Unhappy with county's stance on water

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 11, 2014 

Once again, Whatcom County chose litigation over solutions. The county participated in several discussions with Futurewise and local citizens working to ensure that the county's rural element protects our rural lands from inappropriate development and protects our water supplies from pollution.

The county insisted that we provide specific proposals while not making a single suggestion itself. Then the county summarily terminated discussions, despite the Department of Ecology's willingness to help reach a settlement.

The county has spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars on outside counsel and internal staff to fight our suggestions. I believe this money could have been much better spent on some of the hundreds of water projects on the county's list that languish for lack of funding.

The county seems to believe that a court decision will lend "finality" to local water issues and protect the county from litigation. I have two problems with this perspective. First, it ducks the tough issues. Why hold public office if you're not willing to grapple with the challenging issues we face and make tough decisions? Second, eventually a court will issue a decision. What prevents someone from appealing that decision to a higher court, further deferring action on our problems and increasing taxpayer expenditures on unproductive litigation?

Eric Hirst

Bellingham

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