WSR 06-09-093

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Order 06-05 -- Filed April 19, 2006, 9:46 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: This proposed rule making would amend one section of chapter 173-134A WAC. A formal petition for amendment rule making was received by ecology on January 3, 2006, and amended in a letter dated January 11, 2006. Ecology has agreed to initiate rule making as petitioned. The petitioned amendments pertain to language within WAC 173-134A-080. The proposed amendments would change the following:


Current requirements Proposed language
Only water that has been put to "beneficial use" *may be transferred as to the place of use and purpose of use. Would allow water not yet put to beneficial use to transfer as to the place of use.
All permits are provided three years to put water to beneficial use. After three years, the unused (unperfected) water is returned to the artificially stored ground water. Would allow flexible development schedules for all nonagricultural permits on a case-by-case basis.
None A nonagricultural permit development schedule may be extended for good cause on a case-by case basis.

Additional amendments to chapter 173-134A WAC may be identified during a public scoping process on the rule.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 43.21A.064(9), 43.21A.080, 90.54.040(2), and 90.44.130.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The purpose of chapter 173-134A WAC is to set forth rules for ecology to administer, regulate, and manage all ground waters within the Quincy Basin (QB) ground water subarea, including commingled public ground waters and artificially stored ground waters. The department of ecology works in cooperation with the affected entities including the Bureau of Reclamation to implement protection to the public interest and private rights.

The current rule language limits the development schedule to three years and the ability to change only a water right that has been put to beneficial use for all entities. Nonagricultural entities including the business community, developers, and municipalities generally require greater flexibility in their development schedules and changing inchoate water rights, depending on the scale of the project.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The United States Bureau of Reclamation (bureau) is identified as the water right holder and owner of the artificially stored ground water. Ecology plans to coordinate the rule-making process with the bureau. Ecology has and will continue to request the bureau's response to draft rule language and its participation in the rule-making activities.

Process for Developing New Rule: Ecology will hold public workshops and hearings to provide information to interested parties and to receive comments on the scope of the rule making. An informational flyer will also be sent out. Information will also be posted on ecology's web site.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Janet Carlson, either by phone (509) 329-3421, by e-mail at jaca461@ecy.wa.gov, or by mail at Janet Carlson, Eastern Regional Office, Department of Ecology, North Monroe Street, Spokane, WA 99205-1295. They may also participate in the public workshops and public hearings and provide comments to internet postings of the proposed amendments.

April 19, 2006

Kenneth O. Slattery

Program Manager

Washington State Code Reviser's Office