June 25, 1999
Dear Madam or Sir:
The California Air Resources Board (ARB or Board) invites you to participate in workshops to discuss draft language
to revise the regulation governing agricultural burning, as part of our overall effort to improve California's
smoke management program. Agricultural burning refers to the intentional use of fire for vegetation management
- in areas such as agricultural fields, orchards, and wildlands like rangeland and forests.
Smoke Management Workshops
|July 14, 1999
||July 20, 1999
|10 a.m. - 1 p.m
||1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
|Redding Elks Lodge
||San Joaquin Valley District Office
|250 Elk Drive
||Governing Board Room
||1990 E. Gettysburg Avenue
|July 15, 1999
||Video-Teleconferencing Locations for
July 20, 1999 Fresno Workshop:
|10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
||San Joaquin Valley District Offices
||4230 Kiernan Ave., Suite 130
|Hearing Room, Lower Level
|2020 L Street
||2700 M Street, Suite 275
The draft regulation will be posted on our website at http://www.arb.ca.gov by July 1, 1999 for review prior to
the July workshops. Copies are also available by contacting Susan Paul at (916) 322-6048. If you would like to
offer written comments on the draft version of the regulation, please submit them to Mr. Don McNerny, Chief, Modeling
and Meteorology Branch, by July 30, 1999. We will release the proposed version of the regulation and a Staff Report
on September 10, 1999 for the formal public comment period. The Board will consider this item at a public hearing
on October 28-29, 1999 in Sacramento. Although this is an accelerated schedule, we intend to work closely over
the next several months with the regulated community, the air pollution control districts (district), and the public
to ensure our proposal represents the most efficient and effective approach to improving air quality by strengthening
the smoke management program statewide. We encourage your input throughout this process.
The workshops on the draft regulation are the next step following seven regional meetings this Spring on a preliminary
concept paper. Over 400 participants attended and many sent written comments as well. Most of the comments we received
can be summarized into four major points: (1) revisions to the regulations should avoid creating a new regulatory
authority like the proposed Regional Burn Centers; (2) the proposed regional "cap" described in the concept
paper is unworkable based upon the level of technical data currently available to districts; (3) non-burn alternatives
need to be considered if health impacts are to be reduced; and (4) the program improvements should be sensitive
to resource limitations in the districts and regulated community. In response, we re-evaluated the initial concepts
and have modified our approach to address these concerns.
- Regional Burn Centers. While regional coordination of burn events is a necessary part of effective smoke
management, the draft regulation would enable each district or group of districts (rather than a required Regional
Burn Center) to tailor their own programs to achieve the desired objective.
- Regional Cap on Burning. Rather than a quantitative cap on the total amount of burning within each area,
the draft regulation would instead require the district to develop an allocation system that considers the timing,
location, and number of individual burns. ARB would continue to identify burn and no-burn days, while districts
would make decisions on the extent and location of burns within their region on burn days.
- Alternatives to Burning. The draft regulation would specify that district smoke management programs
must identify how non-burn alternatives will be considered. In addition, approval of burn applications would require
burners to address actions taken to minimize smoke impacts. Within the Staff Report, we will discuss other mechanisms
to encourage alternatives where feasible.
- Need for Additional Resources. ARB recognizes that program improvements will require more resources
and is committed to working with affected parties to develop an electronic burn tracking system for use by agencies
and the public statewide. This system would enhance a district's ability to manage burn decisions, provide a mechanism
for coordination with neighboring regions, and allow the public access to timely information on burns so sensitive
individuals could plan or act accordingly.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the smoke management program improvements, please contact me
at (916) 322-5350 or Don McNerny at (916) 322-6048.
Terry McGuire, Chief
Planning and Technical Support Division