WSR 08-22-043

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


[ Filed October 31, 2008, 9:26 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: The department is considering initiating a quarantine that would place restrictions on the importation of hazelnut plants into Washington state in response to Eastern filbert blight.

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 highly economically damaging plant disease Eastern filbert blight, caused by the fungus Anisogramma anomola, was discovered here in 1973. To date, development of resistant varieties has allowed the Pacific Northwest growers to manage damage from the disease. However, the industry is now threatened by a new, more virulent strain of Eastern filbert blight that attacks commercial varieties of hazelnut that are resistant to the local strain of the disease. The Washington industry has requested that Washington state department of agriculture consider a rule to protect the local crop.

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.

October 31, 2008

Mary A. Martin Toohey

Assistant Director

Washington State Code Reviser's Office