WA State Farm News

Several bills affect water and sewer restrictions

Posted 2/28/2017

Following are several bills in the works at the Washington State Legislature that affect agricultural.  The recommendations are from Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR).  If there are any of interest, please click on the “follow and comment” to read more about the bill, and to send a comment to your legislators.

SHB 1225 Mineral resources/GMA
CAPR Recommends DO PASS CAPR rating = 8 (Outstanding) Impact is
Adds the maintenance and enhancement of mineral resource lands and industries as a component of the natural resource goals of the Growth Management Act. Requires cities and counties to designate all property that has long-term significance for mineral extraction as mineral resource lands

Follow and comment here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1225&Year=2018

HB 1348 State water code priorities
CAPR Recommends DO PASS CAPR rating = 8 (Outstanding) Impact is
Provides that regardless of the priority date established for minimum instream flows, such flows have an inferior priority relative to water rights applied to beneficial use for potable water supply, water for agriculture and irrigation, and water for commercial and industrial purposes.

Follow and comment here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1348&Year=2018

HB 1349 Groundwater wells/water lev.
CAPR Recommends DO PASS CAPR rating = 8 (Outstanding) Impact is
Considers de minimis impacts from permit-exempt withdrawals of groundwater to be forever fully mitigated in light of the beneficial impacts on fish habitat that accrue from investments in state water resource improvement. Specifies that permit-exempt withdrawals of groundwater do not require water rights and do not impair senior water rights.

Follow and comment here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1349&Year=2018

HB 1632 On-site sewage systems
CAPR Recommends DO PASS CAPR rating = 8 (Outstanding) Impact is
Restricts state Board of Health (BOH) rules related to on-site sewage systems (OSS) from requiring private monitoring contracts in order to obtain a use permit or from requiring easements for OSS inspection, maintenance or expansion.Prohibits OSS replacements from being required where repair is sufficient to restore the previous functionality of the OSS.

Follow and comment here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1632&Year=2018

SSB 5281 On-site sewage systems
CAPR Recommends DO PASS CAPR rating = 8 (Outstanding) Impact is
Prohibits the State Board of Health from making specific use permit, easement, and replacement rules regarding on-site sewage systems.Encourages local jurisdictions, officers, and employees who enforce rules adopted by the State Board of Health to observe the same rule limitations.

Follow and comment here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5281&Year=2018

SSB 5616 Adminstrative rules & policy
CAPR Recommends DO PASS CAPR rating = 8 (Outstanding) Impact is
Prohibits any rule or policy adopted by a state agency after July 1, 2017, from being enforced unless it is adopted pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), codified in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), and has either been ratified by act of the Legislature or adopted by an agency that has successfully completed an excellence assessment.

Follow and comment here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5616&Year=2018

SB 5617 Ecology policies enforcement
CAPR Recommends DO PASS CAPR rating = 8 (Outstanding) Impact is
Prohibits any policy of the department of ecology from being enforced unless and until it has been adopted pursuant to the administrative procedure act, codified in the Washington Administrative Code, and ratified by act of the legislature.

Follow and comment here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5617&Year=2018

HB 1382 Groundwater withdrawals
CAPR Recommends DO PASS CAPR rating = 7 (Outstanding) Impact is
Creates a presumption, in the absence of conclusive information to the contrary, that a groundwater withdrawal from a permit-exempt well will not impair a minimum flow of a surface water body.Defines “conclusive information” to include, at a minimum and among other things, site-specific groundwater testing data that demonstrate a hydrological connection between the groundwater source and the surface water body whose minimum flow would be impacted by groundwater withdrawal. Prohibits a city, town, or county from withholding approval of a subdivision or a building permit on the basis of not having sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption of nonimpairment. Requires that comprehensive plans prepared pursuant to certain statutes address the protection of groundwater used for public water supplies in a manner consistent with the presumption of nonimpairment.

Follow and comment here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1382&Year=2018

SHB 1504 GMA/rail dependent uses
CAPR Recommends DO PASS CAPR rating = 6 (Outstanding) Impact is
Adds definitions of “freight rail dependent uses” and “short line railroad” to the Growth Management Act (GMA), and provides that railroad tracks are included within the definitions of “rural development” and “rural character.”Expands definition of “urban governmental services” to include access to railroad lines.Authorizes counties and cities planning under the GMA to adopt development regulations to permit resource lands adjacent to short line railroads to be developed for freight rail dependent purposes, subject to certain conditions.

Follow and comment here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1504&Year=2018

HB 1609 Small parcels/ag & rural dev
CAPR Recommends DO PASS CAPR rating = 6 (Outstanding) Impact is
Provides that there are no minimum acreage requirements in areas designated as agricultural lands or rural areas under the Growth Management Act.

Follow and comment here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1609&Year=2018

HB 1394 Columbia river water permits
CAPR Recommends DO PASS CAPR rating = 3 (Outstanding) Impact is
States that certain agency rules governing instream flows and the water resources program for the Columbia River Basin are consistent with legislative intent.

Follow and comment here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1394&Year=2018


HB 2133 would create a pilot program to help ag

Posted 2/28/2017

HB 2133 would require the department of agriculture to:

(1) Establish a pilot program to create an omnibus permitting process for businesses that process or engage in other value-added activities that involve: (a) Raw products of agriculture, fisheries, and aquaculture, including shellfish aquaculture; (b) food, food products, or cottage food products; (c) forest products; and (d) specialized forest products, processed cedar products, or specialty wood; and Continue reading

HB 2125 would help deter wolves

Posted 2/28/2017

HB 2125 is a bill making its way through the Washington State Legislature which would help to deter wolves.

It creates the northeast Washington wolf-cattle management grant within the department of agriculture for the deployment of nonlethal deterrence resources, including equipment and tools, owned and strategically located locally to reduce the probability of livestock depredations by wolves. Creates an advisory board to advise the department on the expenditure of the management grant funds. Creates the northeast Washington wolf-cattle management account.

Feb 17, 2017
First reading, referred to Appropriations (Not Officially read and referred until adoption of Introduction report).
You can view the status and comment on this bill here:

Rep. Jim Walsh testifies on behalf of Washington Rural Jobs Act

Feb. 3, 2017

from WSFB website

Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, appeared before the House Technology and Economic Development Committee Wednesday morning to testify on behalf of the Washington Rural Jobs Act. House Bill 1422 would help kick-start smart economic growth strategies in rural areas. The bill, jointly sponsored by Walsh and his seatmate, Rep. Brian Blake, aims to increase economic development and job growth in rural areas.

“Many small businesses get started, but then run into difficulty getting enough capital to go to the next level,” said Walsh. “Whether it is moving into a bigger facility, buying more equipment or hiring more employees, finding financing can be a problem. This bill specifically targets that stage of development.” Continue reading

EPA-funded billboards attacking farmers coming down

A Washington state tribe took down an anti-agriculture billboard and said a second one will come down too, one day after the Environmental Protection Agency issued a statement saying the media campaign was an inappropriate use of EPA funds.

Don Jenkins, Capital Press

Published on April 7, 2016 9:52AM

A “What’s Upstream” billboard in Olympia came down Wednesday, and a second one in Bellingham was expected to be removed, a day after the Environmental Protection Agency said the media campaign was an inappropriate use of federal funds that were awarded to a tribe for public education.

Swinomish Indian tribe environmental policy director Larry Wasserman said the tribe is taking down the billboards voluntarily.

“There has been no violation, but because of the concerns EPA has raised, we’re being responsive until their concerns are addressed,” he said. Continue reading

Drought officially vanishes from Washington landscape

from Capital Press

Posted 4/5/2016

Washington is drought-free for the first time since 2013. It’s the only Western state without a hint of drought.

After a winter that defied expectations, Washington on Thursday became the only one among 11 Western states completely free of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Climatologists predicted El Nino would cause a warm and dry winter in the Pacific Northwest, making likely a second-straight “snowpack drought.” Officials foresaw the water shortage that affected farmers throughout the state last summer deepening. Continue reading

Farm groups join opposition to Inslee’s cap-and-trade plan

Posted 1/31/2015

Several Washington farm groups have joined a campaign against Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposal to charge some companies for emitting greenhouse gases. Inslee’s carbon-cutting proposal includes several agriculture groups. The governor’s cap-and-trade plan would apply to at least 130 plants, including one fertilizer manufacturer and eight food processors, according to the state Department of Ecology (DOE).

The companies, which release at least 25,000 metric tons of carbon in a year, would bid for “allowances” to emit carbon. The bidding would start at $12.60 per metric ton, a floor price based on California’s experience with cap-and-trade, according to DOE. Continue reading

Ecology changing watershed evaluation process

Capital Press

The Washington Department of Ecology recently presented possible changes to the way it evaluates watersheds for pollution.


The state Department of Ecology is changing the way it evaluates farming operations for potential pollution, and the executive director of the Washington Agriculture Legal Foundation says it is a good first step.

The agency recently unveiled the changes it is planning during a agricultural and water quality advisory committee meeting in Lacey, Wash. Under the changes, letters from the department to producers would include specific information about observed pollution problems, an offer for farmers to access documentation related to their operation and a clear timeline for producers to contact the agency. Continue reading

Washington Farm Bureau Votes to Oppose Initiative 522

Posted 5/24/2013

Members of the Washington Farm Bureau State Board voted last week to join the ‘No On 522’ Coalition, the group that has formed to fight Initiative 522. If passed by voters in November, I-522 would make Washington the only state in the country to require special labels on food products containing genetically engineered ingredients.

The board opposes the initiative because it would:

  • Impose added costs to farmers through increased regulatory and bookkeeping requirements, which will drive up food costs for Washington residents. Continue reading

Cooperation needed to ‘get to yes,’ farmers told

CORVALLIS, Ore.– While many farmers were pleased to network and navigate policy at the first-ever Oregon Agritourism Summit on Nov. 30, some left frustrated over complex and technical regulations affecting their agritourism businesses.

The event, held in the LaSells Stewart Center at Oregon State University, drew 150 farmers, ranchers and public policy regulators with a variety of backgrounds and goals for the agritourism industry. Continue reading