Regarding the City of Yelm’s Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS) on their water plan, almost 100 citizens wrote to the City criticizing the Citys MDNS and requested an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Citys proposed applications for 3,200 acre-feet/year of new water rights.
This is an astounding public response in opposition to the Citys attempt to sneak through an environmental review of its water rights applications!
Quoting the NVN:
“The comment period on the Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance ended May 15 and the appeal period ended May 22.
A total of 98 comments were received, 80 of them after JZ Knight placed an ad in the Nisqually Valley News and Shopper last week questioning the citys water practices.
City officials said the ad relied on scare tactics to get residents concerned.
Knights representatives denied that…
Yelm Community Development Director Grant Beck said he wasnt surprised by the flood of comments or the fact that they were all pretty similar.
‘They all read the ad,’ Beck said. ‘They didnt appear to have read the MDNS.’
‘I was disappointed people didnt take time to understand what theyre commenting on.’
If the city went back and conducted an EIS they would just be hiring someone to produce the same technical reports they already did, he said.
In addition to the 98 public comments, the city received one agency comment from the state Department of Ecology and three appeals.”
All of the comments came from a broad spectrum of the community, from property owners and taxpayers both within and outside of the City of Yelm.
See all of the comments here:
Even the Department of Ecology (DOE) submitted a comment letter stating that the Citys water mitigation plan has not been approved by Ecology and that different mitigation might be required for Ecologys approval of the proposed water rights.
Three appeals were filed challenging the MDNS: JZ Knight, the Squaxin Island tribe, and Sara Foster (Yelm Aquifer Preservation Society).
Not one comment letter was filed in support of the Citys MDNS 100% of the comments from the general public opposed the MDNS and asked for a more thorough environmental review of the proposed new water rights.
Yelm Community Development Director Grant Beck told the NVN, “If the city went back and conducted an EIS they would just be hiring someone to produce the same technical reports they already did, he said.”
THAT IS EXACTLY THE POINT MR. BECK.
THE CITY SHOULD HIRE AN INDEPENDENT FIRM TO PRODUCE THE TECHNICAL REPORTS.
ALL OF THE DATA THE CITY USES REFLECTS ONLY THE CITY’S OPINION.
THIS IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE SINCE THE CITY OF YELM IS THE LEAD AGENCY ON THE MDNS AND NOT THE DEPT. OF ECOLOGY.
WITH THE CITY OF YELM AS LEAD AGENCY ON THE MDNS AND ALSO THE CITY OF YELM PRODUCING THEIR OWN TECHNICAL REPORT, THE COMMUNITY IS ENTITLED TO ALTERNATE, EXPERT INFORMATION ON A PROJECT THAT WILL AFFECT THE FUTURE OF SO MANY PROPERTY OWNERS IN THE DECADES AHEAD!
As the DOE pointed out in responses to those commenting,
“The water right application process, especially for large public water supplies, often takes several years. In fact, the city first submitted its water right applications for the “Southwest Yelm Wellfield” in January 1994.
Although the applications are before Ecology, we aren’t in a position to make a decision in 2009.
We know that Yelm’s proposal has the potential to impact streams in several area watersheds, including the Deschutes and Nisqually Rivers and McAllister and Woodland Creek drainages. As required by Ecology’s water right
application process, the city submitted a mitigation plan (not to be confused with the SEPA process) in October 2008 to demonstrate how it will offset the anticipated impacts. It is Ecology’s responsibility to determine
if this mitigation plan is adequate.
It’s important to understand Ecology won’t issue any water rights until it is satisfied the city will be mitigating potential impacts to the affected watersheds. Using information from the 2008 mitigation plan, previous water right applications from the area and our understanding of the hydrogeology, stream flows and existing water rights in the area, we will decide whether additional water rights can be issued to the city.
Ecology’s Water Resources Program has not yet approved the City of Yelm’s mitigation plans. Therefore, the final mitigation requirements in the water right permit decisions might be different from what is described in this
Mitigated Determination of Non Significance document.”
Is Yelm going to have to go to water rationing in Summer like the City of Lacey?
Click Here for Lacey’s water rationing program.