San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Burning
In 2003, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 705 (Florez) which aimed to phase out open agricultural burning in the San Joaquin Valley (Valley) between 2005 and 2010. As allowed under SB 705, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (District) could postpone the burn prohibition for some crop categories and materials if the District determined the postponement was necessary based on criteria delineated in SB 705, and CARB concurred. Since adoption of SB 705 in 2003, the District requested, and CARB provided concurrence on, postponements of the requirements of SB 705, in 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012, and 2015.
The District’s 2020 Staff Report and Recommendations on Agricultural Burning provided a roadmap toward a full phase-out with its new agricultural burn prohibitions, while requesting CARB concurrence on proposed postponements of burn prohibitions for certain crop categories and materials for which alternatives are more challenging to implement. CARB concurred with the District’s burn prohibition postponements through August 31, 2021, and delegated the Executive Officer the authority to provide concurrence for an additional period beyond the first six-month concurrence period, through January 1, 2025, provided the District implemented additional measures in support of the near-complete phase-out of agricultural burning in the Valley, with CARB support. The District adopted the revised 2020 Report on June 17, 2021, and CARB provided concurrence on June 18, 2021, effective through December 31, 2024. Through these District and CARB Board actions, by January 1, 2025, only very limited open burning of agricultural material will be allowed in the Valley.
In response to the near-complete phase-out of agricultural burning adopted by CARB and the District, the California Legislature appropriated $180 million in the Budget Act of 2021 (SB 129, Skinner) to CARB to grant to the District to support incentives for alternatives to agricultural burning in the Valley. This significant funding will be critical to support the rapid transition from open burning to alternative practices for disposal of agricultural biomass.
San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Burning Assessment (February 2021)
Agricultural Burning Alternatives Analysis Report (October 2021)