Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Group will continue challenge of WSU water rights; Pollution board's decision not to overturn consolidation will be appealed"

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

"Conservationists?" Please. The only thing Scotty Cornelius is trying to conserve is his 15 minutes of fame.

They do realize, of course, that the aquifer is not like a spotted owl or a redwood. It does not reproduce. Like any well, it will run dry one day, no matter how much we try to "conserve" it. However, plenty of water and snow fall from the sky in our region. All we need to do is figure out how to store it above and/or below ground. Or we just burn everything down and drive all the people out of the Palouse Basin. That seems to be the approach the aquinuts prefer.

And where in the hell is the money for all these appeals coming from?

From today's Lewiston Tribune:
PULLMAN - A group of conservationists will continue to challenge Washington
State University's water rights after saying last week further action was

One of the group's attorneys said it will now ask the state Pollution Control
Hearings Board to reconsider its recent decision not to overturn a 2006
consolidation of those rights.

"The ruling now requires that water supplies be depleted before the state will
step in," Rachael Paschal Osborn, the group's Spokane attorney said in a
statement issued Tuesday. "With this decision, WSU has a green light to
over-pump groundwater supplies."

WSU officials have maintained the consolidation only joins water rights
scattered across several campus wells, allowing it to increase pumping from its
two modern wells. The alternative would be expensive upgrades to aging wells,
according to WSU.

But the group - which includes the Palouse Conservation Network, the Sierra Club
Palouse Group and Pullman resident Scotty Cornelius - said the consolidation
means WSU can triple the amount of water it pumps, if it wants to.

And it does want to, Osborn said. "The appeal challenges WSU's request to
consolidate all of its rights so that it may pump from new wells, in part so
that it may irrigate a new 315-acre, 18-hole golf course which WSU expects will
double water use compared to the previous golf course."

That course, Palouse Ridge, is set to open inAugust. Its practice facility opens
Thursday, with a grand opening celebration scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m.

Osborn said water rights have been "over-allocated" during WSU's 118-year
history. The majority of its unused water rights should have been returned to
the public before the 2003 Washington Legislature killed "use it or lose it"
provisions in state water law, she said.

A three-member panel from the hearings board recently split 2-1 on overturning
the state Department of Ecology's award of the consolidation. Osborn has
previously said action in Whitman County Superior Court to overturn it is also a
possibility, albeit a remote one.


A1 said...

This is unbelievable. When are these people going to STOP? Maybe their backers could shoot some money our way for the water re-use project. Who is paying for this?

April E. Coggins said...

Maybe WSU should have called it a ball field.