The state Department of Ecology is taking regular advantage of what is supposed to be an emergency provision to provide water to well owners in Skagit River creek basins, according to a brief filed by the Center for Environmental Law and Policy and by Earthjustice.

In a friend of the court brief filed Wednesday in the state Court of Appeals Division 1, the Center calls Ecology’s use of “overriding consideration of public interest” a “gross misreading of Washington water laws.”

“A lot of rivers, not just the Skagit, are in trouble,” said Janette Brimmer, attorney with Earthjustice. “I think you could point to any watershed in the state and and see indicators of this kind of problem.”

The Center, a group that advocates for rivers and streams in Washington state, sides with the Swinomish Tribe in its appeal of Ecology’s decision to allow rural wells in Skagit River creek basins. In 2006, the tribe said the amount of water allowed to rural homeowners in the basins was too much and did not protect fish.

Read the full story in Thursday’s Skagit Valley Herald.


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