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Remedial Action Grant (RAG) Rule Making

Overview

On August 29, 2014, the Department of Ecology (Ecology) repealed Chapter 173-322 WAC and adopted new Chapter 173-322A WAC, Remedial Action Grants and Loans. The new chapter replaces the repealed chapter.  The rules govern the issuance of remedial action grants and loans to local governments for investigating and cleaning up hazardous waste sites. The new chapter becomes effective on September 29, 2014.
 
To get copies of the adopted rule and learn more about the changes, go to Rule Adoption.

What was the subject of this rule making?


Ecology repealed chapter 173-322 WAC and adopted new chapter 173-322A WAC, Remedial Action Grants and Loans. The new chapter modifies and replaces the repealed chapter. The purpose of the rule making was to:

  1. Implement changes to the Model Toxics Control Act, Chapter 70.105D RCW, passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2013 affecting the remedial action grant and loan program. The legislation establishes new funding priorities for the program and directs Ecology to make several changes to the program, including:

    • Enter into extended grant agreements with local governments for projects exceeding $20 million and occurring over multiple budget cycles. Such projects would receive priority for grant funds.
    • Provide integrated planning grants to local governments for studies that facilitate the cleanup and reuse of contaminated sites.
    • Eliminate methamphetamine lab site assessment and cleanup grants and derelict vessel remedial action grants as separate types of grants.
    • Provide area-wide groundwater remedial action grants without requiring local governments to be a potentially liable person or seek reimbursement of grant funds from such persons.
    • Enter into grant agreements with local governments before they acquire or secure access to a property, provided they include a schedule.
    • Provide periodic reimbursement of the costs of independent remedial actions. 
    • Implement cash management principles to ensure budgeted funds are put to work.

  2. Make other appropriate changes to the requirements governing remedial action grants and loans (such as grant match requirements).

  3. Streamline existing requirements, improve rule clarity, and improve consistency with other requirements in this chapter or with other state and federal laws and rules (such as coordinating with agency-wide efforts to streamline and standardize grant processes).

Why was this rule making necessary?


This rule making was necessary to:

  1. Comply with changes to the Model Toxics Control Act, Chapter 70.105D RCW, passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2013, and continue to implement those changes after June 30, 2014.

  2. Encourage and expedite the cleanup and reuse of contaminated sites by local governments.

  3. Make the rule easier to use and understand.

The replacement of chapter 173-322 WAC with chapter 173-322A WAC was necessary to streamline and clarify the rule.

Who does the rule making affect?


The rule changes affect local governments that:

  • Perform initial investigations and hazard assessments of hazardous waste sites on behalf of Ecology.
  • Investigate and clean up hazardous waste sites where the local government is potentially liable or responsible under state or federal law.
  • Purchase and redevelop property contaminated by a hazardous waste site.

Why does the rule making matter?


Ecology provides remedial action grants and loans to communities throughout the state to facilitate the cleanup and reuse of contaminated publicly owned lands and to lessen the impact of those cleanups on local taxpayers. Funds for the grants and loans come from a tax on hazardous substances. For the 2013-15 fiscal biennium, the Legislature appropriated $62.5 million for remedial action grants and loans. These rules govern the issuance and performance of those grants and loans.

Were the program guidelines updated to reflect the changes in the rule?  Did the public have an opportunity to review and comment on the updated guidelines?


Yes. Ecology updated the program guidelines for the 2013-15 fiscal biennium to reflect the adopted changes to the rule. Ecology provided the public with an opportunity to review and comment on the updated guidelines.  You can view the guidelines at: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/1409058.html

How could the public stay informed about this rule making?


The public could stay informed about the rule making and public involvement opportunities by:

  1. Accessing this web page, where Ecology posted updates.

  2. Signing up to receive email notices at: http://listserv.wa.gov/archives/ecy-remedial-action-grants.html.

  3. Contacting the Rule Coordinator:

    Adrienne Dorrah
    Department of Ecology
    P.O. Box 47600
    Olympia, WA 98504-7600
    Phone: 360-407-7195
    Fax: 360-407-7154
    Email: RAGrule@ecy.wa.gov

How could the public get involved in this rule making?


The public could get involved in this rule making by:

  1. Participating in a public meeting during development of the rule proposal.

    Ecology established a work group to help determine how to implement the legislative changes and whether any other changes should be made to the existing rule. We selected group members to represent the experiences and views of those impacted by the remedial action grants and loans program. 

    We held two meetings with this work group.  The meetings were open to the public and time was reserved on the agenda for audience comments. More information is available at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/regs/wac173322/1309-workgroup.html

  2. Commenting on the rule proposal once developed.
     
    Ecology submitted the proposal for review and comment and held one public hearing on the proposal. 

Graphic: "Related Links"

Remedial Action Grants
Program
New Rules

New Guidelines (FY13-15)


Other References

Model Toxic Control Act
2013 MTCA Legislation
MTCA Rule
SMS Rule


Contact Us

Adrienne Dorrah
Rule Coordinator
360-407-7195
RAGrule@ecy.wa.gov


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