USDA Agricultural Air
Quality Task Force
January 16, 2002
Embassy Suites Hotel
East Paradise Village Parkway South
Viney Aneja Wayne
Bob Avant Kevin
Emmett Barker Annette
Mark Boese Sally
Tom Coleman John
Manuel Cunha Jim
Kelley Green Phil
Roger Isom Stephanie
Pearlie Reed, Chair
Other NRCS Support Staff:
Beth Sauerhaft (Designated
John Beyer Jeff
John Brenner Ray
Other EPA Support Staff:
Robin Dunkins, Phil
Lorang, Randy Waite
Other Federal Personnel:
Amerman, ARS, NHQ Jean-Mari
Peltier, EPA, NHQ
Christensen, NRCS, MD John Pemberton, EPA, NHQ
CSREES, NHQ Mike Somerville,
Food and Agriculture
Arizona Department of Agriculture
Jeannette Fish, Maricopa
Janssen, Midwest Regional Planning Organization
Pella, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
The Agricultural Air Quality Task Force meeting was called
to order by Beth Sauerhaft, who briefly reviewed various procedures and FACA
rules. Task Force Chairman Pearlie Reed then welcomed everyone and thanked the
hosts from Arizona for the
outstanding tour the previous day.
Sally Shaver introduced the guests from EPA including
Jean-Mari Peltier, Agricultural Advisor to the EPA Administrator, and John
Pemberton, Chief of Staff to Jeff Holmestead, Assistant Administrator for Air
and Radiation. Both gave introductory comments.
Ms. Peltier said that EPA’s Agriculture office is creating an
inventory of both regulatory and non-regulatory areas where EPA interests
intersect with the interests of the agricultural community. They are examining
the organization of the regional offices and the interaction with the
agricultural community at the regional level. The Agriculture Office is considering
designating a lead region within EPA for dealing with the agricultural
community and having a single point for budget and funding considerations. The
Agriculture Office is also focusing on continued implementation of the Food
Quality Protection Act and on interactions with USDA on transition-related
issues related to pesticide regulations.
Following general introductions, Chairman Reed turned the
meeting over to Kevin Rogers, who welcomed everyone to Arizona.
Mr. Rogers thanked the American Farm Bureau Federation, Arizona Farm Bureau,
Arizona Cotton Growers, and Kelley Green with the Texas Cotton Ginners for
providing funding for the coffee breaks for the meeting.
Mr. Rogers announced that EPA approved
County’s implementation plan, so as
of January 1, 2002, farmers
and ranchers in Maricopa
are operating under a voluntary BMP program. Mike Somerville, the NRCS State
Conservationist for Arizona, then
shared a few thoughts about the BMP program and continuing research.
Next, Kevin Rogers introduced Brett Cameron from the
Arizona Department of Agriculture who gave a presentation on agriculture in his
state including the Agricultural Consultation and Training Program - a free,
non-regulatory service that is driven by requests from growers and ranchers for
assistance with compliance issues.
The next item of business was approval of the minutes of
the July 2001 meeting in Denver.
Phil Wakelyn moved to postpone review of those minutes until the following day
to allow more time to make corrections. The motion was seconded. Chairman Reed
called for the question; the motion passed. The Chair appointed Bob Avant to
work with Beth Sauerhaft to edit the minutes further.
Mr. Avant, Chair of the Follow-Up Subcommittee, told the
Task Force that he had identified sixteen follow-up items from the July
meeting, and Dr. Sauerhaft distributed that list. Calvin Parnell asked the Task
Force to take time to review one of the action items on the list, emission
reduction credits for agriculture, because the proposed emissions credit
program would come up for action the following day. Phil Wakelyn distributed
two draft white papers, one on particulate monitoring and the other on
dispersion modeling, that would also be discussed the next day.
Before proceeding with the agenda, Chairman Reed
recognized George Bluhm, who retired from NRCS in the fall, and presented him
with a gold clock in appreciation of his contributions to the USDA Agricultural
Air Quality Task Force.
Next, Sally Shaver updated the committee on EPA’s work on
agriculture issues. She distributed some information on health and welfare and
on the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Scientific Assessment, and then she
spoke briefly about EPA’s Agriculture strategy. Staff members throughout the
agency are working together to develop an approach for dealing with
agricultural communities. Their vision statement includes fully instituting
policies and practices to ensure that farming and land management communities
consider air quality an integral part of resource management. They also want to
work on greater coordination between USDA and EPA programs to better serve the
agricultural community and the public. Ms. Shaver stressed that EPA is not
trying to recreate or reinvent anything with their Ag. strategy; rather, they
wish to tap into and rely on the agricultural expertise that is in the land
grant universities, USDA, and other federal agriculture agencies.
The three basic elements of the strategy will be
scientific assessment, outreach and education, and implementation and
compliance, which would include an appropriate mix of voluntary and regulatory
programs. EPA will set certain air quality targets and then, with support and
help from USDA and the agriculture community, create mitigation strategies that
the ag community will willingly adopt, and develop ways to track and monitor
emissions so as to demonstrate the success of these programs. EPA hopes to
finalize their ag strategy in the next few months, thereby allowing for the use
of USDA programs and practices to meet air quality concerns.
Ms. Shaver updated the Task Force on other current
“hot-topic issues” within EPA. With respect to CAFOs, the National Academy of
Science initiative is underway, and a few of the Task Force members are on the
committee that is reviewing the documents. They expect an interim report out in
the spring and a final NAS report at the end of 2002. Once the final report is
out, EPA will use the results of the study to issue some sort of policy on
animal feeding operations. Other areas that Ms. Shaver discussed were the joint
development of a fire database with USDA and the Department of the Interior;
air toxics and the petition for listing hydrogen sulfide; health issues
associated with CAFOs; a draft voluntary compliance policy to address Title I
SIP requirements; National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for
particulate matter (PM) and ozone; and fugitive emissions.
Phil Wakelyn asked if the Ag. strategy would be addressing
how best to apply the Clean Air Act to farms and other agricultural entities
that really are neither fixed facilities nor mobile sources, and Ms. Shaver
Bob Avant requested copies of any written documents EPA
produces concerning their Ag. strategy, and Ms. Shaver agreed to provide them
to the Task Force once they are finalized.
Mr. Avant added that one of the items on the Task Force’s
follow-up list is developing a clear definition of agriculture. Since a clear
definition is important for EPA’s regulation of the Clean Air Act, as well as
for the Farm Bill, Mr. Avant suggested creating a subcommittee to work on a
good definition for agriculture.
Roger Isom asked Ms. Shaver if EPA is developing the
voluntary compliance policy beyond the draft policy that the Task Force
approved at their last meeting, or if they are starting to implement the policy
and define the backstops. Ms. Shaver replied that the Task Force had
recommended a set of principles and had requested that EPA develop a policy
around that set of principles, which they are now doing. The primary goal of
the policy will be to allow SIP credits for certain agricultural practices. Ms.
Shaver added that there is a renewed commitment within EPA to complete the
policy and get it implemented soon.
Manuel Cunha related that the Title V Subcommittee had
been scheduled to meet with Jeff Holmestead, Jean-Mari Peltier, and many others
at EPA to start the process of looking at agriculture with respect to the Clean
Air Act. Unfortunately, that meeting was canceled due to the events of September 11, 2001. Mr. Cunha
requested that the Title V Subcommittee, as well as the Voluntary Compliance
Subcommittee, now move forward quickly with their charges and with developing
the definition of agriculture. Chairman Reed asked the respective chairs of
those two subcommittees to report back the following day on their plans to pick
up on what was agreed in the previous meetings.
As Co-Chair of the Voluntary Compliance Subcommittee,
Calvin Parnell offered Sally Shaver whatever assistance he could give to get
the voluntary compliance program implemented as soon as possible. Dr. Parnell
also suggested that the Task Force consider forming a subcommittee to work with
EPA and Ms. Shaver to develop some mechanism to properly address the issues of
what is measured with FRM, PM10 and PM2.5 samplers, and
how to use dispersion modeling and acts at the property line. He also clarified
that SIP credits are not the same as emission credits for reducing some
pollutant from a particular individual operation.
In response to Dr. Parnell, Ms. Shaver said that EPA
cannot implement the PM2.5 standard until they get the final
standard in place, or come out with the new proposal and finalize that standard
in response to the lawsuits. She thought it timely that people now discuss how
to implement the standard, and what would be appropriate for agriculture.
Viney Aneja noted that the document dealing with health
information for emissions from animal feeding operations cited numerous
pollutants to be evaluated. He asked Ms. Shaver if airborne pathogens are
included in the “Others” category. Ms. Shaver answered that EPA is not
necessarily going out and looking for the pathogens, but if there is some work
that has been done and there is some information on pathogens, then clearly
they would like to know about it.
As a panel member for the NAS study, Wayne Robarge
commented that the study is a contract between EPA and the
Academy, so no document can be
released by the panel until it has gone through Academy review. Once these reviews
are complete, the document will be shared with the Task Force. Dr. Robarge also
applauded EPA’s willingness to reach out to the farming community, and he
suggested that EPA work closely with the land grant institutions, especially at
the director levels.
Stephanie Whalen inquired about the progress being made on
residue burning and regional haze issues. Ms. Shaver said that the five
Regional Planning Organizations (RPOs) will be dealing with regional haze
issues across the state and tribal boundaries, and addressing how fire
emissions will be part of that effort. EPA will not be dictating to any of
these RPOs how they should deal with fire in their states because the agency
believes the burning and haze issues are more appropriately dealt with at the
state and regional levels. Ms. Shaver added that EPA’s interim fire policy does
state very clearly that the agency supports the appropriate use of fire in
ecosystem and land management.
Robert Flocchini expanded a bit on Wayne Robarge’s earlier
comments about the NAS study, adding that the panel met in early January and
set up a tentative outline for their interim report.
Manuel Cunha said he was pleased with Sally Shaver’s
comments that EPA is not dictating what the states do or what the RPOs should
make the states do with respect to burning and haze.
Mark Boese commented on the SIP credits for voluntary
incentive programs, and he re-emphasized to the Task Force the need to continue
to push USDA and EPA to do the research that quantifies emissions so that
states can take credit for any reductions they get.
On behalf of EPA’s Office of Air, John Pemberton publicly
thanked Sally Shaver, Robin Dunkins, and Elvis Graves for all the work they
have done in agriculture.
After a break, Gary Margheim updated the Task Force on the
Farm Bill’s progress in Congress. He mentioned the various air quality elements
included in the Senate and House versions of the bill, and he shared his
assessment that to date, air quality had done well, certainly in the
conservation and energy titles. He added, “We now have much clearer direction
about the importance of air quality and its elevation in terms of the
conservation programs. The somewhat disappointing part so far has been in the
research title, where there is very little mention of any air quality.”
Chairman Reed invited Ray Knighton from Cooperative State
Research Education and Extension Service (CSREES) and Dick Amerman from the
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to share their perspectives on the Farm
Bill. Dr. Knighton said that in the 2002 budget, CSREES lost the Initiative for
Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS) program, which they had hoped would
be a potential way to create a stand-alone program for air quality research
within CSREES. However, the IFAFS program has strong support within the Farm
Dr. Amerman recalled that Dr. Margheim had raised the
issue of carbon dioxide, and he said that if the Task Force is interested in
carbon dioxide as an air quality issue, he would certainly try to pull together
a fairly sizeable CO2 program that ARS has under the heading of
Manuel Cunha suggested that the Task Force prepare a
letter to the Secretary of Agriculture stressing the importance of having some
money specifically allocated to air quality research and recommending that air
quality research be included in the Farm Bill or as part of a USDA budget. With
respect to the letter, Chairman Reed asked Mr. Cunha to work with Gary Margheim
and Beth Sauerhaft to prepare a draft for the Task Force to discuss the following
Stephanie Whalen asked Dr. Knighton if the two air quality
projects in IFAFS that he had mentioned at the previous meeting had been funded
for 2002, and he answered yes. Dr. Whalen then requested a presentation on
those projects at the next Task Force meeting.
Dr. Margheim told the group that the Administration had
worked hard to produce a set of principles to guide farm conservation policy,
and he had copies of that document to share with the Task Force. He
complimented the Secretary of Agriculture for her efforts to increase the
emphasis on research.
The public comment period was next on the agenda, and John
Brenner introduced the two speakers. The first was Jeannette Fish, Executive
Director of the Maricopa County Farm Bureau. Ms. Fish made three specific
requests of the USDA: 1) more research by universities and research agencies to
provide some additional validity to the estimates that are used in developing
regulations; 2) more truly voluntary incentive programs; and 3) more funding for
natural resource conservation districts and the NRCS, which provides the
personnel “on the ground” for conservation and environmental programs.
The second speaker was Mark Janssen with the Midwest
Regional Planning Organization. Mr. Janssen reported that his RPO is planning
to invest as much as a quarter of their money for 2002 on Ag. research. He
asked for help with planning their research efforts, which they intend to focus
on agricultural emissions, particularly ammonia emissions from CAFOs and emissions
from agricultural equipment. The RPO would be meeting March 12 and 13, and Mr.
Janssen invited anyone interested, particularly researchers, to attend.
After lunch, Chairman Reed turned the meeting over to Jim
Trotter for the Research Priorities and Oversights Subcommittee report. Mr.
Trotter told about a number of conversations he had with Deputy Secretary of
Agriculture Jim Moseley about an allocation of monies for agricultural air
quality research. Mr. Moseley
requested the Task Force’s list of research priorities. Bob Avant and Robert
Flocchini gave him the Task Force’s one-page summary of research priorities,
but it was not exactly the list that was originally approved by the Task Force.
Kelley Green then worked on changes to the document to bring it into agreement
with the Task Force’s previous priority summary.
Green then reviewed the priorities with the Task Force. The most important
research category on the list is research related to PM10 and PM2.5.
The top three subcategories are:
Priority 1: Development of
accurate PM10 and PM2.5 emission factors from
Priority 2: Improved PM10 and
PM2.5 sampling and methodology
Priority 3: Determination of the
contribution of agricultural activities, which includes burning, processing,
non-road engines, field activities, wind erosion, and CAFOs, to the ambient
levels of PM10 and PM2.5.
Mr. Trotter then gave a little background on the document
and explained why items were listed in their particular order.
Chairman Reed asked how much research $5 million would
buy, and Dr. Parnell replied that $5 million is not much, but
realistically it is what the committee can expect. He suggested that in the
recommendation to CSREES, the Task Force should take “a very hard-nosed
position” on what are the most important issues that will impact agriculture in
Phil Wakelyn added that how much research can be done with
$5 million depends in part on where the research is done. He estimated that the
money would buy more research if it is completed on contract with people like
Dr. Flocchini and Dr. Parnell, who already have established programs that can
help answer some of the very basic questions, than if it is done internally at
Chairman Reed asked if someone could tell the Task Force what
happened to a $1 million appropriation back in the mid-1990s that went half to
and half to University of
Davis. Dick Amerman responded that
while the $1 million was originally intended for California, half of it was
redirected to Washington State University to be used in conjunction with some
ARS and EPA money that was already out there. WSU has produced quite a bit of
research with that money, and the partnership at Washington
State is still in progress and
Ray Knighton added that the funds at
State are actually being spent on
six projects going on in Washington, Oregon,
and Idaho. He said they are
leveraging their money with other state dollars and scientists. The researchers
are focusing much of their efforts on direct seeding technologies to control
wind erosion, and, in conjunction with ARS labs, they are looking at wind
tunnel technologies and how particles are transported.
Dr. Knighton commented that if the $5 million were to come
through a competitive research program run by CSREES, the average research
grant would probably be in the area of about $400,000 to $500,000 over probably
two to three years, so $5 million would yield roughly ten projects.
Chairman Reed stated that the reason he raised the issue
of the WSU/UC Davis grant was because the Task Force needs to be extremely
clear on its views concerning how the research should be conducted. The Deputy
Secretary and some others will make the final decisions, but the Task Force should
advance a well-defined position on the research when dealing with Secretary
Moseley and others.
Since the research priority documents had just been
distributed, Kelley Green interjected a few quick explanations of the changes
that had been made to the one-page research priority summary.
Bob Flocchini briefly
explained how UC Davis used their half of the $1 million appropriation for
research in agricultural air quality. He said their approach was a bit
different from Washington
for they used internal monies to extend the value of the grant. They worked
with industry groups to address which crops and which practices had the biggest
impact in terms of agricultural emissions. In their interim report, they
determined some emission factors for certain activities, some of which are
being used in the implementation plan for the San Joaquin
Addressing Dr. Knighton’s comment that $5 million would
probably fund 10 projects of $100,000 a year, Dr. Flocchini asserted that such
a low project budget “is not worth writing a proposal for.” These emissions are
very difficult to measure, and the research requires the right expertise and
significant field work; doing the job right costs more than $100,000 a year. He
agreed, however, that it is imperative that the Task Force clearly define
exactly what kind of research they need and want if they are to receive useful
Bob Avant reiterated that the $5 million is just a
short-term project to get some work started during 2002-2003. He stressed that
this small request does not in any way mean that the Task Force is abandoning
its more comprehensive $65 million program request. However, he did advise the
Research Priorities Subcommittee to revisit the priorities of the $65 million
request in light of the realities of the current federal budget situation.
Kelley Green emphasized that the subcommittee had
separated the dollar issue away from the prioritization issue and focused on
the prioritizing. They were bringing those priorities to the full committee for
review so that when the funding is granted in whatever amount of money, the top
priorities for the research will be as clear as possible.
Mark Boese agreed with Dr. Flocchini that the work
required for Priority 1, “develop accurate PM10 emission factors for
agriculture,” is very expensive and very time-consuming and can use up the
whole $5 million. Because Priority 1 is a very general statement about PM
research, he suggested that the Task Force be more specific about the exact
topics within that priority on which they would want the $5 million spent.
Manuel Cunha explained that he, Bob Avant, and
Flocchini drafted the immediate letter because Mr. Avant was
meeting with the Deputy Secretary, but they later faxed to them the $65 million
research request that the Task Force approved in 2001. Mr. Cunha said he also
believes that legislators and chairmen of committees do not want twenty-page
documents; they want the key points summarized in very short documents. Mr.
Cunha felt the one-page document prepared by Kelley Green and the staff was an
excellent, brief description of the Task Force’s priorities, and continuing to
modify it at every meeting would serve no productive purpose.
Mr. Cunha also opposed the method Dr. Knighton described
of funding PM10 research with ten small contracts. Mr. Cunha thought
that giving larger amounts to fewer institutions would be more efficient. He
then exhorted the Task Force to press to have a set portion of the $2 billion
in ARS and CSREES allocated specifically to agricultural air quality research,
and that this funding be coordinated with the Task Force.
Tom Coleman commented that the most pressing data needs
seem to be related to emission factors, so he suggested that the $5 million be
spent on developing those emission factors in major areas throughout the
country. This would give EPA some real data on which to base their regulations,
and the Task Force could still push the larger research agenda.
Manuel Cunha moved to accept Kelley Green’s report, but
first Chairman Reed allowed the four individuals who had asked to speak to
share their comments before he entertained the motion.
Calvin Parnell shared a few examples to illustrate the
importance of using emission factors that are based on good science instead of
many of the EPA numbers. He stressed that when money is spend to get new
emission factors, the research must be done correctly.
Gary Margheim pointed out that the next item on the agenda
was the Emission Factor Subcommittee report, where they would be sharing the
results of their survey. He suggested that the Task Force members might want to
postpone voting on the priorities document until after hearing that report.
John Sweeten said he supported the changes recommended by
Kelley Green and the Research Priorities Subcommittee. He also commented that
building a funding framework a few million dollars at a time may be easier than
going after one large $65 million package.
Emmett Barker asked who would be following through on the
Task Force’s recommendations after the initial letter is sent to Jim Moseley.
Chairman Reed answered that Gary Margheim, Bob Avant, and Jim Trotter are all
working to ensure that something does happen with these recommendations.
Manuel Cunha repeated his motion to accept Kelley Green
and Jim Trotter’s work on the summary of the three research priorities, and the
motion was seconded. Chairman Reed called for the question; the motion passed.
After a short break, Annette Sharp reported on the work of
the Emission Factor Subcommittee. She began by outlining some of the parameters
of the Emission Factor Survey, including some demographic information about the
respondents, and then she discussed the results to date.
Ms. Sharp said that the majority of the respondents were
most concerned about PM10, PM2.5, and volatile organic
compounds (VOCs). She also indicated that the survey information continues to
support what the researchers on the Task Force have been saying for a number of
years about emission factor priorities.
Ms. Sharp announced that the deadline to respond to the
survey had been extended to February
28, 2002. They hoped to get more farmers to participate, as well as
more agricultural industry groups. The subcommittee planned to summarize the
results in a more detailed fashion at the next Task Force meeting, and they
hoped to get some of the information up on their website just for public
Ms. Sharp then asked Wayne Robarge to discuss Phase II of
the survey. He explained that the subcommittee initiated the survey as the first
step toward building an emission factor database that would provide emissions
information to people who need it, and that would invite those people to share
the emission factors they currently use. The subcommittee would soon be getting
together to discuss Phase II, which will be the phase for online data entry of
emissions factors. Dr. Robarge expected to have the database and its query
engine up and running before the next Task Force meeting.
John Sweeten expressed his concern that there had not been
enough of a concerted or systematic effort to solicit responses from the
research community, the commodity groups, or NRCS. He asked how the
subcommittee planned to market the survey to encourage more responses. Annette
Sharp replied that EPA has been committed to the survey and has been spreading
the word, and Ms. Sharp herself had spoken of the survey at a number of
national meetings with scientists that are in this field. She emphasized that
they were relying on Task Force members to help spread the word.
Kelley Green suggested that someone from the subcommittee
send all the Task Force members a one-paragraph e-mail explaining the survey
and giving its website link. In turn the members could forward that e-mail to
all the relevant groups they know, thus disseminating the information very
quickly. Ms. Sharp agreed to send out such an e-mail message.
With respect to the inputting of data, Roger Isom asked if
the subcommittee would be determining some qualifications and requirements of
data to be included in the system. Dr. Robarge replied that anyone wishing
to input data would be required to register. The database would cover all types
of documents, including peer-reviewed journal articles, federal and state
reports, and websites, but the subcommittee did not feel it could engage in
actively screening every source. Mr. Isom responded that he was rather
concerned with that approach because it would allow data that had not been peer
reviewed to be added to the database, and that data could subsequently be used
in questionable applications. Dr. Robarge said that this concern was why the
survey was not currently available, but the subcommittee will be working to
resolve the issue.
Calvin Parnell asked if the database and website would be
coordinated with the emission factors EPA has on their website. He also
commented that Phase II is excellent; since emission factors can be a wide
range of numbers, not just one number, Phase II will be very beneficial.
Quality control for the emission factors submitted will be difficult, but Dr.
Parnell said the NAS committee will be delivering a protocol for developing
quality emission factors, so that information can help Phase II.
Bob Avant asked Annette Sharp if she had a one-page or
one-paragraph summary explaining the survey. Ms. Sharp said the website gives a
great introduction to the survey and its purpose, but she could also prepare
Mr. Avant also volunteered to update and distribute to the
Task Force members a Microsoft Access file with all of the members’ names,
addresses, and e-mail addresses.
Chairman Reed asked for a motion to accept the Emission
Factors Subcommittee’s report, and then he called for the question. The report
After a short break, John Sweeten presented the report
from the CAFO Subcommittee. He told about the recent participation of
subcommittee members in various conferences across the country, and he
encouraged further participation, especially with respect to presentations on
CAFO-related emissions. He said the subcommittee is responding to drafts of
EPA’s CAFO rules and regulations coming out of the Office of Water, and they
will continue to review state standards for air quality constituents outside of
the NAAQS Regulated Compounds, and to monitor developments on hydrogen sulfide,
hydrogen sulfide ammonia, odor, and VOCs.
Dr. Sweeten mentioned a number of white papers dealing
with air quality that had been developed by the National
Center for Manured Animal Waste
Management, a 14-state consortium, and he distributed the summaries of 19 or 20
of those white papers.
The CAFO Subcommittee is considering developing an expert
group on modeling dispersion from distributed ground level area sources. They
would also like to review data outputs from the Emission Factor Subcommittee
and jointly recommend research priorities to the Research Subcommittee and
other groups to fill obvious gaps. In addition, Dr. Sweeten said the CAFO
Subcommittee is participating again in briefings of USDA and EPA officials, and
the members of the subcommittee are working with various groups on technology
evaluation and recommendation.
Emmett Barker asked if OMB had recently put the CAFO rule
on hold pending review by OMB or further review by EPA. Gary Margheim requested
that Tom Christensen of NRCS be allowed to respond to the question; Mr.
Christensen said his group communicated almost daily with EPA in regards to the
CAFO rule, and they have had no indication or information that would change the
timeline that had been laid out.
Mr. Barker then commented that the Task Force had just
spent a considerable amount of time talking about the lack of efficacy of
emission factors, and yet Dr. Sweeten reported that his subcommittee was
speaking at conferences about ways to solve all of these problems. Mr. Barker
asked what the subcommittee was telling people about the solutions. Dr. Sweeten
replied that there are many Best Management Practices available to mitigate
odor, reduce emissions of ammonia, and so forth; these things are known. But he
added, “There is a lot of ‘known’ and there is relatively less ‘proven,’ and
when we get to emission factors, we need to deal with what is proven.” Dr.
Sweeten said that it is the quality of data that makes the difference between
being able to recommend an approved practice to a producer and being able to
prove that the approved practice will work because it has quality data to
support it. He remarked that this is why the NAS study is so important; they
are determining what is known, what needs to be known, what part of science
really needs to be funded, and what part is probably not going to provide truly
As one last comment, Mr. Barker recalled that Theresa
Pella had said something about the CAFO rule and looking at cost. However, he
believed that the Circuit Court in Washington
had ruled that EPA does not have to take cost into consideration in a final
rule, and he asked Sally Shaver for clarification. Ms. Shaver replied that they
do not have to consider costs when setting the ambient air quality standards;
it is when any given standard is implemented that cost is examined.
Viney Aneja commented that he was impressed by the white
paper documents produced by the Manure
but he suggested that they be peer-reviewed equally by people across the
community, not just by one segment of the community. Dr. Sweeten said the
subcommittee would look into such action.
Chairman Reed dismissed the Task Force to reconvene the
USDA Agricultural Air
Quality Task Force
January 17, 2002
Embassy Suites Hotel
East Paradise Village Parkway South
Viney Aneja Wayne
Emmett Barker Annette
Mark Boese Sally
Tom Coleman John
Manuel Cunha Jim
Kelley Green Phil
Roger Isom Stephanie
Pearlie Reed, Chair
Other NRCS Support Staff:
Beth Sauerhaft (Designated
John Brenner Jeff
Other EPA Support Staff:
Robin Dunkins, Phil
Lorang, Randy Waite
Other Federal Personnel:
Amerman, ARS, NHQ Jean-Mari
Peltier, EPA, NHQ
Gray, USDA John
Pemberton, EPA, NHQ
Jones, Arizona Department of
Jay Clapp, retired engineer
Arizona Farm Bureau
Chairman Reed reconvened the
Agricultural Air Quality Task Force (AAQTF) meeting and introduced Dr. Mack
Gray, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment.
Dr. Gray shared a few thoughts on the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
study and the role of the Task Force.
Kevin Rogers then introduced the Director of the Arizona
Department of Agriculture, Sheldon Jones. Mr. Jones made a few comments as
well, stressing in particular how “one-size-fits-all” regulations do not work
in an industry like agriculture that varies so much from state to state. He
also emphasized the need for voluntary programs that offer farmers various
compliance options if the country is to make any progress on conservation and
With respect to the science, Mr. Jones said that private
sector research bears out that the technology exists and is safe, but public
research is not yet there to support that. He called for the leaders in the
agriculture community and the conservation sector to continue to advocate
congressional support for research related to technology and environmental
Chairman Reed thanked Commissioner Jones and opened up the
discussion for questions. Wayne Robarge asked Director Jones to estimate
agriculture’s contribution to the gross state product and the national product,
and the importance of agriculture in the local rural areas, in terms of tax
base and providing employment. Mr. Jones responded that about five years ago
empirical studies indicated that the agriculture sector was equal to tourism at
nearly $7 billion; with some value-added issues, new products, and some
additional diversity in the Ag sector, he believes agriculture’s impact is now
about $10 billion on the total state’s economy.
Emmett Barker asked the Commissioner to comment further on
society’s perception of agriculture and its future in an increasingly urban and
environmentally-regulated world. Commissioner Jones gave vivid examples of how
the American public has lost its connection with and understanding of where the
nation’s food and clothing are produced. The agricultural community must
continue to educate the people on the value of our natural resources, including
production agriculture and the role it plays. He added that the events of
September 11 were a “wake-up call,” saying the U.S.
needs some type of national food security policy to sustain itself for some
period of time.
Chairman Reed thanked Commissioner Jones and then moved to
the first item on the agenda: the approval of the minutes from the July 2001
meeting in Denver. A motion was
made and seconded to approve the minutes as revised. Viney Aneja requested that
Bob Avant take care of correcting any minor
spelling errors, and both Chairman Reed and Mr. Avant agreed. The Chairman
called for the question; the motion passed.
Manuel Cunha requested, and Chairman Reed concurred, that
the staff finalize a draft of the letter to the Secretary stressing the
importance of having money specifically allocated to air quality research.
Next, Mr. Cunha briefly updated the Task Force on recent
Title V developments. He informed the group that there is now a three-year
timeline to work on the Title V issue pertaining to internal combustion engines
in California. Also, at the Task
Force’s last meeting, the Title V Subcommittee had agreed to move forward with
meetings between EPA and USDA concerning agriculture and the Clean Air Act, but
those meetings had been postponed after September 11. Mr. Cunha recommended
that Chairman Reed and his staff work with Sally Shaver to reschedule those
meetings for mid-February or mid-March in Washington,
D.C., to start talking about the Clean Air
Act issue for agriculture and the three-year Title V issue as well. Both
Chairman Reed and Ms. Shaver agreed with the recommendation, and Calvin Parnell
volunteered to attend as well to represent the Voluntary Compliance
John Sweeten passed out an edited version of the report
from the CAFO Subcommittee. He went over the changes that had been made and
then moved to adopt the revised report. Someone seconded the motion. Hearing no
discussion, Chairman Reed called for the question; the motion passed.
Mike Unsworth commented
that a very substantial number of states and local agencies appear to be
applying different standards than the federal standards on criteria pollutants,
and some of them have also adopted standards on other materials associated with
CAFOs, such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). He suggested that
a compilation of all the different standards would be worthwhile, if such an
inventory would not be duplicating work that has already been done. Annette
Sharp replied that the STAPPA/ALAPCO group has surveyed 23 states on
agricultural issues. She did not know whether the results were as detailed as
what Dr. Unsworth was proposing, but she agreed to forward a copy of that
report to all of the Task Force members so that they could determine other
areas for which they would like additional information.
To clarify, Calvin Parnell explained that if EPA sets a
National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), the states are not necessarily
required to use those standards because they can implement something more rigid
and more stringent, and they can apply it in the manner in which they, as a
state, feel it should be applied. California’s
ozone standard is a case in point.
Emmett Barker said his understanding was that a state may
have air quality standards that exceed the federal standards, but they still
need EPA to sign off and agree that the standards are acceptable. He asked if
this was true. Ms. Sharp responded that there are very few places in the Clean
Air Act where states are prohibited from doing their own rulemaking, and in the
remainder of the Act, the states are certainly in a position to create more
Sally Shaver replied that under Title I of the Act, which
deals with stationary sources, the states can be more stringent without EPA’s
approval. However, Ms. Shaver was not familiar with the specific requirements
of Title II, which deals with mobile sources and diesel fuels.
Manuel Cunha related that California already has
permitting programs for criteria pollutants and toxics, but they have to
implement the federal standard of the Title V permitting program—even though,
in California’s observation, Title V has no air quality benefit at all for their
state. Mr. Cunha proposed that at the next meeting, the Task Force examine the
feasibility of having EPA waive the federal Title V requirements for states
with more stringent requirements already in place. Chairman Reed said he and
his staff would consider Mr. Cunha’s suggestion as they prepare the agenda for
the next meeting.
After a break, Chairman Reed had Gary Margheim lead the
discussion on the continuation of the Task Force. The charter establishing the
current Task Force will expire on August
7, 2002. At that point, this Task Force will no longer exist, and a
new Task Force will have to be appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. Dr.
Margheim called for honest, candid discussion of whether or not it is
worthwhile to continue the Task Force; if the group agreed that the committee
should continue, he requested that the staff be granted permission to proceed
immediately with the lengthy processes of advertising in the Federal Register for nominations and of
getting a new charter in place.
Almost all of the Task Force members contributed to the
discussion, and every comment shared supported the continuation of the Task
Force. The members believed the group had been, and would continue to be,
instrumental in promoting research into the resolution of national agricultural
air quality issues, and in facilitating cooperative work between EPA, USDA, and
the farming community. As Annette Sharp stated, “We can’t share our ideas if
we’re not at the same table.”
With so much support expressed, Chairman Reed said he
would entertain a motion to continue the Task Force. After Mack Gray shared a
few final comments endorsing the Task Force, a motion was made and seconded to
continue the Task Force.
Annette Sharp asked if the committee would also entertain
a motion to extend the existing two-year limit on the Task Force charter to
four years. Dr. Margheim said such action would require more than what the
committee could do at that meeting, but he would look into the matter and
Chairman Reed called for the question, and the motion
Next, Phil Wakelyn reported on the Monitoring
Subcommittee’s work on two issue papers on the monitoring of particulate matter
and dispersion modeling. Dr. Wakelyn presented the drafts of the papers, and he
moved that the Task Force approve the drafts, subject to further editing by the
subcommittee. The motion was seconded.
Viney Aneja commented that if these issue paper documents
would be reflecting the work of the committee, he would suggest that they be
subjected to some scientific peer review.
Wayne Robarge supported the motion on the floor, and he
observed that the Task Force can use such documents to teach the public about
air quality issues without scaring them off with mathematical equations. Calvin
Parnell agreed that the issue papers would be used primarily as an educational
tool, and they could also serve as an introduction to a working group to
interface with EPA to address the issues.
Stephanie Whalen suggested that papers such as these be
posted on the Task Force website to allow for more discussion and review time
in between committee meetings. Chairman Reed indicated that this suggestion,
which was originally made at the last meeting, was being pursued and would be
Mike Unsworth wished to
add to the dispersion modeling paper that there is a whole area of dispersion
modeling that is not traditionally being used in agricultural air quality
regulation, but which may be much more appropriate for these low-level and
Annette Sharp reminded the Task Force that the states are
in the process now of making modeling protocols and selecting models for
regional haze; they cannot afford to wait for the next Task Force meeting to
get this information.
Sally Shaver proposed that the Task Force engage in
developing ways to solve these modeling and sampling issues, and as an advisory
committee to USDA and EPA, recommend a more appropriate use of modeling,
fence-line modeling, and data from the samplers. She said such recommendations
would be very helpful to EPA in the public debate on how they implement the
Chairman Reed called for the question. The motion to
approve the two issue papers passed, with Dr. Aneja abstaining.
Phil Wakelyn then moved that the Task Force create a
working committee to collaborate with EPA and Ms. Shaver on the implementation
issue. He suggested that Bob Flocchini, Calvin
Parnell, and himself serve on that committee, and he asked for recommendations
for people outside the Task Force that could serve as well. Dr. Aneja seconded
the motion. The Chairman requested that the committee forego further discussion
and to go a vote; the motion passed.
Dr. Wakelyn asked that the issue papers be given to the
National Academy of Science’s panel to incorporate into their preliminary
report. Chairman Reed so ordered the action.
The Voluntary Incentive-Based Program Subcommittee was
next on the agenda, and Calvin Parnell focused his report on the issue of
emission reduction credits (ERCs) for agriculture. The subcommittee’s proposal
recommends to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Chief of NRCS that the Task
Force promote the use of emission credits for agriculture for abatement
strategies that reduce the emissions of pollutants from agricultural
operations, and that farmers be allowed to bank these credits just as power
Wayne Robarge thanked the subcommittee for bringing ERCs
to the Task Force’s attention. He thought that banking and marketing emission
credits were creative approaches to dealing with the cost to the individual of
converting to alternative technologies. Manuel Cunha encouraged the Task Force
to move forward on this issue and work with Sally Shaver and her group at EPA.
Roger Isom shared some successes the cotton gin industry
has had with ERCs, and he strongly supported the credits as a “win-win”
strategy. He advocated accepting the proposal and also establishing a work
group or a subcommittee to develop the implementation of such a program.
Mark Boese concurred with Mr. Isom’s suggestion of a
subcommittee to work on this. He commented that without ERCs, especially in
non-attainment areas, there will not be any growth or expansion of existing
industries. As the credits are used up, they become more rare and more
expensive. They need to consider innovative ways of creating these credits, and
agriculture is an area that has not yet been tapped. Mr. Boese admitted that an
ERC program would meet with incredible hurdles, but he believed that the Task
Force could work with EPA to achieve such a program for agriculture. He also
pointed out that if producers take credit for emission reductions from Ag in
their SIPs, then they cannot also use those credits for emission reduction
Annette Sharp informed the committee that part of the
regional haze rule requires that the regional planning organizations (RPOs) or
states look into a market trading situation when they start discussing regional
haze, which includes particulates. She urged the Task Force to get involved in
some of the RPOs.
Chairman Reed asked for a motion to accept the
subcommittee’s report, with the appropriate instructions to follow up on some
of the issues raised during the discussion and to create a sub-subcommittee to
work on implementing an ERC program for agriculture. It was so moved and
seconded. The Chairman suggested the Task Force forego the discussion and vote
on the motion; the motion carried.
With regard to the working group for monitoring issues
that was approved earlier, Phil Wakelyn proposed that Sally Shaver be appointed
chair of the Monitoring Work Group. Chairman Reed so ordered the appointment.
Bob Avant, co-chair of
the Follow-Up Subcommittee, directed the Task Force’s attention to the list of
follow-up items from the July 2001 meeting. Some of the items had already been
addressed the previous two days, but Mr. Avant said the subcommittee would
continue to monitor and move forward on the other items.
John Sweeten suggested that the subcommittee also follow
up on the results of the resolution passed in July 2001 concerning striking a
balance between EPA’s standard setting process and their enforcement
activities. Mr. Avant agreed to add that issue to the list.
Before Mack Gray left, Chairman Reed asked him to respond
to a question that had been raised the previous day. Emmett Barker had asked if
USDA was taking any action to represent the interest of agricultural producers
when they were faced with lawsuits related to Best Management Practices. Dr.
Gray replied that in this context, USDA’s role is to provide to the court the
best objective science that is possible, and to admit when they do not have it.
Beyond that, USDA is not and should not be a “hired gun.” Mr. Barker then asked
if USDA had filed an amicus cure on
one of these lawsuits pertaining to agriculture practices, and Dr. Gray said
that to his knowledge, they had not. He reiterated that USDA’s role is to
provide honest, objective input and scientific input into that process, rather
than becoming a part of the litigation.
Mr. Barker asked both Dr. Gray and Chairman Reed if USDA
had ever officially commented on any EPA rules. Dr. Gray said he could not
answer. He added that there is an old tradition in the federal government that
one agency does not normally make official comments on another agency’s rules
and regulations. However, as far as he knew, there is nothing illegal about
doing so. He also commented that while working on the CAFO rules over the past
ten months, USDA and EPA have developed an “excellent working relationship” to
ensure that the best science available is being considered in the rulemaking.
Chairman Reed called on Stephanie Whalen to report on the
Agriculture Burning Subcommittee. The previous day Dr. Whalen passed out drafts
of Tasks One, Two, and Three from the Fire Emission Joint Forum (FEJF) for
comment. She proposed that the subcommittee be allowed to compile and submit to
FEJF the Task Force’s comments on the tasks. The subcommittee would accept the
Task Force members’ comments for one more week before drafting the feedback
Manuel Cunha supported the subcommittee’s proposal, but he
suggested that when the final document is ready, it should be submitted to
Chairman Reed, who would forward it to the correct parties. Mr. Cunha then
moved to accept the Burning Subcommittee’s report. The motion was seconded.
Foregoing the discussion, the Chairman called for the question; the motion
Manuel Cunha gave a very brief report from the Title V
Subcommittee, indicating simply that the subcommittee would be working with
Chairman Reed, Sally Shaver and her staff, and Jeff Holmestead to move forward
with discussions on Title V issues and on the application of the Clean Air Act
Next on the agenda, Ray Knighton and Dick Amerman provided
updates on current activities in CSREES and ARS. Dr. Knighton said that during
the budget process, National Research Initiative (NRI) funding was restored to
previous years’ levels of about $120 million, but unfortunately the Initiative
for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS) program, which had been $120
million per year, was lost. He happily reported, however, that in 2001,
$4.25 million were awarded through the IFAFS program to air
quality-related topics, and CSREES is in the process of awarding two new
special grants related to air quality (one to Texas and one to California) for
a total of a little over $1 million.
Dr. Knighton also told the Task Force about the Bush
Administration’s National Climate Change Technologies Initiative. He said
policy papers are being written on the U.S.
response to global climate change and particularly greenhouse gases. These
papers state that 75% of the greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide are
coming from agriculture. Dr. Knighton believed that the Task Force could
play an important role in the proceedings on the Initiative, especially to
educate some of the other groups that are not aware of the Ag industry, and to
examine some of the other greenhouse gases in addition to CO2. This
Initiative also creates an opportunity to do research in emissions and
reductions in gases. There are six general program areas within IFAFS,
including Natural Resource Management; air quality is covered under the
subtopic Animal Waste Management.
Bob Avant remarked that
at the previous meeting, the Task Force approved a resolution to establish
agricultural air quality research as a stand-alone area, and he asked Dr.
Knighton if any steps had been taken to establish that. Mr. Avant also inquired
about what could be done to ensure that those reviewing the proposals did not
show a bias against air quality research. Dr. Knighton replied that he made a
dedicated attempt to have a stand-alone air quality program carved out within
the next offering of IFAFS, and there was support within the agency to do that,
but now it is not going to happen. However, he is hopeful that, should the next
Farm Bill authorize increased funding within the IFAFS program, they should be
able to have a stand-alone air quality program. With respect to reviewer bias,
Dr. Knighton said they try to find reviewers who have a broader expertise and
who can review several subject matter areas. The agency tries to make the
process as fair and as objective as possible.
Emmett Barker inquired whether the Task Force could be
briefed on the information going into the policy papers for the National
Climate Change Technologies Initiative. Dr. Knighton responded that most of the
information in the papers came from public documents related to long-standing
global change programs within the U.S. Global Change Program. Chairman Reed
promised to follow up on the Initiative and report back at the next committee
meeting on what the Task Force could do.
Manuel Cunha proposed that the Task Force make a formal
request for both ARS and CSREES to provide the committee with a five- to
ten-year plan for funding air quality research. Chairman Reed volunteered to
follow up with ARS and CSREES on behalf of the Task Force and make the formal
requests. He also recommended inviting Colleen Hephrin, CSREES Administrator,
and Floyd Horn, ARS Administrator, to a future Task Force meeting.
Next, Dick Amerman went over the various air
quality-related research projects that ARS is currently funding.
Chairman Reed asked Beth Sauerhaft to lead the discussion
of the date and location for the next Task Force meeting. At the suggestion of
various members, Dr. Sauerhaft proposed scheduling the next two meetings at
this time, and she proposed gathering in the Midwest, possibly in Iowa, in late
April or early May, and then in Washington, D.C., in July. Stephanie Whalen
extended yet another invitation for the committee to meet in her state of
Both Bob Avant and Manuel Cunha declared that
it would be more strategic for the Task Force to meet in Washington
in April or May to support the 2003 Farm Bill. After further discussion,
Chairman Reed directed Dr. Sauerhaft to proceed with planning the next meeting
in Washington in April, and the
following one in Hawaii in the
Before moving to the public comment period, Chairman Reed
thanked the host in Arizona, and
then Kevin Rogers recognized the Arizona Farm Bureau, the Arizona Cotton
Growers, the American Farm Bureau, Kelley Green and the Texas Ginners
Association, the Extension Service, and Mike Somerville and his NRCS staff for
sponsoring the meeting.
John Brenner introduced two speakers for the public
comment period. The first person was Jay Clapp, a retired aerospace engineer
and farm owner from Oklahoma, who
commented on CAFOs from his experience opposing two new 25,000-sow facilities
in his area. He believed that EPA was not doing enough to protect the
environment. He also felt strongly that as large corporations replace family
farms, they should never be allowed to increase overall pollution, which he
says is definitely happening with CAFOs. Mr. Clapp alleged that voluntary
programs would be “useless” in the case of swine CAFOs.
The next speaker was Jim Klinker, the administrator of the
Arizona Farm Bureau. Responding to Mr. Clapp, Mr. Klinker stated that the small
family farm is indeed disappearing, sad as that is. They cannot survive because
of the cost of regulations, inflation, and equipment. Big corporate farms, Mr.
Klinker observed, should not be considered the villains because “big farming is
what’s going to provide the food for the world.”
Mr. Klinker strongly supported the continuation of the
Task Force because their work on funding further research and promoting
policies based on good science is invaluable to the agriculture industry. He
encouraged the committee to focus on the economics of agriculture as well.
John Sweeten responded to both of the public speakers by
saying, “Let us keep in mind always that regulations and standards are the
floor of social responsibility, not the ceiling of opportunity. . . .
Regulations should not focus only on what it takes to keep the small operation
in business but also on what is the possibility for the largest operation.”
Wayne Robarge assured Mr. Clapp that the Task Force had
listened carefully to his comments on both days of the meeting. Dr. Robarge
stressed, however, that the committee is not just serving agriculture but the
public as well. He also stated that when EPA regulates based on guesses and not
on real science, they are not serving the public and are, in fact, damaging the
public’s perception that state and Federal regulatory agencies can do something
and control this process.
Chairman Reed turned the floor over to the designated
federal official, Beth Sauerhaft, who formally adjoined the meeting.