Program Template photo identifier

Air Quality Program

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.

  • Primary location:
    • Lacey: Ecology Headquarters, 300 Desmond Drive SE
  • Video conference locations:
    • Yakima: Ecology Central Regional Office, 15 West Yakima Avenue Suite 200
    • Spokane: Ecology Eastern Regional Office, North 4601 Monroe Street
  • Call in number: (360) 407-3780; PIN Code: 980708 #; Wait for the conference operator to connect you if the lines are full.

Purpose

The Air Quality Fee Regulation (Chapter 173-455 WAC) includes fees for a number of air quality activities. This rule revision will:

  • Increase registration program fees for businesses that release small amounts of emissions and report that emissions every three years. These are periodic registration program sources.
  • Clarify the process for calculating general registration fees, in particular fees for annual registration program sources.
  • Re-establish air quality inspection fees for gas stations and other sources that dispense gasoline in eastern Washington. Ecology’s jurisdiction does not include Spokane, Yakima, and Benton counties. It does include San Juan County.
  • Provide a method for increasing fees in the future. This change will not result in any additional fee increases at this time. It will not apply to the retail sales fee on wood stoves in WAC 173-455-060.
  • Make housekeeping changes to increase understanding of the rule and clarify the rule’s intent (for example, the rule revision will consolidate registration program fees in one location).

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 following counties:

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:

  • Maintain a current and accurate record of air pollution sources in Washington.
  • Provide businesses with technical assistance on how to comply with Clean Air Act requirements.
  • Verify that businesses are complying with air pollution control requirements.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of air pollution control strategies.
  • Gather and verify emissions data.

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

  • Develop proposal: January to August 2012
  • Propose rule changes: File rule proposal notice by August 22nd. Washington State Register publishes September 5th
  • Public comment period: August 22 – October 2
  • Public hearing: September 25
  • Target rule adoption date: November 30
  • Target rule effective date: January 1, 2013

Code Reviser Filings

  1. Rule proposal notice (CR 102) filed August 21, 2012: WSR 12-17-127
  2. Preproposal statement of inquiry (CR 101) filed December 20, 2011: WSR 12-01-098
  3. Withdrawl of preproposal statement of inquiry: WSR 12-11-132
  4. Preproposal statement of inquiry (CR 101) filed May 23, 2012:
  5. WSR 12-11-133

Stakeholder materials

Links

  1. Current Rulemaking: Chapter 173-455 WAC
  2. Chapter 173-455 WAC, Air Quality Fee Rule
  3. RCW 70.94.151, Washington Clean Air Act
  4. Second Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1087, Section 302(2) on page 99
  5. Third Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2127, Section 302(9) on page 135
  6. Air Quality Small Business Extreme Hardship Fee Reduction draft form

QUICK LINKS:


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

Proposed Rule

Contact: Elena Guilfoil
(360) 407-6855