Current matters include Water issues with the Department of Ecology inclusive of the Joe Lemire case. The Department of Ecology has been hounding farming and ranching communities in rural Washington concerning the “substantial potential to pollute.” After the Joe Lemire case was heard by the Washington Supreme Court, the 3DT BMP Implementation Process documentation was released which WALF also helped to take a stand on. WALF has tried to ease the burden that Ecology is placing on private property owners with riparian areas.
Wolves in the United States have been delisted as an endangered species allowing Washington State to come up with their own Wolf Management Plan. WALF has reviewed the plan and is keeping abreast of developments with wolf management in Washington State. Many of the WALF Board has been active on the management plan.
WALF supported a 78 year old private property owner who was forced to shoot dogs that had been chasing his cows. The City of Richland Washington charged the private property owner with criminal charges for protecting his property. The private property owner was successful in getting the charges dismissed.
The Dairy industry is facing ground water contamination issues in the Yakima Valley. Currently there is no ongoing litigation, but WALF is keeping a close eye on these matters. The Dairy Legal Action Fund was proposed in 2007 and we are looking into beginning fund raising to assist with the dairymen.
WALF is currently active in two separate drainage issues in Western Washington which involve many different entities including the Department of Ecology, Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Army Corps of Engineers. One involves government putting tidegates in floodplains and allowing salt water to flood ag lands. The other case involves maintenance of drainage ditches.
Fund raising efforts are currently underway to assist a private party who faced litigation on an easement going over his property. This individual was sued by easement holders because he had a horse on his property. As a true owner to the property, this private property owner had every right to have a horse on his land. The easement holders sued to keep him from having any livestock on his property, and because they had to open and shut gates to access the easement. WALF has taken the position that owners of private property should not be obligated to use their property in a specific way due to an easement for ingress and egress. The private property owner was successful in his suit, but faced litigation costs that were not reimbursable. If the private property owner had lost this case, it may have set a precedent allowing easement holders to dictate how private property could be used.