Proposed Rule: Water Quality Standards a whole new aproach to monitoring and enforcement

from Washington Rural Civil Rights League


Washington State - These are far more than proposed water quality standards, this is a whole new approach water quality monitoring and enforcement. "In July 1993, the Washington State Department of Ecology initiated a new managerial framework to improve the protection of water quality. Ecology began a five year transition to a comprehensive Watershed Approach to Water Quality Management. In this approach, both point and nonpoint source problems and needs are addressed for all parts of the state."

As a management approach, the design was formulated to guide the organization toward improving coordination of water quality activities, service delivery, protection and prevention activities, and finally improved water quality statewide."

The entire state is divided up into to WRIA's or "fresh water resource inventory area." These WRIA's are watershed specific and minimum water quality standards are set for each WRIA. The state legislature has exempted most "Watershed Restoration Projects" from part of SEPA lessening the requirements for Ecology to mandate such things as wider buffer zones and land use limitations.

Every body of fresh water with in the state must meet these new standards. DOE will now have the power through this "watershed approach" to modify forest and fish rules and shorlines management guidelines. They will do it one watershed at a time. THOSE WHO THOUGHT THE WERE EXEMPT AIN'T and that includes agriculture. (See below)

1. Washington State Dept. of Ecology (DOE) Must Follow Legislative authority:

A- Chapter 34.05 RCW "Administrative Procedure Act"

B- State Environmental Procedures Act (SEPA) RCW 43.21C.030
1- Says "Guidelines for state agencies, local governments -- Statements -- Reports -- Advice -- Information. The legislature authorizes and directs that, to the fullest extent possible: (1) The policies, regulations, and laws of the state of Washington shall be interpreted and administered in accordance with the policies set forth in this chapter, and. (2) all branches of government of this state, including state agencies, municipal and public corporations, and counties shall (c) Include in every recommendation or report on proposals for legislation and other major actions significantly affecting the quality of the environment, a detailed statement by the responsible official on:
a- (i) the environmental impact of the proposed action;
b- (ii) any adverse environmental effects which cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented;
c- (iii) alternatives to the proposed action;
d- (iv) the relationship between local short-term uses of man's environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity; and
e- (v) any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved in the proposed action should it be implemented;"

II- The Problem: The entire state is devided up into "fresh water resource inventory areas", or WRIA's. These WRIA's are commonly know as watersheds

A- "Watershed Restoration Projects"-- the legislature has exempted "Watershed Restoration Projects" form part of SEPA.

1- RCW 43.21C.0382 Application of RCW 43.21C.030(2)(c) to watershed restoration projects -- Fish habitat enhancement projects. Decisions pertaining to watershed restoration projects as defined in RCW 89.08.460 are not subject to the requirements of RCW 43.21C.030(2)(c).
a- RCW 89.08.460 Watershed restoration projects -- Definitions.
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section shall apply throughout RCW 89.08.450 through 89.08.510.

(1) Watershed restoration plan" means a plan, developed or sponsored by the department of fish and wildlife, the department of ecology, the department of natural resources, the department of transportation, a federally recognized Indian tribe acting within and pursuant to its authority, a city, a county, or a conservation district, that provides a general program and implementation measures or actions for the preservation, restoration, re-creation, or enhancement of the natural resources, character, and ecology of a stream, stream segment, drainage area, or watershed, and for which agency and public review has been conducted pursuant to chapter 43.21C RCW, the state environmental policy act. If the implementation measures or actions would have a probable significant, adverse environmental impact, a detailed statement under RCW 43.21C.031 must be prepared on the plan.

2- Notice RCW 89.08.460 says," probable significant, adverse environmental impact"; this is nothing but a "designation of non significance" The economic harm to landowners could be significant!
a- Buffer zones are the tool of choice for lowering water temperature.
1- Forestry or agriculture is not exempt for the water quality standards.

3- The exemption also violates multiple tenants of Sec. 102 [42 USC § 4332] NEPA


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