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USDA Agriculture Air Quality Task Force - March 2001 Meeting

USDA Agriculture Air Quality Task Force

Approved Meeting Minutes

March 27, 2001

Hall of States

444 North Capitol N.W., Room 333

Washington, D.C.

 

 

Members present:

Viney Aneja����������� Wayne Robarge

Bob Avant�����������    Kevin Rogers

George Bluhm          Annette Sharp

Mark Boese�����������  Sally Shaver

Tom Coleman          John Sweeten

Manuel Cunha          Jim Trotter

Bob Flocchini�����������Mike Unsworth

Kelley Green����������� Phil Wakelyn

Calvin Parnell�����������Stephanie Whalen

Jerry Masters�����������Phyllis Woodford

Pearlie Reed, Chair��

 

Other NRCS Support Staff:

Gary Margheim, Elvis Graves, Liz Rogers, Beth Sauerhaft, Jeff Schmidt,
Ray Sinclair, Roel Vining

 

Other EPA Support Staff:

Robin Dunkins

 

Public Citizens:

Dick Amerman, ARS; Ray Knighton, CSREES; Adam Sharp, Farm Bureau;
Deb Atwood, National Pork Producers, Brian Bunton

 

 

The meeting of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force was called to order by Chairman Pearlie Reed. Everyone was asked to introduce himself or herself, and then Chairman Reed introduced Dr. R. Mack Gray, acting Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and the Environment at USDA. Dr. Gray said he was very supportive of the Task Force, especially because he believes agriculture and air quality will be more closely �tied together in the future than they have been in the past.� He was also pleased to see the number of people present from Environmental Protection Agency since the relationship between Agriculture and EPA is such an important one.

George Bluhm then explained the procedures for the meeting, including Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and parliamentary procedures. He also presented the minutes of the last Task Force meeting and described the method for their review and approval.

Because the Task Force now has seven new members, Gary Margheim briefly described the membership and purpose of the committee. He said that the AAQTF was renewed in August of 2000, and the appointments made by the Secretary of Agriculture are for a two-year term, so all of the current members will be serving terms until August of 2002.

Dr. Margheim provided the group with copies of the booklet USDA Task Force on Air Quality, which he used in a recent White House briefing on the Task Force. He summarized some of the committee�s past accomplishments highlighted in the book, focusing in particular on the following:

1.      A broad framework for the exchange of information and for cooperation between USDA and EPA. This resulted in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was signed by Secretary Glickman and Administrator Browner; it is still in effect.

2.      An agricultural residue burning policy, which was recommended to the Secretary of Agriculture and forwarded to the Administrator of EPA.

3.      A voluntary incentive-based compliance program for agriculture to meet air quality regulations. The program is based upon the principles of locally-led conservation, financial assistance, and voluntary compliance with certain air quality regulations. The program is currently in the Federal Register for comment.

4.      An extensive research agenda for air quality issues totaling about $65 million a year. The Task Force�s top research priorities have been particulate matter 10 microns (PM-10), PM-2.5 and ozone, and animal waste odor and emissions.

With respect to animal waste odor and emissions, a subcommittee chaired by John Sweeten produced a white paper with recommendations for research and technology transfer concerning concentrated animal feeding operations; this paper went to the Secretary.

Bob Avant asked to whom in the White House Dr. Margheim gave his briefing on the Task Force. Ray Knighton from CSREES explained that Dr. Margheim had spoken before the Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources, which is sponsored by the White House and which makes recommendations to the White House on policy. The members of the committee represented the federal agencies that deal with air quality research, including the Department of Defense, EPA, and USDA, to name a few.

Mark Boese inquired if the $65 million for research was a yearly amount and if it had been appropriated in the budgets of the different departments. Dr. Margheim replied that it was a yearly amount, but he deferred to Dr. Knighton and Dick Amerman of ARS to answer whether or not it had been appropriated.

Adding to the list of Task Force accomplishments, Phil Wakelyn mentioned that at the last meeting, the Task Force made a recommendation to the Secretary, which was passed on to the Administrator, dealing with the CERCLA/EPCRA and the reporting of required emission quantities that the committee felt were based on something other than air releases. Dr. Margheim agreed that that was an important recommendation made to the Secretary. He then commented, �I think one of the greatest intangible things that the Task Force members have done over the past few years is help establish a clearly credible and excellent dialog among the regulatory community and agriculture.�

Viney Aneja inquired whether it was the intention of the Task Force to discuss only scientific studies in the public domain, or whether they could deliberate on scientific issues that were perhaps not in the public domain but yet are being debated in either the press or at meetings. Dr. Margheim answered that the committee would have to decide for itself what it would address and how that would be done. He added that the Task Force does engage in extensive study of existing literature to ensure that applied research is supported by sound scientific data. However, he suspected that the committee would look at emerging issues and the need for additional research in those areas. Bob Flocchini commented that in the past, the Task Force had discussed data that was being collected and for which interpretation of results was still ongoing, and he believed that members should bring relevant preliminary data to the table for discussion. He said, �Some of the research that we have done and with which the people here have been familiar has changed some of the prevailing theories or the prevailing thought. This committee has been an important forum to get all types of research�published, in progress, and in the future�on the table.�

Dr. Margheim then invited Dr. Gray to share a few comments before he had to leave. Dr. Gray emphasized that the Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman, would be coming to the next day�s session for just a few moments to say hello to the committee and to get acquainted.

After a break, Dick Amerman of the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Ray Knighton of the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) briefed the committee on the research efforts currently underway in USDA, including a description of how the agricultural research community is organized in USDA.

Bob Flocchini asked how many ARS scientists nationwide work on air quality, and inquired if those researchers are still predominately soil scientists. Dr. Amerman responded that ARS has only an extremely small effort in air quality. Their air quality research program is a conglomeration of a number of previous programs that were identified in the air quality area, and some air quality research is actually managed under other programs, such as the manure and byproducts national program, which looks at manure emissions, odors, and odoriferous compounds. With respect to the backgrounds of these researchers, Dr. Amerman said ARS has principally soil scientists and engineers working on PM-10, chemists and animal scientists working on odor emissions and PM‑2.5 (which relates primarily to ammonia), plant physiologists studying the effects of ozone on crops, and atmospheric chemists looking at pesticide emissions.

Dr. Flocchini then asked about ARS�s total budget for air quality, and Dr. Amerman replied that it was around $6.5 million with all of the air-quality-related programs put together. The total budget for the ARS department is around $970 million.

Manuel Cunha inquired who develops ARS�s agenda for air quality. He said, �The Task Force has requested funding in pretty substantial amounts, and yet we don�t see that recognized in the $970 million, which was increased $80 to $90 million this last year. How much do you have in the 2002 budget being appropriated for real air quality?� Dr. Amerman said he could not yet address the 2002 budget since it was the President�s budget, and it was still to go before Congress. Chairman Reed responded that all of the Task Force members who work at USDA were barred from answering any question on the President�s budget until after April 9, 2001. Chairman Reed added, �I think the real issue for us is to advance with the new administration what we think is actually needed in terms of an investment by USDA.�

Calvin Parnell to commended Dr. Amerman for �doing an excellent job� of dealing with the difficult task of redirecting ARS researchers into new areas like air quality.

Jim Trotter asked if the current budget has any more money for research into agricultural air quality, and secondly, if there was a way to point out that air quality and agriculture were going to become more important. Chairman Reed replied that the Task Force needed to start new with the incoming administration, and added that the next day�s meeting with the Secretary would be an opportunity for the Task Force to collectively register agricultural air quality as a priority with her.

Dr. Amerman clarified that last year�s increase in ARS�s budget was principally in the areas of human nutrition and food safety because those were the issues that were in the eyes of the public at that time. He asserted, �The eyes of the public are what drive the appropriations committees of Congress.�

John Sweeten joined Dr. Parnell in complimenting Dr. Amerman�s work. Dr. Sweeten then said, �It appears that somewhere between two-thirds of a percent and one percent of the total ARS budget is currently being devoted to air quality. Do you feel that level is commensurate with the needs of agricultural producers in the U.S. for science and technology related to air quality?� Dr. Amerman responded that where opportunities permit, he does put forth the air quality needs to those in management positions, and for the past few years, ARS had added to their budget the $10 million that had been recommended by the Task Force for air quality research. However, the Congressional Appropriations Committee makes the final decision about whether ARS actually gets that money.

Chairman Reed added, �I think its incumbent upon this Task Force to try to prevail upon the leadership, in the Administration and elsewhere, to make the right public policy decision. We must take advantage of our opportunity tomorrow to stress to the Secretary the high priority of air quality research issues and the amount of resources that are needed to carry out the work. How all that is done really should be deferred to people like Dr. Amerman and others who work in the system to advance it.�

Viney Aneja asked if ARS had considered supporting competitively-funded air quality research by institutions such as universities and other private organizations.� Dr. Amerman answered that CSREES is the agency that manages the moneys going out in competitive grants. ARS does have specific cooperative agreements where an ARS scientist works in collaboration with a university or state experiment station scientist, but these do not usually follow a competitive process.

Returning to Dr. Sweeten�s question, Bob Avant reiterated that air quality appears to make up only about one percent of ARS�s total program, and he concluded that somewhere in ARS a conscious decision had been made that air quality represents one percent of the priority level. He wondered if that rationale should be rethought in some way in the light of some of the current issues that the Task Force would be discussing. Dr. Amerman replied, �I don�t know that anyone makes a conscious decision that air quality investments should be 1.5 percent. The issue is really who makes the decisions about the big items. As I said, the recent increase to ARS has been in areas that are up front in the public eye. Air quality simply has not gotten up front. I was engaged in the water quality response several years ago when there was a public hysteria regarding pesticides in groundwater. I think $40 or $50 million came through to the research agencies and others for water quality work, and it was because of that widespread public perception that attracted the attention of both houses of Congress and the Administration.�

Dr. Amerman pointed out that ARS has very limited freedom to manage its money.� Aside from very tight restrictions from moving money across Congressional district lines, some interest group �owns� nearly every dollar in ARS�s appropriation.� We generally cannot make a change across commodity lines or, say, from water quality or global change to air quality.

Dr. Amerman mentioned that the Forest Service has its own research arm and maintains a number of research stations around the country. He did not know about the Forest Service�s budget for air quality, but he said they are very active. He also pointed out that while most of the USDA production research is in the ARS and CSREES purview, NRCS does have a research facility in the Soil Survey lab at Lincoln, Nebraska.

Dr. Amerman ended his comments by informing the committee that a former member of the Task Force, Keith Saxton, had retired from his position as an air quality researcher in Pullman, Washington. Washington State University has convinced ARS to replace Dr. Saxton with someone who can do air quality research and be the research leader, coordinating a broader air quality initiative at the university. Dr. Amerman said, �If we�re successful in hiring a research leader, we are not going to have a full-time air quality researcher at Pullman.� In addition, Congressman Nethercutt told the researchers in Pullman that the $400,000 to $450,000 that had been appropriated for the past five years through CSREES to the University researchers would no longer be available: �This is a serious blow to the current air quality program, and I wanted to bring that to your attention.�

Following Dr. Amerman�s presentation, Ray Knighton with CSREES spoke about the nature of the moneys that his agency sends out to the states. He said that roughly half of the federal money (approximately half a billion dollars) that goes out to the states from CSREES is in formula funds, block grants that go out to the experiment station directors and extension directors. Another source of funding for the states is competitive grant moneys that come through CSREES�s National Research Initiative (NRI) and several other authorities, including the Initiative on Future Agriculture Food Systems (IFAFS) generated in 1998 by the REERA Act. The language in the bill stipulates that the Secretary of Agriculture addresses critical and emerging needs with the IFAFS program. The critical and emerging needs that the former Secretary identified for this program were food safety, GMOs, natural resources, and small farms, all of which are rather broad program areas. Dr. Knighton believed there was potential for dealing with air quality issues under the natural resources part of the program. He continued, �I think it is an important role of this group to support the redirection of some of those IFAFS funds to air quality. I have tried to make that case with the acting director of this particular grant program, Dr. Rodney Foil. There has been agreement that this is a critical and emerging issue, but it is up to the Secretary to make that designation.�

Mike Unsworth asked if IFAFS�s funding moves through the National Research Initiatives, and Dr. Knighton answered that the IFAFS program is a separate funding authority from the NRI, and it has only been authorized for five years at $120 million per year.

Dr. Unsworth then inquired what the procedure would be for the Task Force to identify a particular research need to NRI so that they would put out a call for proposals for work of that type. Dr. Knighton said one way would be to talk directly with the chief scientist for NRI as well as the CSREES administrators who deal with those programs. In addition, every RFP from the NRI solicits comments on the requested proposals, so Dr. Knighton suggested that the Task Force consider sending in such comments to indicate the research needs the program should address. Dr. Knighton added, �I think you�ve hit on something important: existing categories within the NRI do not adequately address air quality issues.� Another section of the 1998 law, Dr. Knighton stated, created the integrated activities account where moneys were merged from research and extension and put into a new account that directed CSREES to do applied research that integrated research, education, and extension. There is no identified air quality research within that program because it was a merger of existing programs, and the existing programs did not identify air quality.

Bob Avant asked if it would be helpful or appropriate for the Task Force to make a motion calling for increased consideration of the funding levels for air quality research. Chairman Reed responded by saying that he believes this Task Force needs to examine the last task force�s budget recommendations and decide whether they still cover the highest priorities. The current committee should then determine the research priorities within the total funds requested, including perhaps how the research ought to be contracted out or coordinated with the land grant system.

Phil Wakelyn moved to instruct the staff to develop recommendations on the previously prescribed research allocations for USDA and EPA, as well as any options and alternatives for the use of the research resources to complete the job. The Task Force would consider the staff�s recommendations the following morning.

Calvin Parnell expressed concern that the Task Force had done this kind of prioritizing before but was not successful at making air quality research a high priority under the previous administration. He said, �I�m concerned that we�re not really doing things that get the attention of the public to make a change.� Dr. Wakelyn responded that reviewing the earlier Task Force�s recommendations concerning air quality research priorities, as the Chair suggested, could help address some of the problems that Dr. Parnell discussed because now the Task Force�s recommendations could result in getting agricultural air quality research done in CSREES and in ARS. If the committee could use the staff�s outline the next morning, they would be better prepared in the afternoon to tell the Secretary what they want, at least conceptually.

John Sweeten verified that the current motion would have the Task Force review the previous Task Force�s recommendations (listed in the briefing book) as to the breakdown of at least $25 million in research, and then 1) determine if those subcategories and priorities are appropriate as to substance and amount, 2) add the missing implementation components, and 3) infer through which of the various agencies the request should go. Chairman Reed confirmed that the detail of the motion was to do as Dr. Sweeten articulated.

Stephanie Whalen remarked that these recommendations would help get the attention of the Administration so that the requests for air quality research actually might make it into the President�s budget. Once the request is in the President�s budget, the Task Force needs to support it through Congress, which means working with groups like the American Farm Bureau to elevate air quality needs in the public eye.

Chairman Reed called for the question, and the motion passed. The Chairman then directed George Bluhm to coordinate with Dr. Sweeten and appropriate others to carry out the motion as passed.

Continuing his presentation, Dr. Knighton talked about special grants, which are funds directed by Congress to go through CSREES for the specific projects identified in particular states and particular institutions within those states. He echoed what Dr. Amerman said earlier about losing ground in this area. In fiscal year 2001, they lost about $500,000 a year going to California for PM-10 research, and another half million dollars that was earmarked for PM-10 research in the state of Washington looks as if it is in jeopardy as well. Dr. Knighton ended his comments by saying, �I think we have to have some sort of stand-alone program within our competitive grant programs that address air quality issues if we are going to get anything substantial done to help build the air quality research arena.�

Bob Flocchini raised a concern about the proposals for air quality research that were not funded through other CSREES programs: if those proposals were turned down by reviewers who have limited or no knowledge of air quality issues, what can be done to change that review system? Dr. Knighton said that Dr. Flocchini had brought up �a very valid point.� Dr. Knighton explained that the review panel manager has to look at all the proposals, possibly around 150, that they receive on a given topic, and maybe three or four might address air quality. The decision to fund or not fund proposals is made by the panel, and they have to weigh them with all the other topics that are represented in that category. He reiterated that this is why he feels that to do any kind of meaningful research in air quality we have to have a stand-alone program that directs CSREES to recognize air quality as an important topic. He added, �Unfortunately, right now within our agency, air quality is viewed as a science that contributes to something else. That�s the difficulty.�

Manuel Cunha asked about the amount of CSREES�s total budget, and Dr. Knighton said it was about a billion dollars. Mr. Cunha then inquired if they had received a $63 million or $65 million increase in 2000, and Dr. Knighton replied that it was about $70 million.

On another topic, Mr. Cunha mentioned that the $500,000 that had been allocated to Washington State University in Pullman and UC Davis in California was the result of lobbying by industry and private groups, not by the agency.

Stephanie Whalen asked Dr. Knighton if the Task Force should send a letter to CSREES requesting that air quality be a stand-alone area and giving justification for it, or if it would be better to make such a case to the Secretary the next day. Dr. Knighton responded that it would be up to the Task Force whether or not to make such a recommendation to his agency, but he did add that now would be a wonderful time to talk to the Division Director in Natural Resources and the Environment. He said that person was just coming on board, so it would be a perfect time to let that person know how this committee feels about the need for air quality research.

After Chairman Reed thanked Dr. Amerman and Dr. Knighton, Phil Wakelyn moved that Stephanie Whalen draft a letter to CSREES requesting that air quality be a stand-alone area; the committee could then review and approve the letter the following day. Manuel Cunha seconded the motion. Hearing no discussion, Chairman called for the question. The motion passed.

To begin the public comment period, George Bluhm asked Dr. Beth Sauerhaft from NRCS to introduce the public speakers. There was only one speaker, Kevin Rogers, who is actually on the Task Force. Mr. Rogers informed the group that he and Jeff Schmidt had brought some pamphlets on the air quality program that Arizona had to initiate in Maricopa County to bring it into attainment. He also extended an invitation to the committee to hold a future meeting in Arizona.

Before breaking for lunch, Bob Avant made a motion to invite CSREES�s new division director for the research program to come to the next day�s session. Chairman Reed asked Dr. Knighton to check into the possibility of extending the invitation to the new appointee.

John Sweeten commended the leadership of the Task Force�Pearlie Reed, Gary Margheim, and George Bluhm�for being alert to the opportunities to brief others on the importance of air quality in agriculture. He also thanked Dr. Amerman and Dr. Knighton for their excellent discussion.

When the committee reconvened for the afternoon session, George Bluhm gave everyone a worksheet to help start to organize the subcommittees. He instructed the Task Force members to prioritize the topics for subcommittee work, and then to indicate on which subcommittees they would like to serve. He also asked that they review the list of past subcommittee efforts and indicate if the documents from these subcommittees should be circulated as they are or if they need to be changed. The Undersecretary had suggested Title V, so that had been added to the list. Mr. Bluhm reminded the Task Force that in order to maintain the balance for the committee, there would have to be one person that represents each area on each subcommittee. He requested the feedback on the subcommittees by that evening.

Chairman Reed turned the meeting over to Manual Cunha, who briefed the Task Force on recent developments in the Title V permit program. In June of 2000, two environmental groups filed a lawsuit against EPA for extending the extensions of Title V permits for each state. In November 2000, a settlement was reached stating that it had been illegal to extend all the Title V permit programs, and the judge ordered that all of the states� Title V permit programs must be submitted by June 1, 2001, and must be implemented by December 1, 2001. This ruling has caused many problems for agriculture in states like California.

With the permission of the Chairman, a Task Force subcommittee had been formed to study the Title V issue; the subcommittee members were Phil Wakelyn, James Trotter, John Sweeten, Phyllis Woodford, Calvin Parnell, Jerry Masters, and Manuel Cunha. Mr. Cunha said this subcommittee had produced a paper to brief the rest of the Task Force on the Title V issue. He remarked that the document includes a great deal of information about why agriculture is not supposed to be part of Title V because it is not considered a major source of criteria pollutants. Mr. Cunha hoped the Task Force would be able to finalize the document that day so that Chairman Reed could forward it on to the Secretary the next day when she visited the committee. Chairman Reed reiterated the extreme importance of the Title V issue.

Manuel Cunha then asked Phil Wakelyn to lead the discussion of the subcommittee�s position paper. Dr. Wakelyn said the draft explained the Title V issue with respect to agriculture, and it stressed that agriculture is not seeking to be exempt from Clean Air regulations, but only to be regulated reasonably based on sound science or regulations that seem to be appropriate. The document states that because agriculture is not a normal fixed facility or stationary source, it should be evaluated as an entirely different sector when determining its contribution to air pollution. It also stresses the need for better emission factors and better data on which to base them. The document questions how to determine which sources are major sources and which sources will require permits because they contribute to pollution?

The draft document presented the following Task Force recommendations:

1.      �We request the Administrator of USEPA to defer production agriculture operations from the Title V program until such time that EPA in conjunction with USDA has based on the best available science appropriately defined the application of the Clean Air Act requirement for these facilities. This includes determining appropriate emission factors and definition of agriculture production sources and their potential to emit. Where data are insufficient for these determinations, the agency should develop and support a research agenda to achieve these objectives. Further, should the EPA lack the authority for such deferral, we strongly urge that the necessary authority be obtained.�

2.      �EPA should withdraw the deficiency requiring the appeal of the agriculture permit exclusion contained within the California Health and Safety Code 42310E for any other states permitting program deficiency until such time as Recommendation 1 is addressed.�

3.      �It is recommended that EPA, with support of USDA, expeditiously develop and implement the voluntary incentive-based compliance program as recommended by this Task Force. This would be especially important to have in place while Recommendation 1 is being addressed.�

Dr. Wakelyn indicated that the appendices to the document would include copies of the voluntary incentive-based compliance program, the memorandum of understanding, a series of letters about the California issue, and the Federal Register notice that dealt with the voluntary incentive-based compliance program.

On behalf of the subcommittee, Dr. Wakelyn asked the Task Force for their feedback on the document, and he said they hoped the full committee could approve the document by that afternoon. Once approved, Chairman Reed could transmit it to the Secretary of Agriculture and to the Administrator of EPA.

Sally Shaver briefly explained what EPA has been working on in connection with the Title V program. The agency has been looking into a deferral process, but they have not fully completed consideration of the legalities of such action. However, EPA has deferred Title V permitting for non-major sources as a whole, and now they are dealing with the major sources and defining what constitutes a major source and which emissions from a farm should be included. Ms. Shaver said that nothing in this paper suggests anything of what the states would have to do with respect to permitting, so they would still be free to do whatever they saw fit within the confines of their state; the document only addresses the federal permitting requirement.

Annette Sharp reiterated the need for more research to develop emission factors as well as to determine exactly what emissions are coming from certain agricultural activities; this research is necessary before states can actually impose a federal requirement or even a state requirement on emissions. She said, however, that there are multiple complications in terms of where the states should put their resources to start working on the emission factors; for example, how much benefit can be gained from regulating farms versus regulating grain elevators? Also, since EPA and the states are now looking at multiple pollutants and how to control emissions from more than one pollutant at a time, agriculture has been set aside as attention is focused on the major emissions sources.

Ms. Sharp also mentioned that if farms were made permanent to Title V, state agencies would experience a significant labor resource problem as they attempt to actually process tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of Title V permits. She commented, �If it is determined that these agricultural facilities and production activities actually are major sources, everyone is prepared to go into action to take whatever regulatory requirements may be necessary to get these sources under the Title V program, but for the time being, it is certainly to the state�s advantage to support the deferral of agricultural processes.�

Calvin Parnell noted that most states actually charge all major sources a set fee per ton of emissions, and they use the money to fund air pollution regulations. He said that Title V has never really been an issue for farming, but now some people in California want to remove the exemption for agriculture because they consider farms a major source. If they could regulate the Title V program in California, they could charge more per ton of emissions and basically finance their operation. Dr. Parnell observed, �It�s a tough situation: EPA says they do not want California to have an exemption for agriculture, and California says they are going to maintain their exemption, but as a Task Force we must take a look at this and determine if it is the right thing to do. . . . We need to take a position on this issue. We need to not be on the sideline.�

John Sweeten drew attention to conflicts he perceived when comparing the memorandum of understanding between USDA and EPA (which the Task Force helped develop a couple of years ago) with what EPA has proposed to do in the state of California. This MOU calls for a process of involving the agricultural community and the environmental regulations community in environmental air quality issues. However, the agricultural community does not appear to have been involved in the proposed application of Title V. Dr. Sweeten also believed that the collaboration processes outlined in the MOU had not been adequately followed or respected in this particular proposed action, so he thought it very appropriate for this USDA Air Quality Task Force to point out the deficiency in the process.

Another concern Dr. Sweeten raised was that such attempts at environmental protection could have the effect of restructuring agriculture by essentially forcing industry consolidation as the small farmers attempt to survive. He commented, �The large farmers with consultants and lawyers can probably do the paperwork and the homework, but the men and women who are trying to make a living will be the ones to bear the brunt of these kinds of actions.�

Phyllis Woodford quickly went over some of the Title V thresholds for various criteria pollutants. She noted that the subcommittee�s proposal to do a deferral is important because it would allow the states to retain their flexibility concerning how they will address major sources. The document�s emphasis on determining emission factors is also key: �We need to be able to stand behind the science with accurate and credible information before we can go out and regulate agricultural sources.�

Mark Boese commented that he could understand the document�s rationale behind calling for more emissions data, especially on fugitive sources, as almost all of agriculture is classified. However, on the second page, third paragraph, the document discussed the inadequate technical basis for characterizing emissions from various agricultural operations, and the first one mentioned was irrigation pumps. Assuming this referred to the emissions from the IC engines that operate those irrigation pumps, Mr. Boese suggested that this example be reconsidered because there does exist enough data to quantify the NOx emissions of those engines.

Phyllis Woodford added that irrigation pumps were simply given as an example because they are placed every 200 yards or so on a farm, and yet it is difficult to determine what emissions are actually getting to the boundary line. Mr. Boese repeated his support of the subcommittee�s direction with respect to the document, but he wanted to point out that if they wished to assert that fugitive emissions for agriculture have not yet been quantified to a sufficient extent to regulate them, then some of that logic would not hold with regards to IC engines and their associated NOx emissions.

Bob Avant commended the subcommittee on �an excellent piece of work.� He then proposed adding a third bulleted item to the list of things that differentiate agriculture from other types of industries (on page 2). He suggested that the third item read, �Agricultural producers cannot set prices for their commodities and cannot pass cost increases from increasing input costs or regulatory requirements on the consumers.� Mr. Avant then asked if there was anything in the three recommendations, the deferral in particular, that could place either the Secretary or the Administrator in contempt of the court ruling on Title V, if they chose to approve the recommendations. Sally Shaver responded that the last sentence of the first recommendation would address that issue: it says, �Should the EPA lack the authority for such deferral, we strongly urge that the necessary authority be obtained.� Gary Margheim added that normally this advisory committee simply makes recommendations to the Secretary or Administrator, and they then have their own legal counsel look closely at the recommendations and determine whether or not they are legal and whether or not they would put the Secretary or Administrator in contempt of the court.

Phil Wakelyn moved to have the full Task Force approve the document (with editing) to go from the Task Force via Pearlie Reed to the Secretary of Agriculture, and potentially to the Administrator of EPA. Chairman Reed exercised the prerogative of the Chair and deferred the vote on the motion until after a ten-minute break, reminding everyone that they were considering �strong, strong recommendations� that should be carefully deliberated.

After the break, Dr. Wakelyn restated his motion and indicated that Bob Flocchini had seconded it. Chairman Reed called for discussion. Wayne Robarge asked if the vote on the document could be delayed until the following morning to give the new members a chance to read through the entire document.

Phyllis Woodford asked if there were any interim-approval Title V programs in other states besides California that were encountering agricultural issues. In response, Kevin Rogers said that if Arizona had had this document four years ago, they might have been able to put off the program that they had to implement in Maricopa County. He believed such a document could significantly help the rest of the states. Sally Shaver added that Florida has an agriculture issue awaiting approval, but it is a processing issue with the citrus growers, not the actual producer issue. She said California and Florida are the only two states she was aware of with agriculture issues related to Title V.

Chairman Reed called for the question and requested a role call vote. Mike Unsworth interjected that the committee had not yet discussed Dr. Robarge�s suggestion to defer the vote until the following day.

Bob Avant made a motion to table the previous motion on the document until the following morning; the motion was seconded. Chairman Reed asked George Bluhm to call the roll for a role call vote.

 

Viney Aneja:      aye

Clinton Reader:        absent

Bob Avant:        aye

Wayne Robarge       aye

Mark Boese:      aye

Kevin Rogers           aye

Tom Coleman:    aye

Annette Sharp          aye

Manuel Cunha:    aye

Sally Shaver             abstain

Rodger Isom:      absent  

John Sweeten          aye

Bob Flocchini:     aye

Jim Trotter              aye

Kelley Green:      aye

Mike Unsworth      aye

Jerry Masters:      aye

Phil Wakelyn          aye

Emmett Barker:    absent

Stephanie Whalen   aye

Calvin Parnell:      aye

Phyllis Woodford    aye

            

 

The motion carried; the vote on the document was tabled until the first order of business the following morning.

Phil Wakelyn suggested that the subcommittee still proceed with revising the language in the document, and they agreed to incorporate the changes and distribute the edited document to the members� hotel rooms that evening. Chairman Reed asked Dr. Wakelyn to bring the final document to the meeting the next morning for the Task Force to act on it.

George Bluhm explained to the Task Force members how to get to the next day�s meeting in the Whitten Agriculture Building, and he thanked the Farm Bureau and the Farmer�s League for the day�s refreshments.

Since there was no public comment, Chairman Reed adjourned the meeting to reconvene promptly at 9:00 a.m. the following morning.

 

 

USDA Agriculture Air Quality Task Force

Approved Meeting Minutes

March 28, 2001

Whitten Agriculture Building

1400 Independence Avenue

Washington, D.C.

 

 

Members present:

Viney Aneja          Wayne Robarge

Bob Avant             Kevin Rogers

George Bluhm        Annette Sharp

Mark Boese           Sally Shaver

Tom Coleman         John Sweeten

Manuel Cunha        Jim Trotter

Bob Flocchini         Michael Unsworth

Kelley Green          Phil Wakelyn

Calvin Parnell         Stephanie Whalen

Jerry Masters         Phyllis Woodford

Pearlie Reed, Chair  

 

Other NRCS Support Staff:

Gary Margheim, Elvis Graves, Liz Rogers, Beth Sauerhaft, Jeff Schmidt, Ray Sinclair, Roel Vining

 

Other EPA Support Staff:

Robin Dunkins

 

Public Citizens:

Dick Amerman, ARS; Ray Knighton, CSREES; Adam Sharp, Farm Bureau;
Deb Atwood, National Pork Producers; Mack Gray, USDA; Gary Baise

 

 

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Pearlie Reed at 9:00 a.m.

As the first item of business, Calvin Parnell moved to remove from the table the previous day�s motion to approve the Title V Subcommittee�s recommendations on the Title V permits program. Kevin Rogers seconded the motion. The motion passed to accept the Title V recommendations from the table. Manuel Cunha read aloud the text of the Task Force�s three recommendations (see the briefing paper or the minutes from March 27, 2001), and Chairman Reed asked for discussion.

Wayne Robarge thanked the Chair for accepting the motion to table the acceptance of the document and allowing the members to review it more closely and ask questions. Dr. Robarge also thanked the subcommittee for their prompt preparation of the document. He then inquired about the significance of the date (December 1) presented under �Issues� in the Executive Summary. Mr. Cunha replied that the date is crucial; June 1 is the critical date for California to allow time to change state law by December 1, and then December 1 for all non-attainment area states to have an EPA approved State Implementation Plan(SIP) . Phil Wakelyn added that December 1 is a �drop dead date� because action needs to be taken before then. Dr. Robarge suggested that if a date is critical, it should be placed earlier in the Executive Summary; Mr. Cunha and Dr. Wakelyn agreed.

Sally Shaver requested that the date not be included in the document because it could cause litigation problems for the Secretary of Agriculture or the Administrator of EPA. Calvin Parnell believed there was no need to present the date in the Executive Summary since the issue is not time dependent. He would rather see the date only under the Recommendations section. Bob Flocchini suggested that the Task Force�s discussion focus on addressing major issues and leave editorial items for later.

Michael Unsworth expressed his appreciation for the extra time to review the document. He commented that he would like to see USDA and EPA seek more of a science-based program approach. He stressed that the document should emphasize the basis for the deferral, and it should indicate that the deferral will not last forever. Dr. Unsworth also said that the document should emphasize developing the science that is related to the deferral.

Viney Aneja also appreciated the time and ability to comment. He asked if it was too early in the document to ask the time limit of the delay based on sound science. Dr. Wakelyn answered that an 18- to 24-month delay was anticipated with 24 months maximum. Dr. Aneja said he supports the document in general, but he would like more clarity in its presentation.

Kelley Green pointed out that there is a need to work on the issues, but the goal is to get the deferral and �get this train stopped.�

Annette Sharp remarked that from a state perspective, the process of measuring and determining emission factors occurs all the time whether a delay is requested or not: �We can�t stop the agricultural production process due to regulations.� She asserted, however, that EPA does need decent emission factors for agricultural production.

Tom Coleman stressed that the committee should not get hung up on semantics; the goal is to strive for emission factors that can be fairly regulated and not without good science. Stephanie Whalen added that editing could be handled at the breaks to refine the document.

Dr. Robarge indicated that the date issue had been clarified for him, but he still had concerns about Recommendation 3, the implementation of the voluntary incentive-based compliance program. He wondered why the voluntary program needed to be included in this document, and he asked about the rationale for it and the reason for its implementation. Sally Shaver answered that Recommendation 3 shows EPA how to do business better. The voluntary incentive-based compliance program demonstrates accountability and shows that agriculture is doing something and making a good faith effort to move forward. She stressed the importance of a voluntary approach.

Responding to Dr. Robarge�s question, Phyllis Woodford stated that Recommendation 3 is a tool to help states move forward. Including the voluntary program in the document emphasizes to EPA how important it is for states to be able to act and set air quality standards.

Now understanding the importance of Recommendation 3, Dr. Robarge suggested that the voluntary incentive-based compliance program be mentioned earlier in the document. The current draft presented no historical perspective or background for this recommendation, and he wondered if the intended audience would have this historical perspective. Chairman Reed assured Dr. Robarge that the document would be edited to provide detail and background on Recommendation 3.

Mark Boese said the sentence on anthropogenic sources was misplaced and should be relocated in the document. Ms. Woodford requested that members provide additional documentation or language changes.

Chairman Reed asked if the Task Force was ready to vote to approve the document with the incorporation of Dr. Robarge�s suggestions. Manuel Cunha called for the question.

Dr. Robarge requested a delay in the vote since Beth Sauerhaft had not returned with his comments. Chairman Reed asked Dr. Robarge if his editorial comments would affect the three recommendations, and he replied no. Chairman Reed indicated that he would like to proceed with the question.

Dr. Robarge said that he still wanted to address the section using California as a specific example. Dr. Wakelyn replied that the subcommittee felt the document needed to provide specific examples to support its proposals. Dr. Robarge inquired further why general examples could not be used instead of specific ones. Ms. Shaver said that specific examples were added for the benefit of California since the California issue brought the debate to the Task Force.

Dr. Robarge then questioned the use of the term �legally disenfranchised.� John Sweeten also did not like that term, and he said he had other editorial comments as well. Dr. Sweeten suggested that the subcommittee make the rest of the Task Force�s editorial changes after the document is accepted.

Chairman Reed asked again if the Task Force was ready for the question. Mr. Cunha called the question, and Dr. Wakelyn seconded it. George Bluhm read the roll for a roll call vote.

 

Viney Aneja:        aye

Clinton Reader:          absent

Bob Avant:          aye

Wayne Robarge:        aye

Mark Boese:        aye

Kevin Rogers:            aye

Tom Coleman:     aye

Annette Sharp:           aye

Manuel Cunha:    aye 

 Sally Shaver:             aye for Rec. 1 and 3;abstaining on 2

Roger Isom:        absent

John Sweeten:            aye

Bob Flocchini:     aye

 Jim Trotter:                aye

Kelley Green:      aye

Michael Unsworth:      aye

Jerry Masters:     aye

Phil Wakelyn:              aye

Emmett Barker:   absent

Stephanie Whalen:       aye

Calvin Parnell:     aye

Phyllis Woodford:        aye

                  

                         

 

Chairman Reed declared the motion to advance the three recommendations approved. He directed the subcommittee to edit the document to reflect the previous discussion, and then provide the revised document to Task Force members as soon as practical after the meeting. Dr. Wakelyn said the subcommittee would exercise its editorial privilege as they revised the document, but he assured the Task Force that major changes in intent would not occur.

After a break, Phil Wakelyn led a discussion of the emissions reporting issues surrounding the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Section 301 is reporting required from the states, and Section 304 is EPCA Title 3 of the revised Superfund. He gave examples of emissions released but not considered under permitting or required reporting requirements under CERCLA, and he listed items considered hazardous emissions in agriculture that are related to Title 3. Dr. Wakelyn presented the draft of the letter outlining the Task Force�s recommendations concerning CERCLA, and he proposed submitting the letter to the Secretary and the Administrator. He said a major intent of this letter is to improve communications between USDA and EPA to strengthen their relationship and understanding of CERCLA and EPCRA.

Sally Shaver recommended that the letter be forwarded only to the Secretary; she questioned the protocol and procedure for sending recommendations from the Task Force directly to the Administrator. Manuel Cunha suggested the letter be forwarded to the Secretary with the recommendation that she forward it to the Administrator. Dr. Wakelyn agreed and stated that the letter would be forwarded according to correct protocol or procedure.

Michael Unsworth questioned the scientific basis for ammonia emissions being an emerging issue when this is well documented around the world. Kelley Green asked if the ammonia issue was really over accurate approximations of quantities, and various members answered yes.

Chairman Reed asked for a motion. Dr. Wakelyn moved to send the Task Force�s letter concerning CERCLA issues to the Secretary through proper procedures. Mr. Cunha seconded the motion. Chairman Reed called for the question; the motion passed with one abstention.

Next on the agenda, Sally Shaver updated the committee on the actions EPA has been taking on air quality issues. She said they held five public meetings on the agricultural burning policy and had put it in the Federal Register for written comments. They have received a number of comments, both supporting and opposing it, and they were analyzing that feedback. Ms. Shaver said EPA will be working on a draft agricultural burning policy, and they plan to present that policy to the Task Force as well as probably go out for another public comment period on the policy itself.

The voluntary incentive-based compliance policy was also included as part of the public meetings on the burn policy, and EPA did receive some comments on those policy recommendations. Ms. Shaver said they hope to develop that policy in the near future. She reminded the committee that EPA did not yet have an Assistant Administrator named for Air and Radiation, and they probably would not be able to get those policies finalized until that person was on board. Also, there would need to be considerable discussions with USDA concerning how to deal with accountability for the voluntary policy in terms of compliance or conformance to conservation plans.

With respect to emission factors for confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), Ms. Shaver reported that EPA hired a contractor to compile the information that is in the literature; the Task Force CAFO subcommittee has copies of those documents. EPA is still studying the literature review and working with some of the stakeholders of the animal feeding operations.

Ms. Shaver informed the committee of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) on ozone. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of EPA being able to set the standards, and they agreed that cost could not be considered in adopting the standards. They declared, however, that cost could be appropriately considered with respect to how the standards are implemented. The Court did question EPA�s rationale for how they would implement the ozone standard, and they sent that back to EPA. Some other legal issues regarding implementation are still with the DC Circuit Court.

Regarding the PM-10 standard, Ms. Shaver reported that the revised PM-10 standard had been vacated, leaving the old PM-10 standard in place and in force. EPA is still reviewing the PM standard, which includes PM-10 and PM fine. They are about a year and a half into data collection on PM fine, but until they have three years of data, no designations will be considered. With respect to the PM NAAQS review currently underway, Ms. Shaver said the second draft of the criteria document should be available soon, and the first draft of the staff paper, which is an interpretation of the information in the criteria document, should be released soon for a mid-summer review to finalize.

Ms. Shaver said that EPA published a petition regarding the secondary NAAQS; it came from the northeastern states in a request from the Department of Interior asking EPA to revise the secondary standards to address the effects of pollutants like NO2, SO2, and fine particulate matter. EPA published the petition August 9, 2000, for public comment; that deadline has been extended to April 2, 2001. EPA also has a petition in to list hydrogen sulfide as a hazardous air pollutant; their Office of Research and Development is working on that, but they are at least a year away from a decision.

Recognizing the importance of issues such as Title V permits, emission factors, and agricultural burning, the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS)is now putting much more emphasis on agricultural issues for air. According to Ms. Shaver, they are looking at approaching agricultural air quality as a total sector, so they plan to do more outreach across the agency towards the other media, and �hopefully the agricultural community will benefit from this.� They also have additional funds that they are trying to put into some of the emission factors.

Manuel Cunha thanked Ms. Shaver and Robin Dunkins for all the work they do educating Research Triangle Park and other EPA staff on agriculture issues. He then asked if EPA still intended to honor the MOU by allowing the Task Force to review the research EPA is considering for agriculture, and Ms. Shaver said that was still the intent. She indicated that OAQPS is responsible for the AP-42 documents and emission factors development, and she assured the committee that those documents would be carried through the Task Force. She could not speak for the Office of Research and Development, but her group was trying to make them aware of the Task Force�s mission and the need to coordinate air quality research with the committee.

Bob Avant related that Texas Farm Bureau technical staff is looking into the reconstitution of diesel fuel relative to sulfur and the impact it could have on older diesel engines. He asked Ms. Shaver if EPA had done any analysis on the issue of the economic impact of older diesel engines and the effect it would have on agriculture. If no analysis had been done, he inquired whether the Task Force ought to make a recommendation on this issue. Ms. Shaver replied that she was aware that that issue is coming up, especially for the non-road vehicles. She said she reminded Chet France in EPA�s Office of Transportation and Air Quality of the Task Force�s work, and he expressed an interest in coming to the next meeting to discuss those issues. Mr. Avant requested that Mr. France be put on the agenda for the next meeting, and Chairman Reed ordered the action.

Manual Cunha asserted the importance of reviewing EPA�s decisions or thoughts on the diesel. He stated, �In 1993, California adopted a new diesel formulation that raised havoc for agricultural equipment that was running on diesel. There was a problem with something called a lubricity level, or how many oils there are in the fuels, and the fuel actually burned up injection pumps and damage pumps. The amount the farmers were paid was greater than whatever was anticipated. So it will behoove EPA to do intensive field work on older farm equipment if they attempt to do this reformulation. I would hate to see other farmers and other states to go through what we did in California in 1993.�

Calvin Parnell commented that in the past, EPA has contracted with consulting firms to look at different emission factors. Dr. Parnell asked if there would be an opportunity for researchers in academia to apply for or competitively compete for funds for emission factor research. Ms. Shaver was not sure, but she said she would try to get the information before the next meeting.

John Sweeten asked Ms. Shaver if it would be appropriate for the subcommittee on livestock air quality to take a look at the compilation of literature on CAFOs and file review comments with the EPA OAQPS. He also inquired about the time frame for such comments. Ms. Shaver replied that the subcommittee�s comments would be very pertinent, and she encouraged the group to send their feedback directly to her. The time frame for comments would be clearer after the new Assistant Administrator is in place.

Dr. Sweeten then mentioned that EPA�s Office of Water Quality Programs currently has out for review�for the first time in 25 years�their Effluent Limitation Guidelines; the announced deadline was May 14, 2001, but it was extended until July 28, 2001. He inquired if any attempt had been made to review the Effluent Limitation Guidelines in the light of air quality, or if the Office of Water Quality people had looked at the EPA documents on air quality. Ms. Shaver clarified that the Office of Air and Radiation had not endorsed the effluent guidelines or adopted them in any fashion for use in the program. However, they did work very closely with the Office of Water to ensure that their guidelines would not do something that just transfers pollutants to the air. Nonetheless, Ms. Shaver did not believe that EPA could have the air issues resolved by the time the Office of Water has to finalize their guidelines.

Chairman Reed moved on to the next agenda item, the Task Force�s research budget recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture. John Sweeten explained that the handout everyone received was a one-page synopsis of the highlights from the Research Subcommittee�s report. He also indicated that Jim Trotter, who is chair of that subcommittee, would be the spokesperson for that effort if in fact it would be presented to the Secretary of Agriculture that afternoon.

Mr. Trotter stated that the one pager focuses on �what we have been requesting for a long time now�: a total of $65 million a year over five years for air quality research, with $45 million coming from USDA and $20 million for EPA. Of the $45 million for USDA, $20 million would be for research and the other $25 million a year would be for technical assistance to transfer research results to the farmers. Mr. Trotter said the document is also requesting that there be a special category for research funds for air quality.

Mark Boese inquired if the first bulleted point, which focused on PM-10 and PM-2.5, could be expanded to include the other pollutants of concern, specifically VOCs. Mr. Trotter agreed to add them, and Chairman Reed asked Mr. Boese if he had any specific recommendations for pollutants to be added. Mr. Boese answered that he would like to see at least VOCs presented there, and he suggested listing ozone, NOx, and odorants as well since they were all mentioned later as priorities.

Viney Aneja responded to Mr. Boese by saying that any discussion of ozone would very likely include both VOCs and NOx because they are precursors to the formation of ozone. The pollutant that Dr. Aneja believed was not included in any of the four bullets was ammonia, so he suggested it be added.

Dr. Aneja then proceeded to inquire exactly why the Task Force was requesting $65 million. He was concerned about the way the goal, the approach, and the results were articulated in the short document, although he did not know if it was a problem with the wording or the fundamental thinking behind the recommendations. He pointed out some of the terminology that he found ambiguous. In terms of approach, Dr. Aneja commented that the document mentioned only integrated interagency programs, but he suggested that universities and non-profit organizations be involved as well �if we are to get the best in the country to talk about leading, cutting-edge science issues.�

Continuing his critique, Dr. Aneja stated, �Our nation�s policy on air quality resides on making concentration measurements. However, all of the NAAQS standards are measured in urban environments such as EPA AIRS network. I would like to see a similar program set in motion by either the EPA or the USDA to include rural measurements of all these pollutants in rural environments. If we are to spend $65 million but at the end of the day we don�t know how close we have come to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards in the rural environment, then we have defeated the whole purpose.�

Calvin Parnell asserted that the complete 40-page report includes much more detail and discussion than could be presented in the one-page summary. He assured the group that the full report does address VOCs within the ozone discussion, and ammonia within the secondary PM‑2.5 discussion. Dr. Parnell said that agriculture researchers have been working on particle size distribution and the performance of PM-10 and PM-2.5 samplers. They have found that the mass median diameter in agriculture is typically very large, so the standard PM-10 or PM-2.5 equipment and samples will inappropriately measure the wrong thing. Therefore, to measure PM from agriculture appropriately, a better measurement technique must be found to ensure that the data actually addresses the issue of how it impacts the public exposure to ambient air.

John Sweeten responded to Mr. Boese�s concerns by indicating that page 47 of the subcommittee�s 2000 report on research does very explicitly spell out VOCs and NOx. With respect to the one-pager, Dr. Sweeten felt that rhetoric used seemed to emphasize meeting regulations. He suggested the document be revised to recognize that many producers are trying to do the right thing even without regulations, and they are looking for superior technology for the sake of their own productivity.

Bob Flocchini remarked that when the report was first drafted, it was defined in terms of the pollutants for which standards existed at the time, and it left researchers opportunities to expand it in other areas. He also mentioned that the Task Force has heard presentations on the rural network before, although the new members would not have been part of that. There is a rural network of 150 locations throughout the country in Class 1 areas where PM-2.5 and PM-10 are measured as well as visibility numbers.

Annette Sharp asserted that �$65 million wouldn�t begin to touch the cost of the equipment to put out a network.� She then mentioned that the states are already overburdened but they must try to protect public health as much as possible, so they are putting their monitors where the population is. If a state does want to put in a monitor in a rural area and if they take money from EPA, then the states have to put all of their results into the AIRS database, and if there is any type of exceedance, regardless of its source, the state is penalized. Ms. Sharp added, �The states don�t want to take on a predisposed possible exceedance for a research project.�

Mark Boese clarified his previous statement and said that if the committee wanted to specifically identify PM-10 and 2.5 under the first bulleted item, perhaps ozone should be included, or it could read �criteria pollutants.� Phil Wakelyn replied that PM-10, PM-2.5, and ozone are specifically identified because they presented the most immediate problem in meeting the SIPs in various areas with serious non-attainment. He agreed that ozone should be added to the first bulleted item because those are the three most immediate needs.

Jim Trotter suggested deleting PM-10 and PM-2.5 from the first bulleted item and saying, �reduce agricultural contribution to criteria pollutants.�

Chairman Reed suggested that the 40-page document be revised as appropriate to reflect the day�s discussion. He then called for a motion to advance the Task Force�s 2002 budget request for $65 million for air quality research, with $45 million coming from USDA and $20 million coming from EPA. Mr. Trotter so moved and Dr. Unsworth seconded. Chairman Reed called for the question; the motion passed with Sally Shaver abstaining. The Chair then instructed Mr. Trotter and Dr. Sweeten to update the 40-page document to reflect the discussion.

Stephanie Whalen announced that she had drafted a letter to CSREES encouraging them to create a stand-alone area for air quality research, and she had received some recommendations on language from Wayne Robarge, Michael Unsworth, and Phyllis Woodford. According to her understanding of the previous day�s motion, Dr. Whalen had written the letter to explain the purpose of the Task Force, the committee�s recommendations for implementing the air quality research, and suggested methods for how the agency might proceed. She said it had also been proposed to send the letter to the Undersecretary for Research Education and Economics, when that person comes on board. Dr. Whalen pointed out that the letter still required more revision, and Chairman Reed suggested that Dick Amerman and Ray Knighton be given an opportunity to make comments as well. Dr. Whalen then asked that someone move to pass the letter out as a concept, and later the final edited version would be sent via e-mail to all members before being sent to the Undersecretary.

Michael Unsworth wondered whether it would be helpful in this letter to try to identify a specific category for agricultural air quality research within the NRI program. Calvin Parnell responded that the problem was that there was no way to address the current NRI funding with air quality proposals. Therefore, the letter calls for an air quality section within the broad categories funded by CSREES for NRI.

Manuel Cunha moved to proceed with the letter and make it part of the packet that would eventually be sent to the Secretary of Agriculture. Chairman Reed then requested permission from the Task Force to allow him to work with Dr. Whalen to develop the appropriate letter and to coordinate their effort with Dick Amerman and Ray Knighton. Mr. Cunha accepted those changes to his motion. Chairman Reed so ordered the action.

Next, Chairman Reed asked George Bluhm to address the location of the next Task Force meeting. Mr. Bluhm said that because the fiscal year runs out on September 30, the Task Force would need to meet before that time period to use this year�s funding. The candidates for locations were Arizona and Colorado (both mentioned at this meeting) and Florida (mentioned at a previous meeting). Mr. Cunha moved to meet next in Colorado, then later in Florida and Arizona within the two-year term of the group. Annette Sharp advised that whoever hosts the meeting should make a concerted effort to ensure that the staff of the congressman from that state are not only invited but encouraged to spend a whole day with the Task Force.

Calvin Parnell proposed taking a straw vote around the table on the three different locations and then having a motion concerning the chosen location. Chairman Reed approved the straw vote. He asked that the recommendation of the Task Force be advisory and defer to the Chair to factor in some other considerations, such as cost or possible guidance from the Secretary. Mr. Bluhm then took the straw vote, and Colorado was chosen as the site for the next meeting.

Chairman Reed told the committee that George Bluhm would be handing out the revised minutes from the last meeting before lunch, and the Chair asked the members to review the minutes so that they could vote to approve them after lunch.

The public comment period opened with remarks from Dr. Ray Knighton of CSREES. Dr. Knighton reported that the new Division Director for Natural Resources and the Environment within the NRI would be Dr. Mark Poth, and he would be stepping into the position on June 4, 2001. Dr. Knighton then shared some comments on the letter encouraging a stand-alone area for air quality research within CSREES. He drew attention to the distinction between the NRI and CSREES�s other programs; the IFAFS program (Section 401) and the Integrated Activities Program (Section 406) are required by law to be applied research with education and extension and to be multidisciplinary and multi-institutional. On the other hand, NRI is, by its nature, a basic research program. Dr. Knighton said that CSREES would not appreciate any attempt to create an applied research program within the NRI because they have worked very hard to keep it as a stand-alone research program that promotes basic agricultural science. He also mentioned that the NRI program has recently been a target for budget cuts. As his final comment on the draft, Dr. Knighton said, �The Secretary is encouraged to focus on critical and emerging issues, and I think it might be beneficial to put that kind of language in the letter, as well as the actual authorizing language for IFAFS so that they know where to go to address your concerns.�

Phil Wakelyn asked Dr. Knighton if he was suggesting that it would not be appropriate to have a special section in the NRI to deal with agricultural air quality because some of that research would be applied. Dr. Knighton responded that he was not suggesting that, but rather cautioning the Task Force that what they recommend for the NRI be basic research.

The next speaker was Gary Baise, who represents equipment manufacturers (Caterpillar, Deere, Case), the Washington Wheat Growers, the Idaho Wheat Growers, the Idaho Grain Association, and the Nez Pierce Indian grass growers with regard to litigation that was brought by Save Our Summers (SOS) in Spokane, Washington. SOS is an environmental group supported by foundation money that is attempting to end wheat stubble burning in the Northwest. Mr. Base stated that SOS has gone to court four times trying to shut down wheat stubble burning, but because of data from PM-10 and PM-2.5 monitors in eastern Washington and Idaho, which showed that the PM standard was not being violated, the judge accepted the growers� affidavit and not the environmentalist�s affidavit, ruling that the burning was not causing public health harm. Mr. Base asserted, �Monitoring is going to be critical in agricultural issues because the environmental groups, supported by foundation money, are bringing lawsuits all over the country to shut down various agricultural practices, such as CAFOs, pesticide spraying, . . . and grass burning.� Mr. Base said that the research is supporting agriculture, but the Task Force needs to push EPA hard for more research��otherwise there are going to be a number of aspects of agriculture shut down with the new rules that are being proposed.�

After the lunch break, Dr. Mack Gray briefly expressed his appreciation to the committee members for their commitment to the Task Force and for all their hard work on behalf of agriculture.

The next item of business was organizing into subcommittees to provide effort for the next two years. George Bluhm reported that he and the staff had reviewed all of the worksheets from the previous day, and the priority areas chosen for subcommittee action were:

1.      Applied emission factors or AP-42 substitutes

2.      Follow up with Congress and USDA

3.      Title V permits

4.      Concentrated Animal Operations / CERCLA.

Mr. Bluhm said the Title V subcommittee had already been assigned, but he had provided the rest of the volunteers� names to Chairman Reed, who selected two people to serve as co-chairs, one who has been on the committee for a long time and a new person.

The subcommittee members would be as follows:

Emissions Factors Subcommittee:                

�        Annette Sharp and Mark Boese, co-chairs

Viney Aneja        Michael Unsworth

Bob Avant          Sally Shaver

Manuel Cunha     John Sweeten

Kelley Green       Phil Wakelyn

Calvin Parnell      Phyllis Woodford

Wayne Robarge  Robert Flocchini

 

Follow-Up Subcommittee:                

�        Jerry Masters and Bob Avant, co-chairs

Viney Aneja       Tom Coleman

Sally Shaver       Manuel Cunha

John Sweeten     Bob Flocchini

Jim Trotter         Kelley Green

Phil Wakelyn     Calvin Parnell

Stephanie Whalen      Kevin Rogers   

 

Title V Subcommittee:                

�        Manuel Cunha and Wayne Robarge co-chairs

Jerry Masters      Jim Trotter

Calvin Parnell      Phil Wakelyn

John Sweeten      Phyllis Woodford

Roger Isom         Annette Sharp

Sally Shaver        Stephanie Whalen

 

CAFO Subcommittee:                

�        John Sweeten and Michael Unsworth, co-chairs

Viney Aneja            Phil Wakelyn

Wayne Robarge      Phyllis Woodford

Sally Shaver            Jerry Masters

Tommy Coleman   Clinton Reeder

 

Research Subcommittee:

�        James Trotter and Kelley Green Co-chairs

Viney Aneja                       Emmett Barker

Manuel Cunha                    Robert Flocchini

Calvin Parnell                     Clinton Reeder

John Sweeten                     Micheal Unsworth

Phil Wakelyn                      Stephanie Whalen

 

Voluntary Program Subcommittee:

�        Calvin Parnell and Kevin Rogers Co-chairs

Roger Isom                        Clinton Reeder

Sally Shaver                        Phil Wakelyn

Phyllis Woodford

 

Agricultural Burning Subcommittee:

�        Stephanie Whalen and Roger Isom Co-chairs

Manuel Cunha                     Calvin Parnell

Annette Sharp                      Sally Shaver

Phyllis Woodford

 

Mr. Bluhm said that each of the co-chairs would need to work with their subcommittee to establish a schedule and a direction for the next two years, and he hoped they would have an opportunity to get that process started that day.

Mr. Bluhm indicated that in the past the subcommittees have had good success working by telephone conferences and e-mail, so those will continue to be the primary modes of operation. He also stated that the previous subcommittees�the Research Subcommittee, CAFO Subcommittee, Volunteer Compliance Subcommittee, and Agricultural Burning Subcommittee�are still in existence, and he asked for one of the new people to volunteer to be a co-chair of the Research Subcommittee with Jim Trotter. Kelley Green volunteered to co-chair the Research Subcommittee, Wayne Robarge agreed to co-chair the Title V Subcommittee, and Micheal Unsworth volunteered to co-chair CAFO with John Sweeten. Calvin Parnell and Kevin Rogers will co-chair the Volunteer Compliance Subcommittee, and Stephanie Whalen and Roger Isom will co-chair the Agriculture Burning Subcommittee.

Next, Mr. Bluhm invited Annette Sharp, co-chair of the Emissions Subcommittee, to comment briefly on the AP-42 emissions factors and what the Task Force should be doing in that arena. Ms. Sharp stressed that if the committee can locate and identify research funds, the Task Force should prioritize which emission factors need to be examined first. They might even create two priority lists: one of emissions factors that would require less effort and maybe less money, and one of other priority emission factors that might require more money. Ms. Sharp mentioned that there are several issues on the horizon for states, especially the PM SIPs, regional haze, the new ozone NAAQS, carbon monoxide, and CAFO issues.

Calvin Parnell related that Texas A&M has some work going on in animal emission factors and ammonia emissions, and some of it had not yet been published in a journal. He commented, �We really do need some help in this area, more than what any one agency can do. This work has potential for tremendous impact on agriculture in terms of the regulations.�

In response to Ms. Sharp�s suggestion to measure the �easy emission factors� first, Bob Flocchini said he did not believe there was an easy emission factor to measure. He stressed that it is absolutely critical to have a clear understanding between what the regulators want and what the scientists provide. Ms. Sharp replied, �I don�t want to give the impression that any of this is easy, but there are certain emission factors that won�t require as much work to complete because the monitors are already out there and capturing the data.� Mark Boese agreed that sometimes there is information available that can help researchers get answers much more quickly for certain emissions factors, and the Task Force could help by prioritizing those.

Sally Shaver supported the idea of having the subcommittee create a list of priority emission factors. She said EPA has limited funds, and a priority list could help them target the more important ones. She preferred having the Task Force identify those factors for EPA.

Next, Mr. Bluhm invited John Sweeten to discuss the upcoming work of the CAFO Subcommittee. Dr. Sweeten said the subcommittee would continue to update their literature reviews, provide guidance with respect to measurement approaches, and help create and recommend a future research agenda. He said that some of the areas they will look at and encourage research on from a control standpoint, as well as for potential input to the regulatory arena, are PM-10, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, some of the fixed gases, and non-organic compounds.

The Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman, arrived, and the meeting was turned over to her. She commended all of the Task Force�s efforts in working with the air quality issues for agriculture. She said that Manuel Cunha had been talking to her about the air quality issues for about ten years, and he had certainly made her aware of the impacts of new regulations on agriculture. She related that the new Administrator of EPA, Christy Todd-Whitman, has spoken very strongly about her interest in taking into account agriculture issues in EPA, and she has announced that she will fill a position at EPA that used to exist long ago, the Agriculture Advisor to the Administrator. Secretary Veneman also mentioned that she, Administrator Whitman, and Secretary Gail Norton of the Department of Interior are meeting regularly to discuss issues of common interest, and they are committed to coordinating their approaches to these issues.

Annette Sharp expressed her concerns as a regulator about the Title V permit program. She stated, �If someone does not stop the process that we are on now, the states will be in a position of having to regulating unfairly, in many cases, or of requiring the agriculture community to have Title V permits. That is not something that we want to be in a position of doing.� Ms. Sharp expressed her hope that the Secretary and Administrator Whitman would be able to work out a solution to this problem. The secretary replied that she hoped to make progress on that and other issues.

After a short break for a photo with the Secretary, the Task Force returned to the meeting table. Phil Wakelyn said he was encouraged by the Secretary�s statement that Administrator Whitman would fill the position of Agriculture Advisor to the Administrator, because that would mean there would be an agriculture person on her staff at a high level. Dr. Wakelyn recommended a counterpart on the Secretary�s staff that would be for agriculture air quality issues or agriculture environmental issues at a high level and would report directly to the Secretary.

John Sweeten returned the discussion to the CAFOs Subcommittee and recognized Calvin Parnell. Dr. Parnell commented that determining emissions factors is not as easy as taking a sample, doing a measurement, and calculating a number: �Good science is very difficult � and it is expensive.�

Phyllis Woodford stated that she would like to see the CAFO subcommittee work closely with EPA�s internal CAFO process. She said the subcommittee should also focus on potential or upcoming issues, such as ammonia being a precursor to PM-2.5 and what that could mean for animal feeding operations, and they should examine alternative technologies for AFOs.

Finally, George Bluhm invited Jerry Masters to talk about the Follow-Up Subcommittee. Mr. Masters said the focus of the subcommittee would be to convey to the nation�s top managers and policy setters the importance of air quality and the impact that air quality regulations could have on agriculture. Production agriculture is facing many very costly regulations and the fear of more regulation without sound science. He commented, �Environmental activists seem to operate in terms of sound bytes instead of sound science,� but the subcommittee would work hard to help the Task Force secure funding for the science. Bob Avant agreed with Mr. Masters� points, and he asked Mr. Bluhm and Chairman Reed if there were any other follow-up items they wished the subcommittee to consider. Chairman Reed said he would discuss his suggestions with the co-chairs later.

Mr. Bluhm indicated that the subcommittee work would now be turned over to the co-chairs for them to organize and create their schedules. He asked that they submit their schedules and plans to him within 30 days so that he could circulate that information to everyone. Chairman Reed also suggested that Mr. Bluhm and his staff provide all Task Force members with copies of the law establishing the Task Force and make sure everybody reads it so they have a general understanding of the parameters established in the law.

Chairman Reed requested a motion to accept the minutes of the last meeting. Manuel Cunha so moved, and Calvin Parnell seconded. Hearing no discussion, Chairman Reed called for the question; the motion passed.

Jeff Schmidt opened the public comment period by introducing Ray Knighton again, who talked about CSREES�s new tact for their 2003 budget. The agency will be putting together a budget request based on five priority areas that the Secretary of Agriculture identified in her recent speech to the Agriculture Outlook Forum. In her speech she said, �Our regulatory environment must not be so burdensome that it places undue cost on the farm economy. That�s why we will ensure that regulations must be based on sound science and common sense with solutions involving local input wherever possible.� Dr. Knighton related that he had been tasked with developing a white paper on regulatory policy for environment goals based on sound science. He requested that the Task Force prepare a one-page issue paper on the areas CSREES should consider with respect to air quality: �Since I am chairing this group for our agency, I will guarantee that something gets put in there on air quality.� John Sweeten asked Dr. Knighton when he would like to receive the Task Force�s recommendations; Dr. Knighton replied that he would need that information within three or four weeks.

Manuel Cunha suggested that the Follow-Up Subcommittee draft the document to Dr. Knighton, and then send it to Chairman Reed to be forwarded on to Dr. Knighton. Chairman Reed replied that he was assigning George Bluhm the task of following up with the appropriate subcommittee and ensuring the appropriate coordination for drafting the document.

Next, Mr. Schmidt introduced Dick Amerman with Agricultural Research Service. Dr. Amerman started by clarifying the nature of the research effort in the USDA. He explained that ARS has base funding that enables them to take a long-term view, do long-term planning, and set up long-term research projects. CSREES funds shorter-term research of three to five years. He asked that the committee take this combination of research efforts into account when they make their recommendations regarding the research done by USDA, and he suggested they also pay some attention to how well ARS and CSREES coordinate their research agendas.

Dr. Sweeten told Dr. Amerman that in a report prepared by the Research Subcommittee, a paragraph discussing the $10 million recommended for CSREES says, �These funds should be allocated through competitive research grants with 50% targeted to research programs with a five- to seven-year duration.� Dr. Sweeten said that the intention at that time was to strike a balance between short- and long-term research, but he asked Dr. Amerman if that was the proper place to put such a statement. At Dr. Amerman�s request, Dr. Knighton replied that he was not aware of any authorities under which CSREES operates that allow for research for up to seven years; their maximum funding authority is five years.

Bob Avant recalled that two types of funding, intramural and extramural, had been mentioned. He asked both Dr. Amerman and Dr. Knighton what opportunities they foresaw in the future to enhance the extramural participation, particularly by land grant universities. Dr. Amerman answered that ARS is the intramural research agency whose primary mission is to respond to the needs of the NRCS and other USDA agencies; they have no authority to provide grants on a widespread basis. CSREES, however, offers many potential opportunities for extramural research, although Dr. Knighton said that currently they do not have any identified focus sources for air quality. He reiterated his earlier comment that the best opportunity for the short term may be to redirect some IFAFS money towards air quality research.

Mr. Avant asked if there was a document that defines the distinction, in the view of USDA, between basic and applied research. Dr. Amerman did not believe there was such a document, so he gave his own examples.

Manuel Cunha said he felt it was important to start evaluating ARS and CSREES�s goals, which have been in place for the last 45 years. He suggested that the Task Force provide both of the agencies with guidance documents concerning their protocol, and he further proposed that ARS�s total research budget be evaluated to find ways of dedicating funds to air issues. Mr. Cunha asserted, �It is not solely EPA�s responsibility to fund agriculture research; it is our agency that takes care of the 2.1 million farmers that feed the nation, so we need to take care of those farmers.� Dr. Amerman replied, �I think I can speak for the agency in saying we would welcome such an evaluation.�

Dr. Sweeten added that as the Follow-Up Subcommittee pursues Mr. Cunha�s suggestions and examines ARS and CSREES�s missions and funding, the subcommittee should probably also examine some of the programs in the National Institute of Health, which has several times the funding.

The meeting was adjourned.