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BIAW Legal Wants Your Help in the HPA Suit
August 26, 2019

BIAW’s Legal Department needs your help in its suit against the governor and Fish and Wildlife to block enforcement of recent legislation. The lawsuit alleges that the bill, HB 1579, was unconstitutionally drafted and vetoed. The bill as written applies to any project in which a hydraulic permit approval (HPA) was required, including any residential project involving construction or repair of marine bulkheads.

BIAW’s Legal Office has heard from several members that the bill and uncertainty about its provisions and constitutionality have cost their businesses. We are looking for more examples. If the bill has harmed you, please contact the BIAW legal office at legal@biaw.com. Examples of harm include:

  • A project near a waterway that was suspended, canceled or modified because of the uncertainty of the law due to the bill and its potential for increased fines.
  • A project that received a fine or civil citation for failure to obtain a permit due to uncertainty about the law caused in part or whole by the bill.
  • A letter or notice from Fish and Wildlife threatening legal action regarding a project near a waterway after July 28, 2019.
  • Any potential customers who have been dissuaded from doing a new construction project or remodel on a home, parcel or structure near a waterway.
  • A decision to re-focus a business away from projects that are near a waterway and may require a hydraulic permit including any lost revenue, employees who were not hired or terminated, and any other expenses or lost business opportunities due to the change.

The bill and its impact are critical to our membership. It eliminated the requirement that Fish and Wildlife issue a hydraulic project permit within 45 days and increased the fine from $100 to $10,000 per violation. BIAW argues that the law, as drafted, violates the single-subject requirement of the state constitution, as well as the excessive fines clause. We also assert that the language of the bill as vetoed does not provide adequate authority for Fish and Wildlife to fine at all. These questions leave open what version of the law is actually in effect. Please help BIAW in this fight!

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