GOP compares Washington property-rights dispute to plight of millions without safe water

Republicans in Washington state took a water-rights dispute a step farther Monday by comparing landowners who can’t drill wells on their property to people lacking safe drinking water in developing nations.
The state’s Legislature spent a record number of days in overtime this year debating how to respond to state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision, which has effectively halted construction for some property owners in rural areas.
“The United Nations General Assembly voted in 2010 to recognize ‘…the right to safe and clean drinking water as a human right,’” staff for the GOP Senate caucus tweeted Monday morning, citing an article posted by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
In the Hirst decision, the state Supreme Court said Whatcom County didn’t adequately protect water resources when approving developments relying on new wells.
The resolution “recognizes the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.” But, according to the same article cited in the GOP tweet, the U.N. resolution also comes with a few caveats.
“Therefore, the 1.1 billion people worldwide who lack a water tap are not suffering a human rights violation, as long as their governments are making an effort,” the Natural Resources Defense Council’s article said.
A spokeswoman for Senate Republicans didn’t respond to questions about why staffers compared the property-rights debate surrounding Hirst to the U.N. resolution on clean drinking water.
Right now, the GOP controls the state Senate with the help of a conservative Democrat, while Democrats control the state House.
Each side continued to lob accusations at the other on Twitter Monday, even after Senate Republicans deleted the tweet about the United Nations resolution.
House Democrats criticized Republicans’ “all or nothing” strategy of costing the state billions in construction projects, while Senate Republicans accused Democrats of running away last week to prevent a last-minute vote on a Hirst bill.

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