WSR 08-12-078

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


[ Filed June 3, 2008, 3:46 p.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: WAC 16-390-230 What is the fee for an apple pest certification?, the department is proposing to remove a sunset provision in the rule establishing the current apple pest certification fee, so that the fee would remain at its current level. During the 2008 legislative session, the Washington state legislature authorized the Washington state department of agriculture (WSDA) to increase the apple pest certification fee (see chapter 329, Laws of 2008).

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapters 15.17, 17.24, and 34.05 RCW.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The apple maggot is an invasive insect pest native to Eastern North America. Its hosts include apples, crabapple, and native hawthorn. In its larval development stage it can cause extensive damage to fruit. It is economically significant to the Washington apple crop not only due to its ability to cause physical crop damage, but also because fruit from apple-maggot free areas or locations has greater market access for international shipments.

The apple pest certification fee is used to fund annual surveys for apple maggot. The certification fee was increased to $.015 per cwt. in the fall of 2006 in order to conduct expanded apple maggot surveys to comply with international standards. This increase has a sunset date - on January 1, 2009, the fee reverts back to $.0075 per cwt. During the 2008 legislative session, the agency received the authority to "...increase the apple pest certification assessment by up to $0.015 per hundredweight of fruit" (see chapter 329, Laws of 2008). This proposal would allow the fee to remain at the current level of $.015 per cwt.

Reverting back to the $.0075 certification fee would not enable WSDA to conduct the level of survey needed to help manage and prevent the possible movement of apple maggot from infested areas into uninfested areas, secure continued access to international and interstate markets for Washington grown fruit, and protect the commercial tree fruit industry from an economically significant pest.

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 Dr. Brad White, Pest Program Manager, Plant Protection Division, Washington State Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-2071, fax (360) 902-2094, e-mail bwhite@agr.wa.gov.

June 3, 2008

Mary A. Martin Toohey

Assistant Director

Washington State Code Reviser's Office