Under state law (SB 705), open burning for agricultural crop categories are required to be phased-out under a prescribed schedule, unless certain findings are made with respect to the availability of funding and economically feasible alternatives to open burning. As required under Rule 4103, every five years, the District must review and make recommendations for Board determinations pursuant to state law regarding the phase-out of agricultural burning in the Valley. In accordance with these requirements, In December 2020, the Governing Board approved the 2020 Staff Report and Recommendations on Agricultural Burning (2020 Report) and directed staff to submit this report to the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
On February 5, 2021, CARB staff published their recommendations regarding the District’s 2020 Report, and on February 25, CARB approved their staff’s recommendations. This CARB action included full short-term concurrence with the Districts 2020 Report and recommendations through August 31, 2021, longer-term concurrence with many of the District’s 2020 Report recommendations through 2025, and additional criteria for longer-term concurrence beyond August 31, 2021, including a timeline for the near-complete phase-out of open burning for the majority of remaining crop categories by January 1, 2025 (with some exceptions such as diseased crops). Additionally, in supporting their concurrence action, CARB highlighted and affirmed the critical role that the state plays in securing needed state incentive funding to support the transition, and addressing barriers to the establishment of new bioenergy solutions.
In accordance with CARB’s concurrence action, the District developed the Supplemental Report and Recommendations on Agricultural Burning (Supplement), which established an updated schedule for the near-complete phase-out of remaining agricultural open burning in the Valley by January 1, 2025. The District’s Governing Board approved the Supplement at its June 17, 2021 meeting, and on June 18, 2021, CARB provided concurrence.
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