KGMI News Reporting
By Mike Curtiss
WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. – While property owners worry about tighter rules that the state wants on water usage in Whatcom County, a local attorney says the rules are needed to protect the environment and the rural character of the county.
Jean Melious, an attorney representing a group challenging the county’s rural growth rules, says the county has been violating state law by allowing too many non-permitted wells.
She says the county is required to make sure that enough water is available for streams and existing wells.
The state Growth Management Hearings Board recently ruled that the county is not doing enough to protect water supplies in rural areas.
Melious says allowing new rural home builders to dig exempt wells is unfair to existing property owners.
She says the county has never been in compliance with the Growth Management Act and needs to start planning future growth in places where water is available.