The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) administers the state Pesticide Control Act and Pesticide Application Act. WSDA activities under both acts include adopting rules requiring the registration and restricted use of pesticides, testing and certifying pesticide applicators, issuing handler and worker pesticide training documentation, and providing technical assistance to pesticide applicators and workers. WSDA is one of a variety of members of the Pesticide Application Safety Committee, which was created by the Legislature in 2019, to review several aspects related specifically to pesticide application including data tracking, dissemination of information, training, and reporting.
The Pesticide Advisory Board (Board) advised WSDA on pesticide-related actions and was eliminated in 2010. The Board consisted of members appointed by the WSDA Director (Director) for staggered four-year terms. Board members included:
The directors or other designated officials of several state agencies served as nonvoting members of the Board. Nonvoting members included the directors of the departments of Labor and Industries, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, and Ecology, as well as the Environmental Health Specialist from the Department of Health, and the Assistant Director of the Pesticide Management Division of WSDA.
The Board is established to advise the Director on any and all problems relating to the use and the application of pesticides in the state except for matters considered by the Pesticide Application Safety Committee. The Board is composed of both voting and nonvoting members appointed by the Director. Members appointed to the Board serve four-year terms and may be appointed for successive four year terms at the discretion of the Director. Board member terms must be staggered so that approximately one-fourth of the terms expire on June 30th each year. The Director must attempt to fill any vacancy on the Board within 30 days.
The 13 voting Board members appointed by the Director represent a variety of interests, including:
The nonvoting members appointed by the Director include:
Additional nonvoting members include:
The Director, in consultation with the Board, must form workgroups to inform the Board on issues relating to specific pesticides or uses. Workgroups must include individuals with the appropriate expertise and may include individuals who are not members of the Board.
The Board must select a chair from among its membership and meet from time to time at the call of the chair, director, or a majority of Board members.
The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: This bill allows people who are using these products to be a part of the process and is a good way to include the public. The focus here is on pesticide usage and has nothing to do with application. There are many interested parties who want a seat on the board but it's important to avoid making the board too large so that it doesn't become unmanageable. There is a large group of nonvoting members where more groups and interested parties can be included.
OTHER: It's an important and a very thoughtful idea to bring stakeholders to the table to discuss pesticide issues. However, the advisory board as currently composed under this bill does not have all stakeholders at the table, including the stakeholder that pays the majority of pesticide fees. The board should have a voice as it relates to the pesticide market for household and institutional use. The board will take on household pesticide issues. Yet, there is no representative for this industry on the board despite there being six agricultural-related members on the board, and non-agricultural use of pesticide accounting for more than 50% of the market. The voices of the majority of pesticide products sold should be heard by including a representative from the household and commercial product industries.
The usage within the wood preserving industry is unique and should be taken into consideration. This group should be represented in the discussion.
Another environmentally focused person should also be added to the board. This could be someone from the Department of Ecology or Fish and Wildlife or another wildlife organization. This is important to achieve balance, and to aid in protecting differing animal species.
There is some concern about the group getting too large as it can become a bit unwieldly. In the absence of this group being created, the Department of Agriculture will continue to work closely with stakeholders to make sure their voices are heard if any major agency actions are taken.