June 23, 1997 Letter from the Task Force to USDA Secretary Dan
P.O. Box 2890
June 23, 1997
Air Quality Task Force - 2nd Meeting
Dan Glickman, Secretary
U.S. Department of Agriculture
This letter provides a summary of the significant outcomes from the
second meeting of your Agricultural Air Quality Task Force held in Fresno,
California, June 17 through 19, 1997. A complete set of the minutes from
the meeting will be available for your use and information in the near
future. The Task Force was especially appreciative that Ms. Felicia
Marcus, Region IX Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), as well as Ms. Sally Shaver from EPA National Headquarters, was
able to participate in the session. Significant actions include:
A draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Department
of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency was developed and
unanimously approved by the Task Force for your review and comment. We
envision the MOU as establishing the framework for addressing
agricultural air quality issues in a coordinated manner between USDA and
EPA and for providing a mechanism for the timely transfer of scientific
information. It is our hope that this MOU can be finalized for signature
in the very near future.
There are many current agricultural air quality issues requiring
additional research. We strongly reiterate our previous recommendation
of March 10, 1997 that you consider a Departmental air quality research
initiative to provide the level of understanding this issue demands.
There must be a serious commitment by USDA to provide science based air
quality information. The Task Force has developed three areas of high
priority research as it relates to agriculture and air quality. These
are: (1) particulate matter, (2) ozone, and (3) odor. A more detailed
list of research needs required in these areas will be provided shortly.
We most seriously solicit your support to help advance this research
agenda and needed funding with appropriate members of Congress.
The majority of members continue to believe that more time is
necessary to conduct additional research that clearly defines the
consequences of agriculture on air quality and ultimately human health.
There continues to be a strong prevalence of opinion reaffirmed that it
is premature for EPA to change existing particulate matter and ozone
standards until adequate scientific evidence is obtained.
We were impressed with the voluntary efforts of the California
agricultural producers in improving air quality and in their cooperative
efforts to gain an understanding of the complex relations between air
quality and agriculture.
The opportunity to provide advice and counsel to you is greatly
appreciated. We look forward to providing you with recommendations based
upon the best scientific information available, so that our future
challenges and opportunities can be met in a reasonable and practical