December 28, 2012

Yelm's additional water rights challenged in Hearing


City of Yelm's test well drilling at end of Tahoma Blvd., now Union Holdings, LLC property. Photo copyright © 2010, 2012 Yelm Community Blog
Photo taken with zoom lens June 21, 2010

EXCLUSIVE TO THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG
Copyright © 2012 Yelm Community Blog

THE HEARING
A Hearing was held December 17-19, 2012 by the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB), who "hears appeals from orders and decisions made by the Department of Ecology," in case 11-155, from property owners all off 89th or 93rd Avenues outside the Yelm city limits.

As reported here on March 12, 2012, a citizens group appealed the more-than-doubling of the City of Yelm's water allocation by the Dept. of Ecology. The Hearings Board found merit in the case to be heard last summer and against Yelm's wishes, allowed time for proper due-diligence, postponing a Hearing until December 2012.

THE PARTIES IN THE CASE
"Sara Foster and The Downstreamers, and Kerri Goodwin, Kelly Van Dusen, Melody Rae, Don Schmidt, Sandra Parent, Patricia RIchker, Bobbye Caine, Ram Jeyaraman, Margie and Jess Maillard
v.
Ecology and the City of Yelm."

THE STATUS

December 27, Sara Foster told the Yelm Community Blog:
"Patrick Williams, my counsel, did a stellar job representing our interests in a Hearing Dec. 17-19, 2012.

We were in court 2 ½ days. Many key issues were brought forward and it seems this case has big implications environmentally.
Thus, there was no easy decision by the Hearings Board.
They will provide a written decision when finishing deliberations, and that may be 2-3 months."

Read more from the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) case.

THE CITY OF YELM WATER RIGHTS HISTORY
- September 22,2011, the Yelm Community Blog reported:
"The City of Yelm requested Ecology "fast-track" a pending water rights application for an additional 942 acre feet of water per year, which if approved, would more than double Yelm's current annual water allocation withdrawn from our local aquifer.
Read more

- March 12, 2012, the Yelm Community Blog reported after Ecology granted their more-than-doubling of Yelm's water rights:
"On November 18, 2011, Yelm area property-owner Sara Foster submitted an Appeal against the City of Yelm and the Dept of Ecology to stop the approval to pump an additional 942 acre feet of water every year for 20 years from our area's aquifer."
Read more

- October 13, 2010, the Yelm Community Blog reported about Yelm's water plans:
"On September 28th, 2010, the Yelm City Council approved another $76,000 to be paid to Golder and Associates 'for work associated with updating the 2008 Mitigation Plan,' according to the city's Staff Report. The Staff Report requested the 118% increase to Yelm's annual water allocation."
Read more

- On April 14, 2010, the Yelm Community Blog provided factual evidence the land on which the City of Yelm's new well was drilled was NOT on city-owned land, in direct contradiction to City of Yelm Administrator Badger's claim to the City Council the land was "owned by the city":
"The Yelm City Council voted unanimously to spend $615,223 to drill SW Well #2 as a production well last night.
The only question prior to a motion to move forward on this project was from Council member John Thompson who said he understood the "benefits of doing it there (in the Tahoma Terra development) is because Yelm actually owned that property, not Tahoma Terra"
Mrs. Badger replied,
'The property is slated to be dedicated as part of the master plan process...so in the Conceptual Master Plan approval...it is a future city park, which will be dedicated to the city. We also, in addition to that, have approval from the property owner to conduct the drilling activity. But ultimately, yes, it is owned by the city.'"

Ed. Note: Of course, "the property owner," Tahoma Terra, went bankrupt and this land has been owned by one of two receiver banks since and was NEVER listed as City of Yelm owned property, according to the Thurston County Assessor records.
At the time the City Council was being told this by Badger, the land had already been foreclosed and into receivership that afternoon prior to the Council meeting, which the city staff knew was happening, yet did not share with the Yelm City Council prior to their voting money for this well.
Read more

- August 17, 2009, the Yelm Community Blog reported:
"The City of Yelm announced on Friday, August 14th that their MDNS has been withdrawn in this statement listed on the city's website."

- December 15, 2011, the Yelm Community Blog reported that the Washington Supreme Court sided with JZ Knight in her water issues case against the City of Yelm:
This case establishes state law on water issues for years to come.
Read more

- March 12, 2012, the Yelm Community Blog reported a Guest Entry from Yelm water rights challenger Sara Foster:
"Ecology had just rubber-stamped Yelm’s Mitigation Plan and the city was approved to begin pumping over double the amount of water that Yelm has previously been approved to pump. This amount has huge environmental impacts to the aquifer, as wells in a vast surrounding area [outside of Yelm city limits] could drop in static level and those property owners would have to pay to drill new wells or to dig their wells deeper.

In 2009, our community became aware of this same City of Yelm Mitigation Plan submitted to Ecology, writing over 85 letters in protest.
The City of Yelm was then forced to withdraw their Plan.

So the City of Yelm waited 2 years and then very quietly resubmitted the same old plan, putting their Mitigation Plan on a fast-track with Ecology for approval, clearly hoping the public would not notice.

I discovered this with just 2 days to spare.
With the help of a friend, I filed an Appeal as "Sara Foster & The Downstreamers."

I got our case on the docket for a hearing date of July 25th, 2012, so Yelm was not granted these water rights and could not pump any water [additional water over the city's exiting water rights]
until after this Hearing."
Read more

- December 28, 2012, the Yelm Community Blog reports on the PCHB Hearing:
"The Hearings Board found merit in the case last summer and allowed time for proper due-diligence, against Yelm's wishes to move ahead then, and postponed a Hearing until December 2012.

Patrick Williams, my counsel, did a stellar job representing our interests in a Hearing Dec. 17-19, 2012.

We were in court 2 ½ days. Many key issues were brought forward and it seems this case has big implications environmentally.
Thus, there was no easy decision by the Hearings Board.
They will provide a written decision when finishing deliberations, and that may be 2-3 months."
Read more from the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) case.

- About the PCHB
"The Pollution Control Hearings Board hears appeals from orders and decisions made by the Department of Ecology and other agencies as provided by law. The Board's sole function is to provide litigants a full and complete administrative hearing, as promptly as possible, followed by a fair and impartial written decision based on the facts and law. The Board is not affiliated with the Department of Ecology or any other state agency."
Read more

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Yelm's additional water rights challenged in Hearing.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://yelmcommunity.org/blog/mt-tb.cgi/4093

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on December 28, 2012 6:58 AM.

Yelm Food Co-op has wine-tasting Saturday - Open to the public! was the previous entry in this blog.

Economic news - Public should take heed is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Bookmark this entry:
Bookmark at Ask Bookmark at Bloglines Bookmark at Blogmarks Bookmark at del.icio.us Bookmark at Digg Bookmark at Furl Bookmark at Google Bookmark at Live Bookmark at Ma.gnolia Bookmark at Reddit Bookmark at Spurl Bookmark at StumbleUpon Bookmark at Technorati Bookmark at Yahoo My Web

Powered by Movable Type 4.01