By: Jack Peterson, ESD Associate Director
AZDA Environmental Services Division rules are codified within Title 3 of the Arizona Administrative Code. State law requires the creation of these rules and allows for revisions when necessary. Currently, all the rules are being worked on, some of these will be put together in the same rule package due to the similarity in programs, such as feed and fertilizer. There will be several rule packages opened so they can be updated as required by the Governor’s Regulatory Review process. Six years ago the rules were put off for updating due to the "no-new-rules" executive order. However, Governor Ducey’s order allows new rules and revision to current ones, as long as they meet certain requirements: clarity, reduce regulatory burden, help meet federal requirements or it eliminates rules. We believe all of the packages fall within these parameters.
Two of the rule packages, pesticide use compliance and the worker safety rules, fall into updating to meet federal requirements. These rules have been changed at the federal level so we have to update ours to make them equally as stringent. The compliance package is critical as it contains our applicator certification rules. In order for Arizona to maintain primacy, which means we do the inspections and take appropriate regulatory actions instead of EPA, we have to have an acceptable program so the EPA will play an important role reviewing our rules to ensure we continue to have an acceptable program. Although at the federal level there was a fairly significant rule change, for us in Arizona the change was minimal, as our rules already had most of the new requirements.
The feed and fertilizer program are part of the department’s non-food quality assurance program. This program is a consumer protection program. We take samples of the whole spectrum of feeds and fertilizers, the state agricultural lab analyzes them and if the samples do pass, the licensee and outlet are notified, if they do not pass, the outlet is notified not to sell the product. The licensee is notified the product in that lot, cannot be sold and what penalties are due to the consumer (farmers, general consumers) if they are known. If the fertilizer seller cannot tell us who has purchased the product – the three times the value penalty (NPK and feed), goes to the state general fund. This is a good reason to ensure your
dealer keeps good records on fertilizer sales so that if a product you purchase fails, you get what is due you.
Other rule packages in the non-food quality assurance program that will be opened relate to seed and pesticides. The final rule package that will be worked on is the native plant program. This program is intended to help conserve the native plants that grow in our very unique Arizona environment.
So if anyone has suggestions on anything you think: is not clear or easy to understand; or, has been missed to ensure everyone is operating from the same regulatory plane; or, is overly burdensome; or, will just help make the rules better. This is an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often.
You may contact AD Jack Peterson via email at: email@example.com.