S-1378.3          _______________________________________________


                            SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5039



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1991 Regular Session


By Senate Committee on Agriculture & Water Resources (originally sponsored by Senators Barr and Conner).


Read first time February 20, 1991.Regulating the use of biological control agents.

     AN ACT Relating to the establishment of a biological control program; adding a new chapter to Title 17 RCW; prescribing penalties; and making an appropriation.




     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  PURPOSE.  The purpose of this chapter is to facilitate the use of biological control agents to manage infestations of insects, noxious weeds, and other plant pests that adversely impact agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and related industries and adversely impact Washington's natural resources and environment.  Biological control, in most instances, is not an eradication process but rather is a tool to manage the impact of a pest or noxious weed where it cannot be eradicated.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.   DEFINITIONS.  Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.

     (1) "Director" means the director of the state department of agriculture or the director's designee.

     (2) "Department" means the state department of agriculture.

     (3) "Person" means a natural person, individual, firm, partnership, company, society, and association, and every officer, agent, and employee of these entities.

     (4) "Biological control" means the use, by humans, of living organisms to control or suppress undesirable animals and plants; the action of parasites, predators, or pathogens on a host or prey population to produce a lower general population equilibrium position than would prevail in the absence of these agents.

     (5) "Biological control agent" means a parasite, predator, or pathogen or competing organism capable of reducing an undesired host or prey population.

     (6) "Parasite" means an organism that lives in or on another, the host, from which it obtains food, shelter, or other requirements.

     (7) "Hyperparasite" means a parasite that lives in or on another parasitic plant or animal.

     (8) "Predator" means an organism that obtains energy, as food, from consuming, usually killing, two or more prey organisms during its lifetime.

     (9) "Population" means a group of plants or animals of the same species existing within a defined time and space.

     (10) "Host" means a plant or animal that provides sustenance or lodging for a parasitic, predatory, or infectious organism.

     (11) "Host plant" means a plant that is invaded by a parasite or an invertebrate organism from which the parasite or invertebrate organism obtains its nutrients.

     (12) "Plant disease" means a disturbance brought about by a pathogen or an environmental factor that interferes with manufacture, translocation, or utilization of food, mineral nutrients, and water in such a way that the affected plant changes, less than a normal plant of the same variety, its appearance or yields, or both.

     (13) "Plant pathogen" means a living stage of an algae, bacteria, fungi, mycoplasmas, protozoa, nematodes, or reproductive parts of these organisms, or viruses or organisms or infectious substances capable of directly or indirectly causing diseases in plants.

     (14) "Target species" means the particular plant or animal species that a biological control agent is released to control or suppress.

     (15) "Host specific" means a quality of a biological control agent with which that agent suppresses or controls only one or a small number of specific species and does not attack a broad range of hosts or prey.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  BIOLOGICAL CONTROL PROGRAM.  (1) There is established in the department the position of biological control coordinator to coordinate, facilitate, and maintain information on biological control activities in the state and plan and carry out department biocontrol activities.  The biological control coordinator will assist in developing cooperative arrangements and agreements with either agencies, institutions, or individuals working in the biological control area.  In implementing this program, the director may assist in collecting or redistributing biological control agents.  In addition, the biological control coordinator with advice from the advisory committee shall advise the director on the technical feasibility of using biological control when state-wide or regional insect or noxious weed programs are planned.

     (2) The director may make rules and do such acts as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  COOPERATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES.  In implementing a biological control program, the department shall encourage and cooperate with Washington State University, the United States department of agriculture animal and plant health inspection service (APHIS), the United States department of agriculture agricultural research service (ARS), the United States environmental protection agency, the state noxious weed control board and local weed control agencies and other persons, institutions, and organizations engaged in biological control activities, and shall avoid, as far as practical, duplicating the work of these agencies.

     To implement this section, the director is empowered to enter into cooperative agreements or arrangements with persons or organizations to work cooperatively on biological control projects or educational projects and to support research on and acquisition or redistribution of biological control agents whenever funds are appropriated, or otherwise provided through cooperative agreements.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.  ADVISORY BOARD.  There is created in the department the biological control advisory board, consisting of the director or the director's designee and six members that are knowledgeable about pest control appointed by the director.  The board shall consist of two representatives from Washington State University, a representative of the state and local noxious weed control boards, a representative from environmental/public interest groups, a representative from the mosquito control districts, and a representative of the agricultural organizations.  The director may request that the United States department of agriculture and other federal, state, or local agencies with knowledge about weed control also serve on the board as ex officio members.

     The term of office for members of the board shall be three years or until their successors have been appointed.  The terms shall be staggered.  In the event a committee member resigns, is disqualified, or vacates a position on the committee for any reason, the director shall fill the unexpired term under the appointment provisions of this section.

     The board shall be advisory to the director in all matters relating to the import into and use of biological control agents in the state.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 6.  INTRODUCTION AND MOVEMENT OF BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENTS.  (1) All introduction, collection, movement, and release of biological control agents into and within the state of Washington shall be under rules adopted by the director pursuant to chapter 34.05 RCW.  The director may enter into a cooperative agreement with Washington State University-The United States department of agriculture to act as the director's agent for biological control agents collected, moved, or released by the university and federal agencies within the state.

     (2) Introduction, collection, movement, and release of biological control agents into and within the state of Washington classified by rule as "regulated" shall be by permit issued by the department under rule.

     (3) Except for research projects approved by the department, a permit for any biological control agent may not be issued unless the department has determined that the agent is host specific to the target species and not likely to become a pest of nontarget plants or other beneficial organisms.  The director may also exclude biological control agents that may be infested with hyperparasites likely to be detrimental to the biological control efforts of the state.  The director may rely on the United States department of agriculture, or such other experts as the director may deem appropriate, including but not limited to the advisory board, in making this determination.

     (4) No permit may be issued for the collection or movement of any regulated biological control agent within the state of Washington unless the applicant has written permission to collect and redistribute the regulated agent from the person, agency, or institution that has placed the agents.

     (5) The director shall maintain records on the introduction, collection, movement, and release of regulated biological control agents into and within the state.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 7.   CLASSIFICATION OF BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENTS.  (1) The director shall adopt rules providing for the classification of agents used for biological control. In the rules, biological control agents shall be divided into two classifications for introduction, collection, movement, or release into or within the state.  The classifications shall be reviewed annually to determine if the need exists for a hearing to update such classifications.  Agents shall be divided into the following classes:

     (a) Unregulated agents.  Agents that are so widespread that introduction, collection, movement, and release can be accomplished without threat to maintenance of the population; and agents typically released as inundative treatments or for greenhouse pests.

     (b) Regulated agents.  Agents that are newly introduced where sustainable populations have not been established; agents that represent a significant economic investment by the person, agency, or institution that placed the agents in a site or developed the agents by techniques of bioengineering; agents that may pose a threat in other than specific environments; agents that are in facilities of agencies with whom the department has a cooperative agreement that are in a registered insectary or plant pathogen propagation site for increase of population; or experimental agents moved only under a permit issued by the department and the United States department of agriculture and typically maintained in a secured facility that is subject to inspection and approval by the department or the United States department of agriculture.

     (2) Agents used for biological control not otherwise listed in rule shall be automatically classified as regulated until such time as they are listed in rule.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 8.  REGISTERED INSECTARIES AND PLANT PATHOGEN PROPAGATION SITES.  The director may adopt rules for establishing and maintaining registered insectaries and plant pathogen propagation sites and for protecting the biological control agents therein and establishing a reasonable registration fee to cover the cost of maintaining records.  No biological control agents may be collected and removed from a registered insectary or plant pathogen propagation site without a permit from the department and written permission of the person, agency, or institution establishing the insectary or propagation site.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 9.  CONFIDENTIALITY.  Persons making application for a permit pursuant to this chapter, may designate, in accordance with RCW 15.58.065, portions of the data that in the applicant's opinion are trade secrets or commercial or financial information.  The director shall make decisions regarding the confidentiality of such information in accordance with RCW 15.58.065.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 10.  INJUNCTIONS.  The director may bring an action to enjoin the violation of any provision of this chapter or rule adopted under this chapter in the county where the violation has occurred, notwithstanding the existence of any other remedies at law.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 11.  VIOLATIONS‑-PENALTY.  A person violating the provisions of this chapter or the rules adopted under this chapter, may be subject to a civil penalty, as determined by the director, in an amount not more than one thousand dollars for each violation.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 12.  SEVERABILITY.  If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 13.  CAPTIONS NOT LAW.  Captions as used in this chapter constitute no part of the law.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 14.  Sections 1 through 13 of this act shall constitute a new chapter in Title 17 RCW.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 15.  The sum of one hundred ninety thousand dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated for the biennium ending June 30, 1993, from the general fund to the department of agriculture for the purposes of implementing the biological control program in this act.