Daily Sun News Editorial

Senate right to withhold capital approval


While city folk and governmental bureaucrats are whining about our state’s capital budget being held hostage until a Hirst decision fix is in place, we think the state Senate is doing the right thing.

City dwellers and governmental bureaucrats building fiefdoms want money to continue to build and expand their empires. But here in rural Eastern Washington, water is king. And the right and ability to access water for our families, crops and livestock is far more important than widening another road, building another school or buying up more private land in the name of purported protection.

The inability to secure water stems from the state Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in the Hirst case, which ultimately stripped property owners of the ability to get a permit for a new well. That decision has cost Eastern Washington dearly, through lost development and jobs, and lost access to the water we need to sustain our families and livelihoods.

The state Senate — governed, if you will, by a majority caucus of Republicans and a few Democrats — passed four different bills this year to resolve the issue caused by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hirst decision. The Democrat-controlled House refused to discuss even one of the bills on the floor.

The failure to even acknowledge the problems caused by the Hirst decision only drove a deeper wedge between city folk west of the Cascades who already have their own water rights secured and ruralites here trying to provide a better life for their families. And it’s one more example of what’s wrong with the one-size-fits-all approach to governing Washington state from Olympia.

What good is it for the state to approve of new roads, schools, parks and other quality of life expenses if most rural residents are denied access to life’s most important necessity? No good whatsoever.

We applaud the state Senate for using its capital budget leverage as a means to force the hands of westside lawmakers who refuse to acknowledge our water need and the development, jobs and economic growth that comes with it.

We applaud the Senate for withholding approval of the $4 billion proposed capital budget, at least until we can again have access to and control of our water.


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