WSR 02-01-129

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Order 01-13 -- Filed December 19, 2001, 10:11 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: In the 2001 session, the legislature passed ESHB 1832, which significantly amended chapter 90.80 RCW. This proposed rule making would amend chapter 173-153 WAC to reflect the changes made by ESHB 1832, and to address other issues identified through the several years' experience gained by the existing water conservancy boards and ecology.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: The authority to adopt rules is provided in RCW 90.80.040, which authorizes the director of ecology to adopt rules that are necessary to carry out that chapter, in accordance with chapter 34.05 RCW. Existing statutory authority is sufficient for amending the rule.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Both chapter 90.80 RCW and chapter 173-153 WAC address the establishment of and support for water conservancy boards (WCBs) in the state of Washington. The WCBs' ability to successfully process water right changes contribute directly to meeting the water resources program's goal of reducing the water right change application backlog.

ESHB 1832 significantly changed certain wording and aspects of the substance of chapter 90.80 RCW; consequently ecology has determined that it is appropriate to amend the rule to incorporate these changes. The amendments to chapter 173-153 WAC are intended to make the rule consistent with the statute, and to provide clear guidance, in rule, regarding those changes.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: There is no federal rule requiring or regulating water conservancy boards in Washington state; nor does any other state agency have a role in regulating them.

Process for Developing New Rule: We plan to involve the WCBs tribes, environmental groups, and the public in discussions regarding the issues involved in this proposal through at least two public workshops prior to proposing the rule, at least two public hearings on the rule proposal, publications (focus sheets), Internet web pages, e-mail distribution lists, and standard mailings.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication. Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the amendments and formulation of the proposed rule before publication. For information regarding the administrative aspects of the rule, please contact Chris Anderson at (360) 407-6634, by e-mail at wcbrule@ecy.wa.gov, or by mail at Water Resources Program, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600.

December 19, 2001

Joe Stohr

Water Resources

Program Manager

Washington State Code Reviser's Office