Release 98-59      

September 22, 1998


Jerry Martin
Gennet Osborn
(916) 322-2990
 Media Advisory
Rice Fund Invitation Extended

-- The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has extended its grant application deadline to October 19 for entrepreneurs that are interested in developing viable alternatives to burning Sacramento Valley rice straw.

All new grant applicants must attend a mandatory workshop, as follows:

Tuesday, October 6
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Air Resources Board
2020 L Street
Sacramento, California 95814

The $2.25 million, which is available for the 1998-99 fiscal year, will be awarded according to criteria approved by the Board last January. Part of that criteria requires that each applicant provide at least 50 percent of the project cost.

Because a number of potential straw users missed a mandatory workshop, and this being the last year for the Rice Fund grants, the ARB decided to offer a second workshop and extend the application deadline to October 19.

The two-year Rice Straw Demonstration Project Fund was established last year by Senate Bill 318 (Thompson), and the ARB was named administrator. This followed the 1991 Rice Straw Burning Reduction Act that required rice growers in the Sacramento Valley to phase out burning by 2000. The Rice Fund was created to help growers, businesses and others affected by the phase down find promising, commercial uses for rice straw.

Approximately 500,000 acres of rice are grown in the Sacramento Valley annually, producing about 1.5 million tons of straw. Only one percent of the unburned straw is currently removed from the fields and used, while the remaining 99 percent is ploughed back into the ground.

Click here for information about the program and grant application or call (916) 322-7297.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency.  ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.  The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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