From: Norman MacLeod []
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2009 5:02 PM
To: various
Subject: House lets GMA/SMA bill die


The following information comes our way from the Washington Farm Bureau.  Your participation helped protect your right to the full use and enjoyment of your property.


One of the things that we need to keep in the forefront of our minds is that if the community wants to be able to purchase locally grown food, our regulatory framework needs to allow us to do so.  The GMA/SMA bill would have made it more difficult for us to grow our own food in the area, and would have forced yet another layer of regulation onto the backs of shoreline property owners.


Never underestimate your power, as a citizen, to influence the outcome of any bill brought to the House or Senate floor.




House Lets GMA/SMA Bill Die 

HB 1653, sponsored by Rep. Geoff Simpson (D-Covington), died without a vote on the House floor Thursday.

The bill would have temporarily interfered with a host of exemptions under the Shoreline Management Act (SMA), including agricultural activities.

The bill unexpectedly moved out of the House Rules Committee Wednesday and ignited a wildfire of last-minute lobbying and grassroots messages to state representatives.

Farm Bureau members were joined by other rural, suburban and urban residents concerned that this legislation would interfere with their rights to use and enjoy their property within a couple hundred feet of shorelines.

Farm Bureau was joined by the Horticultural Association, Grange and Friends of Farms and Forests in the effort to fight back the revived bill. AWB and other business organizations were also in on the effort.

Reps. Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen), Lynn Kessler (D-Hoquiam), Joel Kretz (R-Wauconda), Deb Eddy (D-Kirkland), Jeff Morris (D-Bellingham) and Larry Springer (D-Kirkland) led a bi-partisan, east-west, rural-urban coalition that was opposed to increasing regulation that would be harmful to agriculture. We deeply appreciate their leadership and the support of the House majority that opposed this legislation.

The SMA specifically prevents local governments from limiting or prohibiting agricultural activities, thanks to legislation sponsored in 2002 by Sen. Brian Hatfield (D-Raymond) when he served in the House.

In the July 2008 Anacortes ruling, the state Supreme Court ruled that critical areas within the SMA jurisdiction are to be dealt with exclusively under the SMA and all others under the Growth Management Act (GMA).

HB 1653 would have gutted that ruling and given the Department of Ecology leverage over CAO (GMA critical area ordinance) approvals that they do not currently have.

Ecology and the Department of Community, Trade & Economic Development (CTED) were lobbying hard for the passage of the bill. 

The SMA specifically provides exemptions or protections for many activities in the shoreline areas. Among those that would have been harmed by this legislation are:

·         Selective commercial timber cutting

·         Agricultural activities

·         Exemption for projects to improve fish or wildlife habitat or fish passage

·         Watershed restoration projects

·         Normal maintenance or repair of existing structures or developments, including damage by accident, fire, or elements

·         Construction of the normal protective bulkhead common to single family residences

·         Construction and practices normal or necessary for farming, irrigation, and ranching activities, including agricultural service roads and utilities on shorelands

·         Construction on shorelands by an owner, lessee, or contract purchaser of a single family residence for his or her own use or for the use of his or her family

·         Construction of a dock, including a community dock, designed for pleasure craft only, for the private noncommercial use of the owner

·         Operation and maintenance of any system of dikes, ditches, drains

·         The process of removing or controlling an aquatic noxious weed; and others

These activities are currently protected under the SMA, but most of them are not protected under the CAO requirement of the GMA.

The Senate Environment, Water and Energy Committee rejected the companion bill, SB 5726, sponsored by Sen. Adam Kline (D-Seattle).


GMA/Climate Bill Also Perishes to Cutoff Deadline

HB 1490, sponsored by Rep. Sharon Nelson (D-Maury Island) died in the midst of the House floor flurry on Thursday.

The original bill would have added reducing greenhouse gases to the environmental goal of the Growth Management Act.

In addition, full-planning counties would have been mandated to include addressing greenhouse gases and reducing "vehicle miles traveled" (VMT) in their mandatory county-wide planning policies.

Reducing VMT would have had a disproportionate impact on agriculture and rural communities, as it is necessary to travel more miles to services, employment, and markets in rural areas than in more compact urban areas.

The greenhouse gas reduction mandate and goal would have resulted in tens of millions of dollars in litigation, much the same as we have seen result from the current mandate to "include best available science" (BAS) in critical area ordinances. Now, 14 years after that mandate was added to the GMA, there is still no definition of BAS.

Prior to deadline, several amendments were floated, attempting to reduce the bill to a focus on providing affordable housing near the largest public transportation hubs around the state.  Washington Farm Bureau offered no objections to later amendments that focused exclusively on affordable housing.


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