Trish Rolfe, CELP Executive Director; Sara Foster; Dave Monthie, CELP Board member
Photo credit: Yelm Community Blog
* The Center for Environmental Law & Policy (CELP) held a Fundraiser in Olympia last night,
which was on the calendar prior to the decision in Sara Foster vs. Dep’t. of Ecology (DOE).
The WA Supreme Court overturned the decision by the Dept. of Ecology in granting a more-than-doubling of the City of Yelm’s water rights. Joining CELP staff, volunteers and board members for an evening of conversation about water conservation, Washington’s current drought conditions, and the impacts of climate change on our future water resources, was keynote speaker Sen. Karen Fraser (D-Thurston County) and special guest Sara Foster of Yelm.
* CELP Executive Director Trish Rolfe acknowledged that on June 25, 2014,
CELP presented “the inaugural Washington Water Leadership Award to Senator Karen Fraser.”
“Senator Fraser represents Washington State’s 22nd Legislative District, the State Capitol area, and currently chairs the Senate Democratic Caucus. She has long been a champion of responsible water policy, and has been a vigorous advocate throughout her elective office career. She has spoken out in the State Legislature, in county and city government, in regional and national organizations, and at international forums. She also serves as Adjunct Faculty in the Master of Public Administration Program at The Evergreen State College where she includes an introduction to the intergovernmental complexities of water policy in her classes.”
Fraser is “one of the longest-serving members of the Washington State Senate who was recently honored for her work with Japan, has been appointed by Lt. Governor Owen to serve on the Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations (LCEDIR).”
[Editor’s Note: Sen. Fraser is a candidate for Lt. Gov. in 2016. Read more]
* Sen. Fraser spoke of the necessity of proper water resources management in our state.
She was asked questions by the audience about how to further this conversation and understanding in the state legislature.
* CELP Exec. Dir. Trish Rolfe introduced Sara Foster (Yelm) for her WA Supreme Court win.
Foster addressed the group, very humbly saying,
“I’m thrilled with the decision because it means the water levels in streams in rivers I, and others, enjoy so much will be protected now and in the future,”
“I am a little old lady in Yelm with cows, chickens, pigs and bees.
They (CELP) supported little old me, that has nothing.
It took me four years [to achieve this ruling].
I could not have done it without their help.
I urge you to donate to CELP!”
Foster added this afterwards to the Yelm Community Blog:
The skills of focus and persistence I learned from JZ Knight and attending Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment (RSE) served me well to see this through to this outcome.”
* Patrick Williams, Sara Foster’s attorney unavailable to attend, said this via Press Release:
“The Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms the state’s responsibility to protect instream flows.”
“The decision makes it clear that Ecology must abide by state water laws when approving new water rights.”
* CELP Board member Dave Monthie presented how climate change affects Washington water resources.
Monthie is a CELP Board member, water lawyer and policy analyst for over 20 years, now in private practice in Olympia, who spearheaded this evening’s event in Olympia.
Monthie’s presentation was followed by an opportunity for a Q & A.
* A discussion among some guests about Yelm Mayor Ron Harding’s Nisqually Valley News comment.
Harding was quoted in-bold in a side box as saying, “I think we [Yelm] were singled out because we have a local entity, or entities, that want to control growth through water,” he said. “That’s the only conclusion I think a reasonable person could come up with.”
Several guests told me that Mr. Harding obviously had two agendas with this comment:
1. Harding’s reference to “a local entity, or entities” inferred that Foster is a Ramtha School of Enlightenment (RSE) student participating in collusion with RSE Founder/President JZ Knight, who also won a WA Supreme Court water rights case in 2011. Knight was in no way involved with Foster’s case, according to Foster, except that Foster was inspired by Knight’s resolve to see this through to this result.
2. Harding wanted to deflect from the poor water rights planning by the City of Yelm for over 20 years, as Dave Monthie highlighted in his talk. Limited growth had nothing to do with Knight’s & Foster’s cases, rather two property owners taking action to the highest state court to protect their individual water rights.
Yelm Mayor Harding’s insensitivity to this fact [two property owners taking action to the highest state court to protect their individual water rights from a municipality’s infringement] is exactly why Washington water law has been enacted via 2 separate Yelm water rights cases, a rarity that the WA Supreme Court accepted 2 water cases from one municipality’s area residents. The City of Yelm’s water rights affecting the city’s neighbors has been “ground zero” and Yelm decisively lost twice, Mr. Harding’s “spin” comments notwithstanding!
* KING 5 TV (NBC) in Seattle broadcasted/posted online their interview with Sara Foster.
“Water rights battle pits growth against rivers”
Click here for KING -5’s Alison Morrow video interview with Foster.
– Blogger Klein is a former 12 year employee of RSE, a 30 year Ramtha student and a CELP contributor.
– Sara Foster is a 30 year Ramtha student.
– JZ Knight was supported by CELP’s Amicus Brief in her WA Supreme Court case win in 2011 and is a CELP contributor.