The Washington Supreme Court heard arguments today Tuesday that will decide how much control environmental regulators have over runoff pollution.
At issue: Can the Washington Department of Ecology make a rancher fence-in a stream that runs through his land?
The Department says cattle cross Pataha Creek in southeastern Washington. The state says their feces pollutes the water.
Mary Sue Wilson is with the Attorney General’s office.
Wilson: “That means that there is substantial potential to cause pollution of waters of the states. Because we all know that feces sitting on a stream bank can have water run through it, and that can release pathogens like fecal coli-form.”
Rancher Joe Lemire says that’s not true. He contends that a fence would render his land unusable. Lemire says his ranch a small drop in the bucket.
Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio