Revision of Chapter 173-455 WAC, Air Quality Fee Rule
Public hearing and public comment period for changes to Chapter 173-455 WAC
Ecology will hold a public hearing on September 25 beginning at 1:30 pm using a conference call and video conference in three locations. The formal public hearing will follow a presentation and question and answer session. You can participate in person at one of Ecology’s Regional Offices in Lacey, Spokane and Yakima or call in. If you have called in to the conference call, you may ask questions during the question and answer session and provide formal comments.
Comments: Ecology will accept oral testimony at the video conference locations and by phone by calling in to the conference call.
The Air Quality Fee Regulation (Chapter 173-455 WAC) includes fees for a number of air quality activities. This rule revision will:
Fees for businesses that report emissions annually are being increased through the methods in WAC 173-455-040. These fee increases went into effect in 2012 as required by the 2011 legislature.
Who does this action apply to? Or which counties are covered by these rule changes?
This action applies to you if your business is located in any of the
Adams, Asotin, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, San Juan, Stevens, Walla Walla, or Whitman County. A business located in the other 22 counties are regulated by one of the seven independent local air agencies.
What is the Air Quality Source Registration Program?
Businesses that generate small and moderate amounts of air pollution must participate in the Air Quality Source Registration Program. The registration program ensures that sources of air pollution operate in a way that minimizes emissions to comply with the Clean Air Act and protect human health.
Information Ecology receives through the registration program helps us to:
Why are we increasing fees for businesses that report their emissions every three years?
Businesses in Ecology’s jurisdiction that report emissions every three years are periodic registration program sources. The Air Quality Source Registration Program currently relies heavily on state General Fund dollars. To help cover the cost and to reduce reliance on tax dollars, the Legislature directed Ecology to increase the general registration program fees. Even with this increase, the fees will not cover all of Ecology’s costs to operate this program.
Why are we re-establishing registration fees for gas stations and other businesses that emit gasoline vapors?
Gasoline vapors contain toxic and cancer-causing chemicals. They also contain volatile organic compounds that contribute to ozone air pollution, which is also harmful to health. If safeguards aren’t in place, these harmful fumes can escape as gas is transferred into storage tanks or dispensed at the pump. Gasoline vapor recovery systems are designed to prevent the escape of these fumes. But gasoline vapor recovery systems that aren’t routinely inspected for compliance with air quality requirements are much more likely to fail, putting the public at risk.
Ecology is the only regulatory agency in Washington without an air quality gasoline vapor recovery system inspection program. Ecology is the regulatory agency in San Juan County in western Washington and most counties in central and eastern Washington. (Other areas in Washington are regulated by clean air agencies.)
Why are we considering other rule changes?
Ecology is making changes that will improve the usability of the rule and make the fee processes easier to understand. For example, the rule changes clarify the process for calculating general registration program fees, consolidate registration program fees in one location, and simplify the process for updating fees in the future.
Rule Development Timeline
Code Reviser Filings
Current Rulemaking: Chapter 173-455 WAC – Air Quality Fee Regulation
Cost Benefit Analysis: Chapt. 173-455 WAC
Small Business Economic Impact Analysis: Chapt. 173-455 WAC
Rule Proposal Notice: Chapt. 173-455 WAC
Frequently Asked Questions About Chapt. 173-455 WAC
Contact: Elena Guilfoil
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