Ericksen: Household-well issue remains a priority, despite House committee inaction

OLYMPIA – Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, says the effort to save household wells in Washington state remains alive, despite a decision by a House committee Wednesday morning to take no action to fix a state Supreme Court decision that overturned water law.

Ericksen, a strong supporter of Senate Bill 5239, said lawmakers will continue to seek solutions before the Washington Legislature adjourns for the year.

“I am disappointed the House agriculture committee failed to take a vote and advance the bill further in the process, but that doesn’t mean the issue is dead,” he said.

“I will be continuing to work to correct the court’s misguided decision in this case. While I am happy to look for compromise, the ultimate solution cannot violate the fundamental rights of property owners.”

Wednesday was the deadline for House and Senate policy committees to pass bills introduced in the opposite chamber. The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee failed to take a vote on the measure, which would restore traditional state water law.

The bill was prompted by the state Supreme Court Hirst decision last fall, which imposed new requirements on local governments and rural landowners, and makes it difficult if not impossible to drill new wells and obtain building permits. The decision, if allowed to stand, could have far-reaching effects on the state’s rural economy, property values, housing costs and property taxes.

Progress of the legislation and other efforts to fix the court decision can be tracked via a special page on Ericksen’s website. The page can be found here.