PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Department of ecology (ecology) will update chapter 173-430 WAC, Agricultural burning to:
|•||Adjust the field burning fee to cover the costs of administering and enforcing the permit programs,|
|•||Change the pile burning fee to a per ton fee rather than a per acre fee,|
|•||Address the finding in Ted Rasmussen Farms, LLC v. State of Washington, Department of Ecology, Docket # 22989-1-III (Rasmussen v. Ecology),|
|•||Make housekeeping changes for consistency with the authorizing statute.|
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapter 70, Laws of 2010 (SSB 6556) authorizes ongoing fee increases until the fee reaches the cap, RCW 70.94.6528.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The legislature authorizes ongoing agricultural burning fee increases until the fee reaches the $3.75 cap per acre for field burning and $1.00 per ton for pile burning.
RCW 70.94.6528 (6)(b) directs the agricultural burning
practices and research task force (task force) to set fees at
a level to "cover the cost of administering and enforcing the
programs" and provide research funds. Current fees only cover
about 25% of costs. Increasing fees would bring the program
closer to cost recovery. Since the state's general fund
deficit could limit the amount of money available to subsidize
the program, an agricultural burning permit program that pays
for itself may prevent cuts to the program. This rule making
will evaluate options for setting the fees in 2012 and later
including the following:
|•||Establishing a process to set the fee outside of rule making,|
|•||Including a fee structure for several years in the rule.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: This rule making does not involve any federal agencies. Ecology will keep the department of natural resources and the department of agriculture updated on the progress of the rule making via a listserv and web site updates. Additionally, ecology will work with the local air authorities through the public meetings held by the task force.
Process for Developing New Rule: Internal staff will draft the proposed rule. The agricultural burning practices and research task force will have the opportunity to review draft rule language. The public and interested parties will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule. Ecology will provide proposed amendments to interested parties, post them on the agency web site, and hold at least one public hearing.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Richelle Perez, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-7528, fax (360) 407-7534, e-mail Richelle.Perez@ecy.wa.gov, web site http://www.ecy.wa.gov/laws-rules/index.html.
April 20, 2010
Air Quality Program Manager