SENATE BILL REPORT
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
As of January 26, 2017
Title: An act relating to the definition of hydraulic project in relation to the hydraulic project approval permits.
Brief Description: Concerning the definition of hydraulic project in relation to the hydraulic project approval permits.
Sponsors: Senators Honeyford, Rivers, Fortunato, Becker, Bailey, Ericksen, Warnick and Pearson.
Committee Activity: Natural Resources & Parks: 1/26/17.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES & PARKS
Staff: Curt Gavigan (786-7437)
Background: Hydraulic Project Approvals (HPAs) in General. An HPA is required for any project that will use, divert, obstruct, or change the natural flow or bed of any of the salt or fresh waters of the state. HPAs are issued by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) for the stated purpose of ensuring the proper protection of fish life.
The term ordinary high water line describes the mark on the shores of all waters that will be found by examining the bed and banks and ascertaining where the presence and action of waters are common and usual.
HPA Fees and Fee Exemptions. DFW must generally charge an application fee of $150 for an HPA located at or below the ordinary high water line. Exemptions from the application fee are provided for project types including:
pamphlet permits for aquatic noxious weed control and certain mineral prospecting activities;
HPAs on farm and agricultural lands;
forestry-related projects regulated under the Forest Practices Act; and
mineral prospecting and mining activities.
The authority to impose the application fee expires June 30, 2017.
Summary of Bill: A hydraulic project means work at or below the ordinary high water line for purposes of HPA permitting by DFW.
Fiscal Note: Available.
Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: No.
Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.
Staff Summary of Public Testimony: PRO: DFW is bringing its own HPA bill that will not address the jurisdiction issue. This bill is meant to keep this important issue under discussion as the Legislature seeks a solution between the two bills. DFW has enforced this permit above the ordinary high water line, and this increases project costs and confusion as to when a permit is required. This has been an issue for many years, and this bill would provide clarity.
CON: This bill has been around for many years, but the difference this year is there is now an Attorney General's Opinion that supports a broad reading of HPA jurisdiction. It is clear this would be a change in the code.
OTHER: There are concerns about limiting program jurisdiction because a project outside of the ordinary high water line could still impact fish. While projects may still need other permits, this is the only one focused specifically on fish life.
Persons Testifying: PRO: Senator Jim Honeyford, Prime Sponsor; Mike Ennis, Association of Washington Business; Tom Davis, WA Farm Bureau; Cindy Alia, Citizens Alliance for Property Rights. CON: Bruce Wishart, Sound Action. OTHER: Margen Carlson, Deputy Assistant Director of the Habitat Program, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Jeff Parsons, Puget Sound Partnership.
Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: No one.