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Blanchard Mountain Update

July 21, 2017 Update

The Washington State budget that was passed in early July was for operations, not capital projects. The legislature has yet to pass a capital budget bill, which is where Blanchard would be funded. (To confuse things, they did pass a bare bones budget that only re-appropriated unspent dollars, including $2M from the last biennium for Blanchard land replacement.) There is an impasse, with the Senate Republicans holding out on the $4B capital budget for a resolution on the Hirst Ruling.

The House did pass another version of a capital bill. It’s framed as a bi-partisan compromise, enough so that it passed unanimously. In that bill Blanchard is fully funded ($10M for Trust Land transfer, with the Harriet Spanel Forest being alone on the Trust Land Transfer project list). But since the senate has not resolved their issues with Hirst, they have not passed this budget bill.

The upshot for us: It’s all or nothing. Either no bill passes, in which the whole state joins us in pain, or a bill passes that will include Blanchard. Here are the scenarios as we know them.

* The Governor will not be calling the legislature back for another special session until they reach agreement on fixing the water right issues emanating from the Supreme Court's Hirst Decision. Right now, that doesn't look promising. But the legislators negotiating that fix may continue to work over the next several weeks or months.

* Another scenario might play out following the upcoming November election, when there are some legislative seats that will be filled in November (and take effect immediately), which might change who's in charge of one or more of the legislative chambers. It's not beyond the pale to think a special session might be called in November or December to address the Capital Budget.

* Finally, the legislature could take up the Capital Budget when they return in January for the next regularly scheduled legislative session.

See recent articles
No deal on well drilling, so no deal on capital budget

Negotiations collapse, $4B construction budget unlikely as Washington Legislature enters final day

Click here to learn more about the campaign to save Blanchard Mountain

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