Groundwater is a scarce resource in the arid plains of the northwestern United States. Accordingly, its high demand by farmers and cattle ranchers has led to a series of laws restricting and governing its use. The Supreme Court of Washington recently ruled in Five Corners Family Farmers v. State that one of these statutes, drafted decades ago, allows for unlimited water to be used for the purposes of watering cattle. This Comment reviews the competing arguments of this case, and focuses on the method the court used in making its determination. This Comment addresses the plain meaning of the statute in question, and suggests that while the court made the correct decision, it may have catastrophic effects on the land and people affected by it.
The Thirsty Cattle Exception: How an Antiquated Law Could Dry Up Eastern Washington,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.
E. Supp. 45