WSR 08-12-077

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


[ Filed June 3, 2008, 3:42 p.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: WAC 16-470-300 through 16-470-340, onion white rot disease. The department is proposing to revise the current onion white rot disease rule by adding Benton County to the existing pest-free area. In addition, the department may amend the existing language to increase its clarity and readability and update the language to conform to current industry and regulatory standards.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapters 17.24 and 34.05 RCW.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The department is proposing to revise the current onion white rot rule by adding Benton County to the existing pest-free area. Onion white rot is a potentially devastating disease of onions and closely related species. It can cause greatly decreased yields and reduced storage quality. The disease is caused by a fungus and once a field is infested the disease remains indefinitely in the soil. A quarantine was established in the 1980s to prevent the introduction and spread of the disease within the production areas of Washington state where onion white rot does not occur. The affected growers have requested amending the rule to add Benton County to the existing pest-free area to protect onion and seed garlic production in that county.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: None.

Process for Developing New Rule: Department staff will discuss any proposed amendments with affected stakeholders. Affected stakeholders will also have an opportunity to submit written comments on the proposed rules during the public comment period and will be able to present oral testimony at the public hearing.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Mary A. Martin Toohey, Assistant Director, Plant Protection Division, Washington State Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1907, fax (360) 902-2094, e-mail mtoohey@agr.wa.gov; or Tom Wessels, Program Manager, Plant Protection Division, Washington State Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1984, fax (360) 902-2094, e-mail twessels@agr.wa.gov.

June 3, 2008

Mary A. Martin Toohey

Assistant Director

Washington State Code Reviser's Office