WSR 00-04-066

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


[ Filed January 31, 2000, 11:50 a.m. ]

Continuance of WSR 00-01-195.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 99-03-091.

Title of Rule: Grape virus quarantine, chapter 16-483 WAC.

Purpose: To protect the state's grape and grape related industries from establishment of plant virus diseases commonly found in stock from other areas of the nation.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: Chapters 15.13 and 17.24 RCW.

Statute Being Implemented: Chapters 15.13 and 17.24 RCW.

Summary: The proposed amendments to the existing quarantine eliminate one viral disease (stem pitting) from the list of quarantine diseases. They also convert the rule to clear and readable format and utilize terminology consistent with current industry practice and statutory language. Some provisions have been removed or repealed because they duplicate provisions of statute.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Sophisticated new methods of testing have found stem pitting virus in certified planting stock from California, which has historically supplied significant portions of the wine grape industry. There is currently no practical way to segregate less active strains of the virus or to produce in-state uninfected planting stock in adequate amounts to supply Washington industry. This action will bring the rule into compliance with the principles of plant quarantine and NAPPO standards.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Mary A. Martin Toohey, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, (360) 902-1907; Implementation and Enforcement: Tom Wessels, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, (360) 902-1984.

Name of Proponent: Washington State Department of Agriculture, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: The rule preserves Washington's wine grape and other grape related industries from establishment of several grape virus diseases common in most other states. This confers an advantage to Washington growers, as their stock is healthier and more desirable, and it may confer a market advantage over grape planting stock from other areas. Since the remaining viruses are not know to occur in this state, the rule changes will bring the rule into compliance with proposed NAPPO standards, facilitating trade in the NAFTA community.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: The proposal removes one of the four viruses currently listed as quarantine pests from the existing rule. The proposal responds to recent discovery of stem pitting virus in certified grape planting stock from the California program. There is no evidence of stem pitting virus in Washington-produced certified planting stock; however, there is not enough in-state production of grapevines to supply current needs of our industry. California stock, which still certified for the remaining three viruses, is the most virus-free stock available to fill the remaining need. The effect of this rule would be to allow importation of California certified stock to continue, even though it is no longer certified as stem pitting free. Another effect of this rule change would be to bring the rule into compliance with NAPPO standards and the accepted principles of plant quarantine, as it appears an unknown number of Washington vineyards planted in the past from what was thought to be stem pitting-free stock may actually be infected. Since the disease appears to already be established to an unknown extent in this state, a quarantine for this disease may no longer be justified.

Other changes involve alterations of terminology to reflect current industry practice and statutory language, removal of provisions duplicated in the enabling statutes, and use of clear and readable format.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. These rule changes will have a net neutral or beneficial effect on affected parties. The current rule requires that all grape planting stock imported from other states be certified free from four virus diseases, including stem pitting. This has historically limited the source of most grape planting stock used in Washington to in-state production (which cannot currently supply the state industry's needs) and to California certified stock. Due to a very recent change in circumstances (that is, the decertification of California certified stock for stem pitting virus), continuing this restriction would eliminate a necessary source of planting stock for next spring and beyond, and there is no anticipated adequate substitute source available at this time. Continuation of the current rule, without the proposed changes, would particularly negatively impact the Washington wine grape production industry. Also, since it appears that stem pitting virus has already unknowingly been imported into this state, it does not appear that continuing to allow California certified stock to be imported will materially negatively affect the existing long-term health of Washington vineyards.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, does not apply to this rule adoption. The Washington State Department of Agriculture is not a listed agency in section 201.

Hearing Location: WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (IAREC), West Building Conference Room, 24106 North Bunn Road, Prosser, WA, on February 10, 2000, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Mary Frazee by February 3, 2000, TDD (360) 902-1996, or (360) 902-1976.

Submit Written Comments to: Mary A. Martin Toohey, Assistant Director, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Laboratory Services Division, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, fax (360) 902-2094, by February 10, 2000.

Date of Intended Adoption: February 16, 2000.

January 31, 2000

Mary A. Martin Toohey

Assistant Director

Washington State Code Reviser's Office