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When the Legislature passed the Operating Budget (Second Engrossed Substitute House Bill (2ESHB) 1087), they gave the Water Resources Program several new assignments and directives.
The department shall review its water rights application review procedures to simplify the procedures, eliminate unnecessary steps, and decrease the time required to issue decisions. The department shall implement changes to improve water rights processing for which it has current administrative authority. The department shall report on reforms implemented and efficiencies achieved as demonstrated through enhanced permit processing to the appropriate committees of the legislature on December 1, 2011, and October 1, 2012.
$500,000 of the general fund state appropriation for fiscal year 2013 is provided solely for processing water right permit applications only if the department of ecology issues at least five hundred water right decisions in fiscal year 2012, and if the department of ecology does not issue at least five hundred water right decisions in fiscal year 2012 the amount provided in this subsection shall lapse and remain unexpended. The department of ecology shall submit a report to the office of financial management and the state treasurer by June 30, 2012, that documents whether five hundred water right decisions were issued in fiscal year 2012. The department shall maintain an ongoing accounting of water right applications received and acted on and shall post that information to the department's internet site. Ecology will also continue to improve efficiencies in water rights processing and permit management during the fiscal year.
$1,075,000 of the general fund (state appropriation for fiscal year 2012) and $1,075,000 of the general fund (state appropriation for fiscal year 2013) are provided solely for processing the backlog of pending water rights permit applications in the water resources program.
The department shall consult with key stakeholders on statutory barriers to efficient water rights processing and effective water management, including identification of obsolete, confusing, or conflicting statutory provisions. The department shall report stakeholder recommendations to appropriate committees of the legislature by December 1, 2011, and October 1, 2012.
Pursuant to RCW 43.135.055, the 2011 Legislature authorized Ecology to increase dam safety fees as necessary to meet the actual costs of conducting business and the appropriation levels in this section: not more than 35 percent in fiscal year 2012 and 4.62 percent in fiscal year 2013. In February 2012, Ecology completed rulemaking to implement increases to:
For more information on this rule amendment adoption, see Dam Safety Fees Rulemaking.
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