WSR 15-19-115
[Order 15-10—Filed September 21, 2015, 8:42 a.m.]
Subject of Possible Rule Making: The Washington state department of ecology (ecology) proposes to adopt a new rule (chapter 173-442 WAC) and amend two existing rules (chapters 173-400 and 173-441 WAC).
Chapter 173-442 WAC will establish emission standards for greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state, including process and combustion emissions from stationary sources, and emissions from the combustion of petroleum fuel and natural gas products. Potential standards could affect large:
Stationary sources;
Petroleum fuel producers; and
Natural gas distributors.
Persons responsible for these emissions will have an obligation to reduce emissions over time. A wide variety of options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be available.
Ecology will make compatible changes in chapter 173-400 WAC to coordinate with the proposed chapter 173-442 WAC.
Ecology will amend chapter 173-441 WAC to change the emissions covered by the reporting program, modify reporting requirements, and update administrative procedures.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapters 70.94 and 70.235 RCW.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The purpose of this rule making is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to protect human health and the environment. Greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change. Washington faces serious economic and environmental disruption from the effects of climate change. For instance:
An increase in pollution-related illness and death due to poor air quality.
Declining water supply for drinking, agriculture, wildlife, and recreation.
An increase in tree die-off and forest mortality because of increasing wildfires, insect outbreaks, and tree diseases.
The loss of coastal lands because of sea level rise.
An increase in diseases and mortality in freshwater fish (salmon, steelhead, and trout), because of warmer water temperatures in the summer and more fluctuation of water levels (river flooding and an increase of water flow in winter while summer flows decrease).
The heat stress to field crops and tree fruit will be more prevalent because of an increase in temperatures and a decline in irrigation water.
Compliance actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as producing cleaner energy and increasing energy efficiency, have the dual benefit of reducing other types of air pollution.
In 2008, Washington's legislature required the specific statewide greenhouse gas reductions (RCW 70.235.020) below:
By 2020, reduce overall emissions of greenhouse gases in the state to 1990 levels.
By 2035, reduce overall emissions of greenhouse gases in the state to twenty-five percent below 1990 levels.
By 2050, reduce overall emissions of greenhouse gases in the state to fifty percent below 1990 levels or seventy percent below the state's expected emissions that year.
Consistent with the legislature's intent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ecology is using its existing authority under the state Clean Air Act to adopt a rule that limits emissions of greenhouse gases.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: Throughout this rule-making process, ecology will communicate with, and seek input from the energy facility site evaluation council (EFSEC). EFSEC will need to update their existing greenhouse gas reporting rule for the facilities they regulate.
Process for Developing New Rule: Ecology will follow a process for the adoption of a significant legislative rule.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by:
Following updates on ecology's rule making web site,, and on ecology's climate change web site,
Signing up for e-mail updates, by going to
Participating in outreach meetings and/or public hearings.
Contacting ecology staff, Stacey Callaway,, (360) 407-7528, or the Department of Ecology, Air Quality Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600.
September 21, 2015
Stuart A. Clark
Air Quality Program Manager