WSR 12-07-085

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Filed March 21, 2012, 8:46 a.m. ]


PUBLIC NOTICE

Announcing the Public Comment Period and Hearings for the Adjustment of Fees for Agricultural Burning Permits



The department of ecology (ecology) proposes to adjust the fees for agricultural burn permits to the level determined by the agricultural burning practices and research task force (ag burn task force). The ag burn task force proposed the following new fee levels at its regularly scheduled meeting on November 8, 2011.


Table 1. Proposed Agricultural Burning Fee Schedule,

Starting July 1, 2012



Fee Minimum Fee Variable Fee
Field Burning $37.50 for the first 10 acres $3.75 for each additional acre
Pile Burning $80 for the first 80 tons $1.00 for each additional ton
Spot Burning $37.50 for 10 acres or less None

The increase in fees is to be allocated entirely towards smoke management.

RCW 70.94.6528(5) requires that the fees for field burning shall not exceed three dollars and seventy-five cents per acre to be burned, or in the case of pile burning shall not exceed one dollar per ton of material burned. RCW 70.94.6528 (6)(b) designates the ag burn task force as the entity responsible for determining the level of the fees for agricultural burning permits, and requires the ag burn task force to determine the fees based upon the level necessary to cover the costs of administering and enforcing the permit programs, to provide funds for research into alternative methods to reduce emissions from such burning, and to the extent possible be consistent with fees charged for such burning permits in neighboring states.

WAC 173-430-042 sets out the process required for the ag burn task force and ecology to adjust fees for agricultural burning. This process requires the following:

1. The ag burn task force makes the decision to adjust fees at a regularly scheduled meeting of the ag burn task force.

2. Ecology posts the proposed fee schedule on the agency web site for public review and comment (available at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/air/aginfo/fee_change.htm).

3. Ecology publishes a notice of a public hearing.

4. Ecology holds a public hearing and accepts written comments on the proposed fee schedule, considers comments received, and provides a written response to comments to the task force and anyone who commented.

5. Ecology publishes the final fee schedule by notifying stakeholders and permit holders of the new fees, and posts a response to comments on the ecology web site.

Proviso language in the 2012 supplemental budget legislation authorizes ecology to make the fee adjustment (determined by the ag burn task force on November 8, 2011) effective on July 1, 2012.

Submitting Written Comments: Ecology will accept written comments on the proposed fee increase from February 1, 2012, to April 30, 2012, at 5 p.m. Ecology prefers comments submitted by e-mail. E-mailed comments must contain the commenter's name and postal address. Comments should reference the agricultural burning fee.

Ecology prefers comments be submitted by e-mail to paro461@ecy.wa.gov. Written comments must be postmarked or received via e-mail no later than April 30, 2012, at 5 p.m.

Submit written, hard copy comments to Paul Rossow, Department of Ecology, 4601 North Monroe Street, Spokane, WA 99205-1295.

Public Hearings: On April 24 and April 26, 2012, ecology will host public hearings and workshops to explain the proposed changes to the permit fees and provide an opportunity for people to give formal oral testimony and comments on the proposed permit fees.


April 24, 2012

6:30 p.m.

USDA Service Center

325 North 13th Street

Walla Walla, WA 99362-9999

April 26, 2012

6:30 p.m.

Washington Department of Ecology

Central Regional Office

15 West Yakima Avenue

Suite 200

Yakima, WA 98902-3401


Fee Schedule Finalization: After ecology receives and considers all public comments, it will issue the final fee schedule and a response to comments. Ecology expects to issue the fee schedule in May 2012, with an effective date of July 1, 2012. Ecology will publish the final fee schedule and response to comments at www.ecy.wa.gov/.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office