State of California

Summary of Board Meeting
September 29, 1995

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

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Hons. John D. Dunlap, III, Chairman
                                                 Eugene A. Boston, M.D.
                                                 Joseph C. Calhoun, P.E.
                                                 Lynne T. Edgerton, Esq.
                                                 M. Patricia Hilligoss
                                                 Jack C. Parnell
                                                 Barbara Riordan
                                                 Doug Vagim



Consideration of Research Proposals

The Board approved Resolution 95-43 by unanimous approval.

95-10-1 Public Meeting to Consider the First Biennial Report to the Legislature on the Connelly-Areias-Chandler Rice Straw Burning Reduction Act of 1991


The staff proposed that the Board approve the draft report on the progress of the phase-down of rice straw burning in the Sacramento Valley Air Basin for submittal to the California Legislature.

State law requires that the Board and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) jointly report to the Legislature every two years on the progress of the phase-down. Since both the Board and the CDFA prepared the draft report, both agencies must approve it before being submitted to the Legislature. The CDFA announced its approval at the Board meeting.

One of the components of the report that the ARB and the CDFA must address is the recommended changes, if any, to the Act. The joint report recommends that the Legislature "pause" the annual phase-down at the 50 percent level (which becomes effective in 1996) while retaining the current phase-down schedule during the critical fall burning period to prevent smoke from causing or contributing to violations of the State ambient air quality standards for visibility or PM10. The report also recommends that, for a five-year period, growers be allowed to pay mitigation fees which would entitle them to burn additional acreage. These fees would go into a fund to research and develop alternative uses of rice straw.

The growers have met the annual phase-down requirements each year since 1992 almost exclusively by incorporating the rice straw into the soil. The report identifies, in addition to the significant increase in time and cost to the grower, many possible environmental effects in the areas of soil, water consumption, and wildlife, and recommends further study of these possible effects.

The Act states " is the intent of the Legislature that all feasible alternatives to rice straw burning be encouraged." There are no off-farm alternatives to burning now, and this situation is likely to prevail through the 1990s unless incentives emerge to encourage the development of alternatives. Therefore, rice growers will continue with soil incorporation to bury the straw, and then most will add water to hasten the decomposition.

In its initial findings, the Rice Straw Burning Alternatives Advisory Committee has identified 52 potential alternatives to burning rice straw. However, most of these alternatives are not expected to be prevalent enough to consume significant amounts of straw during the next four to six years due to economic and technical constraints. The Advisory Committee's complete report on priority goals for the development of alternative uses of rice straw is forthcoming.

The recommendations in the joint ARB and CDFA staff report, if adopted by the Legislature, would allow more time for the development of alternative uses for rice straw while continuing the phase-down of burning during the fall.


Loyd Forest                                         Rice Straw Burning Alternatives                                                             Advisory Committee

Michael Picker                                     Mayor Joe Serna's Office

Erik Oleson                                          Citizens Against Rice Pollution

Merlin Fagan, Jr.                                  California Farm Bureau Federation

Norm Covell                                        Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality
                                                            Management District

Joe A. Carrancho                                 Rice Ad-Hoc Committee

Earl Withycombe                                  American Lung Association

Robert Sutton                                       Rice Ad-Hoc Committee

Robert L. Felts                                     Citizen

Duane Peterson                                    Sacramento Valley Toxics Alliance

Dennis Lindberg                                   Rice Grower

Danae Aitchison                                   Remy & Thomas

Margaret Felts                                      Citizen

Mark Molin                                          Eco Thermal Structural Building

Bonnie Holmes                                     Sierra Club

Gary Patton                                          Planning & Conservation League

Loretta Pigg                                          Citizen

Valjean Breinke                                    Citizen

Teresa Jones                                         Citizen

Ed Romano                                           Glenn County APCO

Dale A. Secord                                     Citizen

Chris McKenzie                                    Rice Grower

Christopher Weaver                              Citizen

Marc Turtletaub                                    Citizen

Howard L. Carnahan                            Rice Grower

Lawrence Lingbloom                            Citizen


To be continued at the October 26 Board meeting.


STAFF REPORT:  Yes (336 pages)