Scott Collin is a dryland wheat rancher north of Pasco, Washington. His farm is near Easterday Ranches, which is currently building a feedlot operation. Collin is worried that it's so big it will suck his well dry. Collin says his wheat ranch usually only gets about 7 to 9 inches of rain a year, so he's worried that the underground aquifer doesn't replenish quickly.
Scott Collin: “Our concern is that just in a real casual estimate, Easterdays will use in one year what 20 of us farmers out there will use in 200 years.”
The case goes before the Franklin County Superior Court. Several Native American tribes from Washington State and the environmental group Earth Justice are on the same side of the case as the dryland farmers. On the other side are cattle ranchers and dairies who worry the case could lead to limitations in their access to water.
Copyright 2010 Northwest Public Radio
[I'm Anna King in Richland.]