizing by passage of any ordinance. Please put into the record the county’s analysis of rural development potential on exempt wells.

Finally, any “fix” should get back to the principles that the county was supposedly working on that addresses this issue adequately. Until then, there is no emergency and there is no adequate environmental review. Work on real solutions, please.

David Stalheim

Check Also

Watch On Olympia – Your Weekly Update for Feb. 10th – Feb. 16th, 2018

This is a new weekly segment that Liberty Road is pleased to share on our …

Leave a Reply