ENGROSSED SENATE BILL 5746



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1991 Regular Session


By Senators Barr, Hansen, Owen, Hayner, McMullen, Anderson, Newhouse, Oke, Patterson, Thorsness, Rasmussen and Vognild.


Read first time February 19, 1991.  Referred to Committee on Environment & Natural Resources.Modifying requirements for compliance with environmental protection measures.

     AN ACT Relating to encouraging compliance with environmental protection measures; and adding new sections to chapter 43.21A RCW.




     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.      The department, to the greatest extent possible, within available resources and without jeopardizing the department's ability to carry out its legal responsibilities, may designate one or more of its employees as a technical assistance officer, and may organize the officers into one or more technical assistance units within the department.  The duties of a technical assistance officer are to coordinate voluntary compliance with the regulatory laws administered by the department and to provide technical assistance concerning compliance with the laws.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.      An employee designated by the department as a technical assistance officer or as a member of a technical assistance unit may not, during the period of the designation, have authority to issue orders or assess penalties on behalf of the department.  Requests for technical assistance shall be kept confidential by the technical assistance unit.  Such an employee who provides on-site consultation at an industrial or commercial facility and who observes violations of the law shall inform the owner or operator of the facility of the violations.  On-site consultation visits by such an employee may not be regarded as inspections or investigations and no notices or citations may be issued or civil penalties assessed during such a visit.  However, violations of the law must be reported to the appropriate officers within the department.  If the owner or operator of the facility does not correct the observed violations within a reasonable time the department may reinspect the facility and take appropriate enforcement action.  If a technical assistance officer or member of a technical assistance unit observes a violation of the law that places a person in danger of death or substantial bodily harm, or has caused or is likely to cause physical damage to the property of others in an amount exceeding one thousand dollars, the department may initiate enforcement action immediately upon observing the violation.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.      Notwithstanding any other provision of sections 1 and 2 of this act, neither the state, the department, nor an officer or employee of the state is liable in damages to a person to the extent that the liability is asserted to arise from the performance by technical assistance officers of their duties, or where the liability is asserted to arise from the failure of the department to supply technical assistance.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.      Sections 1 through 3 of this act are each added to chapter 43.21A RCW.