DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY
[Order 96-05--Filed January 7, 1997, 10:02 a.m.]
Date of Adoption: January 7, 1997.
Purpose: To reduce the number of acres of grass seed field burning in Washington.
Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending agricultural burning, chapter 173-430 WAC.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 70.94.656(4).
Adopted under notice filed as WSR 96-16-014.
Changes Other than Editing from Proposed to Adopted Version: The minor changes include:
(1) The exemption (WAC 173-430-040 [(4)](e)), deleting the word "unusual" from unusual or extraordinary circumstances and providing examples of extraordinary circumstances.
(2) Trading system (WAC 173-430-040 [(4)](f)), clarifying language describing more accurately under what circumstances a trading program may be dissolved.
The concise explanatory statement describes all changes made from the proposed rule to the adopted version.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, amended 1, repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.
Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.
January 7, 1997
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order 94-17, filed 1/17/95, effective
WAC 173-430-040 Agricultural burning requirements. (1) Agricultural burning is allowed when it is reasonably necessary to carry out the enterprise. A farmer can show it is reasonably necessary when it meets the criteria of the best management practices and no practical alternative is reasonably available.
(2) All agricultural burning requires a permit.
(a) To qualify for an agricultural burning permit the farmer must be an agricultural operation or government entity with specific agricultural burning needs, such as irrigation districts, drainage districts, and weed control boards.
(b) A farmer must fill out the information requested on a permit application (or the permit) and return it to the permitting authority.
(i) The permitting authority may require the farmer to fill out an application prior to issuing a permit.
(ii) The application must describe the reason for burning and include at least the following information: Name and address of the person or corporation responsible for the burn, the specific location (county; legal description: Range, section, township, block and unit number), the crop type, the type or size of the burn, directions to the burn, specific reason for the burn, the target date for burning, and any additional information required by the permitting authority. Each permitting authority may require additional information on the application.
(iii) All applications must comply with other state or local regulations.
(c) The permitting authority must evaluate the application, if there is one, and approve the permit prior to burning.
(d) Local air agencies (and the department where no local air agency exists) may issue permits for appropriate agricultural burning activities in nonattainment and urban growth areas.
(3) All agricultural burning permits require a fee. After January 1, 1995, the fee is the greater of:
(a) A minimum fee of twenty-five dollars per year per farm based on burning up to ten acres or equivalent which will be used as follows: Twelve dollars and fifty cents of which goes to the agricultural burning research fund and the remainder will be kept by the permitting authority to cover the costs of administering and enforcing this regulation; or
(b) A variable fee based on the acreage or equivalent of agricultural burning which will be used as follows: Up to one dollar per acre for applied research, twenty-five cents per acre for ecology administration and up to one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre for local permit program administration.
(i) Local permitting program administration. One portion of the fee shall cover the permitting authority's costs of administering and enforcing the program. The permitting authority may set the fee as an amount per farm per year, a set amount per fire, or a set rate no greater than one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre burned. The permitting authority must establish this portion of the fee by an appropriate, public process such as a local rule, ordinance, or resolution. In areas of the state where the department is the permitting authority this portion of the fee shall be one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre burned.
(ii) Ecology administration. Another portion of the fee shall be twenty-five cents per acre burned and cover the state-wide administrative, education, and oversight costs of the department. The amount (if any) by which the annual total, of this portion of the fee, exceeds the annual state-wide administrative, education, and oversight costs shall be deposited in the agricultural burning research fund of the air pollution control account.
(iii) Research fund. A final portion, the agricultural burning applied research portion, of the fee shall be no greater than one dollar per acre burned. The amount assessed may be less than one dollar per acre burned as periodically determined by the Ag task force based on applied research needs, regional needs and the research fund budget. The research portion of the fee assessed shall be fifty cents per acre burned starting in calendar year 1995. The Ag task force may also establish discounted assessment rates based on the use of best management practices.
(c) A farmer must pay the fee prior to receiving a permit. Refunds are allowed for portions not burned provided the adjusted fee after subtracting refunds is no less than twenty-five dollars.
(d) The agricultural burning practices and research task force may set acreage equivalents, for nonfield style agricultural burning practices, based on the amount of emissions relative to typical field burning emissions. Any acreage equivalents, established by rule, shall be used in determining fees. For agricultural burning conducted by irrigation or drainage districts, each mile of ditch (including banks) burned is calculated on an equivalent acreage basis.
(4) All agricultural burning permits must be conditioned to minimize air pollution.
(a) A farmer must comply with the conditions on the agricultural burning permit.
(b) For purposes of protecting public health (not eliminating agricultural burning), if an area exceeds or threatens to exceed unhealthy air pollution levels, the permitting authority may limit the number of acres, on a pro rata basis, or as provided by RCW 70.94.656.
(c) Permits must be conditioned to minimize emissions insofar as practical, including denial of permission to burn during periods of adverse meteorological conditions. Additional requirements for burning of field and turf grasses grown for seed. The department of ecology will proceed with the process to certify alternatives to burning as identified in RCW 70.94.656(3). In addition to the certification process, ecology is also limiting the number of acres allowed to be burned as specified in RCW 70.94.656(4). Without regard to any previous burn permit history, in 1996, each farmer shall be limited to burning the greater of:
(i) Two-thirds of the number of acres the farmer burned under a valid permit issued in 1995; or
(ii) Two-thirds of the number of acres in grass seed production on May 1, 1996. "In production" means planted, growing and under the control of the farmer.
(d) Additional requirements for burning of field and turf grasses grown for seed. Beginning in 1997 and until approved alternatives become available, each farmer shall be limited to burning no more than one-third of the number of acres in grass seed production on May 1, 1996. "In production" means planted, growing and under the control of the farmer.
(e) Exemptions to additional requirements for burning of field and turf grasses grown for seed ((d) of this subsection). A farmer may request an exemption for extraordinary circumstances, such as property where a portion(s) of the field is oddly shaped or where the slope is extremely steep. Under this subsection, relief from the acreage/emissions reduction requirements of (d) of this subsection shall be limited to no more than five percent of the acreage in production on May 1, 1996, and is also subject to the following provisions:
(i) The exemption request must be certified by an agronomic professional;
(ii) The farmer must be able to show full compliance with the emissions reductions in (d) of this subsection for the acreage not exempted; and
(iii) The farmer must be in full compliance with permit requirements for other crops under WAC 173-430-040.
(f) The department of ecology or local air authority may provide for trading of permits using the method described in (f)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), and (vi) of this subsection. This trading system uses a straight transfer of acres, a transfer requiring mandatory compensation, or a combination of both. If ecology or the local air authority finds that emissions resulting from trading are creating a health impact, as defined by ecology or the local air authority, the trading system, once created, may be dissolved.
(i) Ecology or the local air authority may develop a system that allows the trading of permits by:
(A) Adding a signed transfer line to the written permit that provides for a signature for the current holder of the permit;
(B) Providing a tracking system that identifies the current holder of the permit, that identifies when the permit was last used to allow burning of acreage, and that allows the name of the holder to be changed if the transfer line is signed by the current holder;
(C) Requiring that the new holder of the permit must turn in the permit with the signed transfer line at least sixty days before the new holder plans to burn; and
(D) Assuring that the permits are used only once in a calendar year.
(ii) By signing the transfer line on the permit the permit holder must indicate that he or she understands that the acres transferred may no longer be burned, that a permit for the acres transferred will not be issued to the signing permit holder in future years, and that the acres being transferred were not already burned during the calendar year during which the transfer takes place.
(iii) Ecology and the local air authorities may add restrictions to the transfer of permits closer to areas with higher population densities.
(iv) Only permits for acreage which has not yet been burned may be transferred or traded. The seller of the permit is responsible for permanently reducing the acreage burned by the amount of acreage transferred from January 1 of the year during which the transaction takes place.
(v) Acreage that is exempted under (e) of this subsection is not eligible for the trading system.
(vi) The authorities are encouraged to work together to use the same system and to allow trading between authority jurisdictions so as to allow the grass seed growers to adjust to the two-thirds overall reduction in acres permitted for burning as easily as possible.
(g) Measurement for emission reduction for grass seed field and turf grass. Ecology will use acres as the basis for determining emission reductions as provided by RCW 70.94.656, until another method(s) is shown to be better and meets with the intent of RCW 70.94.656(4). Ecology will investigate alternate methods, as they become available. If ecology finds that an alternate method is appropriate and meets the criteria, it may certify this method using an administrative order.
(h) Alternate open burning practices for field and turf grass grown for seed. Ecology acknowledges that there may be practices that involve some burning, but which produce emissions quantifiably below those of open field burning. If ecology finds that a practice involves open burning and still substantially reduces emissions below open field burning, ecology may certify the alternate burning practice(s) by administrative order. Any certified practice may be used to satisfy the acreage/emissions reduction requirements of (d) of this subsection provided:
(i) The acreage application of the practice is adjusted to reflect effectiveness in reducing emissions so as to meet or exceed the emissions reduction required by (d) of this subsection; and
(ii) In no case shall the emission reduction requirement for the field and turf grass grown for seed be less than that required in (d) of this subsection.
(5) Other laws. A farmer must obtain any local permits, licenses,
or other approvals required by any other laws, regulations, or
ordinances. The farmer must also honor other agreements entered into
with any federal, state, or local agency.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.94.650. 95-03-083 (Order 94-17), 173-430-040, filed 1/17/95, effective 2/17/95; 93-14-022 (Order 92-58), 173-430-040, filed 6/28/93, effective 7/29/93. Statutory Authority: RCW 70.94.331. 90-19-062 (Order 90-10), 173-430-040, filed 9/17/90, effective 10/18/90; Order DE 77-20, 173-430-040, filed 11/9/77. Formerly WAC 18-16-040.]