State of California
AIR RESOURCES BOARD
Summary of Board Meeting
September 29, 1995
Air Resources Board
Board Hearing Room, Lower Level
2020 "L" Street
MEMBERS PRESENT: Hons. John D. Dunlap, III, Chairman
Eugene A. Boston, M.D.
Joseph C. Calhoun, P.E.
Lynne T. Edgerton, Esq.
M. Patricia Hilligoss
Jack C. Parnell
|AGENDA ITEM #
Consideration of Research Proposals
The Board approved Resolution 95-43 by unanimous approval.
|95-10-1||Public Meeting to Consider the First Biennial Report
to the Legislature on the Connelly-Areias-Chandler Rice Straw Burning Reduction
Act of 1991
SUMMARY OF AGENDA ITEM:
The staff proposed that the Board approve the draft report on the progress of the phase-down of rice straw burning in the Sacramento Valley Air Basin for submittal to the California Legislature.
State law requires that the Board and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) jointly report to the Legislature every two years on the progress of the phase-down. Since both the Board and the CDFA prepared the draft report, both agencies must approve it before being submitted to the Legislature. The CDFA announced its approval at the Board meeting.
One of the components of the report that the ARB and the CDFA must address is the recommended changes, if any, to the Act. The joint report recommends that the Legislature "pause" the annual phase-down at the 50 percent level (which becomes effective in 1996) while retaining the current phase-down schedule during the critical fall burning period to prevent smoke from causing or contributing to violations of the State ambient air quality standards for visibility or PM10. The report also recommends that, for a five-year period, growers be allowed to pay mitigation fees which would entitle them to burn additional acreage. These fees would go into a fund to research and develop alternative uses of rice straw.
The growers have met the annual phase-down requirements each year since 1992 almost exclusively by incorporating the rice straw into the soil. The report identifies, in addition to the significant increase in time and cost to the grower, many possible environmental effects in the areas of soil, water consumption, and wildlife, and recommends further study of these possible effects.
The Act states "...it is the intent of the Legislature that all feasible alternatives to rice straw burning be encouraged." There are no off-farm alternatives to burning now, and this situation is likely to prevail through the 1990s unless incentives emerge to encourage the development of alternatives. Therefore, rice growers will continue with soil incorporation to bury the straw, and then most will add water to hasten the decomposition.
In its initial findings, the Rice Straw Burning Alternatives Advisory Committee has identified 52 potential alternatives to burning rice straw. However, most of these alternatives are not expected to be prevalent enough to consume significant amounts of straw during the next four to six years due to economic and technical constraints. The Advisory Committee's complete report on priority goals for the development of alternative uses of rice straw is forthcoming.
The recommendations in the joint ARB and CDFA staff report, if adopted by the Legislature, would allow more time for the development of alternative uses for rice straw while continuing the phase-down of burning during the fall.
Loyd Forest Rice Straw Burning Alternatives Advisory Committee
Michael Picker Mayor Joe Serna's Office
Erik Oleson Citizens Against Rice Pollution
Merlin Fagan, Jr. California Farm Bureau Federation
Norm Covell Sacramento
Metropolitan Air Quality
Joe A. Carrancho Rice Ad-Hoc Committee
Earl Withycombe American Lung Association
Robert Sutton Rice Ad-Hoc Committee
Robert L. Felts Citizen
Duane Peterson Sacramento Valley Toxics Alliance
Dennis Lindberg Rice Grower
Danae Aitchison Remy & Thomas
Margaret Felts Citizen
Mark Molin Eco
Thermal Structural Building
Bonnie Holmes Sierra Club
Gary Patton Planning & Conservation League
Loretta Pigg Citizen
Valjean Breinke Citizen
Teresa Jones Citizen
Ed Romano Glenn County APCO
Dale A. Secord Citizen
Chris McKenzie Rice Grower
Christopher Weaver Citizen
Marc Turtletaub Citizen
Howard L. Carnahan Rice Grower
Lawrence Lingbloom Citizen
FORMAL BOARD ACTION:
To be continued at the October 26 Board meeting.
RESPONSIBLE DIVISION: TSD
STAFF REPORT: Yes (336 pages)