House Bill 1233 seeks to eliminate the Hydraulic Project Approval (“HPA”) process under RCW 77.55 as a superfluous law given all of the other environmental regulations such as critical area ordinances. And according to Sec 1(5) of the HB 1233, elimination of the HPA would save the state nearly four and a half million dollars a year and free up the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (“WDFW”) to do its primary responsibilities.
The HPA process, established in 1943, seeks to protect fish species by requiring any person, organization or government wishing to do work in waters of the state that would obstruct, divert or alter the natural flow to get a HPA permit through WDFW. But with the adoption subsequent adoption of the Shoreline Management Act in 1972, the Growth Management Act in 1992, the Clean Water Act and critical area regulations required under the Growth Management Act to be done in accordance with “best available science” the HPA burdens an applicant with additional process and delays. We fully support this legislative effort as it makes sense to remove unnecessary permitting.