MOUNT VERNON (AP) — The state Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a Skagit County water rights case.

The county denied Richard and Marnie Fox a building permit in 2014 because the couple's water source, a well, would have violated a state rule requiring water be left in streams to protect fish.

The Skagit Valley Herald says the high court agreed Wednesday not to hear the case, ending the couple's legal challenges. An appellate court and lower court had ruled against the Foxes.

The couple argued it should be the responsibility of the state, not the couple, to prove the well would harm river flows in the Skagit River basin.

The Foxes' attorney, Peter Ojala, says he's surprised by the unanimous ruling but declined further comment.

Ecology and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community intervened in the case to back the state's water rule.

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