A bid to provide added irrigation water to Washington state growers of organic and biofuel crops has run into opposition from the Washington State Horticultural Association.
Washington state House Bill 2192 and Senate Bill 6028 have been introduced to give additional irrigation water to producers of organic and biofuel crops along the Columbia and Snake rivers in the state.
The Organic Tree Fruit Growers Alliance of Washington state expressed surprise at what it called “unilateral opposition” to the bill from the Wenatchee-based Washington State Horticultural Association, in a Jan. 17 news release.
However, a spokesman for the association said the government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers.
“The underlying issue is making more irrigation water for all purposes available to agriculture,” said Bruce Grim, executive director of the Washington State Horticultural Association.
Grim said the association — which has both conventional and organic growers as members — has concerns about the proposed legislation because it singles out organic and biofuel production for additional water.
“We view it as a situation where more water should be available and it should be up to the grower to determine what use he makes of that,” Grim said Jan. 23. “It is a potentially dangerous precedent to start carving out specific uses for it.”
Grim said the government shouldn’t be stepping in and dictating certain uses for water allocation. He said House Bill 2192 has received one committee hearing but its fate was unclear as of Jan. 23.