Dear SMA rule interested parties:
Below is a message from Polly Zehm, Ecology Deputy Director, about the Governor’s Executive Order that was released today.
Until we are directed to specifically suspend SMA Rulemaking, please continue to prepare and submit your comments.
Deadline for comments is Tuesday, November 23, 5:00 p.m.
Please send comments to:
[log in to unmask] OR
WA Dept. of Ecology, PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Attn: Cedar Bouta, 407-6406
November 17, 2010
Dear Ecology stakeholder:
On Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010, Gov. Chris Gregoire directed state agencies under her jurisdiction to suspend non-critical rule development and adoption activities until the end of 2011.
Executive Order 10-06. More information is available at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/laws-rules/ECYrulemoratoriumupdate.html
Her decision to do this is responsive to what she is hearing from the broader regulated community. They are telling her they are struggling in this difficult economic climate to meet current regulations – not only environmental regulations, but others as well – and that a time-out on new rules is something government can do to help.
As one of Ecology’s valued stakeholders, you may be wondering what this means for the draft rules that are in process now. If Ecology is currently accepting comments on a rule proposal we will continue to do so until the end of the comment period previously announced. We are reviewing the Governor's exemption criteria to evaluate which rule-making, if any, will be exempt from her order. We expect the range of circumstances that might be considered for exemption to be narrow.
Much of Ecology’s rule-making work is required by the state Legislature or is in response to changes in federal rules or legislation. Some of our draft rules under way simplify reporting requirements for businesses, synchronize state and federal rules, modernize cleanup standards, and ensure local government eligibility for federal construction dollars.
The moratorium doesn’t extend to other regulatory work we do, such as permitting and policy guidance. In the spirit of the Governor’s effort to help businesses and local governments, Ecology will put increased emphasis on providing technical assistance and helping the regulated community comply with permits and other existing regulations. We will also direct additional resources to enforcing existing laws and requirements.
As we learn more about this moratorium, we will do our best to keep you apprised. You are welcome to contact Bari Schreiner in Ecology’s rules unit regarding the moratorium. We will answer questions to the best of our ability. Bari can be reached at [log in to unmask] or (360) 407-6998.