How The Staff Rigged the County CARA Provisions / Facebook post, Whatcom Hawk, Wendy Harris

8 15 cao cac

Link to audio recording of the Whatcom County Critical Areas Citizen’s Advisory Committee meeting for August 5, 2015

7 hrs  March 5, 2016  Wendy Harris…/Critical-Areas-Citi…

On 8-5-15, the citizen advisory committee for the CAO reviewed the CARA (critical area aquifer recharge area) provisions. There is an audio recording. It starts at minute 30 and is concluded in minute 33.30. Three and a half minutes in total to discuss the CARA section.. one of 5 types of CARAs in the CAO.

In that three minutes, there was no reference to the law, or to Best Available Science.. just stupid comments about what members “think.” This in itself is a compliance issue because you need to be able to establish how your CAO provisions are based on BAS.

Even worse, Cliff [Strong] failed to disclose the connection between dairies and manure and groundwater contamination. There was NO discussion of how this is connected to nitrates infiltrating into drinking wells. There was no reference to the numerous studies that documented the health problems or blue baby syndrome. Although I find it hard to believe that no one else in the room was aware. Roger [Almskaar] stated that he does not think this involves many people. Per the DOE publication I posted in the link below, it could involve 12,000 to 28,000 people in the North County. In other words, this is a BIG issue that needed to be addressed and it was swept under the table.

Of the three environmentalists, only 1 was present. It was one of the few days I was absent.

Cliff notes that the only change made to the CARA rules was in line with Roger’s suggestion to cross reference definitions (To SEPA standards for requirements for significant impact for adverse effects.) He states this was done elsewhere in the CAO and I want to know where, because I drafted 3 rebuttals to this constant attempt by Roger Almskaar, representing the development industry stakeholders, to revise CAO standards, which would make the county noncompliant with the GMA because the applicable legal standard is no net loss of ecosystem function.

Read Wendy’s post in the Whatcom Hawk Facebook group here.

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