PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: This rule making would be directed towards correcting deficiencies noted by EPA in their formal disapproval (March 22, 2006) of Washington's 2003 revisions to the state surface water quality standards (chapter 173-201A WAC).
This proposed corrective rule would:
(a) Change the designated uses for many rivers from "spawning and noncore rearing" to "spawning and core rearing."
(b) Change a small number or rivers to the "native char" designated use-type.
(c) Add spawning locations and timing windows where explicit spawning/incubation temperature criteria would apply.
(d) Correct miscellaneous minor (typographic) errors introduced during the 2003 rule making.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 90.48.035 provides clear and direct authority for ecology to revise the water quality standards for this purpose.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Portions of the surface water quality standards (chapter 173-201A WAC) adopted in 2003 have been disapproved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Federal law (the Clean Water Act) requires that revisions of state water quality standards be approved by EPA prior to being used by the state for federal Clean Water Act actions. This rule proposal is designed to bring about the required EPA approval so that the state will have legally effective water quality standards.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: Developing and administering surface water quality standards to protect water quality and meet the objectives of the federal Clean Water Act is a unique responsibility assigned to the department of ecology in chapter 90.48 RCW.
Process for Developing New Rule: Proposed changes in aquatic life protection will be based on information supplied by the EPA as part of their disapproval of ecology's 2003 rule making.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication. Information on the planned rule making and the public review and comment opportunities will be maintained on ecology's web site at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/swqs. Ecology will also send a link to the e-mail listserve for water quality standards. Notices will be directly provided using the existing water quality standards mail list and e-mail listserve.
Information can also be obtained by contacting Mark Hicks, Department of Ecology, Water Quality Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, e-mail email@example.com, phone (360) 407-6477, fax (360) 407-6426.
April 10, 2006
David C. Peeler
Water Quality Program Manager