State of California

Summary of Board Meeting
September 25, 1997

Air Resources Board
Board Hearing Room, Lower Level
2020 L Street
Sacramento, California

MEMBERS PRESENT: Hons. John D. Dunlap, III, Chairman
Joseph C. Calhoun, P.E.
Mark DeSaulnier
Lynne T. Edgerton, Esq.
William F. Friedman, M.D.
Jack C. Parnell
Barbara Patrick
Sally Rakow
Barbara Riordan
Ron Roberts


97-7-1 Public Meeting to Consider the 1997 Report to the Legislature--Progress Report on the Phase Down of Rice Straw Burning in the Sacramento Valley Air Basin


The staff proposed that the Board approve for submittal to the California Legislature the 1997 Report to the Legislature--Progress Report on the Phase Down of Rice Straw Burning in the Sacramento Valley Air Basin.
The Connelly-Areias-Chandler Rice Straw Burning Reduction Act of 1991 (the Act; Health and Safety Code section 41865) requires that rice straw burning in the Sacramento Valley be phased down and, starting September 2000, allowed only under specified conditions for disease management. Under the Act, the Air Resources Board (ARB) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) must submit joint, biennial reports to the Legislature on the progress of the phase down.

The phase down has proceeded as required. Last (continued) year the Act limited burning to fifty percent of the acres planted, and this limit was achieved. However, because commercially sustainable alternative uses of straw have been slow to develop, ninety-nine percent of the straw not burned has been incorporated into the soil.

The phase down has reduced emissions, but has not yet had much impact on air quality during the fall. Soil incorporation has increased the cost of growing rice by an average of thirty-four dollars for each acre incorporated, and this has reduced profitability. The Advisory Committee on Alternatives to Rice Straw Burning (established by the Act) has issued the finding that, at least for the next few years, alternative uses are expected to remain low, approximately two percent by the year 2000.

All parties believe that the emergence of economically sound activities that consume large amounts of rice straw will be the key to the successful implementation of the Phase Down Act. To this end, the report contains one recommendation for changing the Act--that an integrated policy be developed to support the development of rice straw alternatives involving all necessary State boards, departments and agencies working with the Legislature. This should include making funding available for the rapid development of alternatives to burning either as grants, loan guarantees, or through other mechanisms.


Ed Romano, Glenn County APCO
Earl Withycombe, American Lung Association
Joe Carrancho, Rice Producers of California
Al Wong, Arbokem Canada
Howard Carnahan, Rice Grower
Glen Camp, Enviro Board California
Ingrid Puglia, Citizen


The Board approved the submittal of the staff's report to the Legislature by a unanimous vote.


STAFF REPORT: Yes (314 pages)

97-7-2 Public Meeting to Consider a Status Report on the San Joaquin Valley Fine Particulate Matter Study

The San Joaquin Valley Fine Particulate Matter Study was initiated in 1991 to provide an improved understanding of the nature and causes of high PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations in the San Joaquin Valley and to develop tools useful to decision-makers in developing sound control plans. The study follows in the footsteps of the highly successful San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Study on ozone. The Fine Particulate Matter Study is a comprehensive $27.5 million program of air quality and meteorological monitoring, emission inventory development, and modeling and data analysis, with completion slated for 2002. The Study is sponsored by federal, state, and local government organizations, and the private sector.

The staff presentation provided background on the ozone study, outlined the study's management structure and sponsors, highlighted several of the technical achievements of the program, and discussed future study efforts. The presentation noted that the study is positioned at the forefront of national research on PM10 and PM2.5, successfully incorporates a sound technical foundation within a cooperative policy framework, and provides a unique means to leverage scarce financial and technical resources to address a highly complex air quality problem.