Interview of Mark Berman
The meeting of the USDA Agriculture Air Quality Task Force began Tuesday, February 15, 2000, at 8:30 a.m., with a call to order by the designated federal official. The official explained the procedures for how the general public should make presentations to the committee, and then Acting Chairman Gary Margheim provided opening remarks and welcomed everyone.
Dr. Margheim introduced a member of the audience, Susan Dekeyzer, who is on Congressman John Cookseys staff. (John Cooksey is a member of the Ag. Appropriations Committee.) It was announced that Ms. Dekeyzer would be with the committee for the first two days of the meeting.
Next Mr. Margheim recognized Annette Sharp, Stephanie Whalen, and Calvin Parnell for participating in a local television broadcast at 6:30 that morning on Channel 2. Dr. Margheim mentioned that they did an outstanding job of representing the Agriculture Air Quality Task Force.
Gary Margheim yielded the floor to Annette Sharp to introduce the Honorable Bob Odom, Commissioner of Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Ms. Sharp thanked Commissioner Odoms staff, particularly Brad Spicer and Butch Steagal, and Dr. Paul Coriel of Chancellor Richardsons staff for putting on the meeting. Ms. Sharp then formally introduced Commissioner Odom.
Commissioner Odom began by stating, I cant name a commodity that will cash flow in agriculture today. So whatever decisions we makethat you make, that I make, that Chancellor Richardson makes at the university weve got to make sure that we will have a stable agriculture, not only in this state, but in this country today. The Commissioner then briefly mentioned some recent changes in agricultural burning, particularly in the way sugar cane is harvested. Louisiana is soon going to certify the people that will be doing the cane burning.
Dr. Robert Quinn expressed thanks on behalf of the Ag-Burning Subcommittee for the work that Commissioner Odom and his staff, particularly Brad Spicer, did in helping the subcommittee gather the resources and the data necessary to develop their policy recommendations for the Secretary and EPA.
Annette Sharp then introduced Dr. William Richardson, Chancellor of the LSU Agriculture Research Center. Dr. Richardson heads the group of scientists who help develop the species for sugar and other crops in Louisiana. Dr. Richardson described some of LSUs research activities, particularly those studying forestry burning and sugar-cane burning. In the future they will be looking at developing sugar varieties that will help the burning issues, but this is a long-term process. Dr. Richardson commented, We're trying to deal with the air-quality issues from a basis of science and work with the industry, because we need to maintain a viable sugar industry, yet we want to be responsive to the concerns of the citizens about the air that they're breathing and stretch that into soil and some water-quality issues also.
Larry Erickson asked Dr. Richardson if there are any alternatives to burning sugar cane, and what the impacts of a burning ban would be. Dr. Richardson answered briefly that a total ban on burning would greatly increase the economic liability to sugar-cane farmers, especially if they should have an early freeze.
Gary Margheim then moved into the business portion of the meeting and discussion of the minutes from the last meeting. Because of technical difficulties with the recording equipment, there were many gaps in the transcripts, and Dr. Margheim felt the draft minutes needed more editing before they could be approved. Phil Wakelyn agreed and said he and others would be rewriting portions of the minutes and giving them to George Bluhm. Dr. John Sweeten recommended that Task Force members submit their edits to the minutes by Thursday afternoon. He then moved to defer approval of the minutes until Thursday afternoon to allow more time for revision. The motion was seconded. Gary Margheim called for a vote; the motion carried.
Gary Margheim updated the Task Force on the agricultural burning policy and the voluntary program; both of those documents were transmitted to the Secretary in late December. The policy on burning has gone through an inter-agency review and now resides in the Secretary's office. The voluntary compliance program likewise rests in the Deputy Secretary's office and is currently undergoing review. Recognizing the need to get these two documents to EPA, the Secretary requested that Pearlie Reed, as chairperson of the Task Force, send the two documents to EPA with the caveat that they are still under review within USDA. Bob Perciasepe, the Assistant Administrator at EPA for air and radiation, has the documents so EPA can begin their review.
Phil Wakelyn asked how long these reviews would take, and Mr. Margheim said his best guess was three to four weeks. Dr. Wakelyn then inquired what steps the documents have to go through at EPA, and whether they can put something in the Federal Register for comment before the documents get final approval from USDA. Robin Dunkins replied that EPA would like to have concurrence from USDA. They plan on preparing a notice in the Federal Register just announcing that these are the Task Force's recommendations and then taking comments on them. Ms. Dunkins anticipated that by the next Task Force meeting, EPA would hopefully have made the Federal Register notice and perhaps received some comments from the public.
Phyllis Woodford asked if any changes had been made to either document by USDA or any of the agencies reviewing the documents. Gary Margheim answered that the Task Force's purpose as an advisory group is to make recommendations to the Secretary, and while agencies like USDA and EPA can comment on those recommendations, they cannot change them.
Gary Margheim next told the group that Chairman Reed had asked him to put together a list of the three or four most important accomplishments of this Task Force over the last year so that he can submit them to the Secretary the following Monday. The list Mr. Margheim had composed included 1) establishing priorities for research and aggressively pursuing the associated funding, 2) making recommendations regarding the voluntary compliance program, and 3) creating the policy on agriculture burning. When Mr. Margheim solicited the group's feedback on the list, Phil Wakelyn responded that he believed those were indeed the three most important accomplishments. Bill Hamilton suggested specifically mentioning an extension or education program to tie the Task Force's work with CSREES.
Keith Saxton added that raising the whole air quality/agriculture interface issue to the general public and to the farming community has been another achievement. John Sweeten and Clinton Reeder concurred. In addition, Mr. Reeder said, We need to remind the Secretary and other people that the M.O.U. not only exists, but that relationship continues to foster productive things as we interact with the EPA.
Mr. Reeder also suggested listing items the Task Force has in progress, and Phyllis Woodford agreed. Calvin Parnell proposed that the document for the Secretary restate the Task Force's goals, in particular recommending research or good science. The science is necessary to provide a basis for the regulations on agriculture; without good scientific data, EPA and a number of states are basing regulations on their best guesses because they do not yet have the information needed to appropriately regulate agriculture.
Gary Margheim thanked everyone for the comments. He promised to integrate these thoughts into the memo to the Secretary and to share the memo with the group.
Next, Annette Sharp opened a presentation on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a tool in determining base data for future emission factors and conservation methods. She first introduced Paul Zundel, who runs the GIS Center at Louisiana DEQ, and Brad Mooney, one of the senior GIS analysts. Mr. Mooney talked about their work using remote sensing in GIS technologies for land-use mapping and analysis, which are essential for environmental management. He focused on Bayou Plaquemine Brusly, which is a watershed that they had studied for the past year.
Phil Wakelyn asked how the land-use mapping would relate to determining emission factors. Brad Mooney deferred the question to Annette Sharp, but before she replied, Dr. Wakelyn commented, We have a dearth of data that allow us to come up with emission factors, and we need much more fundamental work before we can apply some of this to coming up with emission factors. I think we need to be extremely careful about how we take these data and apply them to coming up with emission factors. In answer, Ms. Sharp said that having more information on types of crops, acreage actually in production, etc., helps Louisiana DEQ tighten down on area source emissions.
Calvin Parnell supplemented what Dr. Wakelyn said about emission factor data with an example related to PM-10 from agriculture operations. Dr. Parnell said that emission factor data generated by Dr. Flocchini, a member of the Task Force, and Dr. Wayne Coates in Arizona were approximately 300 times less than the AP-42 numbers that EPA has published, but when most states look at data on emissions from field crops, they use the data that is used by EPA, which is often not correct.
Robert Quinn asked if LDEQs system of combining GIS, satellite-derived data sources and ground verification could be implemented on a season-by-season, year-by-year synoptic-level basis. Brad Mooney could not answer at that time. Brad Spicer said one of the purposes of this study is to look at land use through satellite imagery and eventually build a database from year to year. Based on that database, they would work with their water-quality efforts and supplement that data to determine what needs to be done in various watersheds to address pollution problems from agriculture.
Clinton Reeder expressed serious concern about the validation of this kind of study. He said, If agencies develop generic solutions and then try to impose them on the land in general when it's not site-specific and not very economically feasible, we're going to generate an uproar in the country. Mr. Reeder suggested the Task Force recommend that the application research be going on at the same time as this technical research.
Keith Saxton asked if there is technology out there right now that could provide real time imaging of fields burning, for example. Mr. Mooney answered that currently they do not have such a system available.
Next to speak was Yvonne Johnson, who works for Sally Shaver at EPA. In Ms. Shaver's absence, Ms. Johnson presented an overview of the air toxics program. The 188 air toxics listed in the Clean Air Act are pollutants that may cause cancer or other serious health effects. The first component of the air toxics program is setting national standards as described in 112D of the Clean Air Act. Ms. Johnson reported that EPA has issued 46 standards for 82 differing types of industrial sources, but the statutory deadline for the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards is November 15, 2000. EPA will not have them all completed by the statutory deadline, but they do expect to have all the standards finished by the section 112J hammer date, which is May 15, 2002.
The second component of the air toxics program is the national-, regional-, and community-based initiative to focus on multimedia and cumulative risk. The initiative includes, among other programs, the integrated urban air toxic strategy, which EPA published in July 1999. The primary goal of this strategy is to achieve 75% reduction in cancer incidents in urban areas nationwide from all stationary sources. Ms. Johnson also mentioned that the first mobile-source standard under this initiative is supposed to be proposed in July 2000 and promulgated in December. The additional area-source standards will be promulgated by 2004.
Ms. Johnson indicated that because of funding issues this year, EPA had to pare down some of their efforts, including air emissions from Confined Animal Feed Operations (CAFOs). However, they are working with the Office of Water to develop an action plan for later this year, and then they hope to begin implementing parts of the plan in 2001.
The third component of the air toxics program is the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA), which includes emission inventories, monitoring networks, and ongoing research. The fourth major component is educational outreach.
Annette Sharp asked how EPA is going to measure a 75% reduction in cancer incidents. Ms. Johnson responded that EPA will be using NATA to build the tools to define this 75% incidence as well as to determine how they will know when they have met the goal, which is mandated by the Clean Air Act. They do not yet have anything definitive. When Ms. Sharp inquired if EPA would publish when the tool is developed and identify the measurement tool in the Federal Register, Ms. Johnson said she would find out and report back. Finally, Ms. Sharp said she noticed that EPA was going to try to locate new air toxics sites with the new PM-2.5 speciation. She commented that the PM-2.5 sites might not necessarily be the places at which they want to collect data on air toxics. Yvonne Johnson agreed, but she said she did not know enough to answer much more than that. EPA will use information from PAMS, PM 2.5,and other existing networks, eg. State or local, to collect as much as possible on any air toxic. In addition EPA intends to establish monitors to supplement their data to build an adequate monitoring network. The monitoring concept paper is available on the UATW and has through peer review.
Larry Erickson requested that Ms. Johnson elaborate on the educational outreach component of the air toxics program. She replied that EPA tried to incorporate education outreach into all the pieces of the air toxics program as they developed them.
Clinton Reeder asked how EPA was going to trace a 75% reduction in cancer, which is a long-time occurrence, back to a specific industry and do that in a way that the data is valid enough to sell to that industry. Ms. Johnson answered that they will measure reduction of the risk using the national-assessment piece, but those tools are still in the early stage of development. However, it is important to note that these goals are national and not tied to any specific standards.
Stephanie Whalen expressed concern about EPA's tendency to implement technology that will supposedly improve things just because they have a mandate, when in fact they do not yet know how to measure the problem or any improvements. She was also worried about the monitoring network for the Great Waters Program being decreased due to the budget. Ms. Johnson responded that EPA did not want to cut anything out completely, but because of their significant budget reduction, they did have to look at ways to spread out the impact of decreased funding. They did have to reduce the number of new monitoring sites for the Great Waters Program, but they are continuing to fund the existing ones, and they will be initiating some of the new ones, but not at the level that they would prefer.
John Sweeten asked Ms. Johnson to specifically define the effects the Air Toxics Program might have on agriculture production and processing operations, and to describe the extent to which the sampling network reflects agriculture-production regions versus the inner city areas. Ms. Johnson deferred the question to Robin Dunkins, who said one program area related to agriculture would be the air-water interface issues with respect to the animal-feeding operations. There is also a petition to list hydrogen sulfide, which is related to animal-feeding operations, as well as other industrial sources.
Phyllis Woodford then put three questions to Ms. Johnson. First, Ms. Woodford requested more information on the CAFO project listed in the Great Waters Program. Second, she asked what is being done to ensure that some of the research identified under the Urban Air Toxics Strategy is funded and actually completed. And third, she inquired if states will have to develop a state implementation plan to implement this strategy. Ms. Johnson replied that EPA has developed an implementation strategy for the MACT standards, and as they move from the MACT standards more into the other areas, then implementation will become a very important area as well. Phil Wakelyn then clarified that the MACT standards (which EPA is developing for each of the pollutant compounds listed in the Clean Air Act) are specific for a particular industry, and they are only a general part of a state's plan. Robin Dunkins confirmed that they would fall under the general SIP provisions.
John Sweeten requested that before the end of the meeting Ms. Johnson and Ms. Dunkins provide the Task Force a list of the 188 compounds, as well as some kind of a demarcation as to those that are more likely to be involved with agricultural enterprises. The two agreed. Calvin Parnell and Phil Wakelyn then shared a few comments about the draft MACT standard for hexane, which is used in oil-seed processing.
The next speaker was James Homolya, who is with the Monitoring and Quality Assurance Group in the Air Programs Office at EPA's Research Triangle Park. Mr. Homolya described some of the criteria pollutant monitoring activities in which EPA has been involved. The PM-2.5 federal reference method monitoring network has been in place for about a year with upwards of 1,000 monitoring sites throughout the country, mostly urban based. The standard implementation gave rise to the Chemical Speciation Program, which augments the routine mass monitoring network with a component that looks at the chemical composition of PM-2.5 mass and how it could relate to issues such as urban air toxics or non-urban air toxics. The program is meant to provide a basis of information for understanding the underlying issues of causal relationships to health effects.
Mr. Homolya said EPA is currently developing a 54-site trends network just to focus on PM-2.5 and changes in composition of aerosol for the long term. Initial implementation of the monitoring, which they are calling a mini-trends program, is focused on 13 sites that began taking samples February 9, 2000. EPA will be installing the other 40 to 42 sites during the second half of this year, and then the state and local agencies will install their own speciation networks. Mr. Homolya said the EPA's guidance program provides flexibility for the states to design their networks to consider the issues, such as agriculture, that may be unique or germane to their part of the country. Mr. Homolya then characterized the different speciation samplers being used for the study, and he described the types of data, analysis methods, and data validation procedures.
Phil Wakelyn asked if any microbiological information or at least components of microbiological material is being measured. Mr. Homolya answered no, not on a routine basis. He said the detection limits of this type of network do not provide analysis for microbiological samples. Dr. Wakelyn then inquired why EPA is using four different samplers three samplers plus the IMPROVE to collect speciation data. He asked if they had done work to show that all the samplers are equivalent, or if that is what the research is doing right now. Mr. Homolya replied that the research is yielding, for the most part, that the samplers are equivalent, but they are offering a choice of samplers in response to concerns of the technical community.
As his last question, Dr. Wakelyn asked how much money EPA has for this whole effort. Mr. Homolya guessed they had about $17 million for the trends national network, the state and local networks, and data analysis.
Keith Saxton inquired if EPA's sampling distribution and analysis techniques would be able to measure mineral dust, in particular wind erosion or wind-suspendable materials of a mineral source that may be packing organic material on it. Mr. Homolya responded that they are trying to evaluate that to a minor extent at the Phoenix site.
Clinton Reeder wondered if Mr. Homolya knew what it costs EPA to establish and maintain a single monitoring site. Mr. Homolya estimated that the one time capital investment for an existing PM-2.5 site is probably about $25,000 for basic hardware. He thought operating and maintenance costs would be roughly equal to the hardware costs on a per site basis.
John Sweeten then charged, How in the world does EPA plan to be able to fairly characterize American agriculture when it has methodically avoided placing sampling sites out on the Great Plains, where millions and millions of acres of cropland, both irrigated and dry land, are present, where the vast majority of the cattle and the modern swine industries are located? Or is part of the plan to avoid characterizing U.S. agriculture? Mr. Homolya responded, I don't think there's a plan to avoid it, and I don't think there's a plan specifically to put agriculture under a microscope. He said altogether there are about 300 sites; fifty-four of them are going to be in urban centers to monitor national trends because they want to know if the mitigation strategies are working. The state and local air-monitoring sites (SLAMS) are given flexibility so that if a state has a predominance of agricultural activities, they can choose to develop that type of data.
The meeting was then turned over to George Bluhm, designated federal official, to present any public comment. At that time, no public had come forward to present information to the committee.
After lunch, Dr. John Sweeten updated the Task Force on the activities of the Confined Animals and Emission Factors subcommittee. He discussed the report they are developing on agricultural air-quality issues, including odor, gas, particulates, and human health issues related to animal-feeding operations. The report will focus on research needs and then technology-transfer needs. It will also characterize current state and federal policy and summarize the array of technologies that have either been wholly developed, partially developed, or are yet to be developed to control odor, particulates, and gases. Dr. Sweeten also said the subcommittee wants to recommend program requirements for things such as USDA's Proposed Animal Waste Initiative.
Dr. Sweeten then invited Dr. Clinton Reeder to share some of his observations on dilemmas in the current research. First of all, Dr. Reeder said, The agricultural industry has to get in the middle of this health-effects research currently being conducted by the Center for Disease Control and some agencies that really are not Ag. agencies. Agriculture has to sponsor some of this, because it's the only way I think the industry is going to communicate to the general public that we really care about the issues. If we continue to only research production and we don't get involved in the health-effects research, I think we're going to make a mistake as an industry. Dr. Reeder also suggested that the agencies need to develop ways to train the agricultural industry and update them on the health effects of their practices.
Another problem Dr. Reeder mentioned is that because the government now regulates every natural resource on every farm all over the nation, the next two decades will see numerous conflicts between different resource goals. For example, maximizing water benefits means leaving something in the air; maximizing production on the farms means losing something in terms of the environment.
Dr. Reeder also stressed that the agricultural industry as a whole is depressed right now and has no money to pay compliance costs, to a large extent. He said, We cannot sustain low-cost food and fiber production and also cover the regulatory costs that are being imposed on the industry. When a farmer can't cash flow a crop for the next year and he's told to do something that increases those costs, you'd better have your data in place or the farmers at home won't do it.
As a final comment, Dr. Reeder stated, As we deal with the regulatory arena, we're going to have to change our tack a little bit. Our timelines are too short and our imposed costs are too high when we try to move this onto the non-point sources, the rural areas. Their cash-flow generation is not stable from year to year, so the timelines are going to have to be longer for ultimate compliance. If the public wants short timelines, then the public is going to have to pick up a higher percent of that cost, because that's the only way it's going to get paid.
Calvin Parnell then reported on some new unpublished data on the emission factor for cattle feed yards. Dr. Parnell's research group is presently working with EPA to correct an error they found in the current AP-42 emission numbers.
Next, Gary Margheim introduced Karen Brown of the EPA's Small Business Assistance Program who talked about how agricultural businesses can benefit from the services of this program. She encouraged everyone to contact her and her staff of engineers with concerns about or for assistance with environmental compliance; all the consultation services are free. She then introduced Dick Lehr, the director of the Small Business Assistance Program for Louisiana, who briefly told about Louisiana's program.
Keith Saxton asked Mr. Lehr what he meant by fee-based funding. Mr. Lehr explained that all of the permits are set up on a fee schedule; when a major corporation or a small business is permitted, it pays a certain fee, which supports the entire Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The Small Business Assistance Program has worked with the DEQ to make the small business fee a fraction of the major corporation fees. Phil Wakelyn clarified that the Clean Air Act stipulates that a business pay some fee whenever it gets a permit, and each state can establish its own fee structures. The permits are supposed to supply the funding for the air agency.
The next speakers on the agenda were Dave Cagnolatti, Michael Patterson, and Tonya Newman, who talked about the ammonia industry in Louisiana. Mr. Patterson began the presentation by sharing some facts about the eight-member Louisiana Ammonia Producers (LAP). He said that ammonia-producing companies in Louisiana generate 6.5 million tons of ammonia annually, which is equal to 40% of U.S. ammonia consumption. Mr. Patterson also pointed out that between 1987 and 1997, ammonia emissions by LAP companies were reduced 66%, releases to water discharge were down 76%, and total Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) emissions across the board were down 76%.
Dave Cagnolatti then took the stand to discuss some of the issues the ammonia producers are working on, including hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico, TMDLs for nutrients for the entire Mississippi River Basin Watershed, potential for future exportation of inorganic fertilizer products to China, and theft of anhydrous ammonia for the manufacture of methamphetamine.
With respect to the Gulf of Mexico hypoxia, Mr. Cagnolatti said that the low levels of oxygen in the gulf waters result from algal blooms caused by excess nutrients in the Mississippi River discharge, and one of the primary sources of those nutrients is said to be fertilizers. The Louisiana Ammonia Producers as an organization supports voluntary reductions in nutrient runoff, but Mr. Cagnolatti said they will vigorously oppose any government-mandated reductions in fertilizer applications. He stated that the farmers are already economizing on their use of nutrients, and they think that process should be allowed to continue before government mandates any reductions in fertilizer use.
Tonya Newman told about LAP's education campaign called Raising Radishes with Amazing Ammonia. LAP partnered with the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators and the Department of Education to develop and distribute the kits, which target second graders. Since the program began in 1998, it has been very well received by teachers and parents alike. Dave Cagnolatti then wrapped up their presentation by briefly describing LAPs web site targeted for release on March 1, 2000.
Larry Erickson asked the presenters if they had any information on the relative amounts of ammonia that go into the atmosphere from different sources, such as animal production activities and ammonia production. Mr. Patterson said they did not have much of that information developed specifically for the State of Louisiana. On a nationwide basis, however, he said EPA released a report in December of 1996 called Precursors of Ozone, and that report listed sources for ammonia in the United States.
John Sweeten complemented LAP on their percentage reductions and quantitative reductions in their water and air quality emissions.
Robert Quinn requested clarification on the sources of the reductions. Mr. Cagnolatti responded that all of the reductions were from the processing facilities or the fertilizer manufacturing facilities. He said they had a 76% reduction in water emissions and 66% in ammonia. He ventured to say that the 66% in ammonia is at least relatively close to the total TRI reduction in air because the majority of the TRI number that is the air number from these production facilities is ammonia. The total reduction at all of these facilities was 269 million pounds.
When asked what technological changes were made at the sites that resulted in the reduction, Mr. Cagnolatti told how the facilities significantly reduced ammonia in water discharges by better retaining the urea and putting in better systems to transfer the material so there is less spillage of the urea, thus preventing it from winding up in the water and then breaking down into ammonia in the discharge. With respect to air emissions, he said the greatest reduction was in ammonia. However, he pointed out that most of the ammonia that is emitted is not from the production of ammonia, but from the process of upgrading ammonia into urea or other products.
Clinton Reeder commented that the ammonia theft issue seems to be nationwide now, for farmers in his area of northwest Oregon are experiencing the same problem.
After a break, the meeting resumed with a presentation on sugar cane burning issues. Charles Richard of the American Sugar Cane League began by giving a history of sugar cane in Louisiana. He then focused his talk on describing the most common sugar cane harvesters and the methods of burning that their use requires. Harvesting with soldier harvesters results in fairly slow-moving fires where the smoke stays close to the ground. Combine harvesters require lighting fields afire prior to the harvesting process, resulting in intense fires with flames shooting up very, very high and smoke going straight up. Large pieces of soot or ash get caught in that updraft and can travel quite a long distance.
Mr. Richard then described all the ways sugar production is decreased and costs are increased when cane is harvested without burning. He also shared some of the solutions, such as breeding new sugar-cane varieties and using new mechanical devices, with which the industry has been experimenting in an attempt to find ways to avoid some burning.
Next to discuss sugar-cane burning was Helen Vinton, Director of the Life Quality Program for Southern Mutual Health Association. Ms. Vinton spoke about the situation for farmers in New Iberia, Louisiana, and she encouraged the Task Force to continue seeking solutions where people are not impacted health-wise and farmers are not smothered out of business.
When the floor was opened up to questions, Clinton Reeder commented and Mr. Richard confirmed that last year's drought conditions made for a particularly troublesome year in terms of air quality issues and harvesting.
Robert Quinn observed that the new technology gives a more volatile, hotter plume, which is probably more efficient combustion, but it also creates a soot problem. He then asked if the perception that air quality is worse is purely a result of this new technology, or is it because people who were not impacted by the traditional technology are now impacted by the soot. Mr. Richard said the new burning procedure where they burn in standing fields puts the particulate matter high into the air, and it drifts downwind up to 10 or 15 miles. He indicated that the perception problem is from many new people being affected who cant even see a cane field from where they are. Dr. Quinn suggested that decisions about when to burn be made on a local region-by-region basis, ascertaining the best possible dispersion conditions both for local people and those downwind.
Dr. Quinn then asked Mr. Richard to explain what producers generally do with bagasse. Mr. Richard said that all of the factories in Louisiana use bagasse as their fuel source to power the factory, and the industry is studying various alternative uses for the excess bagasse. For example, one facility in New Iberia will be making construction materials from bagasse.
Stephanie Whalen asked for clarification on the new program certification Commissioner Odom had mentioned. Mr. Richard responded that the program being implemented is a certification program where growers complete a course to become certified burn managers. Dr. Whalen then added that the research shows that educating the people who actually do the burn on burning techniques can help control the problem with ash and smoke.
Mr. Richard ended by commenting that over the past eight years, the sugar-cane industry has moved from zero standing burns to probably 70% harvesting that way, and yet the medical experts report the same sort of respiratory problems despite the shift from a smoke-related problem to a soot or ash fallout problem. He said, The health community doesnt have enough data yet to show exactly what the problem is here, so we're puzzled. We need some sound science here to give us direction.
The final presenter of the day was Aldyen Donnelly of Gemco, who spoke about utilities and carbon sequestration. Gemco is a consortium of ten energy companies in Canada who are struggling with how to respond to the issue of climate change and how to manage their greenhouse gasses. Ms. Donnelly discussed carbon constraint, the Kyoto Protocol, and the challenges of developing national and international strategies for controlling emissions.
For Wall Street, the strategy is the timing of the measure, and that proportion of the total reduction for the country that Ill be expected to bear. Then I can go to my chief financial officer (CFO) and say, "I got a risk this big." Do you want to spend some money to manage it? Hes going to say yes. Hes going to want to know, how are you going to spend your money? I want to spend money reducing my emissions. Hell say, how does reducing my emissions reduce my risk? And the answer is, it doesnt. Right now, in the current US/Canadian policy context, I can satisfy my chief financial officer that if I spend a whole bunch of money on a lobbyist in Washington DC with a reasonable probability that Ill delay the regulation for a year. Or, if I spend a certain amount of money reducing my marginal cost to control I can actually make the case, that Im reducing shareholder risk. I can actually make the case in reducing shareholder risk investing in every factor contributing to risk except one. Which is my emissions or your emissions. So heres my first policy piece of advice. Both of our countries have spent two or three years now debating the concept of credit for early action. And were aggressive, so what ever we get from our government as a credit for the action policy wont be good enough. What I need is a clear policy signal that in the however unlikely event that the government in the United States and/or Canada would introduce a carbon constraint and the however unlikely event I would be bearing some of that burden, that policy statement alone would have me showing back up in your marketplace with at least a hundred million dollars tomorrow afternoon. No resolution of the uncertainty of the science, no resolution of the debate on Kyoto, no resolution of the timing, no resolution of anything but that if its there and if I can prove it when it matters, that its measurable, itll count.
Now, what we have done is weve entered the marketplace. Weve spent about two and a half million dollars on research. And weve committed about three or four more million dollars to buy tons. Because our principle here is to say this can work, we ask, do you like this? Does it matter to you? And if you like it as a very minimum USDA and US EPA should be getting together and figuring out a way to give us that one little argument we need. Which is if I reduce emissions over there and if I can satisfy everybody that I really reduced emissions over there, and if they are memorable, and if they are verifiable, I can count them if we ever find ourselves in that regulatory future: a lot of money will flow from US utilities, about ten to fifteen times what my numbers are. In principle, whatever I pay and no matter who I pay it to, to reduce my carbon emissions or bear my portion of the load, my customers will pay that price. So if I pay a total stranger, not my customer ten dollars to reduce emissions, I pass ten dollars cost through to my customer. If I pay my customer ten dollar to reduce emissions, and pass through ten dollars of cost to my customer, my customers broken even. So all other being equal, I can afford to pay twice as much per ton for reduction for my customer than I can for anybody whos not my customer. And my priority offset suppliers or reduction suppliers are also going to be suppliers and customers of other products to me. Another reason the US is attractive to me. I ship a lot of product to the US.
Right now our policymakers are phoning us all every two weeks saying, you want to come to me, and go look at an offset deal in Russia. And Im going to say an offset a Russian government back certificate to reduce emissions is one grade lower in terms of financial instruments from a Russian bond. And whens the last time my treasurer bought a Russian bond? I can tell you what happens when I go talk to my CFO about that kind of a proposition. When we ask, who are those customers and suppliers? we had no idea whether there was anything in agriculture. We just knew, given that set of priorities in the price line, that it was a good place to look. So this was a pretty good selection of farmers for us to look at. Those are our customers. We went back to the scientists and said okay, in that region, what we want you to do is dont do any new research, just look at what you know and tell us what the potential to sequester carbon in that region is in our customer base. And they said well, it depends on what you do. And we said, okay, now, step back, Ill tell you what, just given what you need what you know, list all of the before land use, after land use, in one column, act measures that could sequester carbon in that region, list all of the number of acres that are suitable for conversion, and we only have this much money. So lets play that by that ranking and then see how much we can learn about certain measures in the potential of given our limited funding.
She shared some research they are doing on sequestering carbon in soil, and she discussed some related issues, such as nitrogen emissions and measurement verification and reporting procedures for sequestering carbon.
Ms. Donnelly ended her presentation by saying, I can assure you that the opportunity to make carbon sequestered in soil a commodity just like oranges is real, and the market value for that will not be sufficient to address the national farm crisis that were both facing. Its real money. Its important money. There should be enough money on the table that the farmers who want to be will be better off in seven years for having shifted their practices. Theres a huge opportunity for farmers to get paid to do the right thing.
John Sweeten asked if anyone had looked at existing programs and policies, such as the Conservation Reserve Program and the carbon farming policy in the U.S., with regard to including some kind of incentives. Ms. Donnelly replied that first of all, both Canada and the U.S. have lost acres that were in the best conservation practices because farmers are now starting to go bankrupt. The acreage is going into large corporations, and theyre going back into intensive practices. She argued that making payments to a farmer to keep him in conservation is just as important as making payments to a farmer to get him into because were losing acres. And any little community will go after the program if they think its buying or trying to take credit for activities that would have already happen. But that direction also must come from policymakers.
Jim Trotter commented that most of what he has heard about a carbon sequestration has to do with tree planting and sequestering carbons with trees. However, Ms. Donnelly said, I can only make the numbers on trees work if its supplemental to a sustainable agricultural program. However, you know what? Fifty percent of what I was sure was true proved untrue when it was time to get a check through a companys approval process. I mean, thats why its so important to start by doing deals, however small, because half of what you were sure was right turns out to be wrong."
"We set up our approach to a marketplace by trying to keep our deal as small as we can as long as it meets the following criteria, that by definition the seller is whoever sells to us and we put enough infrastructure in place for them to sell ten times more than weve bought in the marketplace. And we also try to make our deal big enough that, its on the radar scope of every accountant, every auditor, and every lawyer, and every corporation involved. Only then will we discover all of the important things that we werent discovering before when we were operating theoretically."
In terms of our deal, were taking delivery of three million tons, but the infrastructure were funding can deliver a hundred million tons to the marketplace without any additional investment. So if the only buyer in the marketplace is me, because we didnt get movement policy, then the farmers are going to get a small portion of my payment, which I will get to. But if we make a real market of it, then the farmers will get a huge portion of my payment because of the economys to scale. Everybody needs to know, were on a graduated schedule, I pay way more for tons delivered to me in 2008 to 2012, than before or after. Because my government has decided that it matters. So, I actually pay payment schedule that puts delivery on hold, instead of cracking it in right away. If they deliver between 2008 and 2012, its between dollar-fifty and three dollars US a ton CO-2 equivalent. For now a farmer whos net cash receipts is seven bucks right now, thats significant. That means Im paying half a ton an acre now without any new science, its still small, but significant. And its reasonable that a good science program will demonstrate that those guys are delivering four tons an acre. So, a small numbers a big number to a guy whos net cash receipts are seven bucks an acre. Especially when seven to ten years later hes going to be more profitable on average even without my dollars.
Now, thats what Im paying. How much of that he gets depends on how fast we get the market moving. Because he gets almost all of it if youve got me down for a hundred million tons in the marketplace and hell get a smaller portion of that if he doesnt. We started developing our program with farmers but the reason we ended up doing a deal with the insurance agency is we wanted this to be rural, we want somebody be carrying a contingent liability on their balance sheet. I wantto obtain collateral security for the future delivery of tons without asking farmers for easements. She said, I dont want to take any action that could reduce the value of an acre land. I want the potential to be in the marketplace to divert the negative impact on to anybody whos not sequestering carbon and only have a potentially positive impact on people who are.
Clinton Reeder inquired if the credits will offset the risks associated with making the shift in practices. For example, at this point in his area, the science will not allow farmers to shift productively to no till at the dollar figures Ms. Donnelly mentioned. She replied that his area would probably not be part of the market that would sell to her. She added, If you take this seriously and say wemaking another commodity, then not everybody is going to be able to sell it and we should somehow, I think, become comfortable with that.
When Ms. Donnelly then commented that carbon credits could open up a new $14 billion market, Dr. Reeder replied, If we can look at carbon credits as just an alternative enterprise, rather than a solution to the industry, then we put all the carbon credits in the same context with another minor crop. And we cant find any minor crop that solves the problem either, because you cant solve a major crop problem with a minor crop alternative. So this broadens the range of income alternatives. Ms. Donnelly agreed.
She then asserted that the U.S. should be looking at value added and product diversity on every farm in the United States because she believes that is where the answers will be found. She used the example of Vancouver, Canada, supplying 75% of the tomatoes and cucumbers that are sold retail in New York State during winter. Buying bottled CO2, Vancouver can ship all those tomatoes and cucumbers and beat out Mexican suppliers; Once you start putting a value on that carbon, you change your business model.
Clinton Reeder said that he liked Ms. Donnellys idea, but if the carbon credit income for a farmer is less than the cost of shifting farming practices, then the farmer is not going to want to participate. Ms. Donnelly responded that if the carbon credit marketeven the mobile source or point source carbon credit marketis properly constructed, it will look just like any other existing agricultural market, where there is all sorts of uncertainty of delivery.
Phil Wakelyn asked Ms. Donnelly to explain the different range of values that she pays, depending on if her customer measures or does not measure carbon. He also inquired whether there any advantages in using one crop over another. Ms. Donnelly clarified her price system, and then responded that one crop is not necessarily better than any other.
George Bluhm then commenced the public comment period by introducing Ross Rogers, the staff person for the Governors Agricultural Committee in Arizona. Mr. Rogers updated the Task Force on recent progress in Arizona, including the Agricultural Committees adoption of the Ag. PM-10 general permit. He also invited the Task Force to hold its next meeting in Arizona.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:10 by the designated federal official.
USDA Agriculture Air Quality Task Force
Days 2 and 3
On Wednesday, February 16, 2000, the State of Louisiana hosted the Agriculture Air Quality Task Force on a tour of several farming operations facing air quality issues within the state. These sites included sugarcane burning, sugar refinery, poultry raising, fertilizer production, and composting operations at LSU.
On Thursday, February 17, the business meeting began its second day. Pearlie Reed, Chairman of the Task Force, opened the meeting at 8:00 a.m. The first topic of business was the report from the new Monitoring and Health Effects Subcommittee. Dr. Wakelyn, subcommittee chair, said his group had two new members, Annette Sharp and Clinton Reeder. The subcommittee is trying to follow the guidelines that John Sweeten has set with the Confined Animals subcommittee to flesh out the research needs in the monitoring area.
Dr. Wakelyn then invited Calvin Parnell to talk about the difference between calibrating instruments in an urban environment and calibrating for a rural environment. Dr. Parnell said that in general, agricultural dust is larger than urban dust; the mass median diameter for urban dust is about five or six microns, but for agricultural field emissions, it is 20 microns. While a WINS impactor, which is the FRM PM-2.5 sampler used mostly in urban environments, and the IMPROVE sampler, which is used in all the national parks, will yield similar results in urban settings, they give vastly different readings at the edge of a field that is being disked (ten micrograms per cubic meter on a WINS impactor versus 150 micrograms per cubic meter on the IMPROVE). This difference can have a dramatic effect on the way agriculture is regulated. Dr. Parnell stated, Weve got to make sure that when we use a sampler, we know the characteristics of the sampler and that were sampling adequately what we want to sample.
Dr. Wakelyn pointed out that a 2.5 sampler collects many other things besides PM-2.5. The study James Homolya outlined Tuesday uses four different speciation samplers, and while they are collecting some excellent research data, it is all from either an urban environment or a national park, not really from an agricultural setting. In addition, many of the monitoring instruments and models and process weight tables were developed for different industries and therefore have no meaning with regard to agricultural operations.
Clinton Reeder suggested that the subcommittee go on record with a recommendation that any air quality regulation in the agricultural arena be based on monitoring data from monitors previously validated in the agricultural community. Since there were no objections to the recommendation, the subcommittee was directed to include it in their report. Robert Quinn and Dr. Reeder then proposed making an explicit statement that this recommendation is not intended to provide any delay or exemption for agriculture from the regulations; it is only meant to assure fairness and equity in the regulations. Dr. Wakelyn asked Dr. Quinn to join the subcommittee, and he accepted.
Next, James Trotter, Bill Hambleton, and Dr. Amerman summarized the activities and results of the ARS meeting they attended in Sacramento, California, in January. The issues of considerable interest to the people at the meeting were ammonia and its role in PM-2.5 formation, the effectiveness of emission-control practices and development of new emission-control technology, reduced pesticide emissions, technology transfer, and research planning to cover cost benefit and risk assessment.
Dr. Amerman said ARS now has what it is calling an action plan, but it is actually an issues discussion intended to address all of the issues that were raised at the workshop. Dr. Amerman would like to get the actual research plan into position by this coming fall so that they are ready for the 2001 field season. He is going to ask for an ad hoc review to precede the formal review that will take place in December of 2001, so that they can get these things out into the field, get some research actually going, and start addressing deliverables. Dr. Amerman asked the Task Force members to recommend what they see as deliverables.
Larry Erickson suggested ARS consider developing ways of getting information from special technologies, such as satellite imagery and modern meteorology, to the farmers. Dr. Amerman said Dr. Ericksons idea had already been the subject of a good deal of discussion. He added that if anybody has any ideas for how to improve the process of disseminating information, ARS would love to hear them.
Dr. Clinton Reeder told briefly about a project he is working on that will try to predict potentially lethal dust storms using information on meteorology, soil conditions, and humidity conditions. Larry Erickson said he is involved in a similar prediction system project in Kansas. Dr. Reeder commented, Its a health-and-safety application of the air quality issue, and the more we can predict, the more we can forewarn not only emergency services, such as ambulance and police services, but we can also alert the community of an upcoming time when they might want to plan to be home or indoors.
Robert Quinn commented briefly on the incredible increase in meteorological data that is available on the Internet, both for professionals and farmers with access to it.
John Sweeten then told about the Texas Agricultural Experiment Stations Informatix unit at the Black Land Research Center in Temple, Texas. He said they are very far along at compiling the databases and real-time information on soil moisture conditions, rainfall patterns, weather station systems, etc. This information is absolutely vital for the water resources area of farming, but it also has very valuable uses in predicting likelihood of dust events, both in the field and from cattle feedlots.
Keith Saxton pointed out that the information ARS is assembling on research needs and their funding will be a tremendous resource for the Task Force to use in future efforts. Dr. Amerman added that the list of issues for research is much longer and contains many more items than ARS or probably the CSREES have resources to address. This is why ARS wants the Task Forces input on which issues are of the highest priority, and what the deliverables should be.
Clint Reeder suggested that the ARS program encourage researchers to incorporate monitoring and model validation elements in the process.
Phyllis Woodford requested adding a review of that issue paper to the agenda for the next meeting.
Next, Dr. Raymond Knighton from CSREES described their current research in air quality and agriculture as well as their 2001 budget proposal.
When Dr. Knighton started taking questions, Phil Wakelyn asked for clarification on the funding for the research projects. Dr. Knighton said the NRI's Competitive Research Program has $119 million. While it does not have a category focused on air quality, it does have areas under which air quality types of research can be submitted. With respect to Section 401 funding, there will be a request for proposals (RFP) going out in March that includes a natural resource component with specific language asking for focused research on air quality associated with animal waste. Dr. Knighton estimated that at best there would be about $5 million for the animal waste research.
Next, Don Gomer made a few comments on the Task Forces tour the previous day, and they the group took a break.
After the break, Annette Sharp introduced Dr. Claudette Reichel, an extension housing specialist with the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service at the LSU Ag. Center, who spoke about indoor air quality issues. Dr. Reichel told that the EPA total exposure assessment methodology studies found that for most pollutants, the levels inside buildings and homes are almost always two to five times higher than outdoor concentrations, even in industrialized areas. She called for a more holistic approach to addressing indoor air quality that looks at biological and chemical pollutants (both single contaminants and mixtures) and at controlling their sources. She described the major categories of indoor air contaminants categories, as well as ways of controlling pollutants by controlling indoor/outdoor pressure differences, moisture, local exhaust systems, and outside air supply and return location. Finally, Dr. Reichel discussed many of the indoor air quality issues that her organization covers in their education programs through extension offices.
John Sweeten asked if Dr. Reichel knew of any research relating the quality of air outdoors to the quality of air indoors in different settings, such as an agricultural setting and an urban setting. She responded that the team studies that were done indicate that generally indoor concentrations are higher than outdoor, whatever the conditions outdoors are, but it varies considerably by the pressure relationship of the building. She said that there is a need for more research, particularly in the agricultural arena where there are particulates in the air.
A committee member asked if they were doing any work on odor, and Dr. Reichel responded that they have not really addressed the issue.
When Clinton Reeder asked about furnace filters, Dr. Reichel replied that the real problem is not so much what is on the filter as what gets past the filter and then builds up. Fiberglass-lined ductwork also causes problems with mold.
Stephanie Whalen inquired if more data is being collected now, but neither Dr. Reichel nor Robin Dunkins were completely aware of the current status. Ms. Dunkins, however, said she could get a list of all the ongoing studies from the Office of Indoor Air Quality under EPAï¿½s Office of Air and Radiation.
As a final comment, Clinton Reeder said, It appears to me that in many of these issues dealing with air quality, were trying to solve the worlds problems by suppressing the source at the site of the source, rather than suppressing the source at the site of exposure. Maybe the solution isnt to stop smoke, but to stop smoke from getting in the house.
Next, Robin Dunkins gave a short update on activities in which EPA, air quality personnel, has been involved. First she reported on the PM 2000 Conference, sponsored by the Air and Waste Management Association, that was held in January. Ms. Dunkins said PM health data presented at the conference is on a fast-track for publication so that it can be considered for the criteria document when EPA sets the standard. The final criteria document is scheduled for fall of 2000 in order to have the next NAAQS review completed by July of 2002.
Ms. Dunkins also reported that EPA and USDA are working on an inter-agency workshop (to be held in March) to begin to develop the framework for the ammonia emissions model. Likewise, CENSARA, a multi-state organization looking at air pollution issues in the central states, is sponsoring a conference on animal feeding operations May 2 to 4, 2000, in Kansas City. Some members of the confined animal subcommittee will probably be asked to help with the presentation. Ms. Dunkins then distributed a flyer giving timeframes for when a curriculum for livestock producers will be completed by the Agricultural Compliance Center in Kansas.
Finally, Ms. Dunkins responded to a question asked Tuesday about how EPA will measure a reduction in cancer. She said they will not directly measure reductions in cancer but will use models. The assessment will include national and urban scale analysis, and the initial set of assessments will use the national toxics inventory data to establish a baseline over the years.
Chairman Reed then turned the meeting back over to James Trotter to revisit some issues from the Research Priorities Subcommittees morning report. Mr. Trotter stressed, If we look at agriculture air quality from the total issue instead of regional concerns, we can form some alliances and get something done in Washington, D.C. about issues like PM-10, PM-2.5, burning, and odor. Clinton Reeder commented, If we want to build alliances with the commodity groups, we may have to reassess some of the issues that were addressing and incorporate some other issues in order to draw their interest in a significant enough way that we can get their assistance when we go to get the funding. Chairman Reed then asked Mr. Trotter to continue his work with his committee with the support of George Bluhm and his staff.
Next, Chairman Reed added John Sweeten to the agenda to report on a meeting that the Confined Animal Subcommittee held the previous night. Dr. Sweeten said they refined the outline and made authorship commitments for the subcommittees formal report on confined animals. The report will be a kind of white paper that encapsulates the issues, problems, current policy, current technology, and current research programs, and then looks at the research and technology-transfer needs and recommends future program requirements. Dr. Sweeten said the subcommittee is open to other suggestions, as well as other volunteers.
Before moving to the public comment period, Chairman Reed asked Gary Margheim to quickly present an overview of the Presidents proposed $1.3 billion increase in the NRCS budget. Dr. Margheim said $600 million of the increase would go towards a lands stewardship program. It would make payments to farmers who produce clean air, clean water, environmental, thus recognizing their good land stewardship. The other roughly $700 million is divided up among some ongoing programs, such as the wetland reserve programs and the environmental qualities incentives program.
George Bluhm facilitated the public comment period. The only speaker was Roseanne Rosell from St. James Parish, Louisiana. Mrs. Rosell shared examples of the horrible health effects she has witnessed in her family and neighbors as a result of pesticide spraying and sugar-cane burning, and she charged the Task Force with finding a better way to raise crops.
After lunch, the Task Force reconvened at 1:00 p.m. for a presentation on the SIP process. Annette Sharp began by describing how State Implementation Plans (SIPs), which provide for enforcement of national standards, are put together to comply with the Clean Air Act. She then explained the process for ozone SIPs.
Before the next presenter began, Clinton Reeder asked how many man hours are involved in the ozone process. Ms. Sharp replied that she has a staff of three, and basically all they do is write and revise ozone SIPs and regulations for air quality.
Continuing the presentation on SIP development, Phyllis Woodford, a SIP planner in the Air Pollution Control Division of the State of Colorado, spoke about the SIP process for carbon monoxide, PM-10, and regional haze.
Robert Quinn asked if they were given a model or any guidance as to how to proceed to establish natural conditions for use in regional haze SIPs. Ms. Woodford said there is some information in the Regional Haze Rule and in its preamble, and they are also awaiting some future guidance from EPA. Robin Dunkins added that this spring EPA will release several guidance documents related to SIP preparation. Annette Sharp suggested that Sally Shaver be added to the agenda for the next meeting so she can report on whether the policy had been issued and then what progress had been made.
Ms. Woodford finished up her talk with a discussion of the regional planning approach for regional haze, and attainment dates. Robin Dunkins rounded out the presentation on SIP development processes by describing EPAs role.
Ms. Sharp then introduced Maury Estes from the Global Hydrology and Climate Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to talk about the Urban Heat Island Project. An urban heat island is basically a dome of warm or hot air that forms over urban areas that hundreds of years ago were principally virgin forest areas. Mr. Estes described the project and discussed some of the results.
Robert Quinn asked Mr. Estes to explain how creating a less intense urban heat island, and basically less vertical transport in terms of convection, would decrease pollution. Mr. Estes responded that Lawrence Berkeleys models estimate that a one degree Fahrenheit difference could equate to as much as a three percent reduction in ozone; What were trying to do is cool that dome of air over the city where chemicals like VOCs and NOCs are mixing and reacting and producing ozone. Dr. Quinn then shared comments about various misconceptions about urban heat islands and ozone problems. He said, Many of the Global Change monitoring stations are located in urban areas where there is an urban heat island effect, which is not unsubstantial, so we must try to decide how much of what we see in the climatic signals in fact is a station-location problem, rather than a real climatic change.
Chairman Reed directed the discussion back to the SIP development process for some further questions and comments. Keith Saxton asked Robin Dunkins if AP-42 and its treatment of agricultural processes are being impacted by the M.O.U. saying EPA was going to work much more closely with USDA to develop some of the SIP processes. She replied that over the last two years EPA has been working more closely with USDA and others in the agricultural community to coordinate and review some of the AP-42 fertilizer documents. They are also working with USDA on the framework for the ammonia emissions model, and with ARS on the PM-10 model for the wind erosion prediction system.
Dr. Saxton alerted the Task Force that much of this information is now on the web. Ms. Dunkins reminded everyone that EPA has an emission inventories conference each year, and she recommended that the Task Force get more involved in it, whether presenting papers or participating in the workshops.
Dallas Safriet, who works with Calvin Parnell on the AP-42, said they are working on putting more AP-42 information on the web. With respect to information on the Internet, Clinton Reeder then commented, We're paying the cost of this research and were trying to impose that cost across the industry base that we have in this country at the time wre globalizing, but theres no reciprocity for similar investments in other countries. It bothers me to see how easily were sharing all this information. Were paying the costs for it and making it more difficult for our industries to compete in a global market. He recommended that the committee also deal with air quality regulatory costs and encourage those in the regulatory arena to begin to give more attention to what the costs are and how they are affecting the system as a whole.
Next, George Bluhm led the discussion of the location and date for the next meeting. He said the three venue options were Arizona, Florida, and Washington, D.C. Phyllis Woodford commented that having the meeting in Washington, D.C., would provide an opportunity for teams of Task Force members to meet with members of the Ag Committees and Appropriations Committee to educate them on issues of concern. A committee member suggested that they could set up a House and Senate Ag Committee briefing on the Hill where a group from the Task Force could do the briefing.
Calvin Parnell moved to hold the meeting in Washington, D.C.; several people seconded the motion. Chairman Reed called for a vote, and the motion passed. The chairman then charged George Bluhm with coordinating the exact date of the meeting with all of the members by close of business the following Wednesday. He also suggested trying to find a time when the group could meet with the Secretary of Agriculture.
Chairman Reed returned the discussion to the SIP process. In reference to Keith Saxton's earlier questions about AP-42, Calvin Parnell told about recent work on emission factors from grain elevators and emission factors from feed mills associated with cattle .
Next, Chairman Reed asked George Bluhm to discuss cleaning up the November meeting minutes. Mr. Bluhm handed out an updated draft and asked everyone to review it and send him their comments by the following Wednesday. Dr. Wakelyn suggested adding a list of all the people from EPA who spoke, and Mr. Bluhm agreed.
Chairman Reed publicly and collectively thanked Annette Sharp for pulling everything together for the meeting.
Dr. Reeder suggested the Task Force formally recommend that wherever there is a conflict between reliable field data and modeling data, the field data should prevail. Since there were no objections, Chairman Reed endorsed the recommendation.
The final order of business for the meeting was the public comment period, which began with Albertha Hasting representing the Louisiana Environmental Action Network. She called for research on the problems caused by burning and spraying sugar cane, especially on how those activities affect school children.
The last speaker, Wilbur Hastings, also represented the Louisiana Environmental Action Network. He asked the Task Force to do something about the air and water because we do not have good quality of life.
With the end of the public comments, Chairman Reed closed this AAQTF session.