H-3609.1  _______________________________________________


                          HOUSE BILL 2705



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2002 Regular Session


By Representatives Hatfield, Mulliken, Doumit, Mielke and Buck


Read first time 01/24/2002.  Referred to Committee on Agriculture & Ecology.

Allowing cost recovery in cases involving disputed department of ecology studies.

    AN ACT Relating to studies conducted by the department of ecology; amending RCW 43.21A.130; and creating a new section.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  The legislature finds that the department of ecology conducted a total maximum daily load study for the Willapa river.  Local representatives from Pacific county, the cities of South Bend and Raymond, and the Port of Willapa believed that the department's conclusions were incorrect and the resulting regulatory impacts would be inappropriate and expensive.  The legislature further finds that the local representatives were unable to negotiate with the department of ecology in regards to the study and hired a consultant to review the study.  The consultant supported the view of the local representatives and the department of ecology agreed to problems with their study.

    The legislature finds that the costs of hiring a consultant to review disputed studies of the department of ecology depletes the money available to necessary services for local governments and should be reimbursed by the department.


    Sec. 2.  RCW 43.21A.130 and 1987 c 505 s 28 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) In addition to any other powers granted the director, the director may undertake studies dealing with all aspects of environmental problems involving land, water, or air:  PROVIDED, That in the absence of specific legislative authority, such studies shall be limited to investigations of particular problems, and shall not be implemented by positive action.

    (2) Local governments that are affected by the studies under this section must be allowed to discuss the findings with the director and, if necessary, dispute the findings.  If the department does not respond to the affected parties' concerns, the parties may hire a consultant to review the studies.  If the consultant finds the studies to be flawed or conducted in an unprofessional manner, the local government may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to have the study disregarded and costs awarded to the local government.  Costs under this subsection include consultant fees and court costs.


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