Authored by Jason T. Morgan of Stoel Rives LLP

In Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association v. Washington Department of Ecology (pdf), the Washington Court of Appeals concluded that the Washington State Department of Ecology (“Ecology’) properly denied a petition for rulemaking under Washington’s Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) regarding water quality standards for the Columbia River.  This was the third petition by similarly situated petitioners seeking to force the Ecology to relax water quality standards on the Columbia River, with the goal that such relaxed standards would allow the federal agencies to spill more water over Columbia River dams for the intended benefit of migrating salmon.  The Court of Appeals confirmed that Ecology’s denial of the petition — which was informed, in part, by potential adverse consequences on aquatic organisms due to increased spill — was not arbitrary or capricious.
Continue Reading Court of Appeals Affirms Ecology’s Denial Of Petition For Rulemaking On Water Quality for Columbia River

People waiting to know whether the King County shoreline master program (“SMP”) properly applies with the Burien city limits shouldn’t hold their breath.  That is because the Court of Appeals recently held that the petitioners in Patterson v. Segale lacked standing under the APA  to challenge Burien’s decision that the King County SMP continues to apply to areas within the city limits following Burien’s incorporation in 1993.  After the petitioners settled their underlying dispute with a neighbor about the terms of a development permit issued in accordance with the King County SMP, they no longer could establish any concrete injury resulting from Burien’s decision that could be redressed by a favorable court ruling.
Continue Reading No, We Really Mean It. Parties Have To Have Standing To Challenge An Agency Decision Under The APA.