State of California

Summary of Board Meeting
December 10, 1999

Air Resources Board

Board Hearing Room, Lower Level
2020 "L" Street
Sacramento, California
MEMBERS PRESENT: Hons. Alan C. Lloyd, Ph.D., Chairman
    Joseph C. Calhoun, P.E.
    Doreen D'Adamo
    C. Hugh Friedman
    William F. Friedman, M.D.
    Barbara Patrick
    Ron Roberts

99-10-4 Public Meeting to Consider Research Proposals

Resolutions 99-40 and 99-41 were deferred to the January 2000 Board meeting. The Board approved Resolutions 99-42, 99-43, 99-44, 99-45, 99-46, and 99-47 by a unanimous vote.
99-10-5 Public Meeting to Consider Appointments to the Research Screening Committee


The staff recommended the following appointments to the Board's Research Screening Committee: Dr. Lynn Hildemann of Stanford University, Dr. William Nazaroff of the University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. Amy Walton of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Michael Lipsett of Cal/EPA's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment was recommended to be an ex officio member. This Committee reviews and recommends air pollution research projects to the Board.



The Board approved the staff recommendations for appointments to the Research Screening Committee by a unanimous vote.


99-9-2 Continuation of a Public Meeting to Consider the 1999 Report to the Legislature-Progress Report on the Phase Down of Rice Straw Burning in the Sacramento Valley Air Basin


The staff proposed that the Board approve for submittal to the California Legislature the 1999 Report to the Legislature--Progress Report on the Phase Down of Rice Straw Burning in the Sacramento Valley Air Basin. This item was continued from the November meeting.

The Connelly-Areias-Chandler Rice Straw Burning Reduction Act of 1991 (the Act; Health and Safety Code section 41865) requires that rice straw burning in the Sacramento Valley be phased down and, starting September 2001, allowed only under specified conditions for disease control. Under the Act, the ARB and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) must submit joint, biennial reports to the Legislature on the progress of the phase down. This is the third such report.

The report establishes the following: the phase down limits have been met; alternative uses for rice straw have been slow to develop and financial incentives are needed for the success of the phase down; the longer-term outlook is improving with recent developments in ethanol demand and the progress of the rice straw grant projects. The report recommends that the Legislature appropriate funding to support the development of alternatives and to evaluate the economic impacts of the phase down on rice growers.

Several promising, recent developments have started to improve the long-term outlook for finding alternative uses for rice straw. A new opportunity for the use of rice straw may result from the phase out of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in California's gasoline. Because rice straw-to-ethanol conversion has not yet been applied commercially, financial incentives or subsidies may be needed to develop this technology.

During the last two years, the ARB has awarded rice straw grants for five demonstration and commercialization projects totaling about $3 million. One of the grant recipients, FiberTech USA, is in start-up mode and is making rice straw particleboard. FiberTech expects to use about 4 percent of the rice straw grown annually. In the spring of 2000, the Board will allocate the remaining $1.2 million in rice straw grants and will target rice straw-to-ethanol projects.

Responding to testimony by stakeholders, the Board directed the staff to make the following changes to the report: add language suggested by Ducks Unlimited regarding the changes in rice straw management practices; add a graph showing the coefficient of haze along with number of acres burned; delete the recommendation that the Legislature appropriate funding to evaluate potential environment impacts of the phase down; work with rice industry representatives to amend the discussion on emission reduction credits and, if a compromise cannot be reached, include a statement that the rice industry disagrees with the statements.

With the changes to the report listed above, the Board approved the report and directed staff to forward the report to the Legislature.

Joe A. Carrancho Rice Producers of California
Dr. Fritz Reid Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Robert Sutton Citizen
William R. Waite Sacramento Valley Air Basin Control Council; Supervisor, County of Colusa
Bob Herkert California Rice Commission
Isla Gentry EG-AG Fuels
Cynthia Cory California Farm Bureau
Carolyn Martin American Lung Association
Stan Van Vleck California Rice Commission
Les Fife Fife Environmental
Dennis Albiani Agricultural Council of California
Rick Nelson Rice Grower
STAFF REPORT: Yes (53 pages)