Rule-Making Suspension Archives

This page provides historical information about Ecology’s implementation of both orders and will not be updated further.

Between Nov.2010 and Dec.2012, Ecology suspended non-critical rule-making per Gov. Gregoire's Nov. 17, 2010 (10-06 and memo) and Oct. 11, 2011 (11-03 and memo) executive orders. These directed agencies to review all current and anticipated rule-making and decide what could be delayed. The order didn’t affect Ecology's other regulatory work, such as permitting, guidance, enforcement, water quality improvement plans, and policy development.

Ecology’s process

In Nov. 2010 Ecology requested feedback to help us make an initial determination about what rule-making would continue and what would be suspended. In Dec. 2010 we issued our initial determination and continued to use the tables below to update stakeholders while the orders were in effect. The rule-making suspension ended December 31, 2012.

Role of rule development

Rule-making is an essential responsibility of state government. Legislation often directs state agencies to develop rules to implement new laws. Ecology follows a very specific process for developing rules that requires transparent and open decisions. It also promotes the public’s right to participate in this decision process.  

Rules provide clarity and a fair playing field for the regulated community. Ecology actively seeks the voices of those most directly affected by rules.

Ecology used three categories to characterize its rule-making during this time period:

  1. Suspended rule-making
  2. Rule-making that will continue
  3. Rule-making to be determined

Suspended rule-making- 3/23/12

Rule Process Purpose Decision History and Explanation
Children’s Safe Products Reporting Rule (WAC 173-334) Ecology received a petition for rule-making to amend this rule. March 22, 2012 – The Director considers the proposed rule-making to be non-critical, thereby falling within the scope of the Governor’s Executive Order.  After considering many factors, including the Executive Order, Ecology denied the petition. 
Underground Storage Tank Regulations (WAC 173-360) financial responsibility and amendments related to federal rule-making The UST Regulations are intended to prevent releases from UST systems containing petroleum and other regulated substances. Such releases pose serious threats to human health and the environment. March 14, 2012 - Suspended. Originally, Ecology anticipated including topics that were also being addressed in a current federal rule-making, which we expected to be complete before we needed to file our rule proposal. Since the federal rule is not yet complete, and Ecology needs to move forward with rule-making to meet deadlines under the Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of 2005 (the Act), Ecology is suspending rule-making on the following topics because they no longer meet the exemption criteria 3(a):
  • Topics being addressed in the current federal rule-making that are not required under the Act.
  • Financial responsibility, which was being considered at the federal level, but ultimately is not addressed in the current federal rule-making.

Ecology plans on addressing the topics that were suspended after the federal rule-making process is complete. To maintain state program approval (SPA), states must revise their own rules within three years of the adoption of the federal rule amendments.

Ecology is continuing rule-making for those topics that still meet exemption criteria 3(a).

Shoreline Master Program Guidelines (WAC 173-26-241(3)(b) Ecology received a petition for rule-making to amend this rule. February 2012 - Suspended.  After considering many factors, Ecology denied the petition. The Director considers the proposed rule-making to be non-critical, thereby falling within the scope of the Governor’s Executive Order.
Rule-making to establish a requirement for aquatic pesticide applicators to use a service agreement with their customers when contracting to apply aquatic pesticides. (New Rule) Ecology received a petition for rule-making to conduct rule making on this topic. February 2012 - Suspended.  After considering many factors, Ecology denied the petition. The Director considers the proposed rule-making to be non-critical, thereby falling within the scope of the Governor’s Executive Order.
Wastewater Discharge Permit Fees, Chapter (WAC 173-224) Wastewater Discharge Permit fees cover the cost of administering those permits. Stakeholders have raised concerns that the fees aren't assessed fairly, because some permit holders currently cover more of those costs than do others. Changing the fee structure to provide better equity across all categories of permit holders would involve amending certain provisions of the rule.

Such a change would likely increase fees for certain facilities and operations and decrease fees for others.

Some of the changes that were being contemplated -- but now are suspended because of the rulemaking suspension – include but are not limited to:

  • Possible one-time fees for construction activities
  • Additional fees for engineering reviews
  • Additional fees for new permit applications and modifications.
December 9, 2011 - Delayed: After consideration the Director has made the decision to suspend rule making related to Chapter 173-224 WAC, Wastewater Discharge Permit Fees. This rule making had been scheduled to begin in 2012 and would have focused on restructuring the fees and categories for wastewater discharge permits. This suspension does not affect the fees in the current rule.

While Ecology understands stakeholder concerns about fee equity, this rule-making does not meet the exemption criteria, nor would it generate new revenue. Options to promote equity and other restructuring needs will be discussed in the fee report we are submitting to the legislature in early 2012.

Solid waste handling standards
(WAC 173-350) non-composting topics
In order to expand organics recycling and address management of problem solid wastes, certain provisions of current state solid waste rules may need amending.

March 1, 2011 - Delayed: Ecology will delay portions of rule-making unrelated to composting in WAC 173-350, including:

  • Clarifying definitions related to product take back centers, Moderate Risk Waste handling, and household hazardous waste provisions.
  • Evaluating solid waste requirements related to soil, sediments and other earthen materials.
  • Updating other sections of the rule, such as land application, recycling, energy recovery and incineration, waste tires, intermediate solid waste handling facilities, and landfills.
  • Moving sections of chapter 173-345 WAC, Recyclable Materials - Transporter and Facility Requirements to chapter 173-350 WAC, Solid Waste Handling Standards.
  • Addressing other issues throughout the rule not related to composting, such as providing clarifications, making formatting changes, and ensuring that the rule is consistent with other rules, laws and policy decisions.
  • See rule-making information.
December 8, 2010 - To be determined: Ecology will consult with local governments, businesses and interested parties on options for addressing concerns with existing composting operations, and any needed updates to the existing rule.
Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA)
(WAC 173-340)
The MTCA rule provides a framework for making cleanup decisions; periodic updates enable incorporating new science and new regulatory requirements. December 8, 2010 - Delayed: The MTCA rule includes flexibility to make decisions on a case-by-case basis; Ecology expects more site specific decisions and increased demand for technical support. Stakeholder concerns on vapor intrusion addressed during rule-making discussions can be incorporated into guidance. Ecology anticipates resuming rule-making after the one year suspension.
Reclaimed water
(WAC 173-219)
The rule-making addresses all aspects of reclaimed water, including commercial and industrial uses, land applications, direct recharge, wetland discharges, stream flow augmentation among others. December 8, 2010 - Delayed: Ecology can use the delay to focus on developing guidance about reclaimed water that answers concerns raised by stakeholders. Reclaimed water facilities can continue to be permitted using existing authority given to Ecology and state Health.
Samish River subbasin instream flow
(WAC 173-503A) - New rule
This rule amendment would establish for the Samish Basin in WRIA 3 instream flows, identify amounts of water available for future water rights processing and identify streams for closure. December 8, 2010 - Delayed: Ecology has limited instream flow staff resources for rule-making.
Dangerous waste regulations
(WAC 173-303)
Ecology needs to update the state's rules for dangerous waste, including both optional and required federal changes, as well as correcting language and conflicting requirements. December 8, 2010 - Delayed: The benefit of these updates will be mostly felt by a small number of hazardous waste generators - primarily small universities or colleges. These stakeholders haven't asked Ecology to continue pursuing updates.
Outdoor burning
(WAC 173-425)
This planned update would make administrative and process improvements related to burning in outdoor containers, as well as add definitions to make Washington's rules consistent with the EPA. December 8, 2010 - Delayed: These regulatory changes can wait until 2012, but will delay improvements in rule clarity and streamlining that benefit those businesses and residents who may be subject to the regulations.
Solid fuel burning devices
(WAC 173-433)
This expected rule process would update sections of the woodstove rule to further reduce emissions, align the rule with proposed 2011 legislation and incorporate EPA's planned 2011 rule revisions. This would help in Washington's efforts to improve air quality in "non‐attainment" areas affected by pollution from woodstoves. December 8, 2010 - Delayed: This process can wait until 2012, when it's clear what legislation passed and the EPA rule revisions are finalized. Delay beyond 2012 will affect the state's ability to address sources of pollution driving federal "non‐attainment" area designations.

 

Rule-making that will continue - 12/28/12

Ecology will continue work on the rules listed below. Each qualifies under a specific criterion in the exemption guidelines. The relevant criteria:

  • 3a - Required by federal or state law or required to maintain federally delegated or authorized programs;
  • 3b - Required by court order;
  • 3c - Necessary to manage budget shortfalls, maintain fund solvency, or for revenue generating activities;
  • 3d - Necessary to protect public health, safety, and welfare or necessary to avoid an immediate threat to the state's natural resources; or
  • 3e - Beneficial to or requested or supported by the regulated entities, local governments or small businesses that it affects.
  • 3f – necessary to respond to current economic conditions or assist in long-term economic recovery, to include employment assistance, consumer protection or government reform.
  • 5 - Agencies may continue to adopt rules that have been the subject of negotiated rule-making or pilot rule-making that involved substantial participation by interested parties before the development of the proposed rule. Agencies can also proceed to finalize permanent rule-making that has previously been covered by emergency rules.

Any rule Ecology moves forward will have or already has had the appropriate small business and local government consultations.

 

Rule process Purpose Decision History and Explanation
Water quality standards for surface waters of the State of Washington - Human Health Criteria (WAC 173-201A) new

Ecology intends to adopt new human health criteria to protect public health, safety, and welfare. Until new human health criteria are adopted by Ecology, Washington will continue using outdated federal standards that do not reflect current science and information for protection from toxics chemicals.

September 13, 2012: The Director of Ecology decided to proceed with rule-making in September 2012 consistent with exemption criteria (3)(d) , outlined by the Office of Financial Management.

Children’s Safe Products - Reporting Rule (WAC 173-334) Ecology is initiating rule making for Chapter 173-334 WAC, Children's Safe Products Reporting Rule to amend the Chemical of High Concern to Children (CHCC) list to include tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCPP) (CAS # 13674-87-8). TDCPP is the intended focus of this rulemaking. However, if additional chemicals are shown to clearly meet the criteria for inclusion on or removal from the CHCC list, Ecology will consider that information and the possibility of adding or removing these chemicals as well. If appropriate Ecology will also amend requirements related to the reporting deadlines for any chemicals that are added to the list.  CR101 filed July 16, 2012 - Ecology received a petition to undertake rule making to add a TDCPP to the list of chemicals in WAC 173-334 that businesses need to report on. After considering the petition, Ecology’s Director decided to proceed with rule making in July 2012 consistent with exemption criteria 3(d), outlined by the Office of Financial Management.
State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) WAC 197-11 Consistent with Chapter 1, Laws of 2012 1st Special Session (2ESSB 6406, Section 301), this rulemaking focuses solely on two key issues regarding SEPA review:
  1. Thresholds for SEPA review of minor construction projects in WAC 197-11-800(1) and (23)(c); and
  2. The SEPA checklist in WAC 197-11-960. Ecology anticipates adopting these rule amendments by December 31, 2012. The legislation also directs Ecology to follow this initial rule making with a more comprehensive update to the SEPA rule, due to be completed in December 31, 2013.
December 28, 2012 - Director adopts rule

CR101 filed May 24, 2012 -  Ecology’s Director decided to proceed with this rule making in May 2012. This rule complies with exemption criteria 3a, outlined by Office of Financial Management, as it is specifically required by Chapter 1, Laws of 2012 1st Special Session (2ESSB 6406, Section 301).

General Regulations for Air Pollution Sources (WAC 173-400) This rule making will amend the rule which is integral to the State Implementation Plan (SIP), an enforceable plan developed at the state level that explains how the state will comply with air quality standards according to the Federal Clean Air Act. November 28, 2012 - Director adopts rule

CR-101 filed December 20, 2011
- The Director decided that we will proceed with rule-making related to Chapter 173-400 WAC. This decision is consistent with the Governor’s Executive Order’s exemption criteria 3(e) and 3(a) outlined by the Office of Financial Management.

The amendments related to the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program meet exemption criteria 3(e). This rule making will lead to Ecology having single review authority for PSD permits.

The regulated community supports this rule making because it will result in a streamlined permitting process.

The amendments related to New Source Review meet exemption criteria 3(a).

In amending the sections of WAC 173-400 related to New Source Review, Ecology will focus on assuring that the revisions can be adopted by EPA into the federally required state implementation plan.

Air Quality Fee Regulation (WAC 173-455) The Air Quality Fee Regulation applies to number of air quality programs. This rule making only focuses on the Air Quality Source Registration Program. The purpose of the registration program is to effectively monitor and reduce harmful emissions along with other activities necessary for the program. Businesses that generate small and moderate amounts of air pollution must register for the Air Quality Source registration program. The state Clean Air Act requires registered sources to cover the cost of the program. Existing fees fall short of what is needed.

The 2011 Legislature gave Ecology the authority to increase registration fees. Ecology is seeking additional authority to re-establish registration fees for gas stations and other businesses that emit gasoline vapors.

November 30, 2012 - Director adopts rule

May 2012: Revised CR101 filed.
Ecology has withdrawn the original CR101 filed on Dec. 20, 2011 and filed a revised CR101 to expand the scope of the rule making to include:
  • A method for making future fee increases. This methodology will not apply to the retail sales fee on wood stoves in WAC 173-455-060. No additional fee increases, other than those identified in the original CR101, will be considered at this time.
  • House-keeping changes.

The rule-making will still include the scope included in the original CR101 (see the description below).

CR 101 filed December 20, 2011.

The Director of Ecology decided to proceed with rule making in November 2011 consistent with exemption criteria (3)(c), outlined by the Office of Financial Management. Ecology anticipates the effective date of the rules to be January 1, 2013.

This rule-making will focus on:

  1. Increasing general registration program fees for businesses that release small amounts of emissions and report those emissions every three years.
  2. Re-establishing registration fees for gas stations and other sources that emit gasoline vapors.
  3. Clarifying the process for calculating registration fees.
  4. Consolidating the registration program fees for various businesses into one location within WAC 173-455.

The Air Quality Source Registration Program currently relies heavily on state General Fund dollars. The registration program is necessary to ensure that sources of air pollution operate in a way that minimizes emissions to comply with the Clean Air Act and protect human health. To help cover the cost and to reduce reliance on the General Fund, the Legislature gave Ecology the authority to increase the general registration program fees by up to 36 percent in the 2011-2013 biennium. Through this rule making we will establish how this increase is applied. Even with this increase, the fees will not cover all of the costs to operate this program.

Of the entities that have jurisdiction over air quality in Washington, Ecology is the only one without a gasoline vapor recovery system inspection program. Ecology has jurisdiction over air quality in San Juan County in western Washington and in most counties in central and eastern Washington. Gasoline vapor recovery systems that aren't regularly inspected and properly maintained are much more likely to fail, putting the public at risk.

See rule-making information

Elwha-Dungeness instream flow - WRIA 18
(WAC 175-518) - New rule
The proposed rule would set policies for future water quantity decisions, helping to ensure future water supplies for people while protecting senior water rights, stream flows and fish habitat. This rule would set instream flows on the Dungeness River and eight smaller streams. November 16, 2012 - Director adopts rule

November 7, 2011 - Rule-making will restart:
The Director decided that Ecology will proceed with rule-making related to setting instream flows in the Dungeness watershed in WAC 173-518, citing OFM exemption criteria 3 (e).

The decision to restart rule-making is consistent with the implementation of the Agreement in Principle (AIP) signed by Clallam County and the Dungeness Water Users Association. Sufficient progress has been made in achieving the agreement's goals to prevent permanent reductions in stream flow, supply water for new uses, sustain agriculture, and restore flows. The signatories to the AIP met with Ecology's director in October and concurred that to meet the August deadline, the rulemaking process would have to begin in November.

February 15, 2011 - Delayed: The decision to suspend rule-making is consistent with our agreement with Clallam County and the Sequim-Dungeness Water Users Association to participate in locally-led efforts to improve water supply and restore stream flows in the watershed. This has support of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe.

Goals established in the local agreement include putting in place an instream flow rule that protects instream resources and existing water rights within 18 months after the agreement is signed (August 2012).

December 8, 2010  - To be determined: Consensus building continues among stakeholders for developing pathways for tailored mitigation, new water supply projects and a draft rule. Ecology had worked closely with the watershed committee on the rule process from 2006 – 2010.  Although our goal is local consensus, Ecology is still responsible for moving forward with rule-making if consensus is not reached.

Water quality standards for surface waters of the State of Washington - Implementation Tools (WAC 173-201A) updated

The purpose of this rule-making is to provide more predictable regulatory tools that help entities subject to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits comply with new, more stringent, standards.

September 13, 2012: In October 2011, Ecology started a rule-making effort to amend implementation-related portions of the Surface Water Quality Standards (WAC 173-201A).  Ecology has withdrawn that notice and is filing a new notice to clarify the focus of this rule-making.  We will continue to focus on sections of the rule regarding implementation, with the goal of providing more predictable regulatory tools that help entities subject to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits comply with new, more protective standards.

CR-101 filed October 25, 2011: The Director has made the decision to proceed with amending WAC 173-201A. This decision is consistent with exemption criteria (3) (e) in the Governor's Executive Order outlined by the Office of Financial Management.

The Water Quality Program sought feedback from the regulated community about moving forward with an update to the Water Quality Standard implementation tools and a future update of human health criteria. The regulated community who responded approved of Ecology moving forward with the implementation rule before updating the human health criteria.

The Water Quality Program also received commentary and testimony during the last Triennial Review process supporting an update to the implementation tools in the Standards.

Sediment Management Standards
(WAC 173-204)
Moving ahead with this rule update will resolve existing ambiguities over setting sediment cleanup levels that protect human health, fish and wildlife. Addressing the impact of bioaccumulative chemicals is an important step needed to restore and protect Puget Sound. December 8, 2010 - Rule-making will Continue: Per exemption criteria 3d - Necessary to protect public health. Rule adoption would clarify requirements and provide direction for cleanup actions. This rule work has been requested to continue by local governments, Tribes and environmental groups. Resolving the confusion around cleanup of contaminated sediments appears to be a widely recognized priority. Ecology anticipates rule work will need to address several issues, including sediment background concentrations, fish consumption rates and differences between marine and freshwater environments.
Mercury-Containing Lights Product Stewardship Program (WAC 173-910) -new rule Ecology would adopt rules to set fees to continue running the state's product stewardship program for mercury-containing light bulbs. The law requires those that produce these types of bulbs to fund a program to collect, transport and recycle mercury lights. The amount described in law covers start up costs but not continued expenses. November 16, 2012 - Director adopts rule.

CR101 filed October 21, 2011:
The Director of Ecology decided to proceed with rule making in October 2011 consistent with exemption criteria (3) (a), outlined by the Office of Financial Management. The rule start date is scheduled for October 2011 in order to complete rule making prior to the January 2013 program implementation date as required by statute. Chapter 70.275 RCW requires Ecology to establish rules to implement this program. This rule is needed to clarify product stewardship program requirements.

December 8, 2010 - Delayed: Ecology didn't anticipate beginning a rule process until late 2011. A delay until January 2012 could be accommodated.

Oil Spill Contingency Planning (WAC 173-182 ) The intent of this rule-making is to improve our State's ability to respond to large oil spills in a rapid, aggressive and well-coordinated manner and to ensure that the State has a response system that can operate safely and continuously at night, and during inclement weather conditions, such as, rain, fog, waves and high currents. To accomplish this, Ecology will amend the Oil Spill Contingency Plan rule to:
  • Update state oil spill preparedness planning standards to incorporate best achievable protection and best available technology.
  • Improve the state's current vessels of opportunity system.
  • Establish a volunteer coordination system.
  • Require joint large-scale equipment deployment drills from tank vessels.
  • Improve the state-required notification process to include potential spill threats as well as actual spills.
  • Change contingency plan requirements for nonprofit “umbrella” organizations.
  • Update definitions.
  • Make other changes related to oil spill contingency plans and Ecology's contingency plan review and approval process.
December 14, 2012 - Director adopts rules

July 6, 2011 - New rule pre-proposal:
The Director decided Ecology will proceed with rule-making related WAC 173-182 and WAC 173-183.

In April 2011, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a new law (E2SHB 1186) which makes significant changes to the state's oil spill preparedness and natural resource damage compensation regulations. The goal of the new law is to:

  • Protect Washington waters from major oil spills.
  • Ensure Washington State receives adequate compensation for oil spill-related damages to the public's natural resources.

The decision to proceed with rule-making is consistent with the Governor's Executive Order's exemption criteria (3) (a) outlined by the Office of Financial Management. The Legislature and Governor directed Ecology to complete certain changes to the State's Oil Spill Program by December 2012. Ecology is including these and other changes in the legislation (that aren't required by Dec. 2012) into these rule-makings to make efficient use of staff resources and stakeholder time.

Preassessment Screening and Oil Spill Compensation Schedule (WAC 173-183)

Proposed rule-making will amend the existing rule to:
  • Update the monetary amount of compensation that can be calculated for spills of 1,000 gallons or greater in volume. This will change the current range of $1 to $100 to a new range of $3 to $300 per gallon spilled.
  • Amend the mathematical formula multipliers contained in WAC 173-183 sections 830, 840, 850, and 860, to reflect the above update.
  • Define persistent oil, non persistent oil, primary recovery liquids, secondary recovery liquids, and persistent oil recovery liquids.
  • Codify the method to provide credit back to a spiller for their early on-water recovery actions by moving the Resource Damage Assessment Committee Resolution 96-1.1 from guidance into rule (24 hour recovery credit for non-persistent oils).
  • Develop the method to provide credit back to a spiller for their early on-water recover actions by now allowing for a 48 hour recovery credit for persistent oils.
General Regulations for Air Pollution Sources (173-400 WAC)

Operating permit regulation (173-401 WAC)

This rule-making will amend the two rules which implement the federal Greenhouse Gas (GHG) permitting rule to assure consistency between state and federal regulations. August 10, 2011 - Director adopts rule.

May 4, 2011- Rule-making will continue: The Director decided that Ecology will proceed with rule-making related to two of Ecology's rules, Chapters 173-400 and 173-401 WAC, which were recently updated to bring them into compliance with EPA's “tailoring rule” that regulates greenhouse gases. This decision is consistent with the Governor's Executive Order's exemption criteria (3)(e) outlined by the Office of Financial Management.

This federal GHG permitting rule proved to be controversial. The EPA is now proposing an amendment that will temporarily defer greenhouse gas permitting requirements for carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from sources that combust biomass and other biologically-based fuels while EPA more fully assesses the science. This change to state rules will make the state requirements consistent with the federal rules and simplify regulations for businesses and other affected entities.

This rule-making does not change the GHG reporting requirements in WAC 173-441.

Wastewater discharge permit fees (WAC 173-224) State law requires Ecology to collect fees from wastewater and stormwater discharge permit holders to cover the permit program costs. These fees currently fall short. Ecology plans to propose a rule to increase the fees for those permit types that are currently underfunded. September 27, 2011 - Director adopts rule.

April 11, 2011- Rule-making will continue: The Director decided that we will proceed with rule-making related to Wastewater Discharge Permit Fees, citing OFM exemption criteria 3(c). The Legislature expects permit fees cover the administrative costs associated with permits issued under the Wastewater Discharge Permit program. The new fees need to be in place for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012. Ecology must begin work now to ensure this can happen. Ecology is proceeding with this rule-making anticipating the state budget will include authorization for this fee increase.

December 8, 2010 - The costs of administering the permit program aren't in line with the fees collected. This increase would only apply to permit categories not currently covering the cost of administering the permits and is contingent upon legislative budget approval in the 2011 session.

Solid waste handling standards
(WAC 173-350)
In order to expand organics recycling and address management of problem solid wastes, certain provisions of current state solid waste rules may need amending.

March 1, 2011 - Rule-making will continue: The Director announced that Ecology will proceed with rule-making related to composting in WAC 173-350, citing OFM exemption criteria 3 (e).

The Director determined that it is critical to complete rule-making related to composting now. The goal with this rule update is to ensure that rules for composting help facilities process materials and produce a product that protects human health and the environment. In turn, good composting practices encourage economic vitality for composting-related businesses and communities.

Ecology will continue to address issues related to composting in 2011 and will delay rule-making related to other topics in WAC 173-350.

December 8, 2010  - To be determinedEcology will consult with local governments, businesses and interested parties on options for addressing concerns with existing composting operations, and any needed updates to the existing rule.
Commercial geoduck aquaculture /Shoreline Management Act
  • WAC 173-18
  • WAC 173-20
  • WAC 173-22
  • WAC 173-26
  • WAC 173-27
The three basic topics addressed in this rule update are summarized below.
  • Commercial geoduck: This rule-making addresses intertidal commercial geoduck aquaculture siting and operations through local Shoreline Master Programs. It will provide critical information to Puget Sound communities undergoing shoreline program updates now.
  • Limited amendments: The rule amendment would correct existing outdated language that significantly restricts the ability of cities and counties to make minor adjustments in their shoreline regulations.
  • Housekeeping amendments: These proposed housekeeping updates would make corrections and provide clarification in the existing rule.

February 11, 2011 - Director adopts rule.

February 2, 2011 - Rule-making will continue: The comment period closed on 11/23/10 for these rule amendments. We have considered public comment and additional input from affected businesses, tribes and local governments consistent with the Governor's Executive Order.

Director decides to proceed with Shoreline Management Act rule-making 3e – Completing the rule update related to intertidal commercial geoduck aquaculture will provide needed regulatory consistency. The updated rule provides guidance on addressing this activity as part of Shoreline Master Program (SMP) updates. The rule also provides a permitting framework for implementing updated policies.

Several Puget Sound counties will adopt shoreline policies and regulations in the near future that address conflicts associated with commercial geoduck aquaculture. If rule completion were delayed, the next opportunity to integrate commercial geoduck aquaculture policies and regulations may be a decade into the future.

Another important item in the updated rule clarifies the criteria for approval of less than comprehensive SMP updates. The current rule language is significantly outdated and does not meet the needs of local government. Local governments support replacing this outdated rule section. Other elements of the rule update ensure consistency between the rule and statute.

December 8, 2010 - To be determined: The comment period just closed on 11/23/10 for these proposed rule amendments. We are considering the submitted comments in determining the appropriate route forward.

Low emission vehicles
(WAC 173-423)
Ecology anticipates making technical updates to its existing rule in 2011 to ensure consistency with California's vehicle manufacturer reporting requirements (clean car standards). November 28, 2012 - Director adopts rule.

December 8, 2010 - Rule-making will Continue:
Per exemption critera 3a – Required by federal law. California is the only state allowed by federal law to have its own vehicle emissions standards program. Federal law requires states that opt into the California clean air standards to periodically update state rules to align with changes in the California program.
Underground storage tanks (UST)
(WAC 173-360)
USTs present a very real risk of groundwater and soil contamination. This rule update would bring Washington into compliance with new federal standards and make it easier for owners of UST systems to prevent leaks and other system failures that pollute. August 8, 2012 - Director adopts rule.

Note: On March 14, 2012, the Director suspended portions of this rulemaking. To see more details related to the suspended topics, please see Underground Storage Tank Regulations in the Suspended rule-making table above.

December 8, 2010 - Rule-making will Continue: Per exemption criteria 3a – Necessary to maintain federally-delegated program and funding for the work. Federal grants ($1.8 million) that cover the state's costs of the UST program require compliance with federal regulations and would be put at risk without this update.

Motor vehicle air emissions inspection
(WAC 173-422A) - New rule
The Legislature directed Ecology to expand the available pool of businesses that can test car emissions. This rule change would adjust the criteria so more businesses could contract with the state to do this work. The rule criteria need to be updated well ahead of the next contract window for emissions testing (July 2012) so businesses can prepare to qualify to offer this service. August 10, 2011 - Director adopts rule.

December 8, 2010 - Rule-making will Continue: Per exemption criteria 3e – Small businesses would see their opportunity to do this work expand.

Water quality standards for surface waters of the State of Washington
(WAC 173-201A)
Portions of the surface water quality standards contain information that needs to be corrected or clarified. Continuing work on this rule amendment will make the rule easier to understand and more accurate. At least one permit and two water quality improvement processes are affected by incorrect information in the existing rule. May 9, 2011 - Director adopts rule correction.

April 20, 2011 - Director adopts rule.

December 8, 2010 - Rule-making will Continue: Per exemption criteria 3e – Stakeholders have asked Ecology to continue work on this rule correction effort. One permittee has appealed its permit based on these errors, and has indicated the case could be resolved with these corrections.

Columbia Basin Project (groundwater)
(WAC 508-14)
This would amend an existing rule to help provide better clarity around the amount of available groundwater for the Columbia Basin Project. This will provide certainty to water users who currently do not have the security of a water certificate. December 8, 2010 - Rule-making will Continue: Per exemption criteria 3e – The rule amendment would encourage economic growth and generate revenue for businesses and local communities by helping provide reliable and sustainable water for users.
Water rights rule amendment (Hillis)
(WAC 173-152)
Recent legislation directs Ecology to "aggressively pursue" new water supplies in the Columbia River basin. However, without this rule amendment, Ecology can't prioritize water right decisions as the law directs. December 20, 2010 - Director adopts rule.

December 8, 2010 - Rule-making will Continue: Per exemption criteria 3e – Rule adoption would provide more flexibility in getting water to pending water right applicants, supporting small business and economic growth.

Certified Water Rights Examiner program - New rule The 2010 Legislature passed a law to assist in the process of transitioning water right permits to final water right certificates through the use of contractors, who will be reimbursed for their work by those requesting certificates. Implementing this legislation, including a new fee to help cover program costs for testing and certifying contractors, requires Ecology to develop a rule. Moving ahead without establishing a fee structure to implement this certification program would cost state taxpayers more. November 28, 2012 - Director adopts rule.

December 8, 2010 - Rule-making will Continue: Per exemption criteria 3e – Affected permittees, mainly cities, utilities and the agricultural community, supported the development of this position because it would increase Ecology's efficiency.
Better Brakes
(WAC 173-901) - New rule
Recent legislation requires brake pad manufacturers to phase out certain toxic metals (including copper) from brake pads. Ecology plans to pursue a rule to establish a "proof of certification" mark for packaging; set up data collection regarding the amount of toxic metals in brake pads sold in Washington; and create an exemption process. October 19, 2012 - Director adopts rule.

December 8, 2010 - Rule-making will Continue: Per exemption criteria 3e – Ecology is receiving letters from brake pad manufacturers urging the agency to continue rule-making so there are clear criteria for manufacturers to meet when the law takes effect in 2013.
Criteria for Municipal solid waste landfill
(WAC 173-351)
Ecology needs to adopt new federal regulations into its rules for municipal landfills to ensure full federal approval of Ecology's program. Regulated landfill owners requested Ecology pursue this rule-making to adopt the necessary federal changes. November 7, 2012 - Director adopts rule.

December 8, 2010 - Rule-making will Continue: Per exemption criteria 3e – Stakeholders requested Ecology seek full federal delegation of the municipal solid waste landfill program from EPA. This rule-making will accomplish this request.
Industrial air quality permit fees
(WAC 173-455)
This rule would adjust permit fees for sources that plan to construct or modify their existing operations to more fully cover the costs of the workload associated with these permits. Current costs are more than the fees collected by Ecology. Other streamlining improvements are also being proposed to simplify processes and associated application fees for businesses. May 31, 2011 - Director adopts rule.

December 8, 2010 - Rule-making will Continue: Per exemption criteria 3c – Ecology has legislative approval to increase these fees. If fees aren't increased in order to fund permit work, there will be considerable delays in permitting approval.

Dam Safety
(WAC 175-175)
The legislature directed Ecology to increase dam construction permit and inspection fees to help offset the actual cost of Ecology’s work to administer the program. Rules are required for making any changes to a fee program. February 26, 2012 - Director Adopts rule.

December 8, 2010 - Rule-making will Continue: Per exemption criteria 3c – The additional permit and inspection fees would cover more costs of the program - 26 percent versus 18 percent today.

 

Greenhouse gases reporting
(WAC 173-441)
Changes to state law required Ecology to adopt rules on how regulated businesses will report greenhouse gas emissions. This will harmonize state reporting with federal reporting requirements. December 1, 2010 - Director adopts rule.

November 17, 2010 -  Rule-making will continue in 2010: Per exemption criteria 3e – This rule eases the regulatory burden on those who must report emissions by closely aligning state and EPA requirements, and by starting the program in 2012.

Air pollution sources
(WAC 173-400)
This rule amendment will bring state rules for regulating major air pollution sources in line with federal requirements so that Washington can maintain regulatory authority. Examples include amendments to resolve State Implementation Plan deficiencies as well as updates to comply with new federal greenhouse gas thresholds that go into effect January 2011. March 1, 2011 - Director adopts rule.

November 17, 2010 -  Rule-making will continue in 2010: Per exemption criteria 3a - This rule must be updated to ensure that Washington will continue to maintain regulatory authority of industrial sources in the state. These amendments will also ensure that we are in compliance with our delegation agreement with EPA.

Operating permit regulation
(WAC 173-401)
Ecology must update the state rule to include federal greenhouse gas thresholds before Jan. 2, 2011. Failure to make this deadline would force hundreds of businesses that emit greenhouse gases at 100 tons or more per year to obtain an air operating permit for their operations. December 1, 2010 - Director adopts rule.

November 17, 2010 -  Rule-making will continue in 2010. Per exemption criteria 3e – Without this rule amendment in place by Jan. 2, 2011, hundreds of small greenhouse gas sources in Washington would be required to get a permit.

Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund - Emergency and Permanent rule-making
(WAC 173-98)

Uses and Limitations of Centennial Clean Water Funds (WAC 173-95A)

An emergency rule is necessary so that the new federal requirements could be implemented to distribute funds. These amendments will address provisions (e.g. green infrastructure or forgivable principal) in the new 2010 Clean Water State Revolving Fund federal appropriation, which affects how the agency can distribute funding to local jurisdictions for water pollution control projects. September 27, 2011 - Director adopts rule.

April 20, 2011 - Director adopts emergency rule (WAC 173-98).

April 6, 2011 - New rule pre-proposal: The Department of Ecology (Ecology) has withdrawn a pre-proposal statement of inquiry (CR-101) for Chapter 173-98 WAC, Use and Limitations of the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund (SRF), and filed on April 6, 2011, a new CR-101 that adds Chapter 173-95A WAC, Use and Limitations of Centennial Clean Water Funds.

Ecology manages the SRF program and the Centennial Grant Program jointly, with one application and one funding cycle. Ecology must amend WAC 173-98 and WAC 173-95A because changes made to the SRF rule need to be made to the Centennial rule to maintain consistency between the joint funding programs.

December 21, 2010 - Director adopts emergency rule (WAC 173-98).

November 17, 2010 -  Rule-making will continue in 2010: Per exemption criteria 3e –Without this rule, Ecology would not receive federal funds that are used to provide low interest loans for local government water quality projects including forgivable principal loans to financial hardship communities for water pollution control projects.

Upper Kittitas groundwater (WAC 173-539A) The purpose of this rule is to withdraw from appropriation all unappropriated groundwater within upper Kittitas County pending the completion of a groundwater study, with these exceptions:
  • Uses determined to be water budget neutral pursuant to this rule under WAC 173‐539A‐ 050; and
  • Uses of groundwater for a structure for which a building permit application vested prior to July 16, 2009.

When adopted this final rule will replace the emergency rule.

December 22, 2010: Director adopts rule.

November 17, 2010 -  Rule-making will continue in 2010:  Per exemption criteria 5 – Previously covered by emergency rules and work is allowed to continue on these types of rules.

Children's Safe Products Act pilot rule (WAC 173-334) This rule will establish a reporting schedule for chemicals of high concern in children's products. July 21, 2011: Director adopts rule.

November 17, 2010 -  Rule-making will continue in 2010:  Per exemption criteria 5 – This is a pilot rule‐making and work is allowed to continue on these types of rules.

 

Rule-making to-be-determined

Some of Ecology's rule-making work is at a point where action or decisions from others is necessary to help determine the appropriate path forward. Others include local governments, planning or technical advisory groups, Tribes and the Legislature. Ecology will make decisions on each of these in the future.

 

Rule Process Purpose Decision History and Explanation
Diesel engine idle reduction - New rule This is an anticipated rule that would provide significant reductions in heavy duty diesel emissions for public fleets while reducing engine maintenance and operating costs. December 8, 2010: New, more stringent federal air quality standards are expected in 2011, which could lead to increased nonattainment designations. Depending on the final standards, this rule is one potential tool to help communities reduce emissions and avoid "non-attainment" status. Ecology would consult local governments on any such rule-making.
Spokane County Shoreline Master Program (SMP)
(WAC 173-26-070
If a local government fails to adopt an updated SMP according to the schedule in statute, Ecology is required to adopt an SMP for that local government. This is accomplished by adoption of a rule. Spokane County has adopted an updated SMP. However, the document fails to meet requirements of the SMP guidelines. Ecology rule-making is the alternative if we cannot come to agreement with the county on a mutually acceptable SMP. December 8, 2010: Proceeding with rule-making is being held while Ecology works with Spokane County toward a mutually - acceptable SMP. This is our preferred route. If we cannot reach agreement with the county, Ecology will need to complete this rule to adopt an adequate updated SMP for Spokane County.
Grays-Elochoman, Cowlitz instream flow rules - WRIAs 25 and 26
(WAC 175-525 and WAC 175- 526) - New rules
Implement the locally-adopted watershed plans by setting instream flows, establishing water reserves for future use, and closing certain sensitive areas to further withdrawals. December 8, 2010: The watershed planning group is revisiting elements of its plan, and Ecology is working closely with this team to ultimately revise the draft rules. New rule recommendations could come from the group in late spring 2011.
Water service contracts - New rule Ecology is proposing legislation in 2011 to provide the option of using cost recovery contracts for work to develop new Columbia River Basin water supplies. Ecology would likely pursue rule‐making in late 2011 or early 2012 to establish the cost recovery methodology. December 8, 2010: This would provide reliable and sustainable water supplies for communities and users in Eastern Washington. Several groups that advise Ecology on water issues have given their support. This is contingent upon legislative approval.