VOLUNTARY (INCENTIVE BASED)
Quality Task Force
November 10, 1999
PURPOSE: Provide recommendations to USDA and USEPA
requesting that a voluntary (Incentive Based) Air Quality Compliance Program be
developed in accordance with the following guiding principles:
Agricultural field operations are perceived to be
significant sources of PM10.
In areas that are classified as nonattainment, states are required to
bring the areas into attainment in a time frame specified by the Clean Air Act
(CAA). If a time line is not met, the
state is subject to penalties such as withholding of federal highway funds,
offsets, and Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs).
In “moderate” and “serious” nonattainment areas, all
area source agricultural operations that are perceived to contribute to the
ambient concentration of PM10 will be required to implement
“Reasonably Available Control Measures (RACM)” and “Best Available Control
Measures (BACM)”, respectively. No
current guidance exists on RACM and BACM for agricultural operations. The difficulties with specifying control
measures for area sources of PM10 are the lack of good scientific
data on the quantity of the PM10 reductions associates with specific
“RACM/BACM”. In order to appropriately
develop guidance for agricultural operations, the following research is needed:
Define appropriate and effective PM10 control measures
(potential and RACM/BACMs) for agricultural operations that are economically
and technologically feasible;
Quantify PM10 reductions resulting from the utilization of
each proposed RACM/BACM; and
Develop accurate emissions inventories for agricultural operations.
In the interim, States must include in their State
Implementation Plans (SIPS) actions that will bring nonatainment areas into
attainment within the time frame specified by the CAA. The Agricultural Air Quality Task Force
(AAQTF) recommends that the available control measures (potential candidates
for RACM/BACM) be based on the Conservation Management Practices (CMP) compiled
VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS
The AAQTF considers that voluntary compliance
programs are the appropriate strategy for agriculture. The AAQTF is proposing that voluntary compliance
programs be used by air pollution regulatory agencies for reductions of PM10
from agricultural operations in areas classified as nonattainment. The goal of these voluntary, incentive-based
programs is to provide significant reductions of PM10 emissions from
agricultural operations while sustaining long-term agricultural
production. In order for EPA to utilize
this policy, the USDA incentive-based programs must include “accountability”
and “backstop provisions”.
“Accountability” would encompass verification of participation in the
program by NRCS of “appropriate agency”.
(Farmers will self certify and NRCS will provide verification of percent
application every third year or as appropriate). Accountability would also include adequate record keeping of
plans and participation by USDA.
“Backstop” would be a failure to achieve participation credited in the
SIP which would result in a “SIP Call” and could result in a regulatory
approach by the state which could regulate individual agricultural operations.
Although the motivation for this program is to
address PM10 regulatory procedures, it is anticipated that this voluntary
compliance program could also be used for other regulated pollutants attributed
to agricultural operations.
As part of this program, the AAQTF proposed the
guidance document for agriculture production be developed that would include
proposed RACM/BACMs and estimated reductions of PM10 associated with
implementation of each abatement strategy.
It is anticipated that RACM/BACM will need to be determined on a site
specific basis. (A RACM/BACM may be
appropriate for one location and not appropriate for another.) Provisions will be made to facilitate the
incorporation of current research findings into this guidance document.
elected officials from the soul and water conservation districts as agreed to
in the USDA/EPA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) may administer the voluntary
compliance program with technical assistance, education, and training provided
by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Cooperative State
Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), land grant universities,
and the Agricultural Research Service.
resources should be provided to the local soil and water conservation districts
and NRCS personnel.
credits should be allowed based on the rate of participation (percentage of
land mass and/or percentage of cooperators participating) and should be based
on certification by officials of the conservation district on an annual basis.
should be no additional record keeping and reporting requirements on the
cooperators beyond that required by the USDA programs.
success of this policy will depend upon the states ability to comply with the
agricultural operations are utilizing economically and technologically feasible
control measures, the intent of this policy is not to place demands that will
result in adverse impacts on those cooperators.