Politics I-933, Anti-Government Activists, and Your Supreme Court
There’s a good post over at WashBlog detailing the links between anti-government and development interests such as the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), the campaign for Initiative 933 (which would force state government to pay landowners to follow environmental and zoning laws) and state supreme court candidates Stephen Johnson and John Groen, who are challenging Justice Susan Owens and Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, respectively. Anti-government groups including the BIAW, the Washington State Farm Bureau, and a group called Americans for Limited Government associated with Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, and Grover Norquist, have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the pro-933 campaign—and to Johnson and Groen.
I-933 would neutralize decades of environmental law, requiring the state to pay developers to follow virtually every state and federal regulation. Among other bizarre provisions (outlined comprehensively by Sightline here), I-933 makes no allowance to enforce federal laws like the Clean Air Act; includes no exemptions for public nuisances (like pig farms, with their “lagoons” of open sewage) and actually allows property owners to jeopardize their neighbors’ health and safety (by digging a gravel mine, for example, or discharging harmful pollutants) as long as the threat is not “immediate.”
Scary stuff, no? It gets scarier. Under I-933, according to WashBlog,
farmers who have been using water for decades under established rights could see their supplies dry up. That’s because anyone would be allowed under I-933 to use as much groundwater or upstream water as they could collect on their own private land. In fact, they’d be allowed to waste the water as much as they want. You can’t do that legally now.
Under I-933, the burden of paying for pollution cleanup would shift from polluters to taxpayers. Our state’s vehicle emissions testing program could be declared illegal. People would be able to burn garbage whenever they wanted. Anyone could build in floodplains.
I-933 would also allow property owners to sue for damages from laws that were passed decades ago. And so much for small government: Administering I-933 would cost the state an estimated $1 billion every year.