Letter from Cindy Beckett, EPA Certified Watershed Manager, to the Washington State Legislature
Pierce County, Washington has very literally and permanently destroyed 60% of its water resources to date, the rest is on the chopping block now. That includes the recharge area to the people’s Sole Source Aquifer, our only Salmon bearing creek system that flows to tidal waters, and most of our wetlands and ponds. This, while we* have begged the State and Ecology for help for years to no avail.
Please, make the enforcement of the State’s water laws mandatory. Had these laws actually been enforced over these years, we would not be in this dire situation now. When local government cannot enforce, it is supposed to be up to the State to enforce, but they refuse, citing the (illegal) “deference to local government” found in the State GMA, which is not a Federal Act.
If this is not corrected, there will be little left to protect as our rivers, creeks and wetlands go under the dozers – on our water resource lands – while we have never been able to get help from this State. It is imperative that you address and correct this. The GMA has no authority to instruct the State offices that they must defer to local government – especially if that local government has no enforcement mechanism at all nor any degreed water scientists on staff.
The Prosecuting Attorney for the county can confirm this – these violations cannot be enforced in local courts, and the people should not have to pay thousands of personal dollars trying to stop this permanent loss of their resources in the courts. Especially when the local governments use the people’s money to defend themselves against the people. Something is very wrong with this.
Thank you for attending to and correcting this most grievous issue and please stay safe.
Cindy Beckett EPA certified Watershed Manager”
*We, being many local community members, including members of the Pierce Communities Coalition
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