YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) -- The state Department of Ecology is proposing to allow new groundwater withdrawals in central Washington's upper Kittitas County.

The state imposed a moratorium on new wells there in July. The emergency rule was extended 120 days in November, but is set to expire March 25, 2010.

The proposal would allow new water withdrawals to occur without requiring mitigation for at least 150 days once the emergency rule expires. Ecology officials say this would allow construction projects to move forward during the spring and summer.

Tom Tebb, Ecology's central regional director, says developers also will have more time to plan for new water rules that are likely to take effect in September 2010.

Kittitas County commissioners are expected to consider the proposal in a meeting today.

Copyright 2009 The APs.

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