Future of rural Washington under attack

Longview, Aberdeen, Port Angeles and most other towns across the state — are you prepared for what’s to come if families can’t build in your communities because they can’t get water rights?

When the Supreme Court issued their opinion in the case Whatcom County vs. Hirst, it not only put the responsibility of determining the permitting for residential wells on the county, it set a precedent for how water rights would be handled statewide, threatening to halt all construction involving the use of residential wells.

While the intention was to protect fish, wildlife and recreation, small family wells account for less than 1 percent of Washington’s water consumption.

However, the impact to rural Washington will be devastating. Families will not be able to build homes on the land they’ve purchased, which will cause the property values to plummet and will undermine revenue collected to fulfill what the Supreme Court has ruled is our paramount duty — fully funding education.

We have heard testimony from people who were counting on building a home and now will lose everything because all the money they invested in their dream will be lost. How do you recover from that? How do you sell land that is effectively worthless for any kind of residential development? Where can families turn?

Sen. Warnick, R-Moses Lake, sponsored¬†Senate Bill 5239 which would change the law so that regulations would revert back to what they were before the Hirst decision. It would protect Washington’s rural communities, including the workers and businesses that would suffer from the halt in construction. SB 5239 passed out of the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 28-21.

Unfortunately, the House Democrats refused to even hear the bill in committee, killing the bill before the House could vote on it. Why would they do that to rural communities? Why would they hurt the families that occupy most of Washington state?

To learn more about the Hirst decision and how it is affecting the state, go to www.FixHirst.com.



Industry Study Shows near $7 billion loss to Washington’s Economy without Hirst, household well fix

Published on October 10, 2017
Warnick urges action on Hirst in letter to governor Read More

Our efforts to protect rural Washington’s future.

Published on July 05, 2017
Warnick urges action on Hirst in letter to governor   Where does the Hirst Fix stand as of March 31 Senate Bill 5239 Press release on passage of SB 5239 Sen. Judy Warnick’s testimony on the Hirst fix Sen. Shelly Short discusses Hirst Read More

What the sponsor of the Hirst-fix legislation has been saying

Published on July 05, 2017
Read more about the what the chair of the Senate’s water-related committee, Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, has been doing to help rural families suffering as a result of the flawed Hirst decision. Since the regular session, Warnick who sponsored the Hirst-fix legislation, Senate Bill 5239, has been working to elevate the issue and keep... Read More

Press Coverage of Hirst

Published on July 05, 2017
Legislature must find water-well solution – Spokesman Editorial The Impact “Hirst decision debated between House and Senate” – KOZI “Legislature gearing up for Hirst bill negotiations” – The Columbian “State Senate passes bill (again) aimed at solving controversy over rural wells” – Bellingham Herald “Some home building halted as counties respond to water-rights case” –... Read More

Details about the Hirst decision

Published on July 05, 2017
In late 2016, the state Supreme Court issued a ruling resulting from a challenge to rules in Whatcom County relating to the Growth Management Act.   The ruling turned decades of water law on its head by requiring local jurisdictions, such as counties, to make legal determinations on water availability before issuing a building permit,... Read More