March 12, 2012

YELM WATER RIGHTS NOT A ‘SLAM-DUNK’

Guest entry from Yelm-area property owner Sara Foster, in her own words:

“On November 18, 2011, Sara Foster submitted an Appeal against the City of Yelm and the Dept of Ecology to stop the pumping of 942 acre feet of water, every year for 20 years, from our aquifer. Ecology had just rubber-stamped Yelms Mitigation Plan and the city was approved to begin pumping. This amount has huge environmental impacts to the aquifer. It means all of our wells in a vast surrounding area [outside of Yelm city limits] could drop in static level and people would have to drill new wells…In 2009 our community became aware of this same Mitigation Plan submitted to Ecology, and wrote over 85 letters in protest. It was subsequently withdrawn.

So Yelm waited 2 years and then very quietly resubmitted the same old plan, putting it on a fast-track with Ecology for approval.

I discovered this with just 2 days to spare. With the help of a friend, I filed an Appeal as “Sara Foster & The Downstreamers” . . . but in the beginning, there were no Downstreamers. And no one else filed an Appeal. Because no one knew!! Yelm right now would have begun pumping out of our aquifer, effecting all of our static levels.

I had legal assistance from a non-profit organization for the first few months, so I could file motions and respond to everything Yelm sent our way. I got our case on the docket for a hearing date of July 25th, 2012, so Yelm was not granted these water rights and cannot pump any water [additional water over the city’s exiting water rights] until after this Hearing. In the meantime, 9 other dauntless entities have stepped up to become The Downstreamers.

I have now hired an attorney to represent us… Im pleased to answer any questions you might have.

Thank you all so much! You are a great community!”

Sara Foster
saradfoster@gmail.com


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