SENATE FOOD and AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE Senator Dean Florez, Chairman
BILL NO: SB 382 AUTHOR: Florez VERSION: 3/31/09
HEARING: 4/21/09 FISCAL: No CONSULTANT: John Chandler Agricultural burning: consistency with no burn days.
BACKGROUND AND EXISTING LAW The California State Air Resources Board (ARB) is responsible for implementing California air quality regulations. Current law prohibits agricultural burning unless they have a permit by a designate of the ARB. Further, the law prohibits issuing a permit on a day that the ARB or local air board has prohibited agricultural burning. Agricultural burning is commonly prohibited in the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District when the Air Quality Index (AQI) is over 150, considered unhealthy. In 2003, Senator Florez achieved passage of his 700 series of legislation targeting air quality in the San Joaquin Valley. Among the many changes that were part of the “700 series” of bills, SB 705 (Chapter 481 Statues of 2003) set forth a timeline for phasing out almost all agricultural burning in the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District by 2010. Some exemptions were permitted for the burning of diseased crops. Currently, the Valley is federally classified as extreme non-attainment for the federal 1-hr ground-level ozone, serious non-attainment for the federal 8-hr ground-level ozone, serious non-attainment for particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10) standard, and non-attainment for particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) standard. Additionally, the Valley is classified as severe non-attainment for the California ozone standard and non-attainment for the state’s PM10 standard. Federal and state laws require emission control measures in areas where air pollution exceeds standards. Local air pollution control districts, such as the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District (District), develop plans and implement control measures in their areas. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is made up of eight counties in California’s Central Valley: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin portion of Kern. The District adopted rules in October 2008 governing the use of wood burning fireplaces and wood burning heaters to limit carbon monoxide and particulate matter emissions. These rules commonly prohibit the use wood burning fireplaces and wood burning heaters between November and February when the AQI is over 80, considered Moderate pollution level.
SB 382 – Page 2 PROPOSED LAW SB 382 would invalidate an agricultural burn permit issued in the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District on a day on which the district prohibits the use of wood burning fireplaces. COMMENTS 1. Under the current system, agricultural burning is allowed on days on which wood burning in fireplaces is prohibited. SB 382 would ensure that a no burn day is truly a no burn day, for both residential wood burning and agricultural burning. Recent studies have shown that no burn days have reduced illness throughout the Valley and reduced deaths. An estimated 31 fewer deaths in Bakersfield alone are attributed to no burn days. According to the author if we are not going to let residents burn in their fireplaces, then agricultural burning needs to find some sort of symmetrical solution. 2. The Florez “700 series” will ultimately eliminate nearly all agriculture burning in the District by 2010. The Committee may want to consider the impact of this bill if most agriculture burning is already being phased out. 3. The Senate Rules Committee has doubled referred this bill to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee as the second committee of referral. Therefore, if this measure is approved by this committee, the motion should include an action to re-refer the bill to the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality. SUPPORT San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District OPPOSITION None received