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USDA Air Quality Task Force Minutes

Draft

3/3/99

M: Meeting called to order by the Designated Federal Official (DFO) and procedures presented. Meeting turned over for opening to our Chairman, Pearlie Reed.

PR: Good morning and welcome to all of you. This is the fifth official meeting of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force. I think it would be appropriate if we start with self introductions and the only rule that we have is that you can say anything that you’d like to say, as long as you don’t talk anymore than about six seconds. So, Dr. Erickson, we’ll start with you.

LE: I’m Larry Erickson from Kansas State University.

SW: I’m Stephanie Whalen from Hawaii Agricultural Research Center.

JT: I’m Jim Trotter, farmer, from Illinois.

SS: Sally Shaver from EPA.

KS: Keith Saxton with Ag. Research Service in Pullman, Washington.

MC: Manuel Cunha, Nissei Farmer’s League from California

BQ: Bob Quinn, Eastern Washington University, Meteorologist

JA: John Ash from North Carolina, farmer

EB: Emmett Barker, Equipment Manufacturer’s Institute, Chicago

TC: Tom Coleman from Huntsville, Alabama

BF: Bob Flocchini, University of California, Davis

JM: Jerry Masters, Arkansas Pork Producer’s Association

BH: Bill Hamilton, California

TF: Tom Ferguson from U.C. Davis

PW: Phil Wakelyn, National Cotton Council, Washington, D.C.

AS: Annette Sharp, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality

PB: Phyllis Breeze with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Air Pollution Control Division.

GM: Gary Margheim, a special assistant to the chief of NRCS.

GB: George Bluhm, DFO, National Meteorologist, NRCS, Davis, California

(Note: John Sweeten and Calvin Parnell were present for the meeting, but were not available for the roll call. Kendall Thu and Clinton Reeder were not present at the meeting).

PR: Chairman Reed. We have one other official act I think we need to perform this morning. We have certificates of appointment from the Secretary for each one of you. Gary and George are going to lead me through delivering those.

Why don’t we read the first citation here so everybody knows what it says.

It says United States Department of Agriculture, Certificate of Appointment, Annette Hathorn Sharp is appointed to the 1999-2000 Agriculture Air Quality Task Force to provide Counsel on national air qualities issues relative to the Production of Food and Fiber, March 1999.

Certificates were handed out.

PR: Chairman Reed: The next person on the agenda is Jim Trotter. Jim, with your permission, I’d like to delay your presentation until approximately 11 o’clock. As we discussed, one of the reasons why we asked you to make this presentation was to provide a better understanding to the secretary, or to the deputy secretary of the breadth and the scope of the air quality issues and we had hoped that the secretary would be here this morning. He’s not here, but the deputy will be at 11, so if you would agree to make your presentation at that time I think it would be most helpful. OK. The next person on the agenda is John Beyer who will discuss the charter and the charge. John.

JB: Thank you Pearlie. I’m John Beyer. I’m an area conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service out of Fresno, California and had the opportunity to work with the air quality individuals in California that were interested starting back in 1987 with Manuel Cunha, Mark Boese from your Air Pollution Control District, Dennis Tristao, Roger Isom with the Cotton Growers and Cotton Ginners. So that’s a little of my background. I have also been assigned here for the last two weeks preparing for this meeting and George gave me the opportunity to make this quick presentation. We’ll start with a few of the whys and wherefores of this committee.

Let us start out with the public law that was passed by Congress establishing the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force (AAQTF). I do believe there are seven new members on this task force. Under the Farm Bill Section 391, it stresses inter-governmental cooperation and oversight as a major goal for the effort. I’m not going to read this but on the second page, at the top under D, there is a lot of the direction as to establishment, composition and the duties of the task force. The Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pearlie Reed, has established this task force to address agricultural air issues. This AAQTF is made up of farmers, federal employees, industry representatives and experts in the field of production agriculture and human health. And the duties are that the task force shall advise the Secretary with respect to the role of the Secretary for providing oversight and coordination relative to agricultural air quality. So the law does leave it quite broad and open for interpretation. Moving down to the department regulations, the charter also gives further guidance to the air quality task force. In general it just gives the purpose and the background a little more enhanced than the law. We need to move to Item #5 on the second page on there. Under that the AAQTF will advise the Secretary of Agriculture regarding the knowledge of the scientific basis of the impact of agriculture on air quality. Many of you are in the research field and that is under duty A, (Strengthen vital research efforts related to agricultural air quality) on there strength of the vital research efforts needed related to agricultural air quality and that’s a prime directive. I guess duty B (Determine the extent to which agricultural activities contribute to air pollution) is very important to me because I’m out in the field working with the farmers and landowners trying to determine how are we going to implement some of the practices that affect agriculture. Hopefully, after the research has determined what levels of generation of particulate matter comes from agriculture then we can sit down with industry, sit down with the growers and determine what practices should go on the land and that’s duty B. Duty C ( Determine cost effective ways in which agriculture industries can improve air quality) is key for the field. And then coordinate research between agencies so that we don’t have duplication and we have insurance of data quality and so on. So, that’s the departmental regulations in regard to this task force.

There is one more piece of, guidance and that is a letter from President Clinton to the heads of agencies. I will pass this out for your reading. It does clarify that administration agencies are directed to work together in their air quality research efforts and I think that’s one of the tasks of the AAQTF, to insure that there is coordination of research. And directed by the President in his letter of July of 1997. .

That’s essentially the background that we have for the purpose of the task force and the tasks that are to be taken and completed by the task force. Pearlie, that is the end of my presentation.

PR: OK, thank you John. Are there any questions, comments, at this time? OK. There being none, With that I think we need to move on to the next item on the agenda and that is the FACA Rules with George Bluhm.

GB: There’s only a couple of things that we need to talk about relative to the FACA Rules themselves that you need to know and I’ll cut them very short because Dr. Ferguson would like to present some health aspects of where we’re at and what’s the latest thing that’s been put in the health journals. The first thing about the FACA Rule, is the issue or reason the FACA was needed. Our issue is, does production agriculture do something that is causing an air problem that is in tern causing a problem with human health or welfare. That is the issue. So then you separate that issue down to who the stakeholders are and you separate it into the different components and then you try and get representation from each one of those stakeholders areas of responsibility. In this case we have health advocates at the table, we have farmers at the table, we have industry at the table and we have scientists at the table. And this year we have, a little different than we had last time, we have a little more representation from extension. As we appoint sub-committees and the sub-committees do work, the work cannot be accepted by the combined body until they come back to a public meeting. So this means the public should be informed at all times of what’s going on. No recommendations come from this body unless the full body meets and agrees with, no matter what staff work is being done by a staff committee. So, with that said, if there are no questions about the general, overall FACA Rule, and if you have specifics about that I’ll talk to you individually and be of whatever service I can. Are there any questions? If not, I’d like to turn it over to Dr. Ferguson and let Dr. Tom Ferguson present what he has to do.

TF: Great. This will actually be fairly short. One thing I’d just like to reinforce is that there’s been quite a few more studies of the health effects from particulates on populations and I’d like to get some copies of those. They’re generally reinforcing the early studies. That is, there appears to be a low level effect on mortality. The difficulty still is to sort through what aspect it is of the small particulate is causing the problem, but that fraction certainly seems to keep coming up. Some of the studies have also shown that there is an oxidant effect and that is impacting mortality. If you have interest, I can arrange to get some photocopies of those studies. The other issue that I think is very important, especially as we’re hearing about the importance of working with other organizations in the federal government that are working on this topic, the NRC was involved in getting the committees together to study research priorities and that’s been in conjunction with the EPA and other federal agencies. I think it’s rather striking that when I look at the research in the appendix and I don’t think there’s any of the USDA projects in there. So, I would certainly recommend that we let NRC (National Research Council) know what we’re involved in. I think we may be reinventing the wheel here. They did come up with ten recommendations or ten things that the NRC committee approved. And they’re going to continue to meet, I think, for another couple years and this was the first of four reports. I think they’re supposed to have another one at the end of the year. I haven’t seen that. Is it out yet?

M: It’s not out.

TF: It doesn’t seem to be on the web. I went ahead and copied the executive summary there for you. Their ten most wanted list. How does the outdoor measurements of the fine particulate link with the actual human exposures. One of the other ones was, are there exposures of susceptible sub-populations of toxic particulate and what is in the particulate that are causing the problems? I thought it would be good for you all to at least look at the summary and this is available on the web at the National Academy of Sciences, I think it’s a worthwhile read.

Are you interested in any of the health effects studies that have come out? They are reinforcing what the earlier studies produced.

PW: Phil Wakelyn. Do any of them tell us anything about biological plausible explanation for what might be taking place?

TF: Tom Ferguson. My review of them is that they’re pretty much modeled after the original studies, but looking in other areas of the world, there was one from the American Journal of Public Health done in South America; another one done I think in Australia. Again, that’s been a real issue and it’s an issue for the NRC. You know, you’d love to be able to know what it is about these small particulate that causes the problem. I mean I suspect it’s going to be something that’s adsorbed on to them or it’s been possibly linked to heavy metals. It could be ozone, even, adsorbed onto those particles. One of the issues that the NRC was concerned about was that our present technology for measuring particulate we may be missing a fraction, or since we don’t know yet from an animal or a human exposure model, what it is, we may not be measuring what we should be. We may not be setting standards to protect health because we’re not sure what it is yet. Especially, they really suggested lightening up on the measurement of particulates, but strengthen the animal studies and human exposure studies. At least that was what I seemed to read. They’re recommending a lot more funding in those areas so we can find out what it is about that fraction causing health effects.

MC: Manuel Cunha. The question I have is that maybe since this is our fifth meeting of this task force, third year, that maybe it’s time that we invite or we participate in the National Research Council’s activities and give them a report because this is an agency of a task force that reports to the Secretary of USDA. This is a task force that is very important to what happens in agriculture across the country. We definitely don’t want to have bad science, or no science representing agriculture and suddenly we refrain cows from walking across the corral, you know. But I think it’s important that this task force be a part of what’s going on with that. This upsets me because I do know that there’s research going on in California for the last several years that this agency has spent about two and a half million already just in our own state and not even excluding Washington state and even Texas and even Kentucky that I think it’s kind of disappointing that nothing is in there about what agriculture has done and maybe it’s time this task force have some representation on that national council, as well as do a presentation probably to that council and let them know what we’re doing, that we are alive, and we do have blood running through our veins. And I think it’s important that we get that to them.

PR: OK. Emmett.

EB: Emmett Barker. You mentioned this relationship and the EPA and this committee. Is this not covered under our MOU between USDA and EPA. I thought that was one of the big issues was to avoid this kind of thing. As of a matter of fact that’s one of the specifics it sets out in this guideline from both the White House and then this, this communication between agencies doing this research. I guess, my question comes back to how has this fallen through the crack, between our MOU with EPA and USDA, if it has? Maybe it hasn’t!

TF: Ferguson again. I may have misspoken. I think this is completely separate from the EPA, but part of the charge, as I understand it, is to assemble what’s happening out there right now, put together and the air quality and health effects issues and I was struck, at least on this initial run through I didn’t see anything from the USDA. I don’t know what forums are allowed. I’m certain there must be a way that we could have input of some sort.

EB: Barker again. Maybe Sally you could speak to this, or somebody else. Isn’t the NRC funded by the government?

SS: Right. That’s correct.

EB: So we have a relationship there that exists contractually, in fact, if not in fact in spirit, don’t we, in this whole memorandum?

SS: Right. This is Sally Shaver with EPA. And actually Mr. Chairman, I have a person from our Research and Development Office who will be here tomorrow and I would like to share some of my time with him because he can discuss some of the, what’s going on with the NRC as well as the CENR subcommittee on air quality. I think that would be very helpful for the task force to hear some of that information which would elaborate on what Tom has brought up. So if I can defer that until my time tomorrow.

PR: Pearlie Reed. If there are no objections, Sally, we will proceed accordingly tomorrow. Any other questions for Tom? Dr. Parnell?

CP: Calvin Parnell. I don’t know whether I heard you right, but if I heard you right I’m extremely frustrated over here because as Manuel says it takes years doing research on air quality and what we hear is a recommendation that we go forward with a focus on the health effects and de-emphasize the measurement of the concentration – whoa, wait a minute. What we’re talking about here a regulation that basically says, we have a measured concentration PM2.5 and there’s some health effects associated with that and we, of course, at Texas A and M are doing work on the accuracy of that measurement and we’re finding there’s some significant errors associated with the accuracy of that measurement. And if we have a measurement that’s inaccurate and then we turn around and say, well we’re going to focus on health effects and de-emphasize on the measurement of the concentration seems a little bit illogical from this poor old Texas Aggie.

TF: Ferguson. I don’t want to speak for the NRC and I’m sorry if I stepped on anyone’s feet here. But my reading of this was a genuine concern from the scientists on the committee was that you know we really haven’t figured out what it is about this fraction of these particulate that are leading to health effects. So, we’re measuring this, but we’re not sure what it is in that that’s causing the problem so before we get too far along on that we really have to have a link with the health effects. The human exposures, the animal exposures, and they think EPA should be given more funding to do health effects work in addition to particulate work. That’s where the emphasis seemed to be, if you read through this, we’re so far along here, wait a minute – what are we measuring and why?

PW: Phil Wakelyn. Have any of these new studies used the federal reference method sampler? That’s one of the things that Dr. Parnell, I believe, is getting at is that of all the studies that were in the data base before, none of them used the federal reference method sampler. And that’s something that’s just being deployed now. We really don’t have data. You say it’s 2.5 – that’s sort of an arbitrary cut from something where you pick that number. You said they talked about ultra-fine. Well, maybe we’re more interested in that. But we absolutely, to do a proper study, have to measure what you’re talking about and know something about what you’re talking about to relate it. But if you just have any sampler that you say "has a cut off and measures something" and then we relate it with an association. That doesn’t really tell us anything. You have to accurately define what you’re talking about, which is the injurious material, even if we don’t know what the injurious constituent in that material is.

PR: Pearlie Reed. I need to interrupt. In order to maintain the appropriate order and to recognize everybody that wants to speak, I’m going to ask that you place your name tag up the long way when you want to be recognized and I will do my best to recognize you in the order which you asked to be recognized.

TF: Should I answer that then?

(TAPE SEEMS TO JUMP AS IF IT HAD BEEN TURNED OFF AND ON AGAIN HERE)

From Lowell’s notes:

TF: Tom Ferguson. The studies used technologies from the late 80s through the early 90s.

LE: Larry Erickson. Measurement and characterization is critical. We need to know what’s in it and what’s harmful. Biological material and endotoxins are important.

JS: John Sweeten. Page six of the executive summary of the NRC report calls for peer review of PM2.5 monitoring networks. There is no mention of agricultural sources or exposure. We should echo the desire for peer review and be a part of it.

RF: Robert Flocchini. Echoed Larry’s comments. We need speciation, but not at the expense of sampling. It’s not an either/or choice. We must know what we’re sampling and what’s in it. NRC probably doesn’t know USDA funds air quality research.

AS: Annette Sharp. Most state plans are already in and the public comment period is over.

EB: Emmett Barker. She hit on a critical issue. States already made plans and we don’t know what they are measuring.

AS: We’re not able to speciate yet. We’re just planning for mass measurements now. States have one year to start. They’re now in the data collection mode. We need three years to complete it.

CP: Calvin Parnell. If the measurement is inaccurate and puts an area in non-attainment, problems arise. Agriculture has overlooked air quality. States must currently plan with inaccurate data until better data comes along. How can we end up with fair regulations using inaccurate data?

PB: Phyllis Breeze. In response to Emmett Barker, the focus of monitors is on populated areas. But Calvin is right. If we find problems, we have to regulate as best we can. We’re finding problems with the federal reference method sampler.

SS: Sally Shaver. The ambient network requires 850 mass measuring sites for NAAQS compliance. We’ll have 300+ speciation sites, and 7 or 8 supersites with extensive measurements. The 800 will be placed in populated areas with little to no agriculture focus. We can deploy special purpose monitors.

MC: Manuel Cunha. The NRC report is the second of four. We’ll have two more opportunities to have input. We need to let them know we’re here.

PR: Do we need to have a health subcommittee? I’d also like to correct an earlier statement. This is the 6th meeting of the Task Force. We’ll be in session for two days.

TF: Tom Ferguson. I’d like to reiterate that we need to provide input. It is not just a health issue.

– End of Lowell Ashbaugh’s notes & return to transcript –

M: I think our real expertise here is in the sampling, perhaps, in helping them understand what we’re involved in now, what speciation might involve from our perspective, but whatever that forum is I think we have to head forward now because we’re already. We don’t have any input now.

PR: Chairman Reed. We go to Stephanie, then Phil, then Larry.

SW: Stephanie Whalen. Some comments, I’m wondering if the studies, the ones that I have seen before were mostly from urban areas and that had indicated that the particulate matter was a problem and, Tom, you had indicated that there was more studies, but it seems like most of these epidemiological type studies are being done in urban areas and none are being done in the rural areas. So that concerns me considerably since we are talking about the importance of speciation and we’re really probably talking about different chemicals. When we had the ambient air quality standards for ozone, SO2, etc. we’re dealing with single chemicals. When we’re talking about PM specifically now we’re talking about particles delivering, as has been said earlier, possibly different chemicals. I would expect very much so that the urban environment would be delivering those particles, would be delivering different chemicals than the rural environment. And I think that’s a basic problem here in that it is not typical that, at least in these standards, that EPA has looked at them as a multitude of problems. Like PM presents themselves as opposed to single problem like ozone or SO2, so, just to accentuate what’s being said here, I think it’s two problems. I had a little bit of background in toxicology and I need to go back and look at this, but it was always my understanding that when you get down to very small particles they don’t impact in the lung. They go in and they go out because they’re essentially dealing with Brownian Motion, so there’s no impact. They do not get delivered to the lung and there is a specific size range that is more probable of impacting in the airways and getting delivered. That’s partly the reason for the 2.5 micron level, because 2 micron was the highest delivery particle in the spectrum of small particles. So I think that kind of addresses some of the questions that have been brought up. But I’m happy to hear that EPA is doing some sites for speciation, but again there’s been no emphasis in the rural area. It’s a low populated area, but I think the particulate in that area is going to be significantly different than the particular in urban environment. If we don’t have enough studies in that area then, agriculture will be swept along with the urban environment for quality air. In fact, in Hawaii the studies, the monitoring that’s been done, both in the urban and rural areas, and in spite of the fact that we burn sugar cane on a regular basis there the particulate matter has always been less in the rural environment than in the urban environment. Although no speciation has been done. There’s been a couple of studies done by EPA.

PR: Chairman Reed. Thank you.

PW: Phil Wakelyn. I was interested that Sally said that they had 300 sites out for speciation. It’s my understanding the federal reference methods sampler doesn’t collect a sample sufficient so that you can do speciation on it. Of the samplers that are available, EPA chose not to accept the sampler that Dr. Flocchini’s developed that you can do speciation with. But it measures something different than the federal reference methods sampler. I think EPA recognized that, is why they didn’t use it. Dr. Parnell has done a good bit of research in this area. So, are you really doing with apples and apples or are you doing with apples and oranges when you do speciation on samples that are not measured the same. In other words you absolutely have to characterize and know what you’re measuring the sample that you collect before you’re going to do any speciation on it and show that it’s relevant to what the federal reference methods sampler is. The federal reference method sampler is used, it’s not that it measures only PM 2.5, but what it measures to be PM 2.5 and, therein, the sampler determines what the injurious constituent is, that is, PM 2.5 and not because that’s just what it measures or that particle size. In other words, a lot of what Dr. Parnell’s research is doing and what he’s talked about is we absolutely have to know what we’re dealing with if you’re going to do epi-studies. Dr. Ferguson mentioned that they use samplers back from the 80’s and 90’s. Those absolutely were not measuring 2.5. So you get associations with extrapolations from extrapolations. I don’t know what that really tells you. The fact that they are seeing something indicates that there is quite likely something there. But the biological plausible explanation of what’s taking place. There aren’t even good postulations. We have something from NRC that has a list of ten different things that they’re going to look at. In other words, it’s really pretty much of a fishing expedition that people are talking about. Sure you talk about biologicals, biologicals are part of all kinds of things. People talk about endotoxins. Endotoxins are related to a lot of organic dust diseases. But what you have on the westcoast, and the mid-west and the far west are all different things. It’s a very complicated situation and if we’re going to get into the health aspects of it, we absolutely have to be able to measure what we’re talking about and relate that before we can do anything else.

PR: Chairman Reed. Thank you. Larry.

LE: Larry Erickson. I would like to ask Sally a question. In terms of these supersites and 300 speciation sites, are things like pathogenic organisms and endotoxin and virus, will they be measured?

SS: No. We don’t have plans to measure those at this time.

PR: Chairman Reed. OK. Emmett.

EB: Emmett Barker. We’ve talked quite a bit about this issue before with our committee having to do with the basis for the science in this widely debated, discussed, challenged and everything else associated with the ozone standards, the particulate standards and so forth. And the health effects aspect of it. It seems to me we’re in a unique position to do and our charge is to help focus this on the agriculturally related issues, and I think Dr. Parnell has brought that into a useful perspective. We’re talking about the measurement’s effect in the equations that are used. I would respectfully suggest that one of the things that we try to focus on in here is what is unique or different about agricultural activities that would have an impact on location of the monitors. That would make a valuable contribution in determining how this could be or should be applied and, Cal, it would direct efforts to the kind of research we’ve already talked about that we need in agriculture that is not there. I’m in favor of letting the science and the health institute and all these other people debate which one of these particulates has caused the problem, if any, and how much of it, but I think we need to look and say, well, within agriculture, we’re accepting responsibility here. What is unique or different or special that needs to be considered as we go forward, by whomever is going to regulate agriculture, and deal with that. I wonder if our committee could talk to that a little bit, Mr. Chairman, before we break up when we leave here.

PR: Pearlie Reed. Thank you. Bob.

BF: Bob Flocchini. This discussion kind of reminds me of something we did, I guess a year and a half ago and I was asked to give kind of Air Pollution 101 to this group. First thing I wanted to correct the record. I thank Phil for crediting me with the development of the Davis Sampler, but that was a joint effort so I want to spread that responsibility and credit to the entire group. This also reminds me of a discussion I, probably an ongoing debate, had with one of the former executive officers of the California Air Resources Board and the argument settled around the whole issue of when you’re in violation and what does it mean to violate a standard. And I think that Stephanie raised the question and it’s a very valid question. Is the particulate matter the same in a rural area and in an urban area. The answer is absolutely not. I’ve done 20 years of collection. I have samples from urban areas, from rural areas, I know the speciations are not the same. That executive officer, and I won’t name him here, argued that it didn’t matter. The standard is being violated. And I argued with him and I think Manuel witnessed these arguments for two or three years and I finally learned that as far as he was concerned they were the same because the regulation says particulate matter less than 2.5 microns, particulate matter less than 10 microns. So if you had a number that exceeded the federal standard or the State of California standard, you were in violation. It didn’t matter if it was all silicon. It didn’t matter if it was all arsenic. It was violated in terms of the regulation. I think the challenge that we face, and again I’m going to go back to speciation, is important. Total mass is one parameter. It was stated that every time you measure PM 10 , you don’t know what the constituents are. You have a parameter. Total mass. What’s that made up of? It can vary. It varies day to day at the same location, it varies site to site. It’s absolutely critical that you understand what makes up that component. And, therefore, you can analyze if each of those components is injurious to human health or just one of the components. So again I’m going to go back . I think everything that we’re saying is absolutely critical, but remember when you address these two regulations, and our regulators in this room. They are faced with keeping the standard as stated. Gravimetric mass, 2.5. Gravimetric mass, 10. Researchers, however, are not limited to that and I think we still have to go forward and examine the constituents of the samples we collect. Understand what they are and do whatever we can to determine if those constituents in our areas are injurious to health.

PR: Chairman Reed. Cal.

CP: Calvin Parnell. I had a plan coming here that I was going to limit my discussion this morning. Let me give you some examples for the new members here of some of the kinds of problems we’re faced with. We had an emission for grain elevators and feed mills that was 10 pounds per ton. We had a situation where the state, a different state than Texas I might add, was going to classify all the grain elevators in the state as major sources. They were going to charge $25 per ton of every ton that was emitted from that facility and they were going to generate something like two million dollars for the state regulatory. They didn’t say that was regulating air pollution in the state. That was really going to be good because they could hire a bunch more engineers, do a whole lot more regulating and have a bigger agency and etc. Only problem is that the ten pounds per ton really was not accurate it should have been .3 pounds per ton based on research done subsequently done at A&M and duplicated other places. .3 pounds per ton and ten pounds per ton was viewed by some as saying well, that’s just tweaking of the number. Think about that. That’s tweaking of the number. More recently in a different state than Texas they have decided to using dispersion modeling, I might add, but we’re doing some work on research on dispersion modeling at A&M to determine or estimate what the concentration was at the property line of that facility. I had some conversations, thanks to Ms. Shaver, with an individual at Research Park, North Carolina. He says that’s exactly what the regulation meant to be used for and Dr. Wakelyn and I were losing our cool and having a conniption fit. For those of you that don’t understand that, I’ll explain that at the break. About using dispersion modeling to estimate concentration at the property line and saying you must be within the max at the property line. Now, another number, EPA has an emission factor that is wrong yet EPA will not change it. In AP42 cattle feed yards and we have a few of those in the state of Texas, AP42 says something like 280 pounds per thousand head per day. Listen folks at that level the elevation of the yard would go down and the level of the yards go up not down. You know that number is a bad number. We worked to find a more accurate number and we have yet to get the EPA to change it. We’re fighting over the science. But there’s some issues here that can greatly impact agriculture. And when I talk about agriculture, I’m not just talking about farmers. I’m talking about the grain elevator people and the feed mills and the cotton gins that are an integral part of agriculture. For a real life example, an agriculture process facility, because the dispersion model depicted that the concentration would exceed the max, 150 microgram per cubic meter PM10, they were not going to allow the operator to have a permit. What impact does that have? That facility would not be able to operate next year. That’s the kind of problem we’re faced with right now. We’re talking about significant serious problem right now with the regulatory process. Thank you Pearlie.

CP: Thank you Dr. Parnell. On your conniption fit thing, I’d rather you’d explain it, and not have one. This might be a good time for us to take a break, but before we do I think we need to plan to, Emmett, try to bring this to closure tomorrow after we hear the discussion and decide where we go from here. So we need to put a enough discipline in the system so that we make sure that happens. George, do you want to share with the crew where facilities are the coffee, etc.?

GB: Manuel, would like to explain the contributions from the California Group?

MC: Yes. The first thing is I, also, I know some of us talk a lot so you deliberately didn’t bring water here so that would curtail us and we think that’s the best method. So, Parnell, you and I and Wakelyn and Emmett will be curtailed because we’re not going to have any water so very good move George. I want thank of course USDA itself – we have from California some apples from one or our growers on Frank A. Logoluso Farms called Pink Lady. They’ll be out on the foyer for you, as well as chocolate covered raisins and almonds that are from one of our dehydrators. We were going to bring more, but not knowing the plane trip and the weather conditions, we certainly don’t have any peaches out yet, but there’s some fruit out here and stuff to help your self and please help yourself to it.

PR: Manuel, when we scheduled this meeting we thought the secretary would be with us and, for those of you who don’t know, when he is in this room, the prohibition on beverages and things like that is suspended.

MC: I know.

PR: Why don’t we take about a 15-20 minutes break and try to be back at 10:30.

– BREAK –

PR: Chairman Reed. When he arrives, we will suspend whatever we’re doing and enter into a dialogue with Secretary Rominger for 30 to 45 minutes. So the next agenda item will be Gary Margheim. Gary.

GM: Gary Margheim. Just a couple of things, particularly for the new members. We in the federal government tend to throw around acronyms so much. George used the word FACA – Federal Advisory Committee Act. Just for, I noticed a couple of people were wondering what that was, but it’s the act, the federal law under which we must operate these meetings. And in that regard there’s another one. DFO. Designated Federal Official. And the Chairman has designated George Bluhm as our Designated Federal Official to this committee. Each FACA committee has to have one so for you folks that were wondering, that’s what a DFO is and that’s what FACA is. OK. I’ve been asked to give a couple thoughts on the past activities of the committee. Yes?

SW: Stephanie Whalen. One more acronym in some of the literature that that was passed out,

NARSTO – It wasn’t in the document. What does that mean?

GM: I’ll be honest with you. I don’t know.

SW: National - North American something?

GM: I’d like to know that too.

SW: It must be North American.

SS: Sally Shaver. It’s North American something, I don’t know, I’ll get back to you on that.

GM: Gary Margheim. Depending on how you look at it, it’s either wedding day or a happy anniversary. It was exactly two years ago today, March 3, that we had our first committee meeting of the Advisory Committee here in Washington DC. I would say we’ve done wonders in terms of, at that time we met in small conference room in a hotel in northwest Washington and we’ve elevated ourselves to the Williamsburg Room here in the Department of Agriculture.

It was exactly two years ago to the day that we did start a journey, a journey to provide the secretary and I think that’s important, particularly for the new members to keep in mind that what we’re doing is providing the secretary with recommendations. Recommendations that he can use in terms of policy decisions that might affect air quality and agriculture. Over roughly the past year and a half the committee did meet, as Pearlie said, five times. And during that five times - and I’d also say there was a lot of sub-committee meetings, but during that course of five meetings I would characterize the outcome of the previous task force as three major things in assisting the Secretary. First of all, no pun intended, but they did raise the visibility of air quality and its relationship to agriculture, to the policy level, more than it had ever been previously. Second of all, one of the major activities that it took was to recommend research priorities for both agriculture and EPA. Those were basically looking at the national ambient air quality standards for PM 10, the national ambient air quality standards for PM 2.5 and ozone and then animal based odor. Those were the three priorities, if you will, that the previous committee established and, in addition, recommended 20 million dollars increase in funding both in USDA and EPA for research targeted to air quality. The third thing is, this committee worked very hard to develop a Memorandum of Understanding that Secretary Glickman and Administrator Browner signed. And I believe Emmett is absolutely right. That MOU and for the new members I think you need to take a look at that MOU because it’s still in effect – it establishes a broad framework for cooperation between the two agencies, departments if you will, in terms of air quality and how we’ll coordinate research and cooperate. So that was three or four major activities that the previous group undertook. Let me look into the future and give you my crystal ball. And I’d also like to say one thing about the previous committee, Mr. Chairman, if there’s two people that always agree, there’s no need for one of them to be on the committee. There was a lot of good candid discussion and there will be disagreements, but everybody respected the professional opinion and ultimately what we provided is credible science based recommendations to the secretary and not something based on emotional fiction. I can’t stress how important the words, credible science, are in terms of as this group makes recommendations to the secretary. Let’s look ahead a little bit, at least in my crystal ball. And I think, Mr. Chairman, it’s certainly up to this committee to decide whatever they want to do, but air quality certainly still is, in fact, elevating in terms of national concern, in particular as it relates to agriculture. Undoubtedly, the discussion we had this morning – there are still concerns about the monitoring. How we monitor particulate matter, but I think such things as agricultural burning – and we have a sub-committee on that and carbon sequestration – global warming. What’s the role of agriculture in animal odor. With the release of the President’s clean water action plan activities is taking on an elevated importance. I think this group needs to look in terms of implementation strategies and we started a little activity on that, albeit biased towards voluntary approaches, if you will. There’s a need for both voluntary and regulatory approaches, but making recommendations on how agriculture can be responsive in terms of voluntary programs to address air quality issues. So I guess what I’m saying, I think there’s a lot of work for this committee to do. As I look into the future, I think each of us should extend professional courtesy to and learn from others and, ultimately, the bottom line is we need to provide the secretary credible recommendations based upon sound science so he can make the appropriate policy decisions as it relates to agriculture and those air quality activities. Mr. Chairman it looks to me like we’ve got a great group here. I think they’re going to be very productive and I look forward to working with them.

PR: Ok. Thank you very much Gary. The next agenda item, reorganization of task force committees. I’m going to ask George Bluhm to walk us through that.

GB: Thank you Pearlie. This is George Bluhm. As we change committee members we have sub-committees that we need to fill in some of the slots. First of all we have three committees already in place that were in place from before. The research oversight committee, James Trotter was the Chairman, Manuel Cunha, Dennis Tristao, Phil Wakelyn and we have slots for a scientist and a health advocate on that committee to complete the balance. Do we have volunteers? OK.

LE: This is Larry Erickson. I would volunteer in the scientist slot.

GB: OK. Tom?

TF: Dr. Ferguson, health.

GB: OK. In the voluntary programs committee, Dennis Tristao was our committee chairman, Phyllis Breeze, Calvin Parnell, Sally Shaver and Phillip Wakelyn were the committee members and that represents balance on the committee. Is there anyone, other members who are interested in serving on that, we’d give you that opportunity. Manuel? Would you like to, too?

MC: Manuel Cunha. Could you just tell us what all the committees are so we know?

GB: OK. Last time we only had three committees, the Research Overview, the Voluntary Program sub-committee and the Burning. Those were the three that we had last time. As Gary talked, we had thought about and had talked in the past about having a new one on Confined Animals and Animal Emissions. Another one that comes to mind is Climate Change and another one that we addressed this morning was Monitoring. And another one that would come to mind as we go through this year, but may not be needed right now, might be Haze. So I’ll go back. I named the voluntary program one, and there is a balance there, is there anyone else that would like to serve on the voluntary program one. Bill Hambleton volunteered. On the burning sub-committee that we have, Dr. Quinn is our Chairman, Dennis Tristao, Calvin Parnell, Phyllis Breeze, Clinton Reeder and Manuel Cunha presently on that sub-committee. Are there any other volunteers? That does represent balance. OK. We have two. Thank you. The question then becomes one of, do we want a Confined Animal volunteer, John Sweeten has volunteered to chair such a committee. John, would you like to say just a few words to try and encourage people to volunteer to work with you?

JS: John Sweeten. Well, yeah, I’m always good for a few words. There are a number of issues before us and as mentioned earlier, odor is one of them and a second issue is one of feedlot dust. That was mentioned by Dr. Parnell this morning. A third issue there is the release of ammonia from manure handling in storage facilities and feeding surfaces. That also plays back into the possibility of secondary particulate formation. Other issues there that can be associated with confined animal operations are, as with many enterprises, the possibility of release of some of the so-called "greenhouse gases". These are some of the areas that they play into. One of the things that we do extremely well in the United States of America is feed animals. We’re the meat market of the world. And it is a sector that is extremely important. It is a sector that’s massive. It is a sector that provides a great boost to our economy and, yet, there are management practices in both air and water quality that need to be acknowledged. I think that there has been large sums of money spent on water quality protection from confined animal feeding operations. Tremendous amounts of public policy are being put into place at this time. There is, from the Vice-President's level on down to USDA and EPA, a joint unified strategy for water quality. There is not an air quality counterpart. Nor is the science as well developed, not anywhere near as much funding for air quality and I think that one of the things that we can do and must do as we move forward in the next few decades is that what we do to abate water quality is consistent with what should be done to protect air quality. At this same time recognizing this excellence that we have in America of producing meat in animal products.

GB: Thank you John. This is George Bluhm again. Do we have volunteers? Has John sufficiently indoctrinated all of you to jump up and be motivated? Looks like we’ve done well. By the way Clint Reeder was sick and could not come. He is in the second day of a multi day sickness. Flu bug of some sort. But, he volunteered, for your committee John over the phone last night.

GB: So Clint Reeder, Jerry Masters, Bob Flocchini I’ve got, Larry Erickson, Phyllis Breeze, Tommy Coleman….

M: Did you get Bill Hambleton?

GB: It looks like we’re going to have a very active committee there. Since we’re getting to the place where we’re talking about committees we may need in the future, but we may not be actually set them up today, I think we just would say that on the monitoring thing we agreed to let that wait until tomorrow. On the haze issue, that is sometime that will be coming up, but we don’t necessarily need to set a committee right now. And the climate change thing, we have a volunteer to come to our next meeting and present a complete case for that issue, so I just wanted to bring those up to put them on the table so that you had those on your mind. Although they’re not necessarily one of the committee. Calvin?

CP: Calvin Parnell. I just want to bring an issue here. One of my concerns is that we don’t get deluded in terms of our effort in working on areas that are not really related to air quality, air pollution and I’ve had this discussion with others that represent a different segment than I tend to represent. But we look at carbon dioxide. It’s not a regulated pollutant in terms of air pollution. We look at a number of greenhouse gases that are not air pollution regulated air pollutants. When we get into greenhouse gases and worry about the greenhouse phenomenon, we are diluting, in my view, our efforts. And we need to be careful that we don’t spend a lot of time on something that is not our charge.

JT: Jim Trotter. A couple, three issues. I disagree with Cal over here on that, about the greenhouse gases and so forth. We are also looking at odor, which is not a regulated emission at this point and, as a farmer, this type of thing does interest me a great deal. I have some concerns in that area. Maybe some opportunities exist in that area. There are not many chances to have input into this debate. And I think this committee does give us a chance, then, to have input. Going back here to a little bit of housekeeping, George. Are we going to be able to get each other’s members? We’ve had their e-mails and fax numbers and so forth. Will this be sent around or whatever? (GB:yes) And then Gary, in your presentation you mentioned that we had requested 20 million dollars in funds from the USDA and from the EPA as a part of our recommendations. What has happened to that?

GM: Gary Margheim. Jim, I think the deputy might be able to answer that when he comes in. I don’t want to upstage the deputy, but I think he’ll make mentioned of that, but if he doesn’t I’ll answer the question.

M: Ok, Sally?

SS: Sally Shaver. I think I must have been dozing on the job here. But when you mentioned the burning sub-committee, I’m not sure I heard my name, but I would like to volunteer for that as well. Thank you.

M: OK. Emmett?

EB: Emmett Barker. I would like to second Jim Trotter’s comments about what I’ll call the climate change opportunity. I feel that if this is handled properly, this climate change effort could significantly benefit the American farmer.

 

EB: Emmett Barker: I’ve suggested to some other people that we talk about carbon sequestration and all these sort of things for agriculture where there is an economic opportunity. I think that this committee is in a unique position to offer some good advice to look at this with a broad range of scientific investigators and with practicality from the farmer’s standpoint, and, from time to time, maybe throw a little cold water on the enthusiasm, lest we get running away with the idea so much. So I would hope that either at this meeting or, certainly by the next meeting we give a little more consideration to our role as an Advisory Committee, because I don’t see how the Secretary of Agriculture is going to escape being brought into this one way or another. Calvin, I would suggest that there must be some role in which this committee can offer some thoughts and guidelines. Because I don’t know where else a group is better formed than this group, with the multiple people, interests, and ideas we have to offer. Perhaps a special committee ought to be appointed from Agriculture to deal with this beyond what we are. George, last year, last time, didn’t we have a kind of strategic planning committee with two or three or four people that were looking to keep all of these different sub-committees, work committees tied together so that we achieved some objectives at the end of the day or the end of the session or whatever. I think I was on it, plus a couple more people—Phil and Manuel, I think. Is my memory faulty on this or did we have something?

PW: Phil Wakelyn: There were many people providing input during the day, but I don’t think there was any official sub-committee named for that purpose. However, there were several of us working on making sure that that got done and, hopefully, that will continue.

PB: Phyllis Breeze: Just a point of clarification on Jim Trotter’s comment about odor. It is becoming a big issue. Colorado recently passed an odor regulation for air quality, and it does have a water quality component, too. There are many other states that are looking at the issue, so I think it’s an important one for us to discuss.

SW: Stephanie Whalen: I also agree with Jim Trotter and Emmett Barker, and I would like to volunteer for the Research Oversight Committee.

BQ: Bob Quinn: I share Calvin’s concern about dilution of our efforts. But I also think the whole climate change issue is a big one, certainly at the national level and certainly in the political arena, and I think it’s one that we can offer some advice and consent and expertise, after we get some staff presentations. So while I am concerned that it take over too much of our time and duties, I think there’s a role that we can play in it.

PR: Chairman Reed: Before we move on to Cal and Manuel, I have one issue I’d just like to throw out for a little feedback. I would like to see us consider agreeing to, at the end of the day of these sessions, re-capping what we’ve talked about and try to come up with some kind of list of things we’ve agreed to do so that we all leave here with the same understanding relative to where we’re headed. Is there anybody that would object to us doing that? OK. So, I will order that it be done. George, at the end of the day, before we close out, we need to recap today’s events and then tomorrow, today’s and tomorrow’s events, and try to have some kind of agreement on those.

CP: Calvin Parnell: I want to reinforce what Phyllis said. Odors are a regulated air pollutant and they are regulated on nuisance standard. But I would appreciate it if all my distinguished colleagues here would quit disagreeing with me. I might add, I testified to Congress twice to oppose the PM 2.5 standard, but we have a PM 2.5 standard. That shows you how much influence I have on this issue. But one of my concerns is, if we do odor work, let’s make sure we don’t confuse regulated pollutants with greenhouse gases. I had a discussion with an Environmental Defense Fund representative one time who wanted emissions inventory from the air pollution regulatories in the State of Texas on carbon dioxide. But carbon dioxide is not a regulated pollutant. Let’s make sure when we talk about greenhouse gases that we don’t confuse them with regulated pollutants.

MC: Manuel Cunha: Basically, if we’re going to do six or seven committees, the problem that I saw in 1996 through 1998 was not allowing this task force the ability to meet and to discuss these issues in a frame to get things done. Sub-committees were impaired on times to try to get together because this group only has a budget of $50,000 and the issues you’re taking on are huge issues that affect the entire industry of agriculture at all levels, from animal waste to air quality. I think we need to present to the Deputy Secretary the importance of providing the funding to allow this task force to meet. In 1997 and ’98, this task force made a tremendous impact, getting the NAAQS standard recommendations, getting a voluntary plan through, getting a memo of understanding (MOU), which, given history, you would have never thought could have happened between USDA and EPA. But our biggest problem was we couldn’t meet enough, and these issues are of such magnitude that we need to have input from the public. We need to have input from the Advisory Committee. We need to be involved with some of these other national groups that are meeting and making publications. But we do not have the resources to do that. And either this FACA group should be a part of the USDA budget or it should move into the agency of NRCS where Pearlie is the Chief. That’s the place it really should be to give us the opportunity to have more meetings because under the FACA requirements we’re going to have our hands tied again. It’s going to be frustrating, as it was in ‘97 and ‘98 when we ran into a criteria we couldn’t meet. So, I think we need to get that message across that this is a valuable resource to the Secretary and it’s going to need the resources to make it happen. Several of us do not charge the agency for our time or travel; that’s a commitment we have. Some of you can’t afford to do that. You’re farmers or private individuals and we understand that, and that’s why the money’s there. But if we’re going to have these committees, then we had better have the funding to support the committee to meet and to talk about these issues at a level of, as Gary Margheim said, credible, scientific results. We cannot rush through because we only have two hours to meet and we have to make a rush decision. We can’t do that with what we’re dealing with here. We are dealing with farmer’s businesses in this United States. With El Niño activities to everything else, we’ve got to do it right. We are going to need the proper funding and it seems that the FACA does not meet that and that needs to be discussed today, Mr. Chairman, if it’s appropriate. I think we need to figure this out with the Deputy Secretary.

The Deputy Secretary comes in.

Richard Rominger, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture: I want to congratulate all of you on your appointment or re-appointment to the re-established task force on agricultural air quality. I think those of you who are new members already know, probably, that this is a pretty dynamic group that has done some good work and focused on some important issues in the last couple of years. I just wanted to mention some of the things that the task force did in their first term, and they certainly tackled aggressively the charge that they were given by the Secretary. The members developed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to facilitate cooperation on all the agricultural air quality issues, and that MOU was signed by the Secretary and by Administrator Browner. As a result, we have staff from USDA, NRCS, the Forest Service, the Agricultural Research service, and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service all meeting regularly with EPA staff on agricultural and forestry air quality issues. So, you gave us a big push in getting more cooperation there. You also, of course, recommended some priorities for air quality research here at USDA, and that resulted in a proposed ARS initiative on air quality and the FY 2000 Budget. Now, I know we never get as much in our budgets as you would like to see in this particular subject or as others would like to see on other subjects as well. We always fight the constraints, but the USDA’s response to the air quality initiative is to conduct research to gain a better understanding of some of the processes of particle and odor emission. Whether it’s from agricultural burning or animal production facilities, additional efforts are going to focus on improving technologies to control or mitigate those emissions. The research will also be conducted to determine the physiological and economic impacts of tropospheric ozone on crop production and how ozone exposures interact with some of the other environmental variables—carbon dioxide, for example, or pest and pathogen activity. So we’ve got a two million dollar increase proposed in the research budget for the coming year—as I say, not as much as you would like, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

I understand the task force is currently working on recommendations on agricultural burning and guidance for an air resource voluntary program. I’m sure you’ll discuss which other issues you’ll want to tackle in the next two years here.

As you know, this task force was established in the 1996 Farm Bill, and its purpose was to oversee and coordinate agricultural air quality issues. At the time, the legislators were particularly concerned about PM 10, but, as you know, agriculture faces many additional air quality issues on top of the PM 10 issue. In the last two years, odors associated with animal feeding operations have become a major public policy issue in a number of states—North Carolina, Iowa, and Indiana, just to name three. We’ve got prescribed fire in the west beginning to increase in order to reduce some of the high fuel loads on our public forest and range lands, so agricultural burners are faced with increased competition for burn permits and tighter controls with respect to some of the regional haze and visibility issues. As the National Research Council studies the health effects of PM 2.5, scientists are focusing on ammonia. Over 80% of the ammonia emissions come from crop and livestock operations, so that’s one issue on which more work will occur. Other challenges include ozone and greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. In the case of greenhouse gases, we think agriculture promises to be part of the solution through carbon sequestration in the soil and in a greenhouse gas trading scheme that has been proposed by some. Soil carbon may become a new source of income for farmers. That’s an issue we need more research on as well.

So, the task force has plenty of work cut out for it. I’m sure issues will continue to arise, such as the proposed new rules to curb emissions from light trucks and diesel vehicles and lower sulfur levels in gasoline. There’s probably going to be no end to the issues that you’ll be looking at. In the past the task force has commented on the impact of some of these proposed rules on agriculture, and I’m sure that you will do the same thing in the future. But the Department is committed to improving agricultural air quality and finding cost effective ways for producers to meet the existing and, in some cases, new National Ambient Air Quality Standards and to mitigate some of the greenhouse gases. We’re depending on this task force to assist us with direction on research and in developing cooperative, voluntary, positive approaches to addressing agricultural air quality. We at USDA are looking forward to continuing our relationship with you and continuing to working with you to solve some of these tough problems. I want to thank all of you for being willing to spend your time in participating in this task force and helping us all do a better job.

PR: Chairman Reed: Thank you Mr. Secretary. Do we have any questions or comments that anyone would like to make?

LE: Larry Erickson: In animal production there is a significant concern with biological airborne particulate matter, endotoxins, and micro-organisms, and these problems are also in other parts of agriculture as well. From the discussion we had this morning, I think there may be some question as to where the research should be done to address issues such as biological airborne particulate matter. Certainly these problems are important to agriculture, but they’re also important in other parts of society; we have large wastewater treatment plants that are sources of biological airborne particulate matter as well. Does the Department of Agriculture intend to fund this type of research, or do you have a place where you think it should be funded?

Deputy Secretary Richard Rominger: You can probably answer some of that question better than I can, but we always have a limited number of research dollars and when we take on a new project, it usually means that something else that we’ve been doing is going to get less money. We’re always looking for other sources of funds and, in many cases, we’re successful in getting funds from EPA to add to our research dollars on some of these new projects. We would welcome any recommendations that you have on the best and most efficient way to do this. In some cases NIH is working on some of these things as well, but we do need to get as many dollars as we can into these new areas of research.

PR: Chairman Reed: We now have a short presentation by Jim Trotter that we postponed this morning.

JT: Jim Trotter: I’m a farmer from Illinois. I appreciate the chance to address the task force here today. A couple years ago, when I was first invited to this task force, one of the first speakers was Calvin Parnell. Calvin started speaking in Ag. Engineering language at about 100 miles an hour and then he started picking up speed. Dr. Flocchini started addressing the group in technical terms that I’d never heard before, and I thought, what in the world is Trotter doing here? After two years I still wonder that at times, but I’m happy to be here and taking part representing agriculture—the farming end of it. When I first came on the task force, it seemed to me that most of our problems were western problems, like the PM 10 issues; we heard a lot from Manuel and the people out west. I wasn’t really concerned. As long as it was Manuel’s ox getting gored, better his than mine. But now that I’ve been on the task force a little while, I’ve come to a different conclusion on this. Using some materials that have come from the EPA and USDA, I hope to illustrate that it’s not just a western problem, it’s a problem that concerns agriculture clear across the United States.

This was a study done by the USDA on the average annual soil erosion by wind on crop land and CRP land. Look at where the colored areas are located. Keep in mind where problems might be. Does this have an impact on our task force on agriculture? A number of the issues that the task force has looked at deal with livestock. Dr. Sweeten has addressed these quite well. Let’s look at where the livestock concentration is in the United States. The red areas are the highest in the numbers of animal units in the counties. Look at the distribution. I think we’d have to say this is an issue that can affect all of agriculture in the United States in just about every area. The odor issue. The ammonia issue. The odor issue goes beyond scientific data. It’s an emotional issue out in the country, and it’s dividing farmers, it’s dividing neighbors, it’s dividing families. I live right here in Illinois. Two counties to the north it’s been reported that there were shots fired through windows of a pick-up over this issue where a family was fighting internally over the possibility of a big hog operation going in. So, it’s an emotional issue that we need to address, as well as scientific that we need to be aware of in the agricultural community.

We’ve talked about haze issues and their impact. Let’s look at Class I areas and where they’re at in the United States. We do see a large concentration in the west. The question is, how is that going to impact those of us in production agriculture? It’s an issue we need to stay on top of. This is the classified ozone non-attainment areas. You can see where they’re at. If a farmer is in or close to one of those areas, what effect is it going to have on him? Is it something we need to address? I think it might be. We need research, again, and help on implementing and getting the farmers to get around these problems.

These are areas currently designated non-attainment under pre-existing PM standards. Now, I’m not well qualified to talk to this like somebody with the EPA or some of you that do this for a living every day. We do see quite a bit out here. We also know there are not many monitors in this area. So, does the problem exist there or not? We don’t know. But again, it’s an issue that affects all of us. Think back to that first map that I showed you on windblown erosion. On the PM 2.5 issues. Darkest color indicates the highest quarterly average; lightest color, a little less. Where do we see the darkest color? Toward the east coast, rather than the west coast.

I hope that in making this brief presentation today we all become a little more aware, as I have become while on this task force for the last two years. It’s not just Manuel’s ox. It’s all of our oxen that perhaps could get gored by this.

MC: Manuel Cunha: The issues that you brought up in your presentation are areas that this task force is looking at now, has looked at in the past, and will be looking at in the future. This is quite a different task force in that it is so new to all of our industry in agriculture across the nation and very new to EPA. EPA has done research in the past, many, many years ago. At times, some of the EPA research people forgot to go to the farmer. They didn’t really understand what a farm was. And that has definitely changed in the ‘90’s. EPA has been tremendous with Sally and Robin and other folks there to say we need farmers at the table. We need to look at the research. As Mr. Trotter just pointed out, we need to have everybody at the table to understand what’s going on because the task before us is so complex, and it’s so new, that research is the key mechanism because what’s out there is not as valid. A majority of it does not pertain to agriculture, from an urban versus rural setting, from a cow walking across the feedlot, from a cow walking out on a range.

In this committee process, the biggest problem we have had was trying to meet frequently enough as members of this task force and sub-committees to do the most accurate thing for the Secretary: giving him a recommendation based on solid science, research information, and data. Doing those things requires time and resources. We do appreciate the two million dollars that has now been appearing in the Secretary’s budget for air quality. Yes, it does not meet our requested ten million from USDA and the ten million from EPA. But those are processes that we all work through. On the agenda, prior to the Deputy Secretary coming here, we also looked at several major task forces or sub-committees: the research committee; the voluntary compliance program for the PM 10’s and those plans that are being developed now with the backstops; agricultural burning across the nation and in line of what the wild land fires forest service is doing; animal waste, a very huge issue from the water part of it to the air issues; haze; monitoring; and climate changes. Those committees are an integral part of what we are trying to understand in this whole complex issue of air quality. But we need the proper resources for this FACA committee to function over the next two years because Sally, along with Robin, are dealing with the new NAAQS standards. All these other regulations that each of the different states are trying to implement under their state "SIPS" to meet the PM 10 mandates to meet the NAAQS standards. We will be meeting more than we ever have before so that we can pull off the best recommendations to the Secretary and follow forward to Ms. Browner. It’s frustrating when we only have $50,000 under the FACA, but we understand the law and the regulatory part of it. Is there some part or way that maybe this group could also be involved in the NRCS program by putting the proper funds in the NRCS budget so that when the FACA runs out this group can then meet as a public forum and continue in getting funding from NRCS? We need to appropriate more funding for this group to meet because of the technical issues that merit its request.

Deputy Secretary Richard Rominger: Well, as you say, you understand the FACA limit that Congress has put on us. They’ve put a cap on the amount of money we can spend on advisory committees and we’ve got, I think, thirty-some advisory committees at the Department, so we have a tough time funding the advisory committees. Congress, on a couple of occasions, has added more money for a particular advisory committee. But unless they do something like that, we have to live within the current law. We’re always looking for ways that we can help fund some of the tasks of the task force. I don’t know whether Pearlie has had a chance to explore your suggestion for ways that we might fund some of this, but we have to make sure that we stay within the parameters of the current law. Spending money on the advisory committee out of other NRCS funds I think would be a problem, but we’ll certainly take a look at all of the ways that we might be able to augment what you’re doing.

EB: Emmett Barker: In the equipment manufacturing industry we’re quite interested in what’s taking place in California in the CARB activity out there on the diesel engines. While this committee is structured to focus more on some of the research needs, there are other issues that go on beyond that. It is generally considered in our industry today that the way CARB is going now, and probably with some support from EPA on the health effects from particulates from diesel engines, that there’s a strong movement underway to essentially ban the diesel engine from use in California. One alternative to that is to change the fuel formulation in diesel, reducing the sulfur in it. Any way you go about this, it’s going to raise the cost significantly to agriculture. Since California is still, I guess, our number one agriculture state, the impacts on agriculture would be very significant, like limiting how many trucks could be at a produce stand, at a processing center, food distribution center, how many could be on a given stretch of highway at any one time under certain levels, and so forth. If they reformulate the fuel, obviously that’s going to cost a lot more money. Who, where, and how in USDA are these kinds of air quality issues being addressed from agriculture standpoints?

Deputy Secretary Richard Rominger: We do have the Office of the Chief Economist here at USDA, and one of the responsibilities that the Chief Economist now has is our cost benefit and analysis office. We have been beefing up the activities of that office and getting some scientists involved there. Any proposed major regulation has to have a cost benefit analysis by that office, so that’s the place where we’d find out what the impacts would be. This committee’s liaison with that cost analysis group is Keith Collins. Just send a request to Keith’s office that you’d like to talk about what that office is doing.

PB: Phyllis Breeze: I’m Phyllis Breeze and I work for Colorado’s air quality regulatory agency. One thing I think we should probably keep in mind for both the short-term and the long-term planning calendar is that as we continue to gather a lot of good information and build the case for solid science for agriculture, we need to get this information out to the state air quality planners so that when they are making decisions about non- attainment areas and putting together state implementation plans, they can base it on this information. It can filter down from this group and from the MOU process so it’s important to get that information to the state regulatory agencies.

Deputy Secretary Richard Rominger: That’s absolutely important. And, I’m sure Pearlie, as Chairman of this group will make sure that all of this information gets down to the people that need it. Thanks for the opportunity to visit with you here this morning.

PR: Chairman Reed: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I have one order of business that we might want to address before we break for lunch and that’s the approval of the minutes from the last meeting on August 18. [The minutes are approved.]

CP: Calvin Parnell: One quick comment for the new members: let me say that I really had some reservations getting on this task force because I spent my entire career working on air pollution. I mean I’m one of those nerd professors who has been working on this stuff for 25 years. I was extremely frustrated that we did not have the attention of the USDA, and we did not have real large funding at Texas A&M in this area either. Then when somebody called me and said, Calvin, we want you to be on the task force, my first question was, are you going to do anything? Yeah, we’re going to do something. But I had questions. And I really questioned whether coming to Washington D.C. and coming to these meetings was really going to be beneficial to the people I work with—the farmers like Jim, and cotton ginners, and cattle feeders, and people who work grain elevators. Is it really going to have an impact? Well, I want you to know that this was a really rewarding experience for me. It really was. I met people like Manuel Cunha and actually understood what he said. It’s been a fun thing to do. Now people don’t agree with me. Jim Trotter over here, he says, you know I don’t agree with what Calvin says. That’s the way it should be. If somebody says something that you don’t agree with, stand up and speak out. But we can have an impact. That’s what the point I want to make is. Take it seriously, and we can work with Pearlie, who’s providing outstanding leadership, and with the Deputy Secretary and the Secretary. We can have an impact.

LE: Larry Erickson: I was listening to the interchange on the funding for this committee, and I noticed in the minutes that the last meeting was by telephone conference call. That’s certainly less expensive both in time and money than bringing us all together face to face. I appreciate the opportunity to meet face to face with all of you, but I do think that if we’re short on funding that we certainly can at least do a lot of business with telephone conference call and that can be quite effective and I think it’s a way for us to move forward in a very positive way if we have a limited budget.

GM: Gary Margheim: Folks, before you break, I’d like to recognize Russell Laird. Russell works on the House Ag. Committee and was instrumental in getting the legislation passed in 1996 that, in fact, established this task force.

PR: Chairman Reed: I think it would be helpful to provide an opportunity for the guests to make short self-introductions.

Ray Sinclair: My name is Ray Sinclair. I’m with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Carol Whitman: I’m with NRCS and I’m an air quality specialist here at headquarters.

John Byer: John Byer, State Conservationist with NRCS out of Fresno, California.

Dick Amerman: Dick Amerman from the Agricultural Research Service and National Program Staff at Beltsville, Maryland.

Al Dedrick: I’m Al Dedrick, National Program Staff. I work for Agricultural Research Services also.

Melvis Grey: Melvis Grey from the EPA employee with Sally and Robin.

Liz Rogers: Liz Rogers, and I’m with the NRCS in Connecticut and I’m an RC&D Project Coordinator.

Lowell Ashbaugh: I’m Lowell Ashbaugh with the University of California at Davis and I’m conducting research for USDA and also responsible for the IMPROVE program.

Ross Rodgers: I’m Ross Rodgers from the Arizona Governor’s Ag. Task Force.

Jeff Schmidt: I’m Jeff Schmidt with the NRCS and Arizona Community Assistance Coordinator.

Jim Sogelman: Jim Sogelman, North Carolina Division of Air Quality. You mentioned the odor rule before, or odors before, we just had a rule past.

Diane Vern: I’m Diane Vern, I’m with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mark Boese: Mark Boese. I’m the Deputy Director for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control Unit.

Mark Boyd: Mark Boyd. I work for Del Marva Poultry Company of Owenville in Maryland and we are here for a week just to listen and see wherever you consider as big issues.

Gary Baise: Gary Baise. Lawyer, I’m am here for the Equipment Manufacturers Institute.

Bill Satterfield: I’m Bill Satterfield. I’m Executive Director of Del Marva Poultry Industry Incorporated, the trade association for the chicken industry in Delaware, eastern shore of Maryland, eastern shore of Virginia.

Robin Dunkins: Robin Dunkins, Environmental Protection Agency . I’m a team leader for particulate matter implementation and responsible for Agricultural Issues.

 

PR: Chairman Reed: I’d like to just re-cap the agenda for this afternoon. We have Dennis Tristao, Manuel Cunha, Ed Knipling. And then, for the three o’clock slot here that’s shown on the agenda, we want to move Dr. Sweeten up to talk about confined animal feeding because he can’t be with us tomorrow. Dr. Quinn has agreed to do that. And then we’re going to have a summary, action register kind of thing by George Bluhm, and then we’ll go into the public input and Carol will lead us through that.

DT: Dennis Tristao: I’m an industry representative on the Task Force from California and actively involved in farming all of my life. I’m active with the California Farm Bureau, Local Farm Bureau, and Cotton Growers Association. From the perspective of those groups, I would like to start out today by building your informational base, especially for the new members, of the genesis of some of the issues that led to the formation of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force. First off, I’ll concede this: most of the thunder for the presentation I had to give has been taken out with discussions upon the importance of state implementation plans and time frames involved for those implementation plans to be submitted to the federal EPA. In the case of California, what we were faced with in the early ‘90s was the requirement for our local air districts to submit to the federal EPA the state implementation plan which would contain strategies for control of particulate matter less than 10 microns in size from agricultural operations. Ag. operations were targeted as a major source contributor to the PM 10 emissions inventory; there were local concerns in the San Joaquin Valley, but also in other areas. The dilemma was coming up with enforceable rules to be placed in plans that EPA would be able to approve and that, by de facto, the industry would be required to implement. There was a dearth of research information that would reliably quantify emissions from agricultural sources. Dr. Parnell has given comments on the reliability of emission factors presented by EPA for agricultural tillage operations, which were a primary concern in our region. There was an absolute, complete dearth of information. We could not find any reliable data which could be used that was accepted either by the industry or, we can say, by the regulatory agencies themselves. The issue was, with farm operations, when a regulatory agency is attempting to devise a command and control strategy, the first thing that the farmer will ask, as we asked, was, does it work? Does it actually address the problem? That answer couldn’t be given. When that answer couldn’t be given by the regulatory agency, the credibility of that agency comes into play because there’s a lack of respect for the program in general. We want to establish a cooperative relationship with a regulatory agency. This is the ‘90s. We’re heading into the new millennium. Industry cannot survive unless we all together address these issues in a cooperative manner, and there has to be recognition that decisions made that impact farmers are based on sound science and it’s something that we all can accept.

So, in the early 1990’s, from the agricultural perspective in California, in the San Joaquin Valley, when we were looking at the potential of being regulated by an agency that is currently comprised of individuals who are non-agriculturists, alarms and red flags came up. We see what happens with other industries. Farming industry is completely different. It’s separate from a stationary manufacturing site on which emission controls can be placed. What we were looking at was bringing agricultural interests into this regulatory arena, and one "friend" with whom we had a working relationship throughout decades since the early ‘30s was the old Soil Conservation Service, now the Natural Resource Conservation Service. The relationship with the NRCS led not only our Ag. interest groups but others into their fold. And why was that? Because the NRCS has a reputation for voluntary strategies backed up by sound science. If we review their field technical guidance, we see that all of the recommendations and practices in there are backed up by scientific research. The NRCS works cooperatively with farmers, not in a command and control position, to identify the problem, work with the agricultural interest, and come up with a workable solution. In our opinion, it was a win/win situation. It came down to how can we involve the NRCS with the federal EPA and take advantage of the local contact that the NRCS has with the agricultural interests and regions of the nation.

With that brief background we’ll fast-forward now to the Air Resource Voluntary Program. Our recommendations as presented on August 18 were an accumulation of the efforts of the sub-committee and the task force as a whole. We tried to bring forth this Air Resource Voluntary Program into the realm to be recognized by the regulatory agencies, specifically EPA and the individual states, that with agricultural operations there is a need to have sound research and to identify practices. I would also add that for air quality purposes, we’re not necessarily out there to regulate nuisances, but rather to regulate the particulate matter on which the standard is based, PM 10 and 2.5.

Ergo, this was the genesis for not only my involvement in this, but I believe Manuel’s and others that came from the western United States. Of course, as we delve into the issue we see that it’s much more, has much more expanse to it than our limited exposure and where we were at. The recommendations that we came up with on August 18 were basically a shell, which needs to be refined in order for EPA to approve the program in general and to allow states to have their state implementation plans approved, which, as in our state, an implementation plan is based upon a research program with a time line for the implementation of any proposed control strategies.

I want to emphasize these six points that we raised on August 18. First, there should be a coordinated research effort and development of innovative technology to support conservation management practices (CMP) implementation. This term fits in line with the NRCS’s terminology for what they use for conservation management practices, as opposed to best management practices. In my opinion, we want to get away from the term "best management practices" because BACT—Best Available Control Technology, as it’s referred to within EPA—is different from region to region. The conservation management practices are part of a "holistic" approach to a farm system, which I believe is the manner in which this needs to be addressed. Some activities can be controlled through engineering modifications, and in the San Joaquin Valley and other areas, they have been addressed with cooperative research efforts with equipment manufacturers. A case in point is the almond harvesting equipment manufacturers in the San Joaquin Valley. USDA and EPA should provide adequate funding to support this effort. This is based, in part, on the research committee’s recommendations. In order to get the program initiated on a national level and research performed at the local and regional levels, both the USDA and EPA need to provide adequate funding. And the industry, for the most part, and other participants can provide their support in acquiring this funding, which has happened. The policy should be based on sound science. A research methodology should be followed in whatever discipline, whether it be in the confined animal operations or whether it be in the agricultural tilling operations, if we are going to regulate a specific activity. First and foremost it has to be demonstrated that there is a problem and, second, there has to be a solution to that problem or a strategy which will actually decrease the criteria pollutant that is in question. Voluntary, incentive-based programs that have a positive effect on air quality should be supported and encouraged. Again, identifying the conservation management practices and the support programs that are available through the USDA is a win/win situation for producers to develop alternative practices to employ on their farms, as long as those practices are credible, and in our opinion, they are credible if the practices are derived from the USDA and implemented through the Natural Resource Conservation Service through their outreach activities.

One item that I wanted to add here, which has been discussed in the past with this group, is that voluntary, incentive-based programs through the NRCS are also administered through the Resource Conservation Districts. RCDs are a very active, grass roots organization throughout the United States and, in the San Joaquin Valley these organizations are becoming more active. In the past, RCDs enjoyed farmer participation. We anticipate that with regulatory activities, that it’s an opportunity for grass roots from the RCDs to become involved and establish working relationship in implementing any control strategies that are developed. Industry leadership of conservation management, development, and implementation should be encouraged. In the opinion of the sub-committee and, I believe, of the Task Force, if I can be so bold as to make this statement, for any regulatory program to be successful, there has to be involvement from the impacted industry or regulated community. I think that around this table, what we have is industry leadership in this effort. There are many individuals here who have taken time through their industry association or through personal time to become involved in this to ensure that we have developed a win/win situation. Voluntary programs must have accountability and backstop provisions to protect air quality. This issue is one in which we need the participation of the federal EPA and, by extension, the state and local regulatory agencies. Voluntary programs must have accountability—i.e., there must be an emissions reduction that can be attributed to the practices and, secondly, if the practices are not instilled, there must be some counter-measure employed as a backstop. Those are, I believe, the charges that we still have to identify, both here in this task force and again outside this task force through the agencies.

One area I want to get into now is that a drawback to the state implementation plans, from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, has been the statutory time line involved with their submittal and implementation. As we know with the PM 10, for those areas designated as serious non-attainment, which the San Joaquin Valley and other areas are, there was a provision established for an extension for compliance to 2006. In the case of the San Joaquin Valley and, again, in the south coast and other areas, strategies have to be implemented and enforced by 2004 in order to demonstrate two years of compliance before 2006. This is a very, very aggressive program. When we talk about, in some instances, what may be a basic change in agricultural practices, we as a group I believe, need to work towards identifying those practices currently undertaken by agricultural operations which, in and by themselves, with their own merits, improve air quality. Minimum tillage is one, but yet we must be conscious and sensitive to the fact that every practice that is developed cannot immediately be implemented in the field because it takes years to monitor the implications of changing agricultural practices, as opposed to having one practice researched one year and the next year implemented and there are different conditions. So by recognizing farming systems, we can hold out operators as examples for what works and measure the impact of those operations, and lessen the impact on other agricultural operations and operators. I want to go back to the discussion on the State Implementation Plan (SIP) and the time frames by perhaps going through the process that the San Joaquin Valley has used. I’d like to take the prerogative as a Task Force Member to ask a participant, a guest here, Mr. Mark Boese from the San Joaquin Air District, if he would give an overview of the San Joaquin Valley SIP activities. Mr. Boese is the Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer and, in essence, is responsible for the development of the state implementation plan for the San Joaquin Valley.

Mark Boese: Thank you. By way of introduction an earlier speaker had talked about Manual’s ox getting gored. Well, I’m the regulator who’s trying to gore his ox. I just wanted to take a couple of quick minutes to run through our process. In the San Joaquin Valley we have some of the worst air quality in the nation. We’re serious non-attainment for PM 10. We’re serious non-attainment for ozone, soon to be bumped up, I would imagine, to severe. So we have a history of developing plans. We’ve been writing plans since the ‘70s. We know how to do it. We know how to do your traditional plan and we know basically what needs to be in the plan for EPA to approve that plan.

The PM 10 plan that our Board approved in June of 1997 was submitted it to the state, who approved it and then passed it on to EPA. This is a different sort of plan. When it relates to stationary sources, we knew how to put down the rules that we had adopted for stationary sources and those rules that we plan to adopt for stationary sources to reduce their contributions of PM 10. When it came to Ag, it was like, geez, what do we do here? Here’s a group of stakeholders out there that we haven’t previously regulated, other than through Ag. burning, but we haven’t required permits for farms. We haven’t had really much interface with them. So we sat down with them early on to try to figure out what to do, and as Dennis mentioned looking at the research, we didn’t feel very confident in developing a plan as far as rules and regulations, in the traditional sense, that EPA would be looking for in a plan. So our plan contains a schedule and this schedule has to do with research, first research to identify what Ag. sources out there contribute to our PM 10 problem, and then research to identify how we can reduce those emissions from those particular sources, whether it’s equipment changes or farming practices, or whatever. So that is the essence of our plan as it relates to Ag. and we turned that plan in and I know we put EPA in sort of a predicament here, because here, again, they’re looking at a non-traditional plan as it relates to Ag. I think that’s where the importance of this task force has come in; you have developed guidelines for a voluntary program. And I think that’s going to make it easier for the EPA to take a serious look at our plan. The other thing on your agenda, I believe, is to develop backstops. If, in fact, these voluntary programs don’t work, what regulatory rules and regulations would fall into place that would make these happen. I think EPA, rightly so, is probably saying those might need to be part of that plan before we can move forward. So, I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank the work that you’ve done so far and the additional work that is to take place on the backstops.

DT: Dennis Tristao: We have another guest here, Jeff Schmidt, who is a representative of the NRCS out of Arizona. The NRCS and the State of Arizona have also developed a program that they are using to address the serious attainment status in their area. Jeff, would you mind making an overview of what the NRCS is working on in that area?

Jeff Schmidt: Sure. Again, my name is Jeff Schmidt, and if I stutter it’s because I’m really excited about this topic because it’s been going on for a number of years. Approximately two and a half years ago, the Area Association of Governments in Maricopa County and the State Environmental Department of Quality and the Mag Area Association of Governments came up with an estimate that agriculture was producing approximately 64% of the dust that was being measured in monitors, based on their models and pie charts and so on. And we asked the question in NRCS, how and where did you come up with that information? And they said, well, it’s pretty easy: you just take the land area out there and that directly relates to PM 10 generation. We suggested that there might be a little bit more to it than that, and after working with them for three years, they concede that it’s more like maybe nine or ten percent contribution. So we’ve made a lot of progress in the last three years. Initially, what the State Department said is, help us, the State Department, figure out ways for farmers to reduce their own dust. Give us ideas on what they can do. And we said we don’t operate that way in the agency. What we would like to do and what we recommend, and the only thing that we will be party to, is if we approach it from a voluntary standpoint. Let’s bring the Ag. community together as stakeholders and let them try to solve their own problem before being regulated. The state did agree to that and, at that time, the state went from a state implementation plan to a federal implementation plan. What’s happened with this process, in essence, is that the EPA has "unFIP'd us," which means now we’re not required to have a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP), but rather gone back to the state implementation plan. That means good things, at least for the regulators in our state.

Last spring, the Governor, through work with the Farm Bureau and several other Ag. commodity groups, developed a senate bill in the state which asked a task force to develop best management practices that agriculture could use to reduce fugitive dust in the non-attainment area. And that committee has put together what’s called an ad hoc technical committee, which I chair, with about ten other stakeholders from university institutions and other groups, trying to develop what we’re now calling "management practices." The word "best," as Mr. Tristao had mentioned, is really not setting well and is really not indicative of what’s going on. So, we identified from across the country approximately 64 management practices that could be used to reduce dust. Once we looked at those for about four months, we realized that many of those practices were really the same thing, we were just calling them different names. Currently we’re operating with 30 different types of practices that we think could at least reduce dust in Maricopa County, in Arizona. Right now we’re continuing with those definitions, trying to get more input and, also, fleshing out those definitions of what does it really mean and how can farmers implement those.

PB: Phyllis Breeze: I just have one quick question for Jeff. Did any exemptions for agriculture exist in Arizona State Statute prior to heading down your path?

Jeff Schmidt: The only thing that we have is the Right to Farm law, and I don’t know if that’s what you consider an exemption, but that, even now, is being looked at by environmental groups to determine if it really pertains to the nuisance law, and so forth. What really triggers much of what’s going on in Arizona has been lawsuits, and exemptions don’t really seem to matter. It’s very busy work handling regulation, lawsuits, input, and so forth.

MC: Manuel Cunha: Jeff, you referred to dust. Are you referring to the State of Arizona Department of Agriculture, or the State Legislature adopted a PM 10 regulation, or did the State of Arizona adopt a regulation on dust that they don’t allow dust to go across property lines or allow dust to go anywhere, or are you referring to PM 10?

Jeff Schmidt: PM 10.

MC: Manuel Cunha: OK. And the legislature adopted a permit to farm, is that correct?

Jeff Schmidt: A general permit, yes.

MC: Manuel Cunha: OK. I just wanted to make that clear.

JT: Jim Trotter: I was curious about your comment on the permit to farm in your state. In Iowa recently the permit to farm was struck down by their Supreme Court, and it went to the U.S. Supreme Court and and was denied. Whatever happened there, Gary?

GM: Gary Margheim: Denied.

JT: Jim Trotter: So, the farmers out there lost their protection from neighbor lawsuits and such with dust and odor going across property lines and so forth . Do you think there will be any problem in your state in that regard?

Jeff Schmidt: I can’t answer that question. I don’t really know. And just a clarification. There is not a permit in Arizona for right to farm. I misspoke or misunderstood your question. What they’re working on with the Governor’s Senate bill is a general permit for use of best management practices.

Ross Rodgers: My name is Ross Rodgers and I’m the staff person for the Governor’s Agricultural Best Management Practices Committee. Basically, the law for nuisance dust was never removed from the books. It is still on there that when farmers are using agricultural practices that are needed to produce their crop and when those practices produce nuisance dust, that is not illegal and cannot be made illegal. However, with Senate Bill 1427 that Jeff spoke about earlier, the Committee has to determine best management practices; that is, I think, what Mr. Cunha is discussing as a general permit. The committee’s job is to develop some type of implementation that will reduce PM 10 with tillage practices, harvesting methods, and non-crop land farm roads. A lot of discussion is going on about what non-crop land is now. Is that range land? Is that feedlots? So, the bill fairly open. It does not say that there is actually a general permit on the Statute itself. That’s the committee’s job to determine what they want to do.

MC: Manuel Cunha: The question to you, sir, is, are your best management practices—and you’ve mentioned 30 of these—based upon the sound science that applies to your area, upon research that has been dedicated to conditions in Maricopa County, which is a heavy clay soil, as I believe, and quite different. Also, the rural communities have been taken over by a great deal of urbanization. Have your 30 control measures that you’re recommending for these farmers to take been based on science that pertains to the conditions in your area, or have you taken science from Kansas or something else that you think might work there and that’s one of your best management practices?

Ross Rodgers: The research is very tough to come by. I’ve searched everywhere, and I’m definitely a rookie at this, but it is very tough. And maybe Jeff, as the soil scientist, can address what exactly has been done for specific areas. Because I know, even within the non-attainment area, the soil changes from west valley to east valley in Maricopa County.

Jeff Schmidt: Easy answer: no. It’s not based on good research science because a lot of it doesn’t exist on some of the practices that we’re proposing. What we will propose with some of the management practices in addition to that is these are the practices that we think can help reduce dust. But we need further research on them. And I would say, Mr. Cunha, that probably no matter how many conservation practices there are in the end, a great majority will need further research.

PW: Phil Wakelyn: You say the best management practices are not based on sound science at the present time, but they will be required, even though they’re not based on sound science, as part of a best management practice, which, even though you may use semantics and say that’s not a permit to farm, it is, in fact, a permit to farm because you’re requiring best management practices that haven’t been established on sound science. And what we’re trying to do as a committee, and I think as Dennis laid out, is that with the dearth of information in these areas, we need to develop information so that you can come up with a sound plan, because just requiring a farmer to do all of these things may have no impact at all on controlling the dust that you want to control, and you have to demonstrate that first. I think that’s what the task force is trying to do: come up with guidelines that will allow you to develop a sound plan before you actually require farmers to do things that you don’t know have any impact at all. There has to be some sort of scientific basis for it.

Ross Rodgers: I really appreciate your comments. I think that the process is still very open at this time. None of the best management practices has been even approved by the committee yet. All of them are still in draft form. We’re really looking to see what the committee wants out of this. It was their job, as appointed by the governor, to come up with what they feel is best. Five of the ten members are farmers. It’s going to be their duty to say what they want and what they feel is best for Maricopa County. I don’t want to leave the impression that Jeff or NRCS are saying they can use only these thirty management practices because they haven’t. They’ve just really been trying to gather as much information as possible, which is tough at this time.

MC: Manuel Cunha: Mr. Rodgers, is it possible to get to Mr. George Bluhm a copy of your draft proposals that you’re looking at so we as a task force will have an opportunity to look at and see where you folks are coming from? We may also give some assistance to your committee on some of the things that many of the states have done work on, and that would also, I think, work with EPA.

Ross Rodgers: Yes, sir. I think the Governor’s Committee in Arizona is really looking for input, so we would try to make whatever we can available to try and get as much expertise as we can. Definitely.

DT: Dennis Tristao: If there are no further questions, what I’d like to lead into for concluding remarks here is that one of the issues that agriculture has to face every day, within each of our respective industries, is that of perception. The worst thing that could happen to this industry, in my opinion, is that we are regulated with penalty provisions as backstop based on perception and not on sound science. Wouldn’t it be a travesty of justice if a farmer were fined for emitting dust from performing a tillage practice on a windy day and sentenced to some sort of fine or penalty action, when his activity in reality was having no impact whatsoever upon the air quality within his generalized region. That’s one of the fundamental aspects that I believe we as a task force are charged to address. There are individual rights vs. the public health, and any provisions that call for penalties have to be based on sound science, not on perception. The terms "dust" and "PM 10" often get used interchangeably. In California we’ve had a tremendous issue with distinguishing that fact. That it’s not dust we’re trying to regulate, but rather the fine particulate matter, both coarse and fine fraction. And, finally, I’d like to throw out to this group that there are voluntary programs out there that are well intended that have funding that perhaps the Ag. industry could utilize. One of those that I’ve run across recently has been the Ag. Star Program, where control of greenhouse gases, methane, is a co-generation component of that which is being proposed for confined animal operations. I don’t propose to be an expert in that field by any means, but it’s programs like that, where there is an economic incentive backed in part by assistance from the regulating agency or advising agency, that help put these activities into place without the financial burden being completely put upon the farm operator, who yesterday was doing what was completely legal, but yet today is suddenly faced with what, in many cases, could be a drastic change in operations that could impact him financially. That concludes my presentation today.

EB: Emmett Barker: Regarding your point of the unhappy situation if a farmer found himself being exposed to fines for a cultural or farming practice: I was under the impression that the South Coast Air Basin already had regulations that had all of those elements in it. I don’t know if anyone has been fined yet or not, particularly on that, but don’t they have regulations that if the plume from your feed grinding operation exceeds 12 feet in the air you have to stop, or if the amount of dust crossing a boundary from tillage operationexceeds certain amounts? You have to do this or you can be fined. What is the status there? Aren’t we already there in that area?

DT: Dennis Tristao: I can’t claim to be an expert on the regulatory activities in the south coast, but I can give you a farmer’s perspective of what was applied in that region, which again, is a genesis for the effort to obtain research funding. They had the no tillage provision of their Rule 403 PM 10, which stated that on days when the wind speed exceeded 20 miles per hour, you could not perform a tillage operation. This was in the Coachella Region. In my opinion, there was no research data that backed up the assumptions made from that, other than there was windblown dust, dust occurring during those times, and that it was felt that that was impacting the ambient air quality. Now, that being said, I’m guilty of presenting a bias to this group.

MC: Manuel Cunha: The south coast has definitely changed some of their plans and strategies to go with an enforcement direction and a permit to farm concept has been taken off the agenda. And they have met now with their Ag. Groups and farmers to help through the NRCS voluntary program approach. If we do the voluntary program approach in the south coast, what are the backstops if a farmer is found to be in violation? The thing going across the road is still a discussion of what really goes across the road, and that is still an item of importance to the farmers. But they have changed their first plan of attack which was to make them do all of these things. Now they’ve found out, they need the science. So there’s been a bit of a change of direction, basically because of what this task force has been doing over the last year and a half.

AS: Annette Sharp: I just wanted to make sure that you’re aware that there’s some assistance out there for small business owners that’s funded by each state department air quality program called small business assistance program. I cannot speak for how it operates in every state, but in Louisiana we have engineers who were hired in our small business assistance program. They are not enforcement people. They are your personal consultants, if you will. These folks in our state write permits for small business people. They help them fill out emission reports. If there is a problem where you don’t understand a particular regulation or you want to make sure you’re involved in the talks that go on, you get in touch with the small business assistance people. And, secondly, as a person that writes state implementation plans, I hear routinely from the refinery industry and I hear routinely from our chemical industry. I never hear from anybody else. And so, I’m just suggesting that you also get in touch with the individuals who are writing your state implementation plan and say, "We’re out here, we want to be involved in your process, let us know." We have mailing lists of people to whom we try to send copies of our SIPs, and to whom we make sure are at the table when we’re making regulations. So, I just ask you to please take advantage of what’s out there for you.

DT: Dennis Tristao: I know I did conclude my remarks, but one item that I feel is necessary for this group is that, remember, the impacted individuals, in these areas that are in serious non-attainment are farmers. Farmers, historically, have not been receptive to calls that we’re from the government and we’re here to help you. And I use that term. And I apologize to the group for being flippant, but the point in question is, for the agricultural industry to accept any type of change in their method of operation, it has to be demonstrated to them that it is profitable, that it will work, and that there is an effect from it that’s beneficial overall. The citizen who has the farm, who we’re asking if it comes to that point to implement a practice, is the one who has his livelihood at stake, as we sit here around the table. I work for a farming operation and my livelihood depends on the profitability of that and sustainability of that operation. But we have to remember that what we decide here ultimately impacts the livelihood of these individuals. It’s not as if we can go back to our office and work on the next project. The individuals that we’re representing here in farming have to live with the decisions that are made with the regulatory agencies. And one of the examples that I constantly fear is that while we make good intentioned decisions or recommendations, there can be a loss in the spirit behind the provision when it gets down to the field level, whether it be with the enforcement officer or other implementing individual or agency. That’s why there was acceptance of NRCS because if a practice is brought down to the field level, there is a cooperative atmosphere where you’re working with an agriculturist, as opposed to an individual who is three generations removed from the farm who grew up in some urban area that doesn’t have any understanding of what you’re working with in Ag. That’s a personal viewpoint, but I share that so that we keep our focus on the issue at hand, which right now is particularly in those areas in serious non-attainment that are being forced by statutory timelines to develop practices that will alter their farming operation in order to meet attainment. It’s statutory in nature. Most of the serious non-attainment areas are "behind the eight ball" already. That’s why there’s such an emphasis on research occurring now to address those areas where the precedent is being set. That includes Arizona, California, Nevada, and Washington. Before I conclude, I particularly wanted to give credit to Dr. Saxton and his program in Washington State where they were able to utilize the conservation reserve program to alleviate the windblown particulate matter issue in that area. I think that’s an excellent use of an existing government program.

EB: Emmett Barker: I wonder if somebody from your organization, or maybe Sally’s side of things could provide a little additional information. We talk about our desires to be the voluntary approach and hear the outlines of the things we could do and this committee could do. But I believe there is some valley dairyman sitting in jail right now who violated the Clean Water Act out there. Now what does it take to get a voluntary program?

EB: Emmett Barker: One moment away from the air side of it to the water side of it and you had that experience in California. Is that a fair… to kind of flesh out this whole thing, what we’re talking about, the end consequences of this as an alternative to volunteering?

PR: Chairman Reed: Yes sir, it is fair. But, I would suggest that we put that on the agenda for another day to give us an opportunity to adequately prepare so that we can talk about it. Sally, would you concur with that? Okay. Do we have your permission Emmett? Okay.

CP: Calvin Parnell: I want to commend Dennis on this concept of voluntary program as a systems approach, or some people call a holistic approach, because what Dennis described is the real world. Individual farmers are not going to come to you or to the Small Business Assistance Program for assistance, but potentially will go to the NRCS people to interact with them. Chief Reed and George Bluhm and others have set up a program, in which I participated last fall, to try to bring the knowledge base of the NRCS engineers to a level where they can provide assistance to farmers throughout the U.S., and this opportunity may then provide that link you’re talking about. Or maybe the NRCS person will come in and work with your agency on a shift.

One other point I want to make for those around the table not accustomed to it: all this discussion about dust and good science is referring to emission factors. They take those emission factors, such as so much PM 10 per unit area, and multiply by the total area of the entire state. Therefore, if they are off by 25% or maybe 50% (though I think they’re off by maybe 200 or 300%), and you multiply that times a million acres, you end up with a very large number. During a SIP, you have to do that. You have no choice. The fact is, I’m working with the TNRCC (Texas Natural Resource ? Commission) right now to try to come up with some emissions inventory in the state of Texas. Even today, I’m using some of Bob Flocchini’s numbers because he’s got the best data since he’s done some research on it, but it’s difficult to get good numbers. I applaud you, Jeff from Arizona for doing an excellent job of pointing that out.

PW: Phil Wakelyn: What Calvin’s referring to is that when people say, "We’ll just use the best available science," but there is no science, then they make default assumptions. The default assumption comes out with agriculture being 35 to 50%, when in fact you get some data and you find out it’s 5 or 10%. That’s exactly why we keep stressing that research, research, research is what we need to answer some of these questions and take a proper approach. And we need NRCS then to take this research and implement it to help the farmer. And, that’s exactly why most of us are here, I hope.

PR: Chairman Reed: Let me just add to the record that the science that supports our field office technical guide really came out of research from the Land Grant Institutions and ARS.

LE: Larry Erickson: I’ve been working in other areas with EPA, and over the last 10 or 15 years, I’ve seen a significant move where EPA has come to the realization that pollution prevention, waste minimization, total quality management, and environmental audits that help people to improve their operations are quite effective in terms of developing environmental progress. This concept of working with farmers in a voluntary way makes a lot of sense, and I certainly think that we should try to make it work. I fully agree with the need to have good science as the base for this, but we need also a very valuable and important technology transfer program. The average farmer doesn’t read the research journals and doesn’t go on the Internet to get all of the information. They don’t have time to do all of that, so as we develop the science, we need an effective technology transfer program to get the information out to the people who will make use of it as well.

MC: Manuel Cunha: Some of you may have this, the September 4, 1998, document that was done on February 27, 1998, to deal with the research objective that went forward to Secretary Glickman, and which focused specifically on the three areas that we were focusing on. The first and most important thing that I think Dennis brought up was that in 1997, when this task force met, we decided most important priority was to deal with those states that were under non-attainment, a serious non-attainment status and those that were going from moderate to serious non-attainment because they had strict deadline dates that were in the Clean Air Act of ’90. We decided one of our number one research priorities was to deal with PM 10 and 2.5 in that relationship. The second most important thing back then was the new NAAQS standards, and specifically PM 2.5 itself. What they came out with that we commented on and presented that to the Secretary; what we felt needed to be said in that type of standard. And our concerns that we had on what we’ve seen out there in research. The third priority was to deal with the animal waste odor issue, which has a combination in itself of animal wastewater, air, related to the ammonia.

Those of you who are new task force members and those of you who work for air agencies, and those of you who are farmers, what you’ve put on your plate, one, two, three, are astronomical projects requiring a huge amount of work and cost. But those three items, to me, are the most important things before us on the research needs. I understand about the other areas that we talked about, like the regional haze. But we’ve got some extension on that. We’ve got the greenhouse gases. But right now, we do have a mandate under the Federal Clean Air Act of ’90, and there are four states under siege with being serious non-attainment. With the new NAAQS standards and the monitors that Sally talked about, we have to be a part of that. But to do this, it’s going to take funding. That’s what you folks recommended last year in this report, $20 million from USDA and $20 million from EPA. Now, we do know what’s in the budget, and we saw $2 million in the budget for the year 2000. So, we have that money that has been put in through the President’s budget. However, we do not have all of those institutions across the country geared up to even do the research. We probably have four or five institutions that are really tuned to do PM 10 and 2.5 research, and to take and do the research because there’s a big difference. For a stationary source, you hook the monitor on the stack, and no matter if it rains, no matter if it snows, no matter if there’s an earthquake, you’re going to still get that information off that stack. However, if it rains on a farm, and you’re out to try to get samples of soils or activities, you’re not going to be able to do it. You’re going to have to wait another whole year. A case in point was California—and probably Oregon and Washington. We had the El Niño activities. It destroyed our entire research work for the year of 1998. U.C. Davis could not go into the fields to do cultural tillage activities, which destroyed our air districts’ five-year plan that we had worked out with them and EPA. So, it’s a different situation when we look at the research. It is important for us, and that’s why this letter specifically listed three areas. And, those other areas that were mentioned this morning about bacteriological, all of those are very important. Yet I think as a task force, dealing with the research right now and the limited dollars, we have to focus on those areas that are placing these states under siege, having to put regulations together, like Maricopa County did. The state of California, the state of Oregon, Washington state, Nevada, and Texas, underwent some extreme amount of regulations that suddenly have to be developed on bad research. That will destroy the competence of any voluntary program unless we have the science to back it up and the tools to help those farmers. I believe the perfect assistance tool that we have is NRCS staff with the RCDs, but the local NRCS offices in the states that have the ability to work with farmers need the tools as well. They need the staff to help develop those plans. In California we have the small assistance program, but there are not too many farmers out of the 78,000 that go into the State Department and ask for their guidance because it’s government. They don’t even want them on their farms. However, you’re going to see more farmers going to NRCS staffs in local districts than you see anything else.

So, in closing, we have $2 million for year 2000, and if I’m not mistaken, Sally, some of these SIPs or submittals of PM 10s are or will actually be implemented by 2003 in some states. So, we are faced with telling those farmers that they have to use the crummy science, and I use that word very loosely, to control dust or to control PM 10. That’s a horrible mistake if we do that. We must have the funding to do the research so these farmers and NRCS people and the researchers can get out there and get the information so we know what to do. If we don’t, I cannot tell a farmer in the San Joaquin Valley, in the Imperial Valley, that his asparagus create dust will have a dust patrol cop out there to cite him, and then put handcuffs on him. We do have the Secretary’s budget and we have to respect that budget. That is the request. But, I think we need to emphasize to our people that we need more research than just the $2 million if we’re going to try to meet some of these things by 2001 and 2005.

PR: Chairman Reed: I’m going to be as careful as I can be. With respect to the budget, the decisions for this so-called new money and what is a priority from an administration standpoint are being made in the Vice President’s office, White House, OMB. I think it would be incumbent upon this task force to take a look at that process and, from a policy standpoint, what we need to do to get those folks who are engaged in the process at that level educated on the importance of these air quality issues. I think as we move into the next budget cycle, that that will be our best hope to get the kinds of things done that we’re talking about. I feel fairly comfortable saying this because I think the Secretary would agree and support what I’m telling you 100%. I think he needs all of the help that he can get in working with the system to get these kinds of issues on the radar screen as a priority at the top of the administration’s food chain.

JS: John Sweeten: I just want to state how much we appreciate the progress made even in getting the additional $2 million of research for air quality by the Agricultural Research Service. We would like to see that added to in future years, obviously. We’d also like to see as researchers, as a scientific community, the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service come through with at least a like amount for competitive grants and to put that into the annual competitive grants package known as the National Research Initiatives—for the fiscal year 2000, if possible, and certainly for the fiscal year 2001. This last year, the FY ’99 submittals did not have any budget line items whatsoever that remotely resembled air quality. And, we think that from the research side of USDA, that part that we strongly recommend that they have a specific air quality line item, to make it identifiable and visible. It should relate to the recommendations that we’ve made as far as priority, and in some respect identify whether it pertains to animal operations, odor, particulate matter, you know, cropping systems, animal systems, and so forth. So, I would recommend and hope that both agencies are empowered to ramp up their research amounts available in future years for air quality, and that they make these funds identifiable to encourage the scientists to get involved with air quality and not continue to work on everything else that they work on.

PW: Phil Wakelyn: The recommendation was also not just of USDA, but EPA, and I don’t know how much EPA has directed towards areas that would help as far as agriculture. And you also have to remember that this is what’s proposed in the budget. Nothing has been approved. This doesn’t mean anything will be approved, but we certainly need to get work focused where it is. As Chief Reed said, if we can’t get it this year, we certainly need to set out and work through a plan to get the appropriate research, because so much of the discussion we’ve heard today indicates that we continue to have such a dearth of knowledge in so many areas that allow us to answer the questions about the impact and how it will be mitigated. I would like to hear from Sally about what EPA has in their budget or is considering with regard to their research budget, which I think is considerable compared to USDA, that could contribute to agricultural air research.

SS: Sally Shaver: I would like to wait until tomorrow when Jim Vickery will be here. Phil, I know you won’t be here tomorrow, but I’d be happy to send that information to you, and follow up with you on the phone as well, if necessary.

TC: Tom Coleman: I was going to make the suggestion that, in addition to the NRI sources of research activity dollars, that maybe the Land Grant Funds could be another source of dollars that could help states obtain quick research results and be in a better position to make recommendations about best management practices or conservation management practices. As Pearlie indicated earlier, the Land Grant Funds were one of the bases for the research that was conducted in the past, and where NRCS got their science from.

DT: Dennis Tristao: I want to bring to the attention of the group the fruits of the labors from the research. Previously, we touched on the South Coast Air Quality Management District and their proposed program for regulating agricultural practices. What’s normally attempted by non-agriculturists, in my opinion, is to paint a broad brush across the industry. All crop types were listed. Utilizing the results of existing research and participation from the University of California at Davis, the South Coast Air Management District was able to drop off a good quantity of those crop types from their proposed regulated list because there were de minimis emissions associated with those particular crops, tree crops in general, for example, citrus groves were listed as a proposed target. There’s also been other benefits. I would like to ask Dr. Flocchini if he would briefly discuss the seasonality of the emissions that came up in some of the early work and the speciation that occurs.

PR: Chairman Reed: Would it be appropriate if we could just suspend this discussion and move to Dr. Knipling since we are to that point in terms of time on the agenda and then, after that, pick back up with this discussion?

DT: Dennis Tristao: I concede to that, Chief Reed.

Dr. Knipling, the Associate Administrator of ARS: The agenda does say ARS research, but based upon what I’ve heard in the last 30 minutes or so and based upon some of the people I know in the room, I think we could more broadly talk about the department research program. There are obviously a number of relevant things related to our sister agency, Cooperative State Research and Education Service and so forth. I would point out that I have several of my colleagues already here. Dick Amerman and Al Dedrick, both from our national program staff, have joined us. Keith Saxton is one of our own, and he sits on your task force. So, these fellows will be able to add to the discussion this afternoon.

What I want to do briefly is to go over our current ARS research program, current this year, our so-called base program. You’re already obviously aware of the proposed additional $2 million for next fiscal year, and we can talk a little bit more about that and about the budget process. Air quality, as you know, is a very broad term from the scope of your task force, and we likewise interpret it fairly broadly. We often can classify a given research project more than one way, often multiple ways. Therefore, we have to use some discretion or define some terms ourselves to characterize air quality. We had broadly defined it insofar as giving you an inventory of what we’re currently doing, as some of the particulate matter work, the aerosols and volatilized pesticides, ozone and odors. And, in this broad area, we currently have about $5.7 million worth of research in ARS that’s the annual budget for that activity. That work is carried out at about 12 laboratory locations across the United States and involves approximately 20 scientists. In some cases, these individuals may be involved in some other activities, but when we add up the manpower fraction, so to speak, we have the equivalent of about 20 scientists. We have a project listing that actually lists those projects by title, by location, by dollars, and by the scientists who are involved in them; we will hand it out now. We’ve made some discretionary judgment as to what the list actually includes. I would say that beyond this, there are literally dozens of other projects that have research that are relevant to these issues, but for one reason or another, we classify them in a different way. Through this continued dialogue we can familiarize you with the scope of our entire program and the capacity that we have in ARS and also in the university system to respond to or to bring their disciplinary expertise to bear upon a new problem. They often can do this while addressing another issue as well.

I have a handout related to our fiscal 2000 budget. This handout goes well beyond air quality, but I wanted to scope out for you our total budget proposal for next fiscal year. I think it might help put in perspective some of these issues that I was hearing just a few minutes ago about the budget process, some of the other national administration priorities and so forth. As a further preface, let me say that ARS is a very large research organization with a very broad mission. We cover all aspects of food production and utilization and quality from farm to table, so to speak: natural resources work, all aspects of crop production and protection (the same thing on the livestock side), and post-harvest utilization of commodities, which includes food technology, food science, food safety, and food nutrition. ARS is the in-house or intramural research arm of the Department of Agriculture. The Cooperative State Research and Education Extension Service is the arm of USDA that provides federal funding to the land grant universities on an extramural basis. Many of our ARS laboratories are co-located at the land grant universities, and we work together and do a lot of joint planning at the headquarters as well as joint research implementation at the field level. Our total ARS budget this year, fiscal 1999, is $785 million. It’s the top line on this handout. And then, the next set of information is the proposed programmatic increases for next fiscal year, which includes the $2 million proposed for air quality research. These increases total $76 million. There are many, many national and administrative priorities; all of these other topics here—emergent diseases, genomics, food safety, human nutrition, Food Quality Protection Act, global change—are very broad administration priorities, and ARS is just one small piece of the total agricultural budget, even though it’s a much smaller piece of the total administration budget.

An interesting thing you might note is the minus $35 million entry here for several fiscal years. This is about the fifth year in a row that it’s been proposed at the administration level that ARS terminate some of its ongoing activities to refinance some of these new initiatives. This is not really a loss of money, but it’s a proposal to reprogram or refinance moneys from existing activities to some of the higher priorities. Now, we have to keep in mind that these are proposals only. This budget’s been up on the hill for about one month now. Congress is in the midst of evaluating these proposals, as they are for all agencies. It will be midsummer and then early fall before we really know how the Congress is going to deal with this. On average, looking at the last two or three years, we have received about half of what we have asked for, in terms of the specifics. Actually, Congress has been very generous to us. They have generally provided the level of funding that we’ve asked for, but we often don’t recognize the budget when it comes back to us. In other words, some of these proposed initiatives will be funded, some may not be funded, some will be funded at a level different than what’s here. Congress then often adds on those items that are of special interest to them, which are really what the constituencies tell them the needs are, or the local or regional needs. An interesting side light of these project terminations is that this has not been a very popular proposal with the Congress. They have rejected these proposals in the past, and I would venture to guess based upon past experience that they’re likely to reject these proposals again. Incidentally, I don’t believe any of our current air quality work, the $5.7 million based program that I mentioned before, is included in the proposed project terminations. So, we feel assured that we will be able to continue the base program we have into next fiscal year and hopefully receive all of the $2 million that’s been proposed for air quality, or possibly even a larger amount if the Congress deems it appropriate to do so. And quite characteristically, the Congress does put its mark on this budget.

This $2 million, in fact, originated with the Task Force recommendations. We were very cognizant of the activities of this group. We’re very familiar with this material that Manuel handed out and discussed just before me, and in fact, that was the starting point for our budget request. This proposed 2000 budget had its origins last May here within the Department at the agency level. Both ARS and CSREES proposed a budget to the Department that was reviewed by the Department Deputy Secretary and others. That budget, in turn, went to the Office of Management and Budget, the President’s budget arm. The allowances that came back from the Office of Management and Budget in December are what is reflected on this page. So, it was about a six-month process in developing the budget. All of the USDA agencies go through the same process. I can say for a fact that it started out at the $20 million level that the task force proposed, but it went through at least three iterations, and often what goes on between the starting point and the ending point, we ourselves don’t know. However, the fact that it is at the $2 million level at this point is no reflection that the Department is not committed to this activity. We have to keep in mind all of the issues and competing priorities, if you will, that the Department and the administration have to deal with. So, it’s a start and one that we can build upon, and the help of this task force as a group or individually, through the membership, will help us keep it in the budget and make it grow.

Now, let me just quickly outline how we would propose to use this $2 million when we get it. With the task force recommendations, we would allocate $1.5 million of this to the particulate emissions issues of both PM 10 and 2.5 and we would propose to do that work at three of our existing laboratories in Fresno, California, Lubbock, Texas, and Pullman, Washington. At this point, $800,000, just a little over half, would be targeted to new activities at Fresno. Although we have quite a large critical mass of activity there, this would represent a new thrust for the Fresno program, and Fresno is not currently among the laboratories that are doing air quality work, but this would be an expansion of their program, and would address some of the issues in the San Joaquin Valley. The proposed increases at Lubbock and Pullman would build upon the strengths that we already have there. The remaining $500,000 would be split two ways. One half of that would go to ozone work at the Raleigh, North Carolina, laboratory; Joe Miller’s program would be strengthened. The other $250,000 would be to accelerate some of the odor work, which we would do at our Clay Center Laboratory, our meat animal science laboratory, where we have a very large concentration of scientists working with livestock species. They have been working for several years now on the waste management, and this would be somewhat of an expansion or new dimension to their work. I would say that we have a strong scientific base and capacity to do this type of air quality work. Now, traditionally, we’ve been strong in the areas of wind erosion, some of the more traditional air pollutants, and so forth. But, as some of these new subtleties of the issue have come along, we’ve been able to build upon that and reorient that capacity to address these new issues. I would say the odor part of the program is certainly overall a fairly new dimension to ARS’s activity. In recent years, we’ve been dealing with the animal waste management matters and increasingly concerned with and dealing with the air odor problems as well.

One last point I would make on these new program initiatives is that there are some relevant activities of interest to this group in some of these other categories, global change in particular. We also have many strong base programs that are not even listed here in such issues as methyl bromide emissions and many pesticide or alternative to pesticide related activities. We know all of these can be precursors to or predecessors of some of the air quality particulate matters. So, again, we have many activities that are relevant to the issues that you’re dealing with.

MC: Manuel Cunha: During our meeting last year, this task force decided to make sure that in any of the funding that comes from or within any of the USDA agencies or direct funding to an institution, that the task force has the opportunity of its technical subcommittee to review where and how those funds are being spent. We want to be very careful to use those moneys in a way that we’re not duplicating something. Since we are very concerned about the whole issue of air quality spending, we do not want to put money into something that we’re just starting up when we should probably take those moneys and put them into another institution that has the staff and expertise necessary, and maybe send staff to help those institutions. We would hope that our task force would be able to guide you to where we believe some of that money probably should be spent. For example, let’s say you were to come into California and put some money toward Riverside, and they’re going to deal with some PM 10. We’d say, wait a minute, you know, we need to look at that because we believe Riverside is maybe not the institution that needs to deal with PM 10 because funding a lot of staff, funding and buying a lot of equipment is a waste of resources. And when you split up $2 million, it goes down fast. So, will this task force, the research committee, have an opportunity to work with Dick to sit down and give some recommendations saying we would hope that maybe you should go here with it because we believe this is the best place, or help fund a person with that scientist.

MC: Manuel Cunha: Do we have that opportunity with this proposal here?

Dr. Knipling: Yes, by all means, and I think that helps make the point I made earlier that we need to familiarize you with our entire ARS program and capacity and where we have the physical and human resources already in place that could quickly jump on this issue and accelerate their activity or shift the focus of their current activity, and this would be true not only at ARS but the university community as well.

LE: Larry Erickson: As I look at the proposed increases, the air quality is the smallest one that made it onto the list. The others are larger. Does this reflect then that this is kind of the lower priority of those new program initiatives?

Dr. Knipling: No, I wouldn’t interpret it that way. To me, priorities are sometimes a matter of balance. Keep in mind also that all of these are building upon a base program that’s already in place. So, other than this item of $35 million proposed redirections, we’re more or less assuming that the base program stays in place and these other initiatives are building upon that. At the national level, though, the issues of food safety, human nutrition, emerging diseases, even in the context of an intentional bioterroristic threat that might come in and affect the crop and livestock production system, I would say yes. Probably if you asked somebody over at the OMB or the Office of Science and Technology, they would probably say yes, some of these other issues do, in fact, reflect a greater national importance to the entire U.S. population. But, I think it’s very significant that this item is on this list to begin with, at whatever level, and in fact, it’s directly traceable to the activities of this task force. There are many, many other initiatives that don’t come back at all. So, I would not put a lot of stock in saying this is a low priority issue. In fact, I would encourage you to think of it as a very positive response by the Department and the administration, and we’ve got our foot in the door here to build upon what we already have.

JS: John Sweeten: As you look at allocations and as you make selections among the research stations as to where to allocate resources (END OF SIDE A) are you able to look at the scientific partners in and around that particular ARS locations that likewise have expertise that may have a traditional partnering relationship on a research… with that ARS staff? Such that the team gets much larger than it might appear at first?

Dr. Knipling: Yes, as I mentioned, most of our laboratories are co-located with the land grant universities. Those are our traditional research partners. We’re co-located at a number of other universities as well that are not land grants. The Lubbock, Texas, activity, for example, is co-located with Texas Tech. We have a number of these locations where NRCS staff are co-located with us in the same facility and so forth. We also have mechanisms to deal with private sector partners as well, and in many other program areas, we do partner with the private sector. In fact, we have some authorizations that allow us to do joint projects, and this is not so much for doing the research for the corporate sector. However, this is all designed to ensure more rapid acceleration of the commercialization and the marketing of that technology so that it will become available to the public. For example, instrumentation, it is a hard technology and easier to sell, whereas it’s hard to commercialize knowledge, but we do have mechanisms to do that.

JS: John Sweeten: What does it take to raise the visibility of one of your stations at the Washington level? Does it take personal visits? Lots of letters and lots of publications and other project submittals? Or do you pretty well cut the pie up along traditional lines? In other words, how does a station experience growth in a time of limited resources from your priority perspective, and what does it take to make a convincing case for that at Washington?

Dr. Knipling: Well, all of those mechanisms are used. Certainly, we’re very familiar with our programs in the field. We have ARS laboratories at about a hundred locations. We’re very, very familiar with what our programs and capacities are, and based upon our own knowledge and where we have the disciplinary expertise and the land resource and nearness to the problem area, we would focus the work where we think most appropriate. As I indicated, the work we’re doing now is at about a dozen of these locations. But certainly the customer or the user input drives that decision process as well, as does the Congressional process. In fact, often when we get our appropriations back from the Congress, it is in fact specified as to which location those moneys will be addressed.

EB: Emmett Barker: You show about $785 million in ARS. If you added the other agricultural, publicly-funded research in these general areas at the land grant colleges and so forth, do you have an idea about what that would total?

Dr. Knipling: For the federally-funded portion, $2.1 billion, which, in fact, is what the Department’s budget request is to Congress right now for research. This spills over into education and extension as well. Keep in mind, the land grant universities only get a portion of their moneys from federal sources. It varies from institution to institution, but there are probably some that depend 75% on the federal funding. The University of California is maybe 10%. So, they also get moneys from the state legislature.

EB: Emmett Barker: But that $2 billion plus is focused on research?

Dr. Knipling: $2 billion USDA federal dollars supporting the ag. research system.

EB: Emmett Barker: Second question, if I may as a follow up. I note with a great deal of interest that next to human nutrition, suddenly global change has come up with $15 million worth of research funding. That’s kind of interesting. There must be somebody here in town that’s really interested in this to see this come up like this, number one.

Dr. Knipling: Yes, he’s up at the White House.

EB: Emmett Barker: I wonder if you could provide us with just a simple sheet that shows the breakout of what research priorities are in that area, because we had some discussion about whether or not they had any relationship to the work of this committee, and it would be useful if we just had summary information on that.

Dr. Knipling: Let me just quickly say that this $15 million, just like other programs, is built upon some activity that’s already going on. And then, if these resources were to come through, it would be that much more. The program now deals a lot with greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide in particular, and with both the impacts of those gases on agriculture and also how agriculture contributes to them. The new money is largely oriented toward carbon sequestration and the issues associated with that. As we learn more about that, we’re seeing that agriculture can play a very positive role and perhaps a mitigating role in this whole issue of global change and greenhouse gas emissions. The knowledge we hope to gain from this may drive some of the policy decision making that’s been associated with the Montreal protocol and the Rio protocol and the like. So, we can provide more information, but that’s the thrust of that activity.

PW: Chairman Reed: We may want to have somebody from Keith Collins shop, where the Department’s lead is for global climate change, to come here and spend a few minutes with the group talking about where the Department is with this issue, because like ARS, the NRCS has $15 million in the President’s budget for global climate change activities as well. So, as I’ve already asked Gary Margheim, we’ll proceed with trying to get that on the schedule for tomorrow.

BH: Bill Hamilton: At your new station in Fresno, is there going to be a research component set up to study air quality on a long-range basis? This won’t be a Peach Avenue probably, but is that in the long-range plan?

DR. Knipling: By virtue of this increase, if we get it, yes. As you know, Bill, we’re moving from Fresno to the new Parlier facility, about 20 miles away. All of the activity at Fresno just moves into the new facility. This would be an expansion of the group there that’s soil and water management, Tom Trout’s unit. We plan on about $300,000 per new scientist, so $2 million would employ six or seven new scientists. We would envision at Fresno as many as three new scientists to focus on this. It would not be a stand alone unit, however; it would be an expansion of that natural resources group already there.

PW: Phil Wakelyn: Would it be possible for a subcommittee of this task force to be formally involved with program reviews and research planning with regard to your overall ag. research on air quality?

Dr. Knipling: Yes. Our entire program spans the spectrum of farm to table. We have $785 million, which we have recently segmented that into 23 national program units. Six or seven of them are in the natural resources area, and one of those is in fact targeted to air quality. As we develop the strategic plans for these national programs, we are having customer-based workshops made up of a certain number of projects within the national program. Over time we’re going to synchronize all of the projects within that program so they more or less start and stop at the same time. We’ll have peer review for those projects and involve more scientific peers external to ARS. There are many opportunities for peer involvement on both the front end looking forward, the review of the projects, and then also on a retrospective view. So, the answer to your question is yes, we could have a subcommittee that could deal with you on a more formal basis.

JT: Jim Trotter: We started out here with $20 million. It got whittled down a tad to $2 million. What’s the next step if you get it?

Dr. Knipling: Certainly the next step is Congressional action. If we get that $2 million without any additional Congressional guidance, we will allocate it as I earlier described. Of course, the Congress may change the number. They have been known to increase the number, but they almost always provide a little additional guidance as to where they would like to see this work done. And, we would hope actually that it would be generally consistent with where we think we have the capacity to do the work, what we’ve already targeted. But Congress is the next step, and we will adhere to their guidance.

PR: Chairman Reed: I’d like to clean up Manuel Cunha’s agenda item before we break. And, we stopped with Dennis. So, Dennis, do you want to pick up where we left off prior to Dr. Knipling?

DT: Dennis Tristao: Remember, the issue of seasonality? I would like Dr. Flocchini to present that.

BF: Bob Flocchini: George, when I did a presentation at the first or second meeting, I gave you my transparencies or slides. And, I think in the minutes of these meetings, you have the data that Dennis is referring to. Briefly what it says, if you look at the periods where the violations occurred in the San Joaquin Valley, they peak in November and December. They start to peak in October, but November’s the month, and in December. I plotted them starting the year in April with land preparation in the agricultural community in the San Joaquin. That usually occurs in March to April, but as Manuel mentioned, if it rains too much, it can be put off. If it’s drier, maybe it occurs earlier. I believe if you look at the early months, April through about August, you’ll find there were no violations of the federal standard with respect to 24-hour average PM 10, and this is when land prep. was going on, and then some of the early cultivation. The particulate matter during that period was probably dominated by soil type particles, although they did not violate. When you get into October, November, and December, when the violations occur, you will find that the particulate matter is dominated by secondary particulates, primarily ammonium nitrates and sulfur secondary particles. So, I think from the top of my head, if you look at a seasonal, it’s in the winter period. It’s smaller particles, I would guess, and I know that they’re secondary particles. Earlier in the year, when dust dominates, there are no violations. So, is that the nutshell you were looking for?

DT: Dennis Tristao: Yes, it is. I want to emphasize that traditionally the command and control approach is to latch onto a control strategy to be implemented throughout the year, or for that process continuously, whenever it’s in operation. What I think would be the significance of this research to date is that activities occurring during a certain portion of the year contribute to this issue. Why paint a broad brush across the industry when you can narrow it down to a few specific activities and work within the established partnerships with the affected groups within that industry to address the problem, which I believe is what is occurring with the almond industry at this point.

RQ: Robert Quinn: The experience up in Washington verifies a strong seasonality to both PM 10 concentrations as well as sources. And, even though the data may not be quite as reliable as that in California, it does come from STAPPA/ALAPCO in Spokane. It is a mix of primarily urban sources, but since Spokane is located right downwind from our rural environment, you tend to see the higher concentrations that you’d expect in the wintertime when you have meteorologically stable air and very poor dispersion. The higher concentrations often come from a combination of wood smoke, even though that’s heavily regulated within the Spokane urban area, and also in the fall, from small particulates from road dust, because Spokane has probably the highest percentage of unpaved roads of a city its size in the State of Washington. On the other hand, in the late summer, the dry season, you will tend to see more episodes of windblown dust coming in under episodic events and also contributions from agricultural burning. So, it’s a very complex issue. Seasonality and sources play very strong, varying roles as you move through the year.

Pearlie Reed: Manuel, does that bring your agenda item to closure?

Manuel Cunha: Yes, I think so. Real quickly, we do appreciate ARS funding, and we’re encouraged that you say we are a part of your process and the distribution of any moneys that deal with air quality. We appreciate that because I think that is the cooperation that this task force needs as well as with other parts of USDA that are dealing with air quality. So, thank you very much.

Pearlie Reed: I think we ought to give Dr. Knipling a hand. Let’s take a break, and we’ll start back up with Dr. Sweeten at 3:15.

Keith Saxton: We would be more than happy to have you out June of ’99 if you so choose. We could probably pick a date and find the facilities if that would be so desirable. It’s a wonderful spot. We would encourage you to come. If you so choose, what I would like to do is to route a piece of paper with about three optional weeks, the second, the third or the fourth week of June. Tell me when you’re available, and then we’ll pick a time and a place and go.

PW: Chairman Reed: Thanks. Is there anyone opposed to having our next meeting in Washington state? Okay, that’s it. Now, you can do whatever you want to do to get us there.

JS: John Sweeten: I was asked to say a few words concerning animal agriculture and air quality. We did form a bit of a subcommittee this afternoon, and a little later I’m going to call on some others—Jerrold Masters, Arkansas Pork Producers Association, Dr. Bob Flocchini, and anybody else that may want to comment. I want to frame the issue a little bit and begin to set the stage for what we think are some of the issues we need to be working on. The issues break down into odor, dust (which I’m not going to speak about this afternoon), and some of the ammonia issues, on which I’m mainly going to focus.

As I mentioned before to this group, animal manure odor is causing some controversy out in the Great Plains region. That’s where swine is expanding to, as well as growth in cattle feed yards and dairies and so forth, as well as on each coast. So, it’s a number of compounds, about 170 or more, though some would say 200 compounds: ammonia, sulfides, some volatile fatty acids, some alcohols, aldehydes, mercaptans, and so forth. It’s very hard to try to pick one compound and say this characterizes odor because you’ve got this extremely wide variation in components and concentration.

To illustrate this, just take ammonia alone. The range of thresholds as perceived by human beings varies all over—by three orders of magnitude, according to different research studies. A threshold is the concentration at which there’s the greatest agreement among people. Therefore, it doesn’t give us a great deal of comfort as we try to pinpoint any specific compound as being the indicator of odor because so much difficulty is involved, as well as the chemical reactions that take place. However, we do try in some areas to do that. Odors are characterized by several quantifiable and somewhat qualitative dimensions. There’s odor intensity, frequency, duration, character or what it smells like, that is obviously qualitative, and then offensiveness, which can be quantified based on certain rating scales.

There are some ASTM standards as well as other odor measurement devices. The scentometer has probably the most observations on taking it on livestock in animal agriculture. The syringe dilution method is an ASTM standard that is rarely used anymore. Dynamic olfactometers have become a world standard. There’s many of those out there including this Dynamic Force Choice Triangle o-factometer developed by Andrew Dravneiks and it’s now been duplicated and improved upon in more recent years by some of the scientific instrumentation companies. Where animal research is probably gravitating to with regard to good solid odor research is one of the about four different approaches to control. 1) There’s manure treatment—once the manure’s excreted, how do you handle it? 2) Capture and treatment of odorous gases. Putting a lid on things. Capturing the gas in some kind of treatment device. 3) And then odor dispersion. That’s backing off far enough. Watching your orographic influences, for example, you know, watching the time that you spread. 4) The last one I’ll mention has to do with actually controlling what is excreted by controlling the cattle rations, and that changes the material that comes out to some extent. Just to show you what happens on an open dirt surface feed lot, when it rains, moisture content gets very high and as shown in the red bar, it dries out a well-drained feed lot surface. The moisture content drops within a few days. Odor peaks and then it goes right back down. It kind of mimics… a couple of days delay factor, for the moisture content of the open cattle feed lot surface. So, in some ways, we can manipulate that surface. And, in surface drainage, so it ends up with a set of control principles such as keeping manure dry, keeping the least amount on hand, pumping runoff holding ponds daily. It’s like an inventory control managing the surface—imperfect. When it rains, you’re going to have some additional release of some gases, but when it dries out it’s going to track back down again and you should have it to reasonably low levels.

Land application is another area where oftentimes there’s potential for odor, whether it’s solid manure, or liquid manure or a mixture. There are some well-established principles on how to land apply, such as using dry material to spray with as much as possible or injection of liquid manure, irrigate from a well-treated lagoon, not your primary lagoon. Particularly overloading to keep the least odorous material that’s being produced out into the pastures and fields by irrigation, which may be near people’s houses. Avoid spreading near highways, observe nutrient balances, which gives you a buffer distance, spread in the early morning to allow dispersion, and select your wind speeds so you don’t spread into a calm condition, and so forth. This is the same thing with poultry. You could write the same list here pretty much for swine.

The sources of odor are animal houses, dry stacks, any stack area or storage of solid materials, disposal pits (in the past, many of the dead animals have been disposed of in disposal pits), land application areas, settling basins where you have a liquid system and try to do some solid separation. That could also be a mechanical separator in the stacking area for that material, and then the old standby method is anaerobic lagoons. There are many thousands of those out in the countryside, and we actually have helped promote that technology to a great extent. It’s the technology of choice. There can be some controls inside the animal houses, such as ration control, which they’re working on at Purdue and at Penn. State University, for example, and actually making some impact towards reducing odor. I want to show you one; this happens to be a flushing system, an open gutter-flushing system. Let me show you what can happen with some in-house management where you just flush more often. If you don’t flush at all, 0 times per week, you have about 1,000 odor units—that’s the measure of the dilutions. The higher the odor units, the stronger the odor, the harder it is to get it diluted back down to the human threshold level, where half the panelists detect and half do not. If you flush once a week, it drops down. If you flush once a day, it drops way down to about 300 odor units, which is more than a 2/3 reduction. And if you flush twice a day, which is 14 times per week, it’s down to about 200. So, you can effect a very large reduction in odor units, even in the hog house, by some typical management practices. It’s just getting the job done by the farmer.

Again, anaerobic lagoons have been the standby. Lightly loaded anaerobic lagoons designed according to American Society of Ag. Engineers (ASAE) standards, taking into account the clause in there that stipulates using half the loading rate for areas that may cause an odor problem, is the way to go. This gives you a very well functioning system that can be easily maintained. But, the main thing it gives you is a lightly loaded anaerobic digester that day in and day out is going to have about the least odor you’re going to have from an anaerobic system. Again, these are designed by the thousands. They’ve been installed by consulting engineers and NRCS engineers, and approved in just about all the states. Whether it’s one stage or two stage it is a design issue, and in a lot of cases, a two stage will fit in with the irrigation of the second stage is usually the way to go. This depicts what goes on. It is two different kinds of steps that very simplistically take place in an anaerobic digestion system, such as a lagoon. The first step is that an acid-forming bacteria produces volatile organic acids that have a very strong odor. That lowers the pH of the material. At the same time, you hope that there’s methane producing bacteria that stabilize those volatile organic acids before they get emitted to the atmosphere as odors and convert them to carbon dioxide, methane, and water. You hope to have that in balance. If you have it out of balance, low pH, you have a lot of volatile fatty acids being released, which contributes to the odor problem. A lagoon system that’s in balance has acid formers and methane-producing bacteria in harmony, in balance with each other. Then there is far less odor to be released. You get the complete digestion cycle to take place, so we would measure less odor on the embankment and then downwind. It would be a less offensive odor, as it turns out. Bacteria can actually be cultivated to use in lagoons or try to maximize growth thereby reducing odors. It’s called purple sulfur bacteria, which is characterized by a lightly loaded lagoon, with an improper bio-chemical balance in the south and half way up in the Midwest. During the spring, summer, and fall, those purple sulfur bacteria actually help oxidize the sulfides, reducing sulfur as well. So, there are cultural practices and design practices we’d use to try to maximize their growth. If you have a nice pink color on a lagoon, there’s going to be very little odor associated with it.

Buffer distance is getting enough land around the system so that it’s well away from your houses, taking into account wind direction frequency, some of the topographic influences, and so forth. In some cases, you may want to be a mile in one direction and four miles in another, or you may want to be a half a mile and a mile, depending upon the probability of wind direction and the dispersion characteristics of that particular site. Design and ag. management practices also make a difference. This data from some swine operations illustrates the range of data you can get. This is measured odor concentrations using the Barnaby Chaney Scentometer. For a small operation with a covered pit system, using soil injection, resulting in much lower odor, dispersing more rapidly down to the dilution two threshold level in about a half a mile. On the other hand, for a much larger operation with a typical flush lagoon system followed by center pivot irrigation, the odor at the source was higher and it tracked further downwind and it took about a mile and a half to get down to the two dilutions ratio level, and it took about a mile to get down to about the seven dilutions ratio, which you’d characterize as a low to moderate odor intensity.

To take this one step further, it’s important to bring into focus what it takes for air quality management and water quality management all in the same package. And, this has not been done well in the past, as I might have said this morning. This is an attempt to show how much land area it actually takes around those swine farms in order to get adequate buffer distance to reduce odor down to a low level. Just to get a nutrient balance on the basis of nitrogen, this is the green and the blue bars here, this would be for a 10,000 head swine operation. These would be 150 pound equivalent types of hogs. It would take on the order of about 200 hectares for a flush lagoon system and about 400 hectares for a storage pit tank wagon that’s a solid injection system on a nitrogen basis. On a phosphorus basis, because the plants take up a lot less phosphorus than they do nitrogen, this is going to take about 1,000 hectares for a flush lagoon system and about 1,200 hectares for a storage pit tank wagon, solid injection system. This is taking into account the fact that all the phosphorus that goes into a lagoon in a storage system is going to come out eventually. It may be a 20-year delay, but it’s going to come out. You’ve got to have the land available to do that. What that translates to in terms of buffer distance, on a nitrogen basis, is that it may take anywhere from 800 to 1,200 meters away from that site. That would be the theoretical area circumscribed around it for land application. However, on a phosphorus basis, because it takes more land, you’re looking at about 1,800 to 2,000 meters away just to get enough land to strike a nutrient balance for those two kinds of systems. This extra land then allows further area with which to disperse odor before it reaches a receptor. To illustrate what’s going on in that system, I had talked about the 8,400 sow herd, which translates to about 80,000 hogs on one site. Getting down to a two dilutions threshold, from the odor measurement standpoint, would require about 7,500 feet. This distance falls in between that needed for a nitrogen balance and that needed for a phosphorus balance. Actually, if you design the system for a phosphorus balance, you’re going to have enough land to dilute the odor so that when it reaches the boundary, you’re going to be down below two dilutions a threshold. The same sort of a thing occurs with this system B, which is a storage pit tank wagon system only illustrated for one smaller operation. This is at the Iowa State Hog Farm, by the way. To get down to two dilutions a threshold, it takes 2,600 feet, about a half a mile, which falls between the distances needed for a nitrogen balance versus a phosphorus balance. Again, if you design it for a phosphorus balance, you’re going to have, theoretically at least, enough distance away from you to get down to a background odor level, which is two dilutions a threshold. The focus is on air and water quality together. We shouldn’t apologize for how much land it takes to strike a phosphorus balance because I think that that’s going to buy us time and buffer distance with regard to odor.

Another solution is being used occasionally in a few places is covering lagoons. This happens to be an anaerobic lagoon at a sizeable swine farm that Dr. Bill Hambleton and I and many of you all have probably visited. This covered, anaerobic lagoon has been in existence now for about 15 years. It was designed to be covered, so it may have a little bit higher loading rate than the low loading rate I talked about. That cover does a very good job of not only capturing the gas for combustion, in an internal combustion engine, but also reducing odor. In other words, the odor intensity was dropped down to a pretty reasonable level at the lagoon by about 31 dilutions a threshold, which is pretty low for an anaerobic lagoon in the summer time. There are other ways to cover lagoons, such as flexible membranes and floating bio-mats. These are just some of those bio-mat types or other different ways of functioning. Because this is a national pork producer, I think, the pork producers have come up with this information and some other sources of floating bio-mat such as straw or corn stalks. These have all been tried. Here’s another example rock, almost a volcanic rock that floats. These are different ways that are being sought and examined. Colorado has just recently passed a law, and the implementing regulations do speak to covering new lagoons and retrofitting existing lagoons. If you design it large to begin with, for a lightly loaded lagoon, and then you’ve got to come back and cover it, you’re actually being forced to pay a penalty for having done something reasonable to begin with. So, a covered lagoon should be designed as a covered lagoon, built smaller with steeper sides. If you’re going to put a cover on, you might as well load up the first cell to begin with, and then you’re going to have to have a big lagoon to have to cover. Other treatment approaches, aeration and anaerobic digestion, or heated anaerobic digestion, it’s just about a 6 to 8% solids to have a good anaerobic digester, or mesophyllic or thermophyllic digester, biochemical manipulation. There are many chemicals and biochemicals on the market, and some evidence shows that a few of these actually work and have some benefit with regard to odor control.

Aeration breaks organic matter down, in theory into carbon dioxide, water, nitrates, sulfur, one residue is ammonia. It does not necessarily help you with ammonia. I want to make that point. This example of aeration is a 50,000 hog farm we saw in the Texas panhandle on a tour. They use two days of aeration. First, the solid separates, and then aeration is followed by center pivot irrigation and then it goes on out; then it’s just very short storage. In other words, there is no lagoon in the system; it’s just short-term storage with aeration. Some aeration, some of the principles reduces of all the fatty acids, so it reduces odor during storage and produces a higher quality wastewater for flushing when you recycle it back to the building. The big kicker is energy cost, which is the main reason that people don’t put that in to begin with. But, I think it’s a technology we might be revisiting. Another disadvantage is that it really doesn’t control ammonia that much. There are also issues concerning how to aerate. Continuous aeration is like in that storage tank we saw earlier, where you design it as a properly, fully aerated system. Aeration efficiency or a higher aeration efficiency at least two times a daily BOD loading, provided there’s oxygen, achieving a DO level of one to two parts per million, just like you would in a municipal sewage treatment plant, activated sludge plant. It’s pretty expensive. About $5 per head produced, and that’s a lot of money going out the gate and that may be the difference between profit and loss. Or, in some years, a loss and a bigger loss. This is an attempt on a commercial swine lagoon to do partial aeration. This is where the lagoon is probably 12 feet deep and only aerating the top 2 feet. Some experimental technology has been going on with that for a number of years, and this is a full-scale implementation of that under a small business grant. We’re monitoring that one, and it’s actually helping to some extent. In this case, instead of going for twice the daily BOD load, you aerate for about 1/3 to 1/2 of the daily BOD loading. It still produces ammonia. There’s still some odor, but it can knock the peak off the odor, and the energy cost is about one third of what it would be for full aeration. Again, you aerate about the top foot or two. It reduces the size of the lagoon and so forth. So, those are some technologies that are coming on screen, but I think we’ll have some in the future that would get around perhaps having to put a cover on everything.

I want to spend the rest of my time talking about ammonia. Ammonia is something that we have a lot of experience with it. I want to show you how much we rely on ammonia loss through the atmosphere to design these systems. Consider, the Midwest Plan Service design handbook (MWPS 18, 2nd Edition) this provides an estimated nitrogen loss during storage. As engineers, we’re counting on this loss.

 

John Sweeten: There is a definite diurnal variation observed with odors. It is low at some periods of the day and high at other periods. Here’s Dr. Paine in the UK; land application liquid manure used as dynamic olfactometer to measure odor. He calculated the rates and found a 23 to 70% ammonia loss after ten to 14 days just from land application, with 80% of the loss occurring in the first two days, and he found in his case a good correlation between ammonia and odor. Not every study shows that good a correlation. At the University of California at Chino in 1974, Lubes found that the morning concentration in the middle of his dairy production area was 128 micrograms per cubic meter. In the afternoon it was only 6, and at night it was 174. So there were a lot of dynamics during the day at eight-tenths of a kilometer downwind, only 18 as compared to 540 right in the corrals. In 1982, at a 120,000-head feed lot in Colorado, Hutchison, ARS measured ammonia at eight sampling heights and 13 sampling sites, and he found that the average for the 13 sampling sites was 520 plus or minus 309 micrograms per cubic meter. Also, there is a big difference between whether it was dry surface or is a couple of days after rainfall about a three-fold increase, when it was drying out after rainfall the feed lot surface was wet. He also compared that to the ambient ammonia concentration in Colorado, which was only a one-digit number, so it was a rather substantial increase—about two orders of magnitude—in ammonia right there at the feed lot itself, not downwind. He calculated flux density in all this (how much was going off in time). He also measured a mean compound associated with it so that the average flux density was about 1.4 plus or minus 7 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare per hour going off from that particular feed lot surface, and it maximizes the feed lot dried up after rainfall. Many numbers like that have been inflated.

There is a great deal of work in emissions going on in swine to control ammonia. Some of it has to do with the atmosphere inside the swine production building as well as downwind type of issues, but producers are looking at lower protein levels. Synthetic amino acids are more digestible so they cutback on crude protein, but maximizes digestive efficiency. Other kinds of rations, like sugar beet, are being tried to help reduce ammonia inside the buildings from the fresh manure and then ultimately downwind. So these kind of studies are going on and are being somewhat effective.

This is the work at Clay Center, Nebraska, on an open dirt surface, 10,000-head feed lot. This is the calculated nitrogen budget based on what they measured. There was 700,000 kilograms of nitrogen intake, and of that five-and-a-half percent went into the animal tissue, 57% was volatilized, 17% was in the runoff, 17% was in the manure, there’s about 3% in the soil on that particular set of circumstances. Here’s work going on at ARS at Bushland in conjunction with West Texas A&M University and the Texas Ag. Experiment Station. Containers of feed lot manure received different chemical treatments, and those using the Bubbler Method to trap ammonia evolved in these Tupperware containers inside acid baths and it’s titrated to measure how much actually went off. This chart here shows what they’re finding out is to illustrate how some progress with regard to ammonia reductions to try to get that 57% down. This would be on 21 days of evolution time. This shows the accumulative ammonia evolution vertically versus the days of evolution after treatment. Without any kind of control, this top line is just the amount of manure that has evolved inside the container. In this case, 60 or 70 milligrams were evolved inside those Tupperware containers. When different treatments were applied to them, one of the best two treatments was applying alum just to the manure’s surface. It dropped it from 70 milligrams all the way down to one-digit numbers, somewhere around two or three, maybe as much as seven. So it dropped it by at least one order of magnitude and maybe more just by some chemical treatments. Some other things were also tried, such as calcium chloride and a urea inhibitor. So chemical treatments can show some promise for helping to reduce ammonia. We have yet to discover the animal health effects and human health effects of working around these chemicals, but it does show some promise for future reductions.

The final aspect of this is what happens with ammonia. It’s one of these two compound mixture things that can cause problems if the right atmosphericconditions exist. Ammonium nitrate comes from different sources and ammonia. If they get together up in the atmosphere, there’s some speculation, and probably some evidence, that they can create a secondary particulate. Much has been written about that, but there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of data. Some work done at Cal. State shows that the nitrate form in gas has a high affinity for dry deposition. It wants to deposit on the surface, but in the presence of ammonia it can form a particulate. The gas has a half-life of about 30 hours. The particulate, however, has a low affinity for dry deposition. It has a half-life up to ten times that of the gas form, so it can travel a good distance downwind. With low ammonia, however, regardless of how much nitrate is present, most of the nitrate stays and the ammonia gas stays up in the air, except it does have a dry deposition, low particulate formation. So if you have low ammonia, you have less particulate formation, but if you have a high ammonia, you have less dry deposition of the nitrate and greater particulate formation.

Hydrogen sulfide is an issue in more places. There seems to be a poor correlation between hydrogen sulfide in the air and odor. This work is done up at the University of Minnesota, and other groups may have more to do with hydrogen sulfide, but yet it’s one of those things that’s easy to grab onto. You can buy a $10,000 instrument and go out there and measure hydrogen sulfide and all of a sudden you’re an expert on it. But it really might not have much to do with odor.

Another issue is the air quality test for microorganisms. We are doing some work on the bacteriology of particulates from field dust, from confined feeding and so forth. That’s an issue that we need to address in the future. Some of the parts that work is coming out is showing there’s bacteria there, but they may or may not be viable bacteria. They may be dead bacterial cells; so more sciences need to be applied to that.

I want to read something from another one of these studies that were passed out. This is the National Research Council and a fellow named James Reesa. He talks about five categories that need research in the atmospheric sciences: "The ammonia and secondary precursor is a precursor of secondary particulates. This spatial and temporally evolved emission and inventories were needed for primary particles and precursors of secondary particles. Much more research is needed on secondary particle precursor emissions and their relative importance to primary material before their formulation can be simulated with reliability sufficient for regulatory application." What that says is whoa, let’s not get the cart before the horse. Let’s not assume that we automatically have a combination of two things happening in the air because such a hasty conclusion is not reliable. He also says research progress has slowed considerably during recent years, with respect to formation and transformation, and atmospheric chemistry regarding secondary particles. So we may get the cart before the horse if we’re not careful.

I want to talk about other studies that have just come out and this one has to do with methane. I think that sometimes we get the feeling we can solve odor problems by capturing the gas coming off anaerobic decomposition, as well as capture the methane. Here’s a study by Phillip Lusk, Washington, that came out in September of 1998 called "Methane Recovery from Animal Manure." Out of the 400,000 or plus animal feeding operations in the US, there’s exactly 30 recovery systems. Thirty of them have adopted methane recovery systems; that is only one out of 10,000, so we have a long way to go before that becomes the norm. Lusk says there have been many more put in. When you take out those systems that have been done for government purposes or for university purposes and funded by government money, there is 30 viable ones left, with more than 30 have closed.]]] So it just speaks to the economics and practicality of some of this technology. However, the technology is getting better.

GM: Gerry Masters: I’m going to be speaking more from a public perception of odor or maybe a producer perception of what is actually happening in the countryside. This is a very emotional issue. Some very outrageous attacks have happened at times. We found out that many of the people in the activist groups that we deal with actually live inside city limits and nowhere near an agricultural operation. Sometimes you just almost think that some people have more time on their hands than the rest of us do. But one thing I think we need to keep in mind as we do all of our work is that we are blessed in this country with the most abundant, safest, cheapest food supply, and I don’t think there is anyone in this room who doesn’t appreciate clean air and clean water. We also want a safe, abundant food supply, so I want us to keep that in mind in all the decisions that we make. I think the decisions that we make and the recommendations we make to the Secretary ultimately filter down and affect the lives and the livelihood of family farmers, their children, and the people in rural America. We need to keep that in mind. Also, I think our recommendations need to be made on sound science, and I know we’ve heard that here today also. One thing I’ve found about producers in my state, and we work very closely with them, is that they are responsive and they want to be responsible. Producers go in business and they have certain criteria when they borrow hundreds of thousands or maybe millions of dollars to go in business, and then all of a sudden that person has a moving target because the rules changed. I think we definitely need to keep in mind that our recommendations need to be phased in, and phased in so economically that we do not destroy people’s livelihoods by taking away their ability to make money.

In the State of Arkansas, we did an odor study about two years ago. We have 407 permitted swine facilities in our state. We started out intending to take odor measurements on 10% of those facilities, or on 40 different farms; I think we ended up with data on 36 farms. We involved NRCS, Arkansas Soil and Water, our Department of Environmental Quality, and the University of Arkansas. The pork industry had nothing to do with the results and nothing to do with the measurements of the results. All we did was fund the project. The panels that took the measurements also included people from the public and from some of our activists groups. I’m going to pass around a short version of the results of that study. If you look in there, we took 1,157 odor measurements with a scentometer, as Dr. Sweeten showed. Eighty-five percent of these measurements were showed to be non-offensive; 45% of the measurements were within one-tenth of a mile of the facility, and 99% were within one-half. So we felt very good about that.

I think there are several things that you can do with the producers to help them to have a total management system. As we worked with producers in Arkansas, we became the first state to start a yearly mandatory education program on our permitted swine facilities, which we started in 1992. Working with the producers and with the agencies very closely has meant we’ve been able to educate producers on total management of the facilities.

Another unique thing we’ve done that no other state is doing is an internal audit program that we do on all our facilities monthly. We started this program about eight months ago. You might say, well, that has to do with water quality. But I really think that once you make producers aware of a total program, not only does it improve their ability to manage their waste handling facilities, but they also have more of an awareness of how they need to handle other parts of their operation. I think they go hand in hand. The producer who manages his waste handling facility very well also does not have the air quality problems that a lot of other facilities have.

To administer this program, our state has contracts with two companies, and their field managers go out and audit these farms monthly. These audits are sent to our Department of Environmental Quality. If a producer is noted to have one of those first three observations noted within 24 hours, we will call and he’ll have an inspector on his farm. If he has two of those number four through ten two months in a row, he also will get a visit. We found that our people have been much tougher on our producers than the inspectors were. I wasn’t too popular when this program first came out, but we have a better awareness of our producers. In the first six months of the program, we had over 2,000 audits; and in the previous three years, we’d only had 100 inspections. So we’ve really brought awareness to our producers that we do mean business. They are doing a good job. I believe these are things that the industry is trying to do, and I think if you’ll study the track record of the pork industry nationally or in state work producer associations, our industry has been very much in the forefront of environmental management when it comes to the animal industry, and we’re quite proud of that.

Our national organization has been very active in doing many things. We’ve got an odor assessment program that’s available to producers, and we also have a voluntary compliance audit program. I think these programs, and many others out there in industry, make the producers more aware of what is expected of them. And once they realize what’s expected of them, I think they will respond to those challenges. Sometimes when we look at trying to put regulations and rules upon people, we change the rules a little bit and we may improve one area, but we affect ourselves in a lot of other areas. I think we need to be very careful not to do that in our recommendations.

Chairman Reed: What I’d like to do is to move to the public comment period so that as many of you as possible can hear what the public has to say. To lead us through that, I’m going to call on Carol Whitman.

Carol Whitman: So far we have three speakers for this afternoon. The first is Debra Atwood from the National Pork Producers Council.

Debra Atwood: I’m just going to build on what Gerry said and what John Sweeten has said. The National Pork Producers Council has developed several programs for our producers. The one that we spent three and a half million dollars on and will continue spending money on is what’s called our Odor Solutions Initiative where the industry’s taken it upon ourselves to spend our own check-off dollars examining things, and John’s been actively involved with us on some of this. By the end of this year, we should have a pretty good handle on what types of solutions are out there for controlling odor. And it’s been broken down into categories of technologies as well as management practices—everything from the foo-foo dust [sic] that we hear about every day to sound ways of getting bacteria growing at the appropriate rate and introducing different kinds of covers. Gerry has seen it done in Arkansas. Other state people have volunteered producer farms to check out these technologies and solutions. We will be broadcasting these worldwide (at least US wide) as soon as we have a handle on the best technologies and solutions we have discovered. We’re hoping to have this information out to the public to look at and smell, if you will, by the end of this year.

Also, Gerry talked about our On-Farm Odor and Environmental Assessment Program. It’s a program where we have third party certified inspectors go out to farms and assess everything from odor control to water management and environmental controls in general. We are hoping to get out on 12,000 farms over the next three years. I might point out that the Environmental Protection Agency is providing a grant to the America’s Clean Water Foundation, and we will be the subcontractors there to get out and do these on-farm assessments as well. And we will be supporting all the research dollars we can to look at odor and atmospheric issues in the next congressional process, so we’ll join the forces on that.

Carol Whitman: Thank you, Debra. Our second speaker this afternoon is Ross Rogers from the Governor’s Air Quality Committee in Arizona.

Ross Rogers: I know a couple of things were a bit confusing, but I wanted to try to clear up a few points of what is actually going to be a general permit in Arizona, what isn’t, and the difference between the nuisance dust law that’s already in the books and what the upcoming BMP Committee is working on, and also try to address maybe Manuel’s and some of the other comments. There isn’t a general permit with the actual nuisance dust law as it states now. There is a statute saying that farmers who are using normal practices for agriculture are allowed to farm and produce nuisance dust and cannot be cited. However, with the new senate bill that the committee is working on, they are developing a rule and a general permit. Now, in Arizona, the statute itself for general permit is fairly open. There are multiple types that can happen, and it is up to the committee to choose one. By law they have to have the rule done by June of 2,000. And as you all know with rules, that pretty much means by this fall we’ll have to have it completed and go through the regulatory review process and everything that the governor has for new rules. The committee is appointed for six years, and they say members may be re-appointed also. In Arizona the farmers are really willing to come to the table and try to come up with something as members of this committee. We do have a representative from almost every type of production: cotton growers, vegetable, grain, citrus. And lastly, from a personal standpoint, I would like to thank NRCS and Jeff. I know that they have a tremendous task ahead of them and they’ve done a great job to try to give the committee all the research that is out there. I know we’re kind of critical of them sometimes, but he’s done a wonderful job to get the committee whatever they need and also to be very willing to help in any way.

Robert Flocchini: Can you define nuisance dust for me?

Ross Rogers: Strictly from personal memory, I think the statute says any dust. It’s defined as any dust that comes from an agricultural practice, a tractor running through a field. A nuisance dust is pretty much anything that somebody complains about.

Robert Flocchini: That somebody complains about. So the key phrase is "that somebody complains about"?

Ross Rogers: I don’t know if it actually says that in statute, but a nuisance to me would be.

Robert Flocchini: Can we have a copy of the statute?

Ross Rogers: Oh, you bet. I can try to get you a copy of the statute. It is on the web, actually. It’s on the ALICE network, the legislative statewide network. I’ll give that address to you personally.

Sally Shaver: Will your general permit be a Title V permit, or is that just a state permit?

Ross Rogers: From my understanding it is a state permit.

Manuel Cunha: So your state is adopting this regulation and must implement its program by the year 2,000, and now you are having a comment period on this, is that correct?

Ross Rogers: As far as a comment period, the committee is open. It’s a public meeting, as yours is. People can come in and make comments just as they can here. There will be a general permit that they will follow, and then in statute under this bill that was just passed, if for some reason somebody goes out and says you’re not under that permit, a number of things would happen. First, they would go to the conservation districts through NRCS, and then they would work on a plan together for that farm, still under a general permit. Second strike, if you want to call it, would be going to AZ Dept. Environmental Quality and they then would write a permit with you if you were the farmer. The third step, "third strike you’re out" type of concept, is that an individual permit which is in Arizona statute now would actually be written for you personally, and you would have to apply directly with our state Environmental Regulation Agency.

Manuel, I might be able to answer your question on the rule comment period. If you were talking about just the rule itself, by Arizona statute you do have 30 days public comment through the regulatory review process to write in any comments you have to Arizona. Whatever you want to say goes into comment. But that’s on the rule itself, not on the actual committee practices. Those are open to the public as your meetings are here.

Phil Wakelyn: Has that rule actually been proposed?

Ross Rogers: The governor has signed a bill stating that this committee of ten members will develop a rule by June of 2000. The rule itself has not been drafted.

Phil Wakelyn: They’re in the process of drafting a rule that would be proposed sometime so that by June of 2000 you will have a final, so you’ll have to have some kind of proposal probably by the end of the year.

Ross Rogers: That is correct.

Robert Flocchini: I wanted to go on record and Gerry said that I could do this because I asked what nuisance dust was. I would also like to have a definition of foo-foo dust entered into the record, please.

Debra Atwood: You know Foo-foo .

Carol Whitman: Perhaps if Ross is going to be available this evening or tomorrow during tomorrow’s meeting, then if there are more questions for him, he will have an opportunity to interact with members of the task force. The last speaker this afternoon is Jeff Schmidt. He is from the Arizona State NRCS office.

Jeff Schmidt: I just put our names in together. I can officially say no comment at this period. Thank you.

Carol Whitman: That will close the public comment period for today. There will be another period tomorrow.

Calvin Parnell: I want to make an announcement before we adjourn today because some of you are not going to be here tomorrow. The second international conference on air pollution from agricultural operations is scheduled for October 9th through the 11th in the year 2000 in Des Moines, Iowa. The abstracts for the papers on this conference are due May 15, 1999. The topics are dust control, dispersion modeling, ammonia emissions, particulate matter, odors, and air quality regulations.

John Ashe: I want to bring something to the table that maybe people don’t realize. I’m from North Carolina where we have a lot of small farmers, and farmers feel a little bit pushed to the wall right now from hogs cotton, tobacco, peanuts and scared to death that some bureaucrat somewhere is going to push something down their throat. That’s why farmers haven’t come to the front until now. Farmers are scared to death of what might happen. I’m hoping everyone here knows that. We want to be watching and be a part of that.

Chairman Reed: Thank you, John. I think we need to ask George Bluhm to cover the action register for things that we agreed to follow up on today.

George Bluhm: I wrote down seven things. The first thing was on the subcommittees; I will go through and give you a total list of the subcommittees and who’s on them, and then deal with the chairman to make sure we’ve got a short statement of charge for each one of the subcommittees. That’s my job. Next, I checked Emmett Barker asked if the secretary had anyone looking into the economics of the reformulation of diesel fuel. We have requested Keith Collin’s shop to give us a presentation on the economics at the next meeting and Sally Shaver has agreed to bring EPA expertise on the subject. The third thing was that Ross Rogers will provide us with information from the State of Arizona, and I have given him a list of the people to whom he’s agreed to send it. If not, we’ll contact Jeff, and Jeff can help follow up. Fourth thing: Emmett and Sally will get together on a topic related to the risks of going from a voluntary program to a dairyman ending up in jail. I’m not sure just exactly what that is, but we’ll put it on the next agenda. The fifth thing was Dick Amerman and Ed Knipling agreed to give us a breakdown of the 15 million dollars in climate change, and Dick could provide it to us tomorrow. The sixth thing, Gary Margheim agreed to talk to Keith Collin’s shop to see if we can’t get Margo Anderson or somebody from that shop here. The seventh thing, Phil Wakelyn volunteered to write a letter to Ed Knipling to request that a subcommittee of this task force be included in setting the national program research priorities.

Manuel Cunha: Since we’re looking at the action items, I think there was an item brought up earlier that we need to probably help to educate some of the folks at OMB and at the White House. And we know that there is an environmental task force that is at the White House that Vice President Gore has. Perhaps we could request a management-level person from OMB, maybe Katie or somebody, and the person from the White House to attend our next meeting so that we can emphasize to them the importance between air quality and agriculture across the nation, and it needs to be an item at a high level of thinking versus in the cow pasture.

Chairman Reed: Can I rephrase what you just said to say that we have agreed that we will visit with some of the key policy level folks in the administration to see if we can’t get them engaged in the agricultural air quality issue. We’ll have the appropriate person come to our next meeting.

Dennis Tristao: There are some new committees that I’d like to be involved on, but my resources are limited. I’d like to drop my activities in the Ag. Burn Program, and I’d like to volunteer to be a part of the Confined Animal Facility.

Emmett Barker: You raised the point earlier in the day about whether or not the subcommittees can meet outside of the official meeting of this committee. Could we get clarification on that?

George Bluhm, DFO: The rule is that you can meet outside this committee and you can do staff work, but when it comes to making decisions, recommendations, or anything like that, it has to come back to the committee as a recommendation.

USDA Agricultural Air Quality task Force Meeting Minutes
3/4/99

George Bluhm: I need to remind everybody that this is a public meeting of the FACA. This FACA was constituted by law, and that means that we have public meetings. The public meetings are amongst the people who are at the table, and the public is welcome to listen to everything that goes on. If you, as a member of the public, have something to say, please come forward and meet with Ray Sinclair over here in the corner and request a time when you can make a presentation. The rest of the time the meeting should be just between the committee members.

Acting Chairman Gary Margheim; Good Morning; and I know this is a little out of place, but I think the members of the task force realize and appreciate all of the staff work that goes into making these meetings successful. Sometimes we forget to recognize the people that have put a lot of time in on this behind the scenes. So I just want to right now before we forget, I’d like to recognize people like Robin Dunkins from EPA, Elvis Graves, Dr. Carol Whitman, John Beyer, Dennis Perry, Elizabeth Rogers, Ray Sinclair, and Roel Vining and, of course, George for all their work that they do for you folks. This is just a note of appreciation.

Next agenda item is agricultural burning.

Robert Quinn: Particularly for the new members of the committee, I would like to bring you up to date a little bit on the history of the ag. burning issue as it relates to the air quality task force. About a year and a half ago, Commissioner Bob Odum, the Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture, gave a presentation here which summarized essentially the history and context of agricultural burning in the United States, and what I think most of us were impressed with was that there is an incredible variety of crops and resource context to the use of ag. burning that vary extensively from one region to another; from sugar cane burning in the southeast, in Florida and Louisiana, to some of the range land related to silviculture burning necessary in the southeast and west, compared to the small grain burning that takes place in states like Texas and my own state of Washington. Of course, the grass seed burning in the State of Washington has been under a quite dynamic change relative to regulation. The end result is that we see that approximately 12 million acres annually, give or take a few million, are burned for a variety of valid resource management practices. The task force agreed at that time that they needed to establish a subcommittee to look at the whole issue of agricultural burning with the realization that EPA was eventually going to develop an ag. burn policy. That subcommittee was formed, and I was asked to be the chairman of that committee since I’ve been involved in the meteorological context of running a meteorological station in eastern Washington for many years in support of the grass burning effort in that state. Other members of the subcommittee at that time included Dennis Tristao, Calvin Parnell, Phyllis Breeze, Clinton Reader, and Manuel Cunha. We worked over a number of months to develop a set of recommendations that addressed the full context of agricultural burning. We relied very heavily on work that had been done by Brad Spicer down in Louisiana where he had done a lot of the legwork for the NRCS, and I want to basically give due recognition to his staff and the work that he did. We presented a series of recommendations to the agricultural task force at our Amarillo, Texas, meeting, I believe. Agricultural burning is indeed a very controversial issue and a very emotional issue in particular states where that burning activity has the potential to and does, in fact, have impacts upon urban areas. We realized that this is not an issue where you’re going to come up with easy, totally agreed-upon solutions in terms of developing both recommendations and a policy.

I think our recommendations were well received by the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force. They did accept our report, but as a consequence, our work was just beginning. Essentially we could have sat and developed a set of recommendations, tried to develop a draft policy, sent it on and, of course, it may have been taken very well or it may have simply been ignored. However, the memorandum of understanding has basically set up a very strong working liaison between EPA and the Agricultural Task Force, so the end result of our recommendations was to establish a working relationship with Sally Shaver and her staff—Robin Duncan, Elvis Graves, Diane Burns—to essentially aid them in the formulation of the eventual ag. burning policy. So the committee has been hard at work and presented a draft form of that policy, at our teleconferencing meeting. Portions of that draft policy were debated, and I’m sure it will continue to be debated as we move on, but essentially it was agreed to be accepted by the Agricultural Task Force. I continued to work with suggestions from members of the subcommittee and with Robin Duncan and her staff.

I hope all of you did receive copies following the teleconferencing meeting. There are some key points that have developed from that policy that address the issue of agricultural burning, and I’ll highlight at least three of those. First of all is to realize that the use of fire is indeed a legitimate management practice to maintain agricultural production in the nation’s croplands. While this task force and the subcommittee well recognize that ag. burning is indeed a source of both PM 10 and PM 2.5, we need to essentially get the message out and make sure that people do realize that for certain crops in certain states and in certain practices, sugar cane being an example in the southeast, there is at this point almost no alternative to burning to maintain the economic viability of that particular crop. There are a number of applications that agricultural burning takes on in terms of residue, removal, and in some cases pest control, legitimate treatment of the land prior to a subsequent crop.

On the other hand, the second principle is that we need to protect the public welfare by mitigating the impact on air quality of air pollution emissions from agricultural burning. While it is an extremely important management practice, needs to be protected in terms of a viable management practice, we do recognize that it is a source of pollution, and that is the best that we can do in terms of science, research, and technology. We need to keep agriculture apprised of what alternatives indeed do exist in terms of agricultural burning. No farmer likes to burn. He would prefer some other alternative, so this is not some absolutely desired and tried-and-true practice by the individual operator. They recognize the negative impacts of that particular activity. In the long run, certainly agriculture has to bear its fair share. And the key word there is "fair share," which enters into what we recommended within the policy of reducing emissions from agricultural burning.

The third recommendation, which we’ve heard so many times in this particular task force, is to ensure that the assessment of the contribution of agricultural burning to air quality is based upon sound, scientific-based analysis of the relative proportion of air pollution from different agricultural burning practices. I think that particular principle relates to some of the aspects of implementation that the subcommittee incorporated into our draft policy. When you finally go out to try to assess how much agricultural burning is taking place in the nation and with respect to which crops, there isn’t really a good, consistent source of reliable data. Brad Scribner and his group provided us with their best estimate, but I know since this committee has met and since the last report was given that Robin Duncan and her staff have sent out some questionnaires to basically check. Early results indicate that there is a discrepancy between what’s being reported, even by Brad Scribner’s group, and what they’re getting back in terms of acreage burned in a number of states. I think that’s reflective of the fact that we really don’t have a good data-gathering mechanism for that. That’s one issue that needs to be addressed. It’s part of what I see in basically the tier one of ag. burning policy for states with fairly large rural areas where ag. burning is not a major impact upon air quality issues. It’s not a major impact yet on attainment. It reflects states like Texas where ag. burning is carried out and the perception at the grass roots level is that this is a small activity that we carry on. We don’t want to see a lot of regulation, and basically the tier one was designed to try to accommodate that, but one of the key parts of the tier one is some method of tracking. Tier one needs some method of actually verifying down to the individual farmers what crops they have and how much they are going to burn—essentially basic demographic information, because that’s something that is seriously lacking.

Therefore, the report that we submitted at the last teleconferencing meeting was basically a draft of our recommendations relative to a developing ag. burning policy, and that has gone on to Sally Shaver, Robin Duncan, and her staff. They have made a number of suggestions along the way. Since we didn’t exist for a while in terms of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force, we have not yet incorporated their suggestions into a revised draft of the ag. policy. I anticipate that that would be our next step. Some of the changes that they have suggested are frankly quite acceptable to me. They’re fairly minor changes in definitions, in terminology. There are one or two little philosophical points that I included in the original version that probably, as has been pointed out to me, are inappropriate in that particular portion of the policy, but they reiterate our very strong desire to make sure that good science is used to set standards in a policy within the draft. Members of my subcommittee have sent me some suggestions on changes, so I consider this a document still in progress.

Some of you are aware that as an outgrowth of the Western Governors Conference, there is another group headed by Pete Lahm that’s addressing Class One smoke and haze aspects in areas. That is now part of a work plan for the Fire Emissions Joint Forum. Last spring I went down and spoke to their group and basically presented at least the progress that the ag. burning subcommittee and the Air Quality Task Force had made in terms of the ag. burning issue. We want to make sure that we are cooperating together in terms of developing policy so that we don’t end up with two groups trying to develop policy that is not communicating with one another. In terms of addressing those issues, Carol Whitman has been our NRCS liaison on that group and has worked very hard to keep the goals and the intentions of the group at least roughly on line. Their group has recommended definitions of what constitutes agricultural land and what constitutes wild land from their group. I’ve also received a suggestion from Robin Duncan and her staff relative to some slight changes in definitions that, again, do not appear to be a problem to me.

I want to make sure that the new members on the subcommittee sort of come up to speed and are aware of the work that’s been done previously, and indeed they may have some input that I certainly want to consider. Hopefully by the next meeting in Spokane, the subcommittee can take the suggestions, both from internal and external sources and come up with something pretty close to a final version that we can then send on to EPA. Then they can work on the parts of the document that are appropriately their responsibility. So at this point, I hope that we can accept this document as at least a working draft. I believe we did that during the teleconferencing call, and that’s my hope for a time line for the meeting in June in Spokane.

I realize that there are some specific items relative to agricultural burning that have quickly moved their way up to the top of both agency considerations and public perception, and it’s something we simply are going to have to deal with. I think the last comment I would like to make is a general philosophical one: on one hand, I strongly believe that agricultural burning is a very legitimate practice that has to be considered in light of its application and use in each particular state and for each particular crop. At the same time I think it’s extremely important that this committee and our subcommittee not be perceived as circling the wagons and trying to protect agriculture from its fair share of implementing the NAAQS. We need to develop a policy that ultimately says look, we have a very strong goal to ensure that we do have cleaner air in this nation and that agriculture becomes part of the solution and not part of the problem. With that, I’d like to open it up for comments.

Calvin Parnell: First of all, I commend Bob Quinn. He has done an outstanding job of leading this subcommittee, and he has basically done a majority of the work. The subcommittee has done Very little work, and I want to give him credit for that; he’s been an outstanding leader.

This has turned into a really, really significant project. I didn’t realize how important it was until I got back to Texas and I got a call. In south Texas we have one sugar cane producing area and one sugar cane processing area, and they had to go through a very difficult time to get what is basically a permit (though it is called something else) in order to operate their sugar cane production area in south Texas. The call I received was that we were going to get a new sugar cane producing area in southeast Texas, which happened to be an ozone non-attainment area. The ag. Administrator who called me asked if we would have any problems with air pollution regulations if we were to put a sugar cane processing plant in there and generate 40,000 acres of sugar cane? I said, yes, sir, you do. You need to go with me to this meeting. And so I go down to the meeting, and there’s a banker and a whole bunch of farmers in the room. They are not getting very good money for rice, kind of like soybeans this year and they want to go into sugar cane. They do it in Louisiana and such, so they wanted to come over there in Beaumont area and get sugar cane production. The only problem is that it’s an ozone non-attainment area. There are some real difficulties here. And as I presented the difficulties at the end of the meeting, the banker jumps up, turns around to an administrative VP, and says, "Can’t you find somebody at A&M that’s positive on this issue?" There are many people out there who do not understand that the prescribed burning policy that we’re getting ready to generate with EPA is going to have a major impact on a number of states.

Another group that got excited about this was the TNRCC, which is our state air pollution control agency in the State of Texas, because some people were saying, and in the policy here it was suggesting, that we would have a permitting program for all ag. burning in the different states. Now, you’ve got to understand that permitting in the eyes of some is a pretty simple process. They had a special meeting, and they basically insisted that I go to this thing, too. It was a prescribed burning workshop and it included people who deal with birds and animals and they were all concerned about this prescribed burning. They said, "Well, it’s real simple. We’ll just go to a permitting process. They do it in Georgia." So they had the people from Georgia come and tell them what they did on permitting. In Georgia and other parts of the country, when they burn, they’re burning large acreages that are owned by one company. But what they were calling permitting was calling the Georgia Forester and saying, "We want to burn tomorrow." He looks at the weather forecast and says, "Yeah, you go ahead and burn. You’re permitted." But that is not a permit from the standpoint of EPA, and that’s certainly not a permit from the standpoint of TNRCC. We had to explain to those folks that for permitting, you come into the agency with your engineer and your lawyer and your consultant, and you get the legal authority to go forward and burn, and it is not a simple process.

Now, TNRCC does not want to get into individual permits for every one of the burns because they have something on the order of 2,000 to 5,000 burns a year. The agency does not want to have 2,000 to 5,000 permits in the State of Texas. So in Texas, you’re permitted by rule. To have a rule, you must comply with the rule, but you don’t go in and get a formal permit for each individual burn of five or ten acres or whatever. We got the TNRCC involved in this issue, and they’re very concerned that this task force will work with Robin Duncan and Sally Shaver and come forward with a policy that says you will have an individual permit for every burn that you have in your state. They said they couldn’t handle that in the State of Texas. They’re really concerned in Texas that we leave an opening there to handle their burning process, a permit by rule. Some people say well, you let them get by with murder. You know, they can do anything they want to do. In the State of Texas if somebody comes in with ten acres and they’re permitted by rule, they don’t have to call anybody or get permission, but if they violate the rules, they’re subject to Notices of Violation (NOVs) and penalties—severe penalties, I might add. This permit by rule system does work in the State of Texas.

I’m also in the process of trying to help the TNRCC come up with an emissions inventory, which means determining how much of this PM 10 is coming from this process. In a 1992 EPA document, a Prescribed Burning Background Document, there are some rather bothersome numbers. In Figure 92, it goes through the whole process and ends up with the composite PM 10-emission yield being 10 to 4,000 pounds per ton. Now I’m just a simple engineer here, but a ton of biomass has 2,000 pounds in it. Given conservation of mass, I don’t know quite how you’re going to get 4,000 pounds out of something that is 2,000 pounds. That’s one reference that we had there. And then you go back and look at grass and brush, et cetera, you’ve got a particulate emission factor that goes from 15 pounds of particulate matter to 150 on this one table, but when you read down below it, it could go as high as 300. So if you’re doing an emission inventory and you look at the number of acres we burn in the State of Texas, and that includes wildfires, if you use 15, you get one number, but if you use 300, you’ve got another number, so who’s going to decide which number you use? In other words, we do not have good data. That’s what Dennis was talking about yesterday, what Manuel’s talking about also. We don’t really have good scientific data for the emission factor from prescribed burns. And we’re going to try to generate some better numbers, I might add, at Texas A&M this coming year. We’re looking at doing some measuring of concentrations and trying to improve upon these numbers that we have to work with.

The point I want to make to the whole group is that this task force comes to Washington, D.C., for two or three or four days. What good are we doing? If we have the opportunity here to come up with better data, we should recommend exactly what Robert says: not generate some kind of process where the sugar cane people can in effect get away with anything and the farmers who are burning can get away with anything, but a process where agriculture is regulated fairly. We can work with Robin and Sally to make an impact.

My other point is that many people out there don’t understand permitting and emission factors, so part of what we have to do is educate those folks. As I mentioned before, there are some people in the forest service who think that when they call the Georgia Forest Service in the State of Georgia and ask to burn tomorrow, and the forest service looks and says to go ahead and burn, that that’s a permit. That is not a permit from the standpoint of air pollution. It is not a permit in my state, and I don’t think EPA would recognize it as being a permit. Thank you.

Manuel Cunha: Again, I give a lot of accolades to Dr. Quinn for doing an outstanding job with burning, one of the most touchy items across the nation as well as the world. I commend him for his work on a very difficult item.

There are a couple of things I think are important. Number one is that the agriculture industry in this nation believes that we need to deal with burning. I think we all believe that very sincerely. But I am disturbed when I see legislation coming down, like HR236, which is to exempt an agency within the USDA from asking for an exemption from burning so they could burn without any regulations and controls. Let me give an example. California Forest Service and our air district has to deal with it because it’s part of our state plan is that our district right now picks up a tab that the farmers pick up for the forest service of $87,000 that the farmers pick up so that the forestry can burn because they have to monitor. Our air district has to monitor the burns when and the time with the Air Resources Board because of meteorology, et cetera, okay? Because their agency doesn’t have it in their budget and so they say, we’ve got to burn a thousand acres today or for a few days. Somebody has to pay for that. So of this task force and I think some of our recommendations by June as well as with the EPA’s wildland forest policy is that those agencies, parks, BLM, and forest service, must prepare a budget so that air districts can afford to deal with burning. Cost of burning versus putting it on some other industry to pick up the tab or for the State of California or Arizona or Washington State to pick up the tab from federal agencies. It’s not right. And for one of... agriculture in California, that ain’t gonna happen anymore. Farmers are not going to pick up federal agency burns cost. If my farmers pay a fee for a permit to burn, they call in. We have 17,000 permits in our air district, okay? So that’s an item we must think about as we discuss this burning issue today.

Second, I’ll go back to the exemption. I’m sorry to say it, but nobody’s exempt. If the forest service wants an exemption, then I’m going to move at the end of this day that agriculture join in on HR236 to be exempt from burning agricultural at all. We’d be exempt just like the forest service and parks or anybody else. If anybody gets an exemption, I want in on the bill and I want to be exempt.

I don’t support this type of activity. As a grower, I can’t give special privileges to federal agencies and have the taxpayer pick it up, or allow them to pollute when the businesses of this country have to pay for it. I can’t accept that. It upsets me, though, that this is in our own agency called USDA. So we must put that in our discussions throughout the day or this morning. And we support what I think both agriculture and EPA is trying to come to.

In 1992, California estimated that the San Joaquin Valley had 400,000 acres of almonds being burned a year. The trouble is we only had 240,000 of actual acreage. So we had more acreage burned than we had in production. Calvin, you’re right. The formula of four to two tons is exactly a good formula. So our air district with Mark Boese back here sat down with industry and said we’ve got to clean this mess up because they saw the mistakes that the various agencies were reporting in to the Air Resources Board. So we had to clean up a mess that our emission calculations were huge for a bad amount of emissions that farmers were polluting in the state. By cleaning up the inventory, we are now today able to finally look at the San Joaquin Valley and other parts of California and get pretty close on what our emissions are. And we have educated and are educating the California Air Resources Board staff. Trimmings of an almond tree are not the same as the removal of a tree, and sometimes staff think that almond tree brush trimmings, which are about one-half to three-quarters of an inch in diameter and maybe five feet long, are the same as a foot-and-a-half trunk, 30-foot tree. So we are educating the staff. Also, a couple of weeks ago we had a meeting with the Air Resources Board on dealing with a state policy on burning. The point that we made to the staff was that you need to understand the definitions. You need to understand the language of what the crops are and why some of them must be burned. There is no other way besides burning for some of our crops in California and throughout the nation because there are viruses in the trees that cannot be put in a garbage can and sent to the dump, or disked into the ground. You can’t do that. Our scientists say you must burn this and get rid of it immediately.

So we have some things before us this morning that we need to achieve, and as one of those people from California, I am looking forward to discussing agriculture burn policy. I would not like to see Mr. Pete Lahm, who is a forest service employee, writing agricultural burn policies for western United States. This task force must develop a national policy, and I hope in that policy that we don’t allow other agencies to dictate our future. I’m not too happy with Mr. Pete Lahm, who has never contacted an agricultural person in California to work with him farmer-wise to deal with this issue, so my own personal view is that Mr. Lahm needs to be in line with and work with this task force. I know that Carol has been attending those meetings and putting in our information, and it was a struggle to get her on that committee, so that tells you that some people have some other agendas. But, again, Gary, thank you. I look forward to working with the EPA in California to develop a national policy that we can feel very good about, and the farmers are taking a positive role on controlling burning along with technology.

Acting Chairman Margheim: Thank you, Manuel. Keith?

KS: Keith Saxton: Bob, I’d commend the group on a very nice summary here of the current information about ag. burning. Let me pose a couple of questions to you and your committee. The first question would be where do we see this document going, and how will we advise the Secretary of Agriculture? Obviously this very closely interconnects with the EPA and our MOU with EPA, and it’s an excellent activity, but I’m not sure what the pathway is going to be to transmit this with regard to the charge of the committee. Then, Bob, my second question would be, why don’t I see much in here about the needs for research regarding ag. burning? A number of our producers are raising some serious questions about the emissions from various sorts of burns, various sorts of materials, various sorts of conditions that are not really available in the current literature. And I think as we get a little more refined and sophisticated in our burning strategies, we’re going to need to know some of those parameters, and there are some very definite research needs out there that, again, the Secretary of Agriculture should know about and be ready to backstop us on.

Robert Quinn: As you may have noticed at the end of the document, I finally ran out of steam and time. There are a couple of issues that still need to be worked on and research is one of them. While on one hand, I relegated some of those issues; I certainly stand corrected in the research end of it. As we’ve looked more and more into this issue, we’ve found that there is just a dearth of good data relative to emissions from various agricultural burn activities, and that is a very serious need that I think needs to be addressed. I think it’s also part of what I would like to see directed and focused in terms of our research committee here, and it is probably a case where you’re not going to find 20 or 30 researchers at the standard universities out there already doing projects on ag. emissions from various crops that are being burned. It’s something we’re going to have to basically direct or encourage, and I’m sure there are plenty of capable people out there to take on this activity, but I’m not sure there’s very much ongoing at the present time. So I strongly support your implication of the research need in terms of getting a far more accurate estimate of ag emissions and various burning activities.

Dennis Tristao: One of the issues that we had to address, and which I looked at in developing this task force’s draft policy, was the public perception issue. And to address the public perception issue, one has to have an outreaching education program, part of which is the development of emission factors. This is a research area that needs to be addressed and into which additional funding can come, and I’m sure that the committee will work on that aspect as a recommendation to the Secretary.

Aside from the research needs, there’s a need to develop alternatives to burning. In California we’ve had an issue in the San Joaquin Valley where prior to a change in legislation, there were co-generation plants to which tree crop producers could take their prunings, and they were burned within a controlled environment and electricity generated from that. Unfortunately that’s gone away with the change in the deregulation of the electric industry. I believe that across the nation as the electric industry is deregulated and perhaps these co-generation plants disappear, this issue will need to be addressed.

Finally, Dr. Parnell mentioned the issue about mass. I have an example here. There is a large raisin industry in the San Joaquin Valley, the only area in the United States where this activity occurs. The raisins are dried on paper trays. The disposal of the paper trays has been a problem for the industry, and they have studied alternatives and so forth. But a university, which I will not name, did perform a test to determine the emissions off a raisin tray, and when they burned the raisin trays, the monitoring equipment, as I understand, burned up with it. So sometimes more mass can be created than the raw product to be burnt.

Right now in California, the California Air Resources Board is holding workshops throughout the state to address agricultural burning. There will be a change in legislation, and one of the goals of the contingent from the Air Quality Task Force is to ensure that the national policy is addressed with the California Air Resources Board for use in their proposed changes to the legislation. Part of the argument that will be used is the ongoing research program on that. And I think that’s important for a national policy.

Stephanie Whalen: I just wanted to add some things, basically on the research. Back in the ‘70s when the Clean Air Act first came out, the sugar cane industry in Hawaii was threatened with a ban because of the dispersion models and using the estimated numbers that were derived somehow for the emission factors. Those particular factors then were investigated through groups at California. Actually, they had some research groups over there. They had two in the last 20 years that we know about, and we were able to participate in those efforts. The first one they looked at was a burning table situation. Burning of sugar cane, pineapple, and then many of the crops in California were looked at for emission factors. None of this kind of work is easy; trying to determine an emission factor from acres is a very difficult task, so getting really good numbers may be very difficult. This came up again in California about ten years ago, I believe, and they did a wind tunnel type thing because of the rice burning situation and the laws that were going into place there to ban that. They wanted to get better emission data because, again, a lot of this comes out of models and plugging numbers into models that are the only numbers that happen to be available at the time, which gets back to the basic question of research. But the only thing I just want to put a caveat on is in the research. It’s very difficult to do this kind of research. We’ve talked to the people at Davis who did this last tunnel work and asked can we go up in the air and take samples on enough fields when you burn them to get decent data? You’re really starting to talk about a lot of cost because sufficient data hasn’t always been available and industries are at stake. Essentially sugar cane is, I believe, unlike any of the other commodities in that it’s a pre-harvest burn. Operations depend on burning to go forward. To keep your mill operating, you need to burn every day or at least burn enough to have the mill operate in a capacity otherwise your costs go up significantly. Some other crops, however, have post-harvest burns, so you have a little bit more latitude on how to determine those burns. So there’s really a great deal of difference in agriculture burning, going from crop to crop, and I think that’s one of the key things that I saw in this document: flexibility. Flexibility is absolutely vital because of the crop differences and whether it’s a pre- or post-harvest burn and what type of geographical area and climate you’re in. Hawaii burns differently than Florida specifically because of what we’re trying to control.

Also, what is the public most concerned about? In Hawaii we’ve always tried to keep it focused on a health issue, but actually in the 1970s it was a particulate issue when the Clean Air Act first came out. When it was determined that the air in Hawaii was fine, then it became a health issue because basically it is an emotional issue, it’s highly visible, and it’s very easy to regulate because of that. It’s very easy for the public to point to it as being a source of problems, and then it’s an easy way out for the regulators. It comes down to an education process, as has also been mentioned here earlier, and it is part of the fault of the industry. I heard this yesterday also: the agriculture industry, producers in general, kind of like to just let me do my own thing. Don’t come on my property and I’ll behave and you behave on your side. That doesn’t work when you start to have urban encroachment, which I think is a national issue, and it depends on how much urban encroachment a particular farming operation has. So Florida and Hawaii, which are both tourist destinations and one of our biggest industries, have been very attuned or maybe the first to be on the chopping block for this kind of problem. The industries have realized they have to improve their education effort. It’s not only educating the public, but it’s also educating the regulators, but as was said before, it is very difficult for producers to feel comfortable about educating regulators and bringing them into the fold. But the rice industry and several of the industries that have been under extreme public pressure for burning have been doing much more educating with not only the public, but with the regulators so that they understand why flexibility is so important.

Bill Hamilton: Robert, if this is going to be a stand-alone document that goes forward, and I’m speaking now to what’s happening in the west, shouldn’t we have a paragraph or a statement on the impact by prescribed burning in national and privately-owned forests on some of the permitted brush land foothill fires that on down-draft days have a tremendous impact on air district. I know you referred to the interim policy on wild land and prescribed fire, but if that is not attached to it, would it be possible to make a comment that shows the tie-in. Sometimes we talk about the forest being agriculture and sometimes we don’t.

Robert Quinn: Bill, I think what you’re talking about is an issue that we are addressing in terms of the definition of what constitutes wild lands, what constitutes agricultural lands, and what constitutes, in our perspective, agricultural burning. There are some cross-overs here into the areas of both pasture land management and silviculture land management that I suspect will probably be looked up as part of agricultural burning, but we still have to work out the definitions in terms of what particular types of lands constitutes each category.

 

Robert Quinn: We’re still working on whether it’s specifically addressed within the agricultural burn component or part of the wildlands policy. But it’s not going to be left out.

Bill Hambleton: These papers are well done, and they could have tremendous educational value for anyone who reads them, especially for policy makers. So I would encourage some kind of comments to speak to the educational value.

Larry Erickson: In Kansas, we have problems with pasture burning; it’s quite common, and that’s a concern. As I listen to all of this, one of the concepts that I see is that in our society we’ve done work to control emissions from automobiles and power plants. As we think of agricultural burning, perhaps we need to think of some kind of machine that you drive over the field and you have that fire in a confined area with the emissions from it being treated in some way. So, as we think of research, maybe we need to think of new ways of burning other than getting a fire started and hoping it doesn’t get out of control.

Robert Quinn: There was a lot of work done in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s with a field burner, particularly as applied to the grass seed industry, and in the early 90’s, Washington State University developed and tested a prototype up in eastern Washington before the mandated phase out of grass burning in eastern Washington took place. And I guess I would say, at least at this point, there are still situations where that particular alternative may have some promise, but it’s very slow. It takes a long time to cover the ground, it’s pretty expensive, and there are some technological difficulties in terms of protecting the machine from its own heat. I would suspect that on flat ground in places where time is of no consideration, where you could run the thing day and night, that machine might indeed be an alternative in very specialized applications. But it’s not going to be a very viable alternative for the wide range of open burning that has to take place on uneven ground and often has to take place in a very limited time frame.

Sally Shaver: First of all, there were some questions raised about this document and what it becomes where it goes. Let me just say that it is the intent of the EPA to prepare a policy document and get it out like we did our interim wildland policy that addresses agricultural burning. I think the closer that that document can be to your recommendations, the better off we’ll be, and that’s why we’re putting a lot of effort into working with you on the recommendations. We certainly would like your endorsement of the policy, and we’re going to need your help to get the policy accepted. Especially public perception issues. It is our intent to issue a national policy this calendar year, so I think the work we do between now and June, and the work we do at the June meeting is very critical to our schedule. We did come out with the interim wildland policy back last May. It excluded anything to do with agricultural lands or agricultural cropland burning because we were to work with this group. But that aspect of the fire world is eagerly awaiting the rest of the policy, because they very much wanted all of you at the table the first time around.

Secondly, the house bill that Manuel mentioned, or a very similar one, was introduced last year. EPA is not supporting any exemptions for fire for agriculture or for anyone as a national policy. If you have not yet read the wildland fire policy, I encourage you to read it, and I’d be happy to go over it with you in more detail at a later time or on a conference call, or answer any questions individually. But Miss Browner and I both are on the record as opposing exemptions; we are not exempting fire. What we are trying to do is recognize the appropriate role of fire, whether it be in fuels management on our forest lands and our parks, or whether it be in the agricultural arena, and try to work with that need, and balance the public health need as well. That’s what the former policy is directed at, and we would like this policy to have the same goal in mind. We did not base the wildland fire policy on emission factors. There was a lot of pressure to say that prescribed burning actually emits fewer emissions than the wildfires you get. And rather than get into a debate over good fires and bad fires and differences in emissions, especially since we don’t have data on emission factors, we tried not to set up a policy or program that required you to know the amount of emissions coming from the different types of fires. However, that’s not to say we’re not working towards improving emission factors and developing some tracking ability. And we are trying our best to keep in close touch with the Grand Canyon follow up, Pete Lahm’s group, the other groups that DOI and forest service have going to work on these types of issues.

Thirdly, on the permit issue, the interim wildland policy does not require a permitting system. What we require, and I use the word "require" very loosely, is a state smoke management program, which has to be composed of certain elements. One of those elements is that the agency in charge of the program, and we don’t say which agency it has to be, has to have the authority to allow people to burn or not allow them to burn. So the issue is the authority to burn. Whether they have a permanent system in place, or whether they have the phone system where you call in to find out if you can burn or can’t burn, we really did not care. What we heard from the states was that many of them have programs out there now where they tell people when they can and cannot burn, they try to monitor the weather conditions, they try to manage burning. They said, please allow Oregon to have their program, please allow Florida to continue to have theirs. And so the policy is written that way, to allow the current programs that are working well to continue. The policy sets up a strategy for what happens if you get violations of the NAAQS. The smoke management programs in place have been certified by EPAEPA has certified the smoke management programs in place, and it’s not a rigorous approval process; it’s just a certification letter from the governors designating yes, we have a smoke management program that meets your criteria. Remember,Remember that it takes three years to get a violation of the NAAQS, so we do encourage you to look at the percentages of hits and look at your data on an annual basis. If the first year is bad and the second year is still bad, you may want to take some action to prevent the actual violation after the third year of data. But if you get that first year violation, and you do have that smoke management program in place, then we require that you go back and look at that program, sit down with the Federal Land Managers (FLMs), and go over it to see if there’s some corrective action that needs to be taken in your smoke management program. The same is true for the second year if the violation continues, and rememberviolations continues, and remember these would be rolling three-year averages. If you get a third consecutive violation, then it’s over; it would then become a State Implementation Plan (SIP) requirement for you to have a smoke management program in place. Then the review of that program would become more rigorous, and at that point it would become federally enforceable.

So it’s only after several years and several failures that the federal presence would come in and you would have a federally enforceable smoke management program or fire management program. I think this provides the state governments the opportunity to manage this with their constituents. How much smoke will they tolerate? How well have you educated the public to accept the needs for the smoke in that area? And I think our agency feels that that’s the way it would be best regulated, rather than from Washington, and trying to force everything into a "one size fits all" type policy. That’s our philosophy; that was our philosophy with the forestlands, and we would like to see that type of philosophy continue. I think one of the things that we do need is a strong case from the agriculture community in terms of what is your frequency of need to burn, what are the types of crops that need burning, just as part of our education process, so that we can help support the need and educate the public about why we are doing this. I think it worked very effectively with the EPA and Federal Land Management agencies to stand together and say, hey, we recognize each other’s respective roles and we’re trying to make sure that there’s a balance here in these policies. And sometimes there will be failures, but we don’t want to punish stationary sources, we don’t want to punish the automobiles, we don’t to punish everybody else for failure on the federal government’s part in particular.

In terms of visibility considerations, the final version of the Regional Haze Rule is out at OMB now. There is a need in that rule on a regional basis to establish what natural background is, and also to establish a baseline from which you measure progress in reducing the haze. Both of those determinations should be made on a regional basis with public input. The policy specifically states that you have to take into consideration the natural role of fire, so I think at that point it would be incumbent upon this group and members of this group in your regional haze planning areas to get involved in helping determine what the appropriate baselines and natural conditions should be. That way fire would be taken into consideration under the haze rule. And the haze rule requires progress over a longer period of time; it looks at ten-year intervals. So the trend has to be that haze improves over time. And the haze rule is not a standard, either; there are no sanctions for failure to meet that progress, but you do have to go back and come up with different strategies if you’re not getting the progress that you laid out. There will be sanctions if you don’t follow what your emissions reduction strategy is. But if you fail to meet the amount of reduction in haze, then it’s not as if the PM fine standard is not met type of situation. It’s very different.

Robert Flocchini: I just wanted to emphasize, again, the need for research in this area. First of all, Dennis Tristao referred to the loss of equipment that resulted when the experiments got out of control. We did those experiments, and the worst part of it was that we had borrowed equipment from our colleagues in agriculture engineering, so we had to replace it for another group. It’s extremely difficult research.

Next week in my air pollution class I’m going to give them a dispersion model calculation to do, and as Bob and Stephanie mentioned, there are uncertainties when you do this, but they never give you what the uncertainties are. But I do this little problem where I actually give them a fixed emission rate and I say, the wind speed is about this, and the sunlight is about this, and then we go through. And then they go to the all the charts and tables and their computer program. And this problem is specifically designed to create uncertainties because there are points where you have to make a decision, is it A or is it B. There are sixty or seventy people in the class, and half will make the decision along the A lines, half will make it along the B lines. The net result is when you get to the end of this and everybody presents the results, there’s a good factor of two to three differences in the numbers. All the calculations are correct, but the assumptions that they’ve put into the problem result in branching points and numbers that differ. You don’t see those differences when you have a result presented from your consulting group; they present an absolute number. If people would present the legitimate differences that occur because they are modeling, there are basically statistical averages of the real world. Then you couple that with uncertainties in your emission source. Remember, I said I gave them the emission source. Now go back to what is the emission source for sugar cane burning, because that’s been put on the table? Nobody knows. There’s numbers you can go to reference A. You take that number... that magnifies the problem even more... because you compare that to a different set of circumstances. So there is an absolute need to understand emission rates and to measure those emission rates. This is a particularly tough problem, because you can’t do it in the middle of the field. You can’t put your collecting devices there. Airplanes are one way to do it, and there are some other avenues that can be pursued. I think the point I'm trying to make is yes, it’s going to be expensive, but we shouldn’t take it off the table. There’s a need to do it, it should be addressed and be listed as a priority.

A second point I want to make is that everybody is concentrating on fire as the mechanism. It does get rid of biomass, and it does get rid of the viruses, etc. I think we should also look at some of the non-traditional methods. I know individuals that are doing... for different areas... utilizing microwave and pulse ultraviolet to get rid of viruses, etc. They may have an application. This is a problem, as Bob mentioned, when you’re going over a thousand acres, how do you do it quickly? If there’s money to be made, there will be an engineering company out there that would take this on. And I think those are things we have to look at. Let’s not rule out non-traditional mechanisms, because I think it’s going to take a forward-looking program to get around some of the problems that we have.

Calvin Parnell: I really appreciate what Stephanie said because the whole process of measuring concentration downwind from a field operation that Bob’s doing or a burn is difficult, but it’s not that difficult. It can be expensive because equipment is expensive, and if it burns up it’s really expensive.

But back to the emission rate, that’s a science that’s really difficult. As Bob just mentioned, you can go to the models, but the models themselves are designed to over predict downwind concentrations, so if you use them directly, you’re going to under predict emission factors. We’ve been working on a number of applications and we’ve generated some new models, as I talked about at the August meeting. Because the models themselves are not designed to be accurate but to over predict downwind concentrations, if you have a problem with health effects downwind, you know from the models that you’re going to come back with more runs and get some additional issues. That’s an area of research that we need, Keith, thatKeith that is very important.

One of the other points, as Keith made, is what is the general purpose of this ag. Burning policy. We, as a Task Force, have the potential of impacting policy. This is one of those things on which we can impact policy. We at this table are the experts, and we can access more experts that know burning and how to do it with the least danger from emissions. I think it is very, very important that we attempt to do that and be successful at it.

One other point I want to make is I don’t want any people to get the impression that the TNRCC is easy on regulators in the state of Texas. Now, the TNRCC has some obligations to EPA, to turn in a State Implementation Plan (SIP), in which they go back and determine how much PM 10 and how much PM 2.5 must be reduced in the state. They have to try to do this as accurately as possible, so that they give the EPA numbers that are as accurate as possible. I am involved in assisting them on agriculture this coming year between now and August. When you don’t have good emission factors, and you take numbers that may be a factor of 2 or 3 too high, as Bob is talking about, or almost as much as 10 too high, and you multiply that times a million acres, you get some big numbers. We’ve done some preliminary calculations on these emissions inventories and looked at the urban air shed modeling to see how it affects Houston; there’s no question Houston, Texas, is going to be PM 10 non-attainment, based on the urban air shed modeling. But we know that the numbers we got were way too high. We’re concerned about reporting that to EPA, so much of the effort that we’re doing right now is trying to improve the state’s emission factors so they can provide EPA with better numbers so then EPA can build our policy on better numbers. That’s not because EPA says you have to do that; it’s because the state says we have an obligation to the citizens of the state of Texas to do the right thing and make sure we get the good numbers. So when Sally says they don’t require you to come on the permitting system, there is some guidance of the EPA that does put pressure on the states to do something, to do it right, and not just from the standpoint of doing it right for EPA’s sake, but for the citizens of the state.

One other issue: that sugar cane processing and production system in south Texas. Let me give you an idea of how significant that was. They had to have a process where they notify all citizens around that area prior to a burn. They could only burn a certain number of acres on a given day. They could not burn at night, they had to burn during the daytime. They had to have monitors set up to sample the air while they were burning. They had to have a fire truck there to make sure they could put out the fire so that it wasn’t burning at night. We’re talking about a very, very intricate and detailed requirement for them to be able to burn in the State of Texas. Yet the perception of the public is that the TNRCC just let them burn. That is not the case. With regard to permitting, this sounds odd, but I'm working with a group of agriculturists from that meeting we went to, and they were all in favor of the permit process. We want to go forward with a permit process. It wasn’t EPA saying you have to permit, it wasn’t the TNRCC saying you have to permit, it was these people that grew up in the state of Texas who said they want a permitting process. How do we get this permitting process? Now, part of this education process is educating the public. I don’t think you understand what you’re asking for here. In addition to that, after the sugar industry has learned a little bit about the difficulty with state burn policy, they’ve gone to the legislature of the state of Texas and have a bill in the state legislature they’re trying to get through to become exempt from all burning requirements. Now, I'm not helping them, but I agree wholeheartedly with Manuel. We have to have a fair system here that we can work with and, while looking out for the health and safety of citizens of the state of Texas, or any state, be in compliance with EPA.

Stephanie Whalen: I just wanted to add some information on the sugar industry and monitoring. This particular problem hit the sugar industry 20 or 30 years ago, whereas now it seems to be spreading to more commodity groups and it’s getting more attention. There wasn’t a lot of research money available in the past, so these kinds of things had to be done. I want to encourage research in this, indicating that this is not an easy chore to do and anything to get better emission factors would certainly be helpful. But, basically, what happened then was they banned sugar cane burning in Hawaii, and that was just because it didn’t fit into these models, and the emission factor was changed. Then many sites were put around the state just like they were put up every place else. However, Hawaii has never had the problem with attainment; we really don’t have an air quality problem, except on the big island where the volcano is doing its thing. And that’s one of our concerns: if the volcano puts areas out of attainment, will agriculture be penalized, even though it will not make a dent anyway?

So basically, monitoring has been our salvation. I do have a report here from the Florida sugar cane league. They have eleven PM 10 monitors because they were pushed into the same kind of thing; it’s a public perception problem and keeping the public happy. They have an extensive monitoring system throughout their industry and have had for over a decade. This system has indicated that they don’t have a PM 10 problem, and they burn over 2,000 acres a day or more in a certain geographical area. We in rural Hawaii have never had a PM-10 problem; in fact, as I said yesterday, our rural areas there have lower PM 10 numbers than the urban areas. I'm certainly not advocating monitoring around the nation for rural areas, because it’s very expensive, but it was the only resort in our situation. But I think it resulted in some very good data for agriculture and especially for burning on a regular basis, on a daily basis in some areas such as Florida and Hawaii, because now we have the data showing that there is not a problem with PM 10 burning in those geographical areas. PM 2.5 is another question that probably nobody knows yet.

I also still have serious concerns about the epidemiological data that was pushed in setting the standard in the first place. And I know that’s still being assessed by EPA because they used it to make their decision. The epidemiological community is assessing it. Hopefully, with the money that’s being released for research, there will be more studies done in that area so that when the PM 2.5 is reassessed in 2002, we’ll have a better idea of health effects that are actually being caused and what is causing them. Or is it just the simple association Bruce Ames had shown as some of the problems with epidemiology? Many of you may have heard this: in Sweden the population of storks is going down and the live births of humans is going down; therefore, storks bring babies. And that is the type of studies they are; epidemiology studies really just show associations. But the causal effect is a whole different story. So, hopefully, the research funds and this committee would be making those recommendations that some of the research that’s being available will be better studies, too, that when PM is brought up again every five years, we will actually have better studies knowing exactly what we should be monitoring and not just get into standards. It’s been my experience with environmental laws that once standards are set, it’s very difficult to go back. And I hope that will not be the case if better data comes out in this area.

The sugar industry throughout the world—because this is not just a problem here in the U.S.—has been looking at how to deal with the trash in the field. As the document indicates, it’s about 30% by weight but 50% by volume, so you’re making a trade, which people don’t recognize; if you bring the trash in and process it in some way, then you have to have the fuel to bring it in. You have a trade-off of pollution due to the trucks and transportation to bring it in, or to the actual burning. So there are some trade-offsoff that have never been looked at in this area of burning.

The same goes for other areas. The co-generation in California and those biomass plants were also mentioned, and part of the problem, I think, was when they designed them—or they had the funding for them—they were relying on rice to provide much of the fuel. Then it was found out that rice, because of the high-silica content, fouled the boilers, and therefore, this was no longer a feasible alternative to dealing with the rice problem. And to my knowledge, the rice problem still isn’t resolved in terms of their residue. They have the same problem as we do, trying to get it incorporated into the soil. So, it’s not that there hasn’t been considerable research going on in trying to deal with the agriculture, trying to deal with residue for the last 30 or 40 years. Many different approaches have been made, but so far, we just haven’t been successful in doing it economically. In Hawaii, we are probably one of the few in the world who do co-generation, so power happens to be one of our alternative products, and we still cannot economically bring that trash in because it doesn’t pay for itself. You get electricity but you have transportation fuel costs, so, again, research is still going on. I think that all industries are desperate in terms of trying to figure out alternatives, and the bottom line is there hasn’t been enough money going into it. Hopefully, this committee will help get more research dollars into this area so that better alternativesthose better alternatives can be found.

Sally Shaver: In your package that was sent out before the meeting, you have the Natural Events policy that EPA put out several years ago. We are also working on a revision to that policy to address the PM fine as well. It will basically be the same policy, but it will also cover PM fine. In a nutshell, what that policy says is EPA’s not going to even try to regulate volcanoes, windstorms, and wildfires anymore. There will not be non-attainment designations as a result of those three things, which would penalize other industry in the area. What we do try to do is get the appropriate agencies to take any mitigative actions to try to protect sensitive populations, or the health of the people there.

GM: Thank you, Sally. Dennis?

Dennis Tristao: First, I throw out that we encourage the committee to finalize the recommendations here by June. And second, I’d like to call on a colleague who’s here for a brief statement on prescribed burning on burning policy. Mr. Mark Boese is the assistant Air Pollution Control Officer (APCO) for the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District, where this issue is of paramount importance at this time.

Mark Boese: As has been discussed here this morning, when we talk about agricultural burning, we talk about looking at alternatives, whether it’s with the sugar cane industry, the rice burning, pruning burning, whatever. The agriculture community as a whole, over the last several years, has been looking at alternatives to burning. My comments aren’t really dealing with agricultural burning but more along the lines of prescribed burning in forested regions of California. The Task Force draft guidance and EPA’s interim policy deal heavily with the development of smoke management plans, part of which requires the federal and state land agencies to look at alternatives. During this last year, as we’ve seen big increases in prescribed burning in California, we’ve seen attempts to get away from looking at alternatives as it relates to the federal land management agencies. One of the ways they are doing this is through the categorical exemption and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). Through this, they’re again trying to get away from the process of looking at alternatives and just saying they really have no alternative other than to burn. We’ve also seen it when they’ve developed their environmental impact statements (EIS) that deal with large regional areas where they plan to have many individual burns. They’ll make a statement in the EIS that basically says they have looked at alternatives and there are no alternatives, and then on a project-by-project basis, they refer back to that EIS and say they have already dealt with the alternative issue. We think it’s necessary to look at alternatives case by case, project by project. Terrain is different, meteorological conditions are different, the loading in the forest is different. We think they should be held to the same degree that our farmers throughout California are held to as far as looking at alternatives. This is mentioned in your draft guidance, but I think it would be helpful to emphasize the fact that they should be looking at alternatives on a case-by-case basis.

Another thing that I wanted to just reiterate, as Manuel had brought up earlier, is the resource issue. Again, as we see prescribed burning increasing by as much as tenfold in California, and the fact that there is no budget for the review of air districts with regards to these plans, we need meteorologists, modelers, and inspectors to oversee the implementation of the burn. It’s very costly to the air districts; on a regional basis, the federal agencies have no money in their budgets for this, so if there could be some emphasis from this Task Force to help put that money in the budget in Washington, D.C., it would be helpful.

Robert Quinn: I just have a few comments addressing specific items that were brought up by Sally and others. In the initial proposal that we had before you, the tier one/tier two setup is basically under a smoke management plan system. It was modeled after the wildlands policy. There probably is,is frankly, a straightforward terminology problem in the document where I used "permit." And I think that can very easily be restructured to "authorization to burn." So there are some semantic things I think that can be dealt with because I know the intent in setting up the two-tiered system was in fact to follow the guidelines of the wildlands policy document. That also might be far more acceptable to Calvin’s friends in Texas in that, again, I strongly believe in that first level of authorization of smoke management plan. What’s really needed besides the general guidelines about how you’re supposed to burn is some capacity for these basics for demographic information. Exactly how it’s gathered would be up to the appropriate state agency. And we can call it something else, it doesn’t have to be a permit. I followed the wildlands policy and used the SAPRA terminology, but in some states, other agencies, in fact, are doing the burn permitting. So I think some of those issues could be addressed by very straightforward editing changes.

Acting Chairman Margheim: As I see this working within agriculture, and I will say that this is a very important activity on the Secretary’s mind. I would anticipate a letter from the Secretary to Administrator Browner transmitting these recommendations for consideration and in terms of their internal policy. In fact, Sally, this one is a major issue, and it may even call for a meeting up at a very high policy level of folks, after this has been discussed. So, for what it’s worth, I think that’s probably the way it would work within agriculture here. Let’s take a break.

Dr. Carol Whitman does work a lot with the aspiring emissions joint forum. For those of you who would like to learn more about that, she’s willing to stay back and talk to you about her activities on that particular forum and how it might affect agriculture after the official meeting is over today at 4:00.

Sally Shaver: If you recall yesterday we had an acronym that Stephanie asked about—NARSTO—and I went blank. It is the North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone. If you have more questions about that, you can ask Dr. Vickery or me for more details later on.

As I promised yesterday, Dr. Jim Vickery is here today. He’s with our office of Research and Development. He is the assistant lab director for the national exposure research lab for air and he’s going to talk a little bit about EPA’s research, and also about the work that he’s doing with some of the national groups looking at the PM fine issues and some of the things that we talked about yesterday coming out of the NRSC.

Jim Vickery: Good morning. This is a presentation that I gave in January. Several of your members came down to Research Triangle Park, and we talked about the coordination of USDA and EPA research. I’d like to cover three things: EPA’s research program on particulate matter, put it in the context of the National Academy of Science research agenda; the two dimensions to the program, which are health and implementation research; and our national PM monitoring program and our plans for that. This is not really research, but is our regulatory officesoffice activities, but it is something that we are highly coordinated with research. And then, I’d like to talk about two of our major coordinating organizations for research across the country and across the continent. Under the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, it coordinates all federal research. There is an emphasis on particulate matter. In the past, it has primarily focused on atmospheric sciences, which include emissions inventories. And then health and exposure, which is our future emphasis In PM, there is really a different orientation taking place. Rather than looking at the sources and working backwards, we’re looking at the question of what is getting into people’s breathing zones and causing health damage, and how that is occurring. Then we try to figure out where it came from. So it’s a different approach to the problem. And then, NARSTO—actually, Sally, NARSTO really doesn’t stand for anything anymore. It used to stand for Tropospheric Ozone, but that was when it was primarily an ozone issue. It has now expanded its mission and changed its agenda. This is a North American Research Consortium of 65 public/private organizations. All federal agencies doing air pollution research are part of it, as well as private industry from all areas from auto to oil to consumer products, and Canadian and Mexican government and private organizations. We are all coordinating our research.

We are using a bifurcated approach in particulate matter research. This is how we coordinate research that we have our health and effects research. This is where we have, for instance, all of our epidemiology mechanisms and toxicology. This is looking at the question of what is getting into people’s lungs and why is it causing damage. Also, is it connected to agriculture processes or, for instance, combustion and utilities or other sources.? In my area of research coordination, it is the atmospheric sciences—the monitoring, the modeling, risk, risk management activities—what can we do to fix the problem? I’ll give you a time line. From a research point of view, we see several windows of opportunities to make a difference, to produce research results. We see there are two processes that are going on in parallel here. There’s the review of the national air quality standards that’s going to occur every five years. And the next...

[Lowell’s notes: Some discussion of the time line for review of NAAQS for PM and ozone. And the next review will be in 2002, the next one after that will be 2007.]

Two, the next review after that will be 2007. Then there’s the implementation of the current standards that is going on with putting on a modeling program, doing non-attainment designations, and coming up with stabilization plan preparations. It is here, for instance, where new information on emissions modeling would make a big difference, and we’re trying to fit this window with research results on that aspect of it. One of the big pieces of this is super sites that I’ll talk about in a minute under our monitoring program. So there are these two different activities. Most of our health and exposure research is on our immediate agenda, and the emphasis for the longer term is on implementation-related research.

Yesterday, I understand, the National Academy’s report, that they call the Burning Bush Report, was bandied about; that is the thing that is driving the research agenda for EPA and, actually, all of these groups. And this is a page taken out of their report. It is essentially everything on one page of what are we supposed to be doing over what time and how big and how much. This table is what they call their research portfolio, which talks about their ten research areas. This area is what they call the source concentration; it’s the implementation-related research, but also the exposure-related research. This is health-effects related research. And then there’s analysis and assessment. And these numbers that you see here are millions of dollars. And as you see, there are things that are in different sizes here, and they go out over 15 years. This is the program that we are largely trying to align ourselves with. This is a comparison of EPA’s current research agenda, our dedication of resources, aligned with the academy’s ten areas of research. What I'd like to point out is that in total, the National Academy is talking on the order of $39 million a year to do their work. It’s very heavily oriented toward those things that are health related. They want to know where we found associated relationships between air quality concentrations and health impacts. They want to know what’s causing the health impacts; that’s our primary question right now. Instead of going after dosimetry, toxicology, more lookingmore looks at the epidemiology data. This was our president’s budget in FY98, and FY99 is essentially a mirror of this. We have a budget on the order of about $50 million that EPA alone is spending. It is very well aligned, as you can see.

I would point out that on the implementation-related path, we have another roughly $10 million that we are devoting to things like looking at atmospheric chemistry and source proportion, for instance, a source characterization and emissions factors.

I already said that we are following the National Academy’s recommendations, but I want to point out our very serious emphasis on coordination. Even all the money I just showed you isare not going to get the job done, it’s not going to answer all our questions. For instance, it doesn’t even begin to touch the emissions factors for wildfires and ag. burning that you were just discussing. We are very serious about coordinating with other federal agencies, and we will rely very heavily on the air quality subcommittee of CENR and coordinate with NARSTO and HEI[[??]], which is essentially the private sector equivalent for coordinating the health effects research community.

I'm going to go through EPA’s major research areas and give you a very quick sense of what we’re doing here in each research areas. To look at health effects, we basically have animal studies and human studies. There is a range of things we’re studying within animals and outside animals—different biological possibilities; what is it in a specific constituent of PM that is causing harm. That’s what we’re after, and we’re trying to come up with dose models that will allow us to be able to transfer those kinds of findings to humans. In human studies, we are looking at the same kinds of things but with a much more retrospective review of ambient concentrations, and we are looking at health in points for different parts of susceptible populations. We are doing something in clinical studies of exposures of individuals to particles at very low concentrations to see if we can detect health changes as a result of different concentrations. We also do cellular studies.

In our risk assessment research, we try to put it all together. This is where we produce, for instance, the criteria document, which underlies the standard review each year. In our risk assessment, we’re trying to look at different ways of gauging risks when you have all these different types of data sets from humans to animals. In exposure studies, the big question has been the relation of ambient concentrations of PM 2.5 to health effects; how much of what is outdoors is getting into people’s lungs? In other words, how much is getting from outdoors to indoors to people? That’s what these studies will try to answer. We’ll look at panel studies, we’ll follow some individuals, and we’ll follow susceptible sub-populations, children and aged with different cardio or pulmonary diseases, for instance. We look at what is in outdoor air and what’s in their indoor air right in their personal lapels; they volunteered to wear jackets around with little monitors and so on. We will look at what factors influence those concentrations and try to develop a model, a personal scale exposure so it relates outdoor concentrations to what people actually breath in their day-to-day experience in their homes and workplaces. All the areas I’ve just talked about go to the NAAQS review and are our primary research priorities.

Atmospheric research starts to shift us into the implementation-related area. Air quality modeling is very large,; super-computer based modeling of source-to-receptor relationships. All these different emissions factors, for instance, and inventories go into these models. This takes things from their emission point, moves them through the air, depositsand deposits them in different levels of scales, from urban to neighborhood to regional scale over most of the states. These are the models that are used for state implementation planning.

We are also studying atmospheric chemistry of particles. According to the health community, one of the big things about particles is that it’s not so much the primary particles that are causing the health problems; it may be very well the secondary particles, which are actually formed in the atmosphere as two different organic compounds, sulfates and nitrates, form organic nitrate-sulfate compounds. Or there may be some toxicants in there. So we are working on understanding the chemistry of particles to be able to put that into the models. We’re also developing new methods for measuring a foreign particulate, because, because of this formation phenomenon is a very difficult thing. These are compounds that volatilize, or condense, almost instantaneously. To try to capture them and measure them is very difficult. I think there has been some discussion before this group already of the current reference method of particulate matter and how it doesn’t capture everything. We recognize that. We recognize we need to develop further methods, and we are working on that research method.

Source apportionment and receptor modeling is modeling backwards. You go out and capture a sample on a little filter, and by having an idea of what you got there and the typical kind of sources that produce those things and looking at wind patterns and meteorology, you can figure out where things came from, hopefully. In very broad terms, in biogenics, for instance, which are a naturally occurring or they may occur from a fire, as opposed to, for instance, burning fossil fuels and utilities. In large field studies we go out and apply all these methods to try to figure out what is out there and where it came from.

One of the things that we do under risk management is we look at emissions factors, and our primary emphasis on emissions factors has to do with internal combustion, both mobile source and stationary. We’re really going after sulfate/nitrate in very fine particles, ultra-fine, for instance. The data is on size or composition of primary particles. We are also generating particles for those health studies I was talking about, and then looking at the relationship of outdoor to indoor particles in test homes and so on. In terms of our looking at control approaches, rather than the combustion machine for gases and so on, we are looking at combustion in terms of very large fuel burning facilities largely for power generation. We’re looking at things like fabric filters, electrostatic precipitators, and controls for industrial utility boilers; that’s our concentration right now, and it is taking all of our resources to look at those kinds of things. And at the same time we’re looking at multi-source controls, or multi-approach controls.

I should point out that a big part of EPA’s research program is grants. There is a big study that’s going to be occurring in the San Joaquin Valley, and there’s a large study that’s very likely to occur up in the Pacific Northwest around Spokane. There’s a large study down in both Houston and the Atlanta region. So we are sponsoring some large centers that will be looking at things that are of interest to you. They will be looking at the atmospheric chemistry of those regions, they will be looking at the characterization of what’s actually out there applying the latest methodologies, looking at health endpoints at the same time and these are the centers that I was talking about that we had just awarded. We have one atmospheric sciences center in the Los Angeles region, we have one in Atlanta, and we have one in the Pennsylvania region, looking at the very latest understanding of what’s there in the way of air pollution across the board—not just PM, but all air pollutants from ozone to toxics to PM. It’s these kinds of things that we are building comparable centers around that we are calling Super Sites. We have just awarded Health and Exposure Centers, and we’ll soon be making public our announcements about where those health centers are.

Now I want to talk about EPA’s particulate monitoring program. EPA has put together a plan for the fine particular network, the PM 2.5 network, and it has been scientifically peer reviewed by our Clean Air Science Advisory Committee. The National Academy panel that is setting up research priorities has also reviewed this proposal in regard to the very advanced state of science monitoring. The regulatory network is sort of a pyramidal approach to monitoring. Most of our sites, on the order of 900, use our federal reference method; it’s a very simple, mechanical, mass-only collection of total PM 2.5. It’s collected on filter and impact media and will be used to determine compliance with the regulations, or the standards. There will be some sites that will be spread around to look at spatial averaging information, so they are also a part of this group. They’ll be monitored on a more frequent basis. Then there will be some 50 of them that will take daily measurements. These are one in six or one in three days. These are going to be continuous measurements of fine particles. There is IMPROVE, which is looking at regional haze. These are largely the compliance-related programs.

To get very sophisticated about measurements and to get all of those things that you don’t capture on these particles, there’s what’s called Routine Speciation Sites. There are going to be at least 50 and closer to 300 of these sites that will apply the current state of science, off-the-shelf technology. We’re trying to capture those kinds of particles and come up with that kind of information. The current state of science still doesn’t get you the answer of exactly what’s there and what formed, so you have to go out and develop new methodologies. We have researchers right now across the country whothat have received grants in the past. We have our own researchers who are developing brand new, very sophisticated instruments for capturing these, to be able to do particle-by-particle analysis at microgram, nanogram sized particles. We want to get those instruments in place and have them used to tell us what actually is there in several places across the country. They are going to be called Super Sites, and there are going to be four to seven of them across the country. We, EPA, have just put out a request for applications from different universities, different players, and consortiums around the country to put these Super Sites together. I can’t tell you where they are going to be yet. Here’s what I can tell you about very sophisticated sets and where they’re going to be. This is to give you an idea of how widely dispersed the 50 speciation sites are. In these large metropolitan regions we will also have speciation sites in the next wave, beyond the first fifty. The Super Sites—where are they going to be? There was a workshop last June that brought together health scientists, atmospheric scientists, monitoring scientists, and so on from across the country. This is an output of their recommendations on where you should go. We’re not saying that this is exactly where we’re going to go, but this gives you some idea of what we’re likely to end up with in the way of a super site distribution across the country, trying to get a very broad geographic distribution as a representation of different types of atmospheres. One of those different types of atmospheres, for instance, that are very interesting to us is the woodsmoke regionsregion of the Pacific Northwest, which we know are dominated by woodsmoke. That starts to get into coming up with emissions for things that have natural fire-related particulates in them.

Apparently there has been some discussion that these sites seem to be all urban-oriented as opposed to rural-oriented. But in addition to a center site, a Super Site really isn’t a point on a map; it is a combination of different monitoring points. There are what we are calling satellite sites, and they might be the speciation sites, and they will get into the rural areas by design and intent, because we need that background. I throw this out only to point out that at this workshop I mentioned, we brought together people like the NARSTO community and the health community to look at what we need to measure out there. And as we designed these super sites, we were interested in being able to tie together all of these pieces of the science question: so what is PM? Where is it coming from? What is it doing? By what mechanism? So you look at sources to concentrations in the air to health mechanisms, biological mechanisms to the overall health endpoint. That report did come up with a list of the eleven causal agents that the health scientists believe may be causing the health problem. We can’t pin it down yet; we can’t identify the smoking gun. We can tell you it’s one of these eleven things, in all likelihood, and go measure these things as best as you possibly can. And you health scientists study these eleven things. The report is available on the web; I can give you site for it. But just to point out that it does look at still mass concentration as we have in our federal reference method, looking at different particle size and surface areas and the morphology of the compound. We are looking at ultra-fine metals, acids, organic compounds, biogenic particles, sulfates and nitrates, salts, peroxides, elemental carbon and co-factors, which are things like ozone and other pollutants. In the report there are three tables that they got down to very good detail on things like what, when and where you should measure if you’re going to go out and do the super sites. This is a table on the what and as people looked at the whats, there were five different perspectives on this. The health effects group said what you need to measure and we just looked at that a minute ago. And the exposure group... and the source receptor group that was looking at relationships from emissions to their environmental concentrations... what’s called an accountability group which is looking at the overall end point. If we’re going to protect the environment, how do we know, what do we measure? Do we measure people’s health? Do we measure air concentrations? And then the measurements group, that said, well, you want to measure all that, you don’t. Because you can’t, because the instrument’s not there. Here’s what you can measure and here’s what you may be able to measure sometime in the future. Where to measure. This is what led to us putting those little dots on the map. Those same groups gave us recommendations on where we should go and when. And I might point out that for these super sites, we’re talking about measuring as frequently as we possibly can, moving in the direction of continuous, but you may be talking about coming up with one to two hour averages, or daily averages, or every third day. You may be doing things everywhere from daily to decadel. We still haven’t figured that out yet.

Now I'd like to move into CENR. EPA is part of the federal establishment, recording with other federal agencies. Apparently Carol handed out this document yesterday; it is the air quality research strategy. It says in two pages for each of the different pollutants what we think our primary research needs are across the federal government. As we’re looking at particulate matter for the federal government coordination, we’re also worried about visibility; they go hand-in-hand with one another and are important environmental endpoints that we’d like to achieve.

The National Academy recognizes that NARSTO’s public/private research coordination is an important group to help coordinate all federal research as well as public/private. It lists our principal research gaps, things from health effects to atmospheric processes. The list is small, very succinct. [[It does recognize the National Academy of Sciences.[[So?]]

The air quality subcommittee also prepared an inventory of federal research. While we can identify the research agenda, we are also trying to identify the total level of resources—from federal government, to state, to private industry—that are being devoted to this. So we’re putting together an inventory; we’ve done it for the federal government, it’s still in the works. At the same time, we are having NARSTO produce a private sector inventory. Under the Air Quality Research Subcommittee of CENR are listed all the member agencies, and the two of us, EPA and AgEPA Ag and us.,. are part of that group.

Out of the current inventory, where are we spending the money in the federal government right now? This has to do with the PM issue alone; this doesn’t have to do with air toxics or ozone. You see that in terms of allocation of resources by agencies, EPA’s a big player. But there are other big players; Energy, Interior, and Ag. are making significant investments in particulate matter air pollution. This is how we are dividing the money, what we’re spending it on. But this is only half of the pie; these are the atmospheric science pieces, it is not the health piece. So you don’t see exposure, toxicology, epidemiology, or dosimetry and so on. But in terms of the atmospheric chemistry and sciences, the things that are emissions-related, you see that we pretty well equally distributed, from chemistry and process to the atmospheric modeling to source apportionment, giving no particular field a major investment.

NARSTO is also putting together an inventory like this. NARSTO has been ozone only, but it is expanding its mission. Just this January it held a national level workshop inviting many new organizations, and we hope that will bring in many more of the organizations that are in the business of agricultural-related activities. Now that our emphasis is on PM, we are moving in that direction and we do want the private industry as well as public—for instance, wood products industry, food growers, manufacturers. We are concerned with all of North America.

Stephanie Whalen: Can you explain a little bit more about NARSTO? It’s not a government organization, is it? How did it get started? I don’t see how it fits into this picture.

Jim Vickery: NARSTO was created based upon a recommendation coming out of the National Academy of Sciences in 1990-91, looking at the ozone issue. At that time, that was the big issue. And what they said was, we’re never going to solve the ozone problem in this country unless we start getting our science community together, because they keep battling one another. Industry battling government and so on. So they said, create a national consortium of all people looking at ozone-related research and combine your research. Come up with an identified set of science questions. Take it out of the policy arena and do science. Don’t worry about battling policy. And so, we created a large consortium. It was commissioned at the White House in 1995. It had an agenda. It has been signed on at the level of under-secretary, executive vice presidents from industry and so on. So far, from 1993 to 1998, they have concentrated on ozone-related matters. With the evolution of the air pollution problem into the PM issue, they have agreed as an executive assembly, those people who have signed onto the charter, that they now need to include an agenda for particulate matter and aerosols.

Robert Quinn: I saw your excerpt for your grants. I saw that one project you said was up in the Spokane area. Do you have any idea who that’s being funded through—industry?

Jim Vickery: I'm sorry, I can’t say. The public announcement hasn’t been made on it, yet. It will be made within the next three weeks, they’re in the final negotiations now of scope and amount. And as soon as that’s done, there will be an announcement.

Bill Hambleton: Jim, that’sJim that’s an excellent report. I'm just about confused as I can be on where we’re going and what’s going on, but is there any single agency or entity other than funding sources that coordinates all the research that the Academy and EPA and others do? Is there any form of coordination in this whole picture?

Jim Vickery: We’re attempting to get that coordination done. It was that sense of the complete disarray of research for just the ozone problem that led to formation of NARSTO. And that community could only take on half the problems as it was. It couldn’t take on, for instance, the ozone health-related research. They took on the ozone atmospheric sciences. And I would say in terms of ozone atmospheric sciences, there is at this point total coordination and organization. There is a very formal structure and process. Now, what they’re trying to do is build on that success and take on the aerosols atmospheric sciences. We realize that you just can’t deal with the PM problem with the sciences alone, you have to really focus on the health problem, and we’re trying to get the health community organized as well. There is no real NARSTO equivalent for the health community, but we are recommending one. In the meantime, we have done two things. The air quality subcommittee of CENR, who coordinates all federal research, which is an awful big piece of the resource pie, is going to now coordinate all PM health and atmospheric sciences research that is federally funded. In terms of the private sector and international investments and coordinating with those, NARSTO has said it will serve as a sponsor organization for at least the atmospheric sciencesscience side, and also extend out much of its coordination and liaison activities to the health community. That’s the best I can tell you in terms of trying to coordinate it all and having one central place you can go to and say, what needs to be done? What’s more important than what? And how much is being done on it? That’s where you’d go: either the Air Quality Subcommittee or NARSTO.

Calvin Parnell: You said SO2 and NOX combined with different compounds. But the primary gas they’re talking about there is ammonia. One of the things that’s concerned all of agriculture is now NARSTO, I believe, is looking at a big-funded project and national emissions inventory on ammonia. And we go back and look at emission factor AP42, and AP42 has a rating of E, which is just short of a real good guess. What concerns us, in terms of our animal agriculture capital and such, is with a reading of E on AP42 emission factors of ammonia, ammonia being the primary gas combining with SO2 and NOX and forming secondary PM 2.5, how are you addressing that issue?

Jim Vickery: We’re addressing it principally by doing what you’re doing, which is identifying it as an important, ill-defined factor in the overall atmospheric chemistry. We are saying this needs to be done by some member of the research-supporting community. EPA has essentially expended all our money on the other priorities. What we’re really hoping will happen, and what we have been talking about in the Air Quality Subcommittee of CENR, is the possibility of involving those agencies who really have a day-to-day involvement with this—for instance, ammonia from animal herding practices. Perhaps the Department of Agriculture would take on that job. We’re not sure who should. I agree with you completely: it is a very important factor, it is very ill-definedill defined, and it’s something the air quality subcommittee has identified as an important, unaddressed need.

Larry Erickson: Biological airborne particulate matter is of concern to agriculture. Where is that being coordinated, and what can you say about that particular issue of microbes and endotoxin and so forth?

Jim Vickery: Funguses, spores, and the list doesdo go on. Right now it is being addressed on a very piecemeal basis by different research organizations, private, academic institutions that have been given grants by EPA, the National Science Foundation, and others who have saidEPA, the National Science Foundation, and others who have said have given that, we need to investigate this. The health community has identified it as an important, possible causal agent. So there are individual grants being given out to individual organizations. In terms of coordination, these five health centers are going to be in different regions of the country looking at that full spectrum of eleven agents, including biological. They are going to coordinate their research among themselves. So I think that will be the first real opportunity to look at those biological agents, their different sources, and what progress is being made under them. It’s not being coordinated as a separate entity other than that.

Emmett Barker: Sally, either you, Jim or both: I'm interested in looking at the rather significant scope of this research, in trying to get a time line relative to when we have to have the SIPs in and when these requirements have to be met. Do you have something that you could pass out to us that would correlate this research you hope will be available? You’re making an assumption on your time line chart that before 2002, for example, or 2007 before you do the final rule, that you are really going to have the answers that you’re going to need to make good regulations. Is it unreal to assume that we may not have all these answers at that point in time? And if so, what is the policy based on which you’ll finalize the rule?

Jim Vickery: I can answer about the science, Sally will have to answer about the rule. Science will constantly strive to provide the answers, but it will never get all the answers. We know it just sort of makes progress, constant progress. What we also realize is that at certain points in time, someone has to decide something. For instance, there’s a rule that has to be decided. The people who do the rule process can tell us how much sooner than the date they have to make the rule they need to have any input to affect that. That’s where we have created this very clear window of opportunity. For instance, there is a published schedule in the federal register of exactly when all the next round of science for the next round of review of the standard has to be done. We know that we have to have all science that is going to affect this consideration in peer reviewed journals by May of 2000. We know the same thing for the next round, when it’s going to have to be done. We are doing science as fast as we possibly can on that research portfolio that I showed you. We think we’ve invested in all of the places that we need to make advances in our science. We know that we can’t get it all done in time. For instance, research that we start today has no hope of being done in that time, and being in the peer review journals and accepted as credible science. On implementation, we know that states are going to start preparing State Implementation Plans for the current standard, which will be out the Year 2003. We know that to get good science in their hands, we need to have it done in the next two years. And, again, the same story holds. We’re trying to do it as fast as we can, and get as much as we can into the state’s hands if they’re going to do that. For instance, new super computer models, new chemistry understanding, new emissions, source receptor relationships. So, maybe then Sally can talk about the rule and the timing of the rule and the consideration of the degree of science.

Sally Shaver: The way the act is set up, Emmett, it allows for an almost continuous review process. And you just take whatever is available since the last review was completed. Basically that’s what happened two years ago. It had been a number of years since the ozone standard had been changed, as well as the Particulate Matter standard. And that was the culmination of ten—in case of PM, more like 15—years of research that led to those conclusions.

Emmett Barker: I believe that when EPA proposed the new ozone and PM 2.5 standards, Congress or Executive Order mandated that you could not do something until you did five years of research. And you could not issue the final rule until five more years of research. What flexibility is there? It sounds like an awful lot of research work to be done in three years since you’re just allocating the moneys and setting up the studies right now. Is there a possibility that Congress or EPA itself could ask for an extension? Another year for proposing the final rule? Or does the Clean Air Act have to be changed? How could that be dealt with if we found the science really significantly lacking at that time?

Sally Shaver: I think, since we’re building on a continuum of science, absent of findings that totally negated everything that had been researched for the last fifteen years or so, I would say that we would not halt the process. Now, EPA has obviously missed deadlines before; in fact, the ozone and the PM review deadlines had been missed and we were under consent decree dates to get those final rules out this last go-round. However, there’s always the opportunity for congressional action, but, clearly, they have their sixty days to review any rules that we put out and can overturn them. So that process is still in place.

Annette Sharp: I think one of the questions I heard Emmett ask was, "Will the states have information in time to do their SIPs?" EPA is scheduled to release the ozone guidance policy for the new 8-hour NAAQS in May of this year. The governors of the states have to issue a letter to EPA in July of this year indicating what their proposed designations are under the 8-hour standard. For us, two months is not enough time, but it’s sufficiently larger than we ever had before. Because we’ve turned in SIPs and had guidance issued to us six months after the SIPs had been turned in. For the people who are concerned and who would like to participate in the SIP process, the first opportunity will be this letter. If your state is choosing to use a traditional classification, your governor is to issue the letter by July 18th, unless your state has some kind of arrangement with its regional office to postpone that. The second date you should be aware of is in September of this year, if your state is a transitional classification, and most of the Ozone Transport Assessment Group (OTAG) states are required to submit their SIPs in September of this year. So, if you want to comment and participate on the ozone issue, you need to do it right away.

Larry Erickson: In the regulations and the science, I guess I'm of the opinion that what’s in particulate matter is very important as it affects health. Do we envision over time that that will find its way into the regulations if that comes out in the health results?

Jim Vickery: Let me start again with the science, and then I think I have to turn to Sally to answer the question of how it would be used in regulation and standard setting if the science showed it. The health science and the atmospheric science committees are very much after the answer to what it is in PM that is causing the health problem. That’s our highest priority, and the National Academy expects that in their portfolio, that those causal agents will be identified in the next few years. We have a very good idea of what they are. I think their current expectation now, as I hear them talking about it, is that there’s not going to be any one or two agents, it’s really very likely to be some combination of things. So I don’t know how that’s going to affect our rule making. Right now, we have bundled it all up in something called PM 2.5 and PM 10, without discriminating by chemical or biological agent. We may very well find that it’s some combination of those things that has some appropriate bundling again. I just don’t know.

Sally Shaver: I think the standard would be adjusted accordingly once those findings are made, if appropriate.

Gary Margheim: Sally, would it be possible to get a copy of Dr. Vickery’s announcement, to make it part of the record? On behalf of the Task Force, thank you very, very much.

Bill Hambleton: For the last two meetings, Amarillo and here, we’ve had representatives of ARS and CSREES. In two questions: one, will this be an ongoing agenda in addition to support for the committee? And second, if that is true, would it be feasible, as we move into this second half of a two-year term, for us to approach Economic Research Service (ERS) for an economist to sit in on at least part of our session? That way we could begin building an economic base to answer some of the questions on what the costs are going to be, and the economics could give us some guidance and direction. And there is a real concern that you gentlemen with all of the information and knowledge would have to address,: would we be better off to look at an individual from ERS? Or would we be better off looking at an economist from a state perspective? That’s three or four questions in a row, and there may be several other additions. Several of us have discussed this. Someday, our research and our determinations from this committee need to be put in a process that can be extended to a multitude of people throughout our country, and one of the systems it could be would be the land grant system with cooperative extension. I don’t know if we have to have answers today, but I think it’s time that we begin to address this.

Gary Margheim: I think you raised a couple really good points, Bill. Again, the committee needs to think about this, but I think we have a couple weaknesses.

Berlie Schmidt: So just a very rough estimate of the total amount of money CSREES is spending on air quality research, which is spread throughout the whole university system, is about $1.5 to $2 million. That’s not a lot of money, but it’s spread out in pieces over many, many projects throughout the university system as well as a number of special grants that we have.

The information system that we use for reporting our research in different categories is called the Current Research Information System (CRIS), which is located at the National Agriculture Library in Beltsville. In order for us to approve projects for federal funding or for formula funds to the ag. Experiment stations, all of the projects that come through our agency from the universities must be logged into the CRIS system. You’ll notice on the bottom of the front page of your handout are the e-mail or the Internet addresses for how you can get into the CRIS system yourself to actually search and find out some of the details of the research going on. It’s a little tough to search the system unless you have had a bit of experience in it because like any system with thousands of entries in it, you have to use certain key words. But you can get some of those instructions off the Internet there, and it will help you to get in. In fact, you can even focus in on a specific project, such as something going on in Spokane, Washington, or at UC Davis. You can find out the objectives of the research, the overall approach, and the recent summaries that are posted by the research leader there through us every year. So, it is a system that has an awful lot of material in it. It’s being upgraded now to where we will now have direct links with the other USDA research systems, such as ARS and ERS. As I understand it, in the new system, which will be called Research Education and Extension Information System (REEIS), if you were looking at something in air quality, you could find out what’s going on in any of the USDA agencies. This system is just coming into existence now, and it will be in the process for another five or six years of work before it will be all organized.

The handouts that George has given you summarize some of the work on air quality project in CSREES and give you a quick overview of the types of titles and subjects that we’re funding. The first one, called the Hatch and McIntire-Stennis funds, is the formula dollars that go out from us to each state based on a formula for a certain amount of base funding every year. Then it’s up to the experiment station director to distribute that money and use it to meet the high priority needs of that particular station or that state. So primarily, those are funds that go directly out. We see the projects when they come in. We review the proposal and also we monitor the funding level on them. But primarily, the direction is determined specifically by the experiment station in that particular state. Now, the McIntire-Stennis funds are for forestry-related projects. So, those give you an idea of the scope of some of the subject matter areas there: wind erosion, animal odors, ammonia gases from livestock waste, carbon nitrogen cycling, and carbon sequestration. It gives you just an overview of the kinds of subjects that are being covered by all those projects. There are many projects that may have their major thrust in some other subject, such as livestock research, but a piece of it may be related to air quality or odors. So, the dollar figures that I’ve reported in there are the percent of that project that is specifically related to air quality. Therefore, there may be much more money involved in the overall project, but just a certain amount of that would be air quality related.

The second group, the Hatch funds is the regional research projects. The regional research funds are distributed as part of the formula funds, but by law the experiment station directors must use 25% of their Hatch funds for regional research. Regional research means that they have to collaborate with two or more states within their region on a multi-state project on some problem that’s a high priority for that region of the country. You can see a list of some of the regional projects; there’s a few in there that have air quality as their major thrust, such as this one on animal manure and waste utilization, treatment, and nuisance avoidance in an ecologically sound sustainable agriculture. That’s a southern region project that has representatives from probably most of the experiment stations in the southern region of the U.S. They have agreed that they have a common problem, these are the common objectives, and they all work together and have an annual progress meeting where they report their research to each other and agree on the next year’s progress that they’ll be making.

The special research grants are at the bottom of that page. Those are the ones that are Congressionally mandated. Congress directs them to a specific project for a specific need or a specific use, and these funds are directed to a particular state for a particular problem. The dollars come through our agency to essentially be managed. As you can see, there was $873,000 for fiscal years ’97, ‘98, and ’99. At the bottom, you’ll notice one called special research grant on global change and the special research grants on PM 10. Those are the projects directed by Congress through our agency to go to support the PM 10 research in Washington State and in California. Bob Flocchini and Keith Saxton are the leaders on those two projects.

Where it says special grants air quality, FY ’97, ’98, ’99 and 2000, you will notice that the PM 10 study has been at the level of $873,000 since 1997, but for the year 2000 it’s zero. That’s what happens on these kinds of congressionally mandated grants. The President’s budget determines what the dollar allocation for those funds will be for those particular grants, but Congress likes to have all grants competitively awarded. Well, when the White House puts in the President’s budget for the year 2000, they literally wipe out most of the special grants because they feel they’re not competitively awarded and so they’re zeroed out. You’ll notice that the PM 10 study has zero dollars allocated for the year 2000. But once the budget goes from the President over to Congress, Congress adds many of those back in. I’m getting near enough to retirement, so I can be brave enough to say that it’s always interesting to watch how these actions play themselves out in the government, and it’s also interesting that Congress has been pushing us really hard to have more and more of our projects competitively awarded in the future. And yet, it’s interesting also that when the President’s budget goes over, all of a sudden Congress puts all of the non-competitively awarded grants back in again. But this is something that’s been a common practice all along, that they do want it directed towards problems in their own region that they can address.

The second handout gives you another quick overview of the PM10 project itself. There are many commonalties in the research that’s underway in both California and Washington. We had a very good program review of the PM10 Washington project last year. I was the chair of the review team, and we selected a group of people on that team, peer scientists from around the country from different areas of expertise, and essentially had about two or three days of pretty intensive review of the various projects going on under the PM 10 project in Washington State. And this team then is charged with writing up a report at the end to give recommendations on how to improve and strengthen the project. I felt it was a very useful and successful review. Bob Flocchini said he would like to see the same kind of a review on the one in Davis, and we’re certainly working toward getting a team together to go down there and give some advice to the group there.

Finally, the last handout is a more overall view of all of the various kinds of state, regional and Hatch and special grants projects that I felt were related in some way to air quality in our search of the CRIS system. This list has not been updated since we had the meeting in Amarillo, but we do want to update it with some of the funding from 1998-99 since we have all those figures pulled together.

At the request of the Task Force, Dick Amerman and I worked last year on putting together our suggestions for how a research proposal might be structured that would be funded by the Task Force, if money were provided. Dick and I had worked together in 1989 or 1990 on the USDA water quality research initiative. As that initiative took hold and became more used throughout at least the Midwest, we felt that it was a systems approach that included a lot of disciplines on our research team, located at five different states. Again, these were selected in a competitive selection. At last year’s Task Force meeting, we proposed following that water quality model for air quality and look at an USDA air quality research proposal, air quality research initiative. I think the Task Force had even talked about $20 million for air quality research. Last year we determined that maybe the efficient way to use it would be to split the $20 million between the two agencies: $10 million for ARS through their laboratories and their science around the country, and $10 million through the CSREES to go out on a competitive basis requesting proposals from all over the country on air quality research problems. The key to the proposals that were put together for the water quality project (which I would strongly recommend be examined for air quality because it was successful) is to use the systems approach. These proposals would say that scientists who are going to submit proposals to the Task Force for funding through this air quality initiative would have to be multi-state, multi-disciplinary, and multi-agency, and they would also integrate extension and research together so there would be a natural flow of the research information directly out to the users. For a successful systems approach I think there ought to be social scientists on the team, particularly economists and maybe even sociologists, as well as soil physicists and soil chemists and agronomists and ag. engineers, whatever the case may be. What we saw successful in the water quality program was that there was a team of scientists that represented the physical scientists as well as the biological and the economic and social scientists all working on one project. The reason that you have the push to have an economist or sociologist on such a team is that after the air quality research, the engineering, soil physics, soil chemistry, agronomy and so forth, this integrated approach is being looked at. An economist can be in on the beginning to say okay, now what are the costs of these inputs? What are the outputs in terms of profitability? This way when it comes out to the user, we already have the economic analysis done on each of these various practices; we would know, for example, how tillage practice A would compare to tillage practice B in terms of not only the effectiveness in controlling air quality, wind erosion, or whatever the case may be, but also in terms of which would be the most profitable. Or, if you’re going to go to more and more air quality control, for example, this is how much more it’s going to cost you. Or maybe, on the positive side, this is going to be how much it’s going to actually benefit in terms of profitability.

One other quick thing: the 1999 budget for CSREES had an increase for the first time in a long time for both extension and the Hatch projects that went out to the states. There was a 7% increase for the Hatch projects, the formula funds that went out to the state ag. experiment stations, where for years all of them have been flat or declining. There was also a 3% increase for extension. That was very positive in terms of getting not only more of the research done that’s needed in the states, but also getting the information directly out to the users, the growers, the farmers, and so forth who would be using it. The President’s budget for 2000 has wiped all those out again, which is rather interesting because in the past it was always the need to try to get this research out to the states where the work could be done and on a competitive basis. So for the year 2000, those increases have been dropped back to where they were last year. However, we were really encouraged by that increase, and perhaps in the ensuing congressional discussions, they may decide to try to put it back in.

Every year the National Research Initiative (NRI) program within the CSREES has a competition for research grant funds on about 30 different topics, one of which is in soils and soil biology, another one in water quality, another one in pesticide application, etc. One had a 28% increase in the 1999 budget. Those are proposals that very easily could include air quality. You’ll even notice in the handout that there was quite a chunk of money that went into some of these projects with air quality implications. I guess my suggestion would be to have a title introduced into the NRI program specifically mentioning air quality, perhaps something like "agricultural air quality research." It would actually have dictated in the description, which topic areas would be of most concern or interest. You could have things like PM 10, PM 2.5, ozone, and odors and maybe even more specific than that. You could then invite proposals that would be funded under that NRI program.

Acting Chairman Margheim: Thank you, Berlie. At the request of the Task Force, we have asked Dr. Margo Anderson, who heads up our Office of Climate Change, to spend a little time with us and give us an overview of what that office does. Prior to being appointed by the Secretary to that particular position, Margo was over at the Economic Research Service.

Margo Anderson: Thanks for having me. I’m Margo Anderson, and I’m the Director of the Global Change Research Program here at USDA. We’ve had a Global Change Research Program for over 10 years. For a long time, it was housed in the Agricultural Research Service. About March of last year, it was decided to put this office in the Office of the Chief Economist, so I work for Keith Collins and Joe Glauber. I am in that office working on coordination issues associated with global change across the entire Department of Agriculture, so I worry about whether our research programs are coordinated across the mission areas of ARS, CSREES, NRCS, FS, and ERS. There’s probably a role or a small portfolio in every agency in the Department of Agriculture that deals with global change or climate change. I think that climate change and global change cannot be divorced from the many other environmental problems that we’re looking at, and it’s yet another issue that we are asked to address that is fully in sync with many of the other goals that we’re trying to achieve like soil erosion, water quality, wildlife habitat, and air quality. I think you’ll see that there’s a nice marriage and coordination among the many kinds of programs that we do have ongoing at USDA.

Why are we concerned about climate change at agriculture? When I say agriculture, I always mean agriculture and forestry; I’ve made no distinction between the two, and my mandate is to look at both the forestry programs as well as the programs that are more closely associated with production agriculture. Certainly we do know that some agricultural activities and some forestry activities can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, so right away we do know we have a role in the overall inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture. We do know that some of our economic activity also produces agricultural emissions that can contribute to global warming, so we’re concerned about what that contribution might be. We’re also concerned because global warming and climate change can have a negative effect as well as a positive effect on agricultural and forestry systems. There’s no question that the U.S. production agriculture may be more resilient to changes in climate. When I say changes in climate, I don’t mean just temperatures; I mean increases in variability and increases in the probability of extreme events. These kinds of predicted changes could have negative impacts on our farmers, our ranchers, our private landowners, probably more so in more vulnerable regions, such as coastal regions, regions that are dependent upon irrigation, and certainly in regions of the world that are less resilient to adapting to climate changes. So, we worry about climate change for that reason as well. We know that agriculture and forestry might, in fact, be affected by changes in climate.

The third reason that we’re really worried about global change is any policies that are implemented to either mitigate, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or sequester carbon to help offset greenhouse gas emissions are going to have an economic effect on the sector. Any policies that are designed to help farmers, ranchers, and private forestland owners adapt to change in climate are going to have an economic effect on farmers, ranchers, and private landowners. We need to do good policy analysis at the Department of Agriculture to better anticipate what these costs and sometimes benefits might be to the sector, and to use that information to inform the policy process so that we have cost minimizing tools to deal with adapting to climate change, to deal with any policies that might be implemented to mitigate climate change. So, much of what we do in the Department of Agriculture is look at those kinds of instruments and look at the incentives that farmers, ranchers, and private landowners may have to invest in the kinds of technologies to help mitigate, help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help sequester carbons or adapt to changes in greenhouse gases.

I want to talk a little bit about the international process and where we are and how we fit in, not just as the U.S., but as the Department of Agriculture. Many of you are probably aware of something called the Kyoto Protocol, which, if ratified, will require the U.S., among other developed countries, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7% from a 1990 baseline. We’re a long way from having a Kyoto Protocol ratified, clearly a long way. The President has indicated he will not even send this to the Senate unless there is significant developing country commitment, and there are many pieces of the Kyoto Protocol that don’t have the rules developed in them yet. These rules have to be developed before the Senate will take a hard look at something called the Kyoto Protocol. Those are the kinds of mechanisms that are extremely important for us to have in an international treaty because they help drive down the cost of meeting these commitments. Some of these mechanisms are trading emissions. Certainly, you’re familiar with SO2 trading in California. We’re talking about carbon trading in this context. Other mechanisms would allow us to buy some of our greenhouse gas emission offsets overseas. We wouldn’t have to buy them domestically or take domestic action. We could work with our trading partners. We could work with developing countries to implement energy efficiencies in those countries and help offset any kind of commitment that we might need to take.

Carbon sequestration is something you’ve probably heard of as another opportunity to help reduce the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Sequestration, both on the agricultural soil side and on the forestry side, has become a very hot topic in the last nine months since the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol allows countries to consider some activities on the forest side, such as afforestation and reforestation, to offset greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol has an open door to allow the consideration of additional forest management practices. Those two don’t begin to cover the gamut of the kinds of practices we would have in our forestry systems. And it’s opened the door to look at agricultural soils. How can we use the kinds of activities we have in U.S. farming to offset greenhouse gas emissions? These range from better manure management, cover crops, all kinds of conservation tillage, and more efficient use of existing resources. How can those activities be a part of this international process to help the U.S. meet its commitments should a Kyoto Protocol ever get ratified?

The UN process, of which Kyoto is a part, is a long and protracted process. The parties, meaning the countries, meet once a year. The technical people who advise the parties meet once a year. And these are our opportunities to work through some of the technical sticking points that are in the Kyoto Protocol. How do you develop rules for a trading program? That’s an awfully complicated thing to do. How do you develop rule making for what kinds of activities you might want to add in on the agricultural side? It’s a very difficult and complex activity. Needless to say, not everybody around the world is fully in agreement that agricultural activities or more forest activities ought to be added to the Kyoto Protocol. Many are very concerned that these activities will create a loophole for the U.S. You can’t measure them; therefore, don’t allow them to occur. There are all kinds of people out there who are very nervous about the countries that want to push forward on carbon sequestration activities. So we have our work cut out for us.

How do we get our work done? On the international side, we get our work done by tasking an international body called the International Panel on Climate Change to come up with a technical report on land use change in forestry, which are the catch words for carbon sequestration in the Kyoto Protocol. We’ve asked a body of international experts taken from around the globe, including people from our own forest service and NRCS and people we fund in the land grant institutions, to be on this scientific panel to come up with not recommendations, but analysis on verifying, measuring, defining all kinds of agricultural and forestry related activities that parties could consider for inclusion in the Kyoto Protocol. The report isn’t due until 2000, so we’ve got some time to be thinking about what our goals are here in the U.S.

At the same time, the U.S. has been instrumental in pushing for the UN to hold a couple of workshops on these activities. The last thing we wanted was for the countries to go away and not think about these issues until 2000, when they got this technical report, and then start arguing amongst themselves on how they would add activities. So we asked the UN to put on a couple of workshops that are related to these activities. We think that is helpful in getting the countries at the table to continue thinking about these issues and to hear what each country might have to say about the difficulties, the ease of measurement on certainty issues, models that are used to measure. Certainly, our position is to try to bring countries along with confidence that many of these activities can, indeed, be measured and verified and, more importantly, provide other significant benefits that other countries would be interested in as well, such as sustainable development, water quality, wildlife habitat protection, and forest management protection. Implementing these kinds of activities on private lands provides many of the kinds of benefits that lots of countries are looking for. So we are trying very hard in this country to come up with various ways to measure the carbon we are pretty sure we are sequestering. That’s basically where we are on the international front.

On the domestic process, we have had a program on greenhouse gases under the global change research program for ten years. They’ve been doing global change research for a long time here at the Department of Agriculture. Much of our research is focusing on adaptation and on how to figure out how global change might affect the productivity of our agricultural and forestry systems. What does it mean if temperatures rise? How much is the CO2 fertilization effect going to affect wheat yields? What do we really know about the interaction between climate change and agriculture and forestry production? So, we’ve done a lot of that kind of research. We have also done carbon cycle research over the years as well, both in the Forest Service and the Agricultural Research Service.

In the 2000 budget initiative, we are asking for a $50 million increase for global change related programs. Over the last seven or eight years, we have averaged about 50 to 55 million dollars a year in global change related research; that’s across CSREES, ARS, FS a bit, and then NRCS. Economic Research Service has a part of that as well. For the year 2000, we are asking for a $50 million increase for two big programs: the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and something called the Climate Change Technology Initiative, which is another cross cut that is our programs that are devoted to R&D, but also to the application of R&D. USDA has historically been a very small, if not zero, component of the climate change technology initiative. The kinds of programs that show up in the climate change technology initiative are often the tax cuts on the energy side, investments in more efficient energy production. Agriculture has had a relatively small role in that. This year, we are again asking for some money from the Congress to help support some demonstration projects on sequestration and on alternative production methods that we think not only sequester carbon, but also reduce some of our sources of greenhouse gases.

Let me walk through this handout now that you have it in front of you. There are increases in almost every agency. You’ll notice under the Agricultural Research Service and under the Forest Service there’s something called the carbon cycle science program. This is; again, part of the U.S. global change research program, and it’s a new initiative for 2000. It involves eight different federal agencies, and it’s a very large research program of about $60 million that is trying to come to terms with the large issues of the carbon cycle—not just the piece that we’re particularly interested in at USDA but really trying to measure where that sink is. I am sure some of you have heard about the 1.6 gigatons that they think is sitting over North America in our terrestrial ecosystems. Now, we need a much better understanding of our terrestrial carbon cycles and of our aquatic carbon cycle. Part of the global cycle science program is to start addressing those questions.

Our piece in the global science program... the carbon cycle science is to look at more of the issues that we’re interested in at the Department of Agriculture, namely, how the forest ecosystems feed into the terrestrial carbon cycle, and looking at agriculture and agricultural practices and how we might be able to sequester more carbon on those lands. Much of the research that ARS or the Forest Service does today, they’ve been doing for along time, and it’s a continuation of their basic core program on global change: much work on adaptation, some of it on mitigation, and then this new emphasis in both of those agencies on the carbon cycle work. It doesn’t mean we haven’t been doing carbon cycle work; we’ve been doing carbon work for many years at USDA. It’s a bit more concentrated this year to answer some of the questions we need answers to over the shorter term. This is where some of our methyl bromide research is as well as a couple of new programs in ARS, mitigating climate change impacts on food availability, a project on impacts of atmospheric climate change on Alaskan agro-ecosystems, a very sensitive ecosystem. ARS proposed doing some basic research there. Economic Research Service has proposed an increase of $700,000 to look at the economics of carbon sequestration. Even if we have a good sense of what the technical feasibility is of sequestering carbon through reduced tillage or alternative practices, what is actually economically feasible to do? What are farmers really going to adopt given the current cost structures of farming today? What kind of incentives might need to be provided at what cost in order to get farmers and ranchers to adopt these practices that can sequester carbon? So in a nutshell that’s a project that they have proposed in the Economics Research Service.

In the Natural Resource Conservation Service, there is a very large increase of $12 million to augment their soil carbon studies; a really key element in being able to measure carbon is to get in there and actually do the measurements. The soil carbon work the NRCS has done for many, many years was not designed to look at soil carbon, was not designed to take those measurements or use those measurements in a modeling framework to tell you about changes in carbon or related to practices, or how changes in practices can affect carbon. So NRCS would like to augment that database and augment their knowledge of soil carbon on agricultural soils. They want to propose working with ARS to make sure that the information that they collect is coordinated with the kinds of models that the Agricultural Research Service is putting together to help them measure and predict these changes in carbon.

In CSREES, there’s an increase of $6 million under the NRI that will be directed toward the kinds of grants that come up for global change and particularly on the adaptation and the mitigation sides. CRSEES has asked for a bit more there as well as under their NRI. Under the Climate Change Technology Initiative, again, the program is a bit more application oriented. Agricultural Research Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Forest Service have all asked for increases on their biomass, both in the Forest Service and in the Agricultural Research Service. In NRCS, there’s some work on carbon sequestration, and this would be the demonstration of these projects in various parts of the country to look at some of the measurement issues and to demonstration how a suite of practices can be used on farms through existing authorities of EQIP programs, to demonstrate how one might get these practices into the fields, onto the ground, and actually get that carbon. ARS is asking for some increases on technology for predicting and adapting to climate change.

So that is essentially where the moneys are going. This is just the President’s budget; it was delivered to the hill a couple of weeks ago. We do spend some time with various committees talking them through what’s in these programs, what we expect to get out, what might be the deliverables, etc. And I, again, need to raise the point that much of the research that we do on agricultural practices or forest management practices are not just about carbon, they are not just about reducing nitrous oxide, they are not just about the greenhouse gases we are concerned with in the climate change arena. So many of these kinds of practices really help us meet these multiple goals, whether it’s water quality, whether it’s soil erosion abatement, whether it’s creation of wildlife habitat. It’s difficult to divorce all of this work and say all that it does is provide information about climate change. That’s simply not true. It’s very difficult to make these tight, dividing lines among the kinds of research activities that we’re doing and the technology activities that we’re doing. So much of this is really applied toward helping farmers have access to the kinds of information, data, and technologies that help them do farming better and more economically, and conserve the resource base.

Calvin Parnell: Dr. Anderson, you said something early on to the effect that air quality and climate change cannot be divorced. One of my concerns in terms of being a member of this Task Force and being a former member of this Task Force is in education, or trying to educate those people inside the beltway in USDA, in NRCS, ARS, etc., of what the problems are right now with regard to air pollution and effects on agriculture. One of the difficulties I have is that some people use the terms "climate change" and "greenhouse gases" in a way that sometimes is perceived by the public as being the same as air pollution, which they are not. We look at CO2 as a greenhouse gas, not a regulated pollutant. Methane is not a reactive VOC that can form ozone; it’s a greenhouse gas. But some out there are using this terminology in the public saying, well, we’re doing air pollution work, so we need to have an emissions inventory of CO2 and methane, because they’re "greenhouse gases," and it’s confusing to the public. Please address that issue.

Margo Anderson: I’m not sure that I can. I'm less aware that that’s confusing to the public or that they are marrying the two issues together. Certainly here in Washington I do not hear that kind of confusion. It’s mostly that I run around in primarily greenhouse gas circles and, frankly, just get less exposure to folks that are concerned about air quality. When I say they are not divorceable, I mean to say much of the kinds of research that we do have spillover effects to address these other concerns. That’s certainly the case for habitat protection, water quality, and soil erosion. It may be less so for air quality; you don’t get the larger spillover on the air quality research from some of this kind of work that you might if you were interested in water quality. But I really haven’t heard the argument that air quality is a subset of climate change or vice versa.

Calvin Parnell: I personally think that it is a strategy on the part of some groups to, in effect, confuse the issue and make it seem the same thing. When you look at 189 toxics, and you look at six criteria pollutants and you look at National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), these issues are very, very critical to agriculture and will cost agriculture lots of money. Then you hear from people in the Environmental Defense Fund and Sierra Club and such, who say, well, we need emissions inventory of the greenhouse gases. But emissions inventory is something you use for pollutants, not for greenhouse gases. That kind of rhetoric tends to bring to the public a view that greenhouse gases and air pollution gases and air pollution particulate matter, PM 10 are the same.

Keith Saxton: The next meeting will be at the Doubletree Inn City Center just on the edge of downtown Spokane, Washington, June 22, 23, and 24. That’s a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We’ve got sleeping rooms set up for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Come with your notes and working clothes for those three days.

George Bluhm: I just wanted to make it a matter of record that we’ve had four volunteers for future meetings. Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Bob Otum has invited us down to Louisiana. Phyllis Breeze has thrown Colorado into the hat. Sally Shaver and the EPA, as well as NRCS North Carolina, have invited us to North Carolina. And Stephanie has invited us to come to Florida. That is the list so far of the states that have volunteered to host future meetings of this committee.

Stephanie Whalen: You’re very welcome to come to Hawaii. I was just thinking Hawaii would not be economical so I suggested Florida. I have asked the Florida Sugar Cane League to send to each of you their ambient air quality monitoring report that they put out on an annual basis. They have 11 stations that measure PM 10 throughout their industry, and it might be of use to the committee for informational purposes. So when it comes in the mail, you’ll know what it’s coming for.

Pearlie Reed: George, Arizona has also expressed an interest in hosting this.

George Bluhm: Noted, the next item that I have is that yesterday when we set up the action items, you said you wanted to consider whether or not to have a subcommittee on monitoring. Before they left, Phil Wakelyn volunteered to chair that committee, and Tom Ferguson volunteered to work on it. And I think the committee needs to make a decision now whether they would like to have the committee on monitoring or not.

Acting Chairman Margheim: Is there a motion to that extent?

[Motion is made and seconded to have a monitoring sub-group.]

[Motion carries with a voice vote.]

Acting Chairman Margheim: George, we do need additional members so we can be sure and have the right mix of people on that group. We need a volunteer from the farming community and we need a volunteer from the scientific.

Dennis Tristao: I would be happy to do it as the farmer.

Acting Chairman Margheim: Calvin?

Calvin Parnell: Yes, I will serve.

Acting Chairman Margheim: I’d like to go around and allow any members of the Advisory Committee who wish to make any comments before I open up to the public comments.

Keith Saxton: Before me here are two of recent reports from our PM project. One is a BMP manual entitled Farming with the Wind. It’s a culmination of about four years of effort trying to put together a farmer directive of what BMPs might be for our region, but it’s pretty applicable. The other is just out recent auunal report. If either one of these would be of interest to anybody here, come by, drop me your card, and I’ll be glad to get them to you.

Emmett Barker: I wonder, George, if you could send us a list of those subcommittees within the next couple of weeks or so because there are others like myself who weren’t exactly sure which ones we’re going to end up with. We’d like to give a little thought to it and maybe serve on one of them.

George Bluhm: We’ll plan to send not only the directory for the committees, but also Jim Vickery, EPA, has promised a list of staff from EPA who could provide you some expertise.

Unknown: Can we have out committee’s web site linked to something logical like EPA’s web site? Is there a category for somewhere on your web site that would be related to agriculture that we could just have this committee’s web site linked to for people who might come to EPA looking for the information and not know that one exists?

Acting Chairman Margheim: We need to look into that, but I think the answer is yes.

Unknown: I would encourage us to do so.

Bill Hamilton: I just want to say this has been a good meeting. It’s been very informativee. It’s been run well, and I want to thank the three of you and all of the probably 12 or 13 that it took to put this together. We don’t say it often enough, but we do appreciate your leadership.

Calvin Parnell: I had the privilege of participating in the training session that George and his staff put together for agricultural engineers last year, and that was what I was going to talk a bit about today. When I got on the task force, I couldn’t quite understand NRCS. We’re talking about air pollution and research needs and my perception was why NRCS and it was kind of hard for me as an academic type to understand NRCS until Dennis made his presentation, which was outstanding. I started to understand. We’re having the situation in air quality regulation that’s impacting individual producers and farmers, and as Dennis said, they’re not going to go seek Sally Shaver and Duncan and the other people in the state air pollution regulatory agency for assistance. But they will seek somebody they trust, and the NRCS people in the field are people they can trust. But for NRCS to do what they need to do for the producers, they’ve got to have some training because NRCS are mainly people who know something about water and soil, but air is foreign to them. When they hear Miss Shaver talking about SIPs and all these other acronyms, it’s difficult to understand the relationships of how this is going to impact producers until you get some training. So I want to commend George and Pearlie and the NRCS staff for putting that training session on. I think that’s excellent. I don not think one session is going to do it, though. I think there’s going to have to be multiple sessions.

George Bluhm: Thank you very much, Calvin. We recorded everything that we did that week on videotape, and we transferred most of it to audiotape. It’s been transscribed and we’re about 75% of the way towards having it on a CD-ROM or a web page people can access it to learn on their own.

Acting Chairman Margheim: Before I turn it over to the chairman for any last words, we do have one person from the public who would like to speak.

Dick Amerman: Calvin, you led right into what I had a concern about here. This is about the third meeting that I have attended, and I have reviewed the research committee’s recommendations that went to the Secretary. I’ve developed a perception, and this is just my perception, not the agency’s, that there is a preoccupation in the task force with the passive and the reactive, and I haven’t heard very much in terms of the proactive. Calvin, you indicate that we will have to deliver something or NRCS will have to deliver something. And it’s those deliverables that I think of as a more proactive line of research and development. Besides monitoring, besides developing new measuring techniques, besides describing what the situation is out there, I think that we’re going to have to deliver something to the farmer, the producer, that enables him or her to reduce the situation to something that is livable.

Acting Chairman Margheim: Thank you, Dick. Are there other members of the public that would like to make a statement? If not, I’ll turn it over to Chairman Pearlie Reed for closing comments.

Chairman Pearlie Reed: All I really want to say is thank you to all of you, the task force members and the staff as well, and Dr. Parnell, as you spoke, my mind was with the book of Revelations, so you made me feel good and now you see the light. Thank you and have a safe trip home.