Loosing a Water Right- yes it can happen.

Washington’s water law includes a principle that a water right is perfected, defined, and  maintained through beneficial use. The expression “use it or lose it” is sometimes applied  to describe this western water law principle. Put simply, a water right may be wholly or  partially lost through extended periods of non-use. The return of unused water to the  state is called relinquishment. The purpose of relinquishment is to ensure that  Washington’s limited water sources are put to maximum beneficial use for all of  Washington’s citizens. To keep it simple, 5 or more successive years of non-use causes relinquishment unless you have good cause for said non-use. There are several categories described in RCW 90.14.140 that forgive the non-use.

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13 states sue over rule giving feds authority on state water

 JAMES MacPHERSON Associated Press
 
BISMARCK, N.D. – Thirteen states led by North Dakota filed a lawsuit Monday challenging an Obama administration rule that gives federal agencies authority to protect some streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said the “Waters of the U.S.” rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers is a “federal power grab” that is “unnecessary and unlawful and will do nothing to increase water quality.”
The rule – a response to calls from the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress for the EPA to clarify which smaller waterways are protected – was published in the Federal Register on Monday and takes effect Aug. 28.
According to the EPA, the waters affected would be only those with a “direct and significant” connection to larger bodies of water downstream that are already protected. It says the aim is to protect the waters from pollution and development and to safeguard drinking water.
The EPA did not immediately respond to questions from the Associated Press.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Bismarck, asks for the rule to be thrown out. The other states involved are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Republicans in Congress, and some Democrats including North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, also have backed legislation to block the rules.
Stenehjem told reporters that the rule “illegally” gives authority to the EPA and the Corps and will add “red tape and other obstacles” to farmers, ranchers and landowners. Failure to get permits under the new rules will result in “steep penalties and even jail time,” he said.
He said farmers and other landowners could be subjected to federal oversight for even dry ditches on their land. The thousands of small ponds in the Upper Midwest known as prairie potholes also will be regulated, he said.
Stenehjem said North Dakota took the lead on the lawsuit because of its large agricultural sector, “so it just seemed like a logical place.”

USCA Disappointed On Administration’s Path Forward with Brazil, Argentina

USCA (June 30, 2015) – The United States Cattlemen’s Association issued the following statement on the announcement made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) to allow for importations of fresh beef products into the United States from regions in South America.  The following may be attributed to USCA President Danni Beer:
“Once again, we are faced with an issue that has the potential to severely threaten the health and safety standards of the US cattle herd.  We acknowledge the effort and work put in by APHIS staff on this issue, however, the proposed plan to move this notice forward is deeply concerning to producers across the country.  Concerns have repeatedly been relayed from industry groups to the Administration on this proposed change in trade and we are disappointed that the choice has been made to move forward with the plan. ”
“Any opening of the U.S. market to the stated regions in South America is a step-back for the health of the US cattle herd.  However, this issue stems not only from concerns regarding our domestic herd, but also to the political ramifications such a change in trade with this region would signal.  Through this announcement, the U.S. would be rewarding countries that are proven bad actors in the international trade arena.”
“USCA recognizes the risk assessments completed and science being used by USDA-APHIS within the proposed processing facilities and supply chains in the specified regions.  However, we simply do not trust Brazil and Argentina to implement the necessary protocol and safe handling practices on a consistent and comprehensive basis across all supply lines to ensure the safety of those fresh beef products shipped to the U.S.  The margin of error when addressing Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is extremely slim, every precaution and necessary safeguard must be in place to ensure safe handling and transportation of product; we remain unconvinced of Brazil and Argentina’s commitment to this process based on their ongoing actions in the international trade arena.”
“Brazil continues to file cases against the U.S. and our trading partners at the World Trade Organization (WTO), Argentina is still in default on its substantial debt to the U.S.; why we would reward such actions by allowing for the import of their products to the U.S. is of utmost concern to producers across the country.”
“The precedent set by this announcement is troubling.  This issue, while rooted in the realm of animal health, will be impacted by outside factors as well.  The political influences that will come into play must not be ignored and rather addressed as a component of this rule.  Our concerns on this proposed notice were relayed to USDA-APHIS during the recent USCA summer fly-in to Washington, D.C. and we will continue to work with those in Congress and the Administration to address producer and industry concerns.”

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Established in March 2007, USCA is committed to concentrating its efforts in Washington, D.C. to enhance and expand the cattle industry’s voice on Capitol Hill.  USCA has a full-time presence in Washington, giving cattle producers across the country a strong influence on policy development.  For more information go to www.uscattlemen.org

UPDATE ON NORTHWEST ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATES V. EPA

On June 18, 2015 before Federal Judge Ricardo Martinez the argument to dismiss the case ofNorthwest Environmental Advocates was heard. Jack, Amber, and Toni went over to Seattle as WCA is an intervenor in the case.  WCA has hired Western Resource Legal Clinic, a pro bono clinic based out of Lewis and Clark, to represent them in this case.

     This case was brought by Northwest Environmental Advocates to force the EPA to look to the ESA to protect listed fish species under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The CWA is just that, to protect clean water, not fish habitat. The CWA, at this time, does not have a component to protect listed fish species.  Both Timber and WCA have intervened on behalf of EPA, so both intervenors had the chance for argument on June 18, 2015.
    From a legal standpoint a motion to dismiss is hard to win as it does not take into consideration the merits of the case, only procedural issues. If there are any issues that cannot be dismissed outright, then the case continues. EPA argued that the case could not continue because Northwest Environmental Advocates has not brought their case in a timely manner and the statute of limitations has run on their claims. Timber and WCA argued that Northwest Environmental Advocates did not bring claims which could be heard before the Court as the Court had previously ruled, in similar type cases, that the CWA does not require the EPA to protect fish species. Both intervenors argued case law, and WRLC, on behalf of WCA, also argued the logistics of trying to combine ESA into the CWA. The time frames alone for both to be considered do not mesh. Northwest Environmental Advocates argued that nonpoint source pollution is not being controlled by EPA  and poses a huge risk to fish species if these fish are not considered under the CWA. The main argument for Northwest Environmental Advocates was if EPA does not consider ESA listed fish species when enforcing the CWA, EPA could potentially approve water quality standards that could kill fish. WRLC argued that the CWA is to protect clean water, the ESA is to protect listed fish species, they are not related documents and cannot be combined at the whim of Northwest Environmental Advocates.
   WRLC did a fantastic job on behalf of WCA. The Judge took all arguments under advisement and will rule at a later date. Federal Court has strict case schedules so the ruling should come quickly to allow the parties to stay on schedule with the next round of briefing.

WCA Board Meeting

There was a great turnout tonight at the WCA Executive board meeting. A number of issues were discussed, including the brand program revenue,  ADT, Sage Grouse and much much more.  Go to Jack’s blog to see more. http://www.washingtoncattlemen.org/jacks-blog/

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NW Environmental Advocates vs EPA case

I am headed to federal court in Seattle with jack and amber as wca are intervenor in the nw environmental advocates vs EPA case on behalf of EPA regarding their ability to enforce the clean water act to protect fish listed under ESA.

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