Five Corners Family Farmers v. WashingtonAnnotate this Case
Respondent and Cross-Appellant Easterday Ranches, Inc. sought to operate a large feedlot in Franklin County. At the suggestion of the Department of Ecology (Department), Easterday acquired water rights from a neighboring farm. Appellants Scott Collin, Five Corners Family Farmers, the Center for Environmental Law and Policy (CELP), and the Sierra Club filed a declaratory judgment action against the State of Washington, the Department, and Easterday seeking a declaration that the stockwatering exemption from the permit requirement in RCW 90.44.050 is limited to uses of less than 5,000 gallons per day. Appellants further sought an injunction ordering Easterday to cease groundwater use without a permit. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that, under the plain language of the statute, withdrawals of groundwater for stock-watering purposes are not limited to any particular quantity by RCW 90.44.050. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the superior court's grant of summary judgment to the respondents.