Staff for the State Water Board laid out a few options Thursday for a new statewide fee structure to regulate discharges from wineries.
Industry stakeholders raised a number of questions, such as how the staff would factor in the existing winery fees from regional boards. The State Water Board also levies a variety of fees on agriculture through several other regulatory programs.
The Winery Order has not been finalized yet, which means the staff will revise the fee proposals as the regulation progresses. They expect to present more changes in September, based also on public feedback this month.
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For the Winery Order as well as the existing water quality and water rights fees, staff are pitching options to stakeholders for delaying fee increases for a year due to the economy. Yet this would lead to programs being understaffed and delays in permits, as well as a spike in fees the following year, they warned.