“Yelms water rights appealed: Department of Ecology ruling on Yelm Creek based on whats best for public interest”
“Yelms water rights, which were granted by the Department of Ecology and affirmed by the Pollution Control Hearings Board in March, have been appealed by Yelm resident Sara Foster.
The appeal will be heard in Thurston County Superior Court. A hearing date has not yet been set.
In court documents, Fosters lawyer, Patrick Williams, argues the boards decision to uphold DOEs decision to grant the water rights ‘do not meet the criteria established by the (pollution board) itself in its final order,’ and says a judgment in Fosters favor ‘would force Ecology to create real, measurable, and sustainable measures prior to Yelms use of the water right at issue, thereby protecting Ms. Fosters interests.’
In granting Yelms water rights, DOE weighed the ‘overriding considerations of the public interest’ to approve the appropriation of closed streams.
The decision was appealed to the Pollution Control Hearings Board and the appellants challenged the use of the public interest provision, noting the DOE doesnt have any written policy or rule governing its use.
The board concluded the department established through testimony sufficient criteria to guide the use of overriding considerations of the public interest thereby justifying its use in this case without the promulgation of a rule or adoption of a policy,'” quoting Steven Wyble in the Nisqually Valley News.
The Dept. of Ecology had granted the City of Yelm more-than-double-their-current water rights to pump from the aquifer, which would have an effect on other citizens’ wells outside of the Yelm city limits, as explained by JZ Knight’s legal team and which included as part of her WA Supreme Court win in 2011.