AAQTF August 1998 Meeting Minutes
Miutes for the August 18, 1998 Teleconference Meeting of Agricultural Air Quality Task Force
Chairman Pearlie S. Reed
FACA Rule: Call to order and explain meeting process
This is a public meeting of the full committee under the FACA rule and is being taped. Public is invited to listen but please hold questions for the public input section. Transcription of these proceedings will be accomplished after Oct. 1, 1998 and placed for public view on the web. Handouts for today’s meeting are available on the web address provided on the Federal Register notice. Roll call. George Bluhm, Designated Federal Official
A. OPENING REMARKS
Chairman Pearlie Reed, Chairman
Welcome to the fifth official meeting of the Agricultural Air quality Task Force.
Introduce people seated in the room. We have important business and have the set up the meeting for about five hours. My goal is to finish the committee business by 2:30. Staff will be available for public comment until 5:00 Eastern local time.
Air quality research needs subcommittee
Jim Trotter, Farmer
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Not all folks have the research report so we will take time to fax copies to the committee members that don't have it.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - We need to address the air quality research needs subcommittee. Do all of you have now what you need to make a decision on this issue?
Jim Trotter - The question came up does this start in the year 2000? On our last meeting in Amarillo, we thought there could be funds that could be moved around and start in 99. I asked that as a point of clarification. On the document approved there, the year was 1999.
Gary Margheim - I asked Tim and Dick to chip in. I think it will be difficult in 1999 to shift much in terms of funds. It may be possible for ARS to extend it but I doubt it. The opportunity comes with the year 2000 budget which we are in right now and making an impact there. That would be my response.
Jim Trotter - The only chance for the FY99 is to be working with the conference committee. If outside interests have their ears they can express themselves.
Gary Margheim - It will be minimal in terms of 99. It will be impossible to redirect a small amounts. The real opportunity is the year 2000. We are in the middle of that now.
Jim Trotter - The deadline and the research is going to take several years. That is my concern.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Any other comments.
Sally Shaver - I would like to comment under priority 2A, I know for 99 there are several things that are on going within EPA that match these things. Some of the emission factor, some of the sampling methodology, some modeling which we are currently working on and are funded for 99.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Can we agree then to accept Jim’s report.
Manuel Cunha - I would so move to accept Jim’s research report.
Dennis Tristao - I would second that.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Any discussion?
Keith Saxton - This is a nice shopping list we have put together. I see 2 things that may or may not need to be addressed. We have not addressed the fact of agriculture on haze and I do not see anything in here on agricultural chemical release for secondary particulate. I raised the question, did these come up in discussion or were they missed by not putting the words in there in one or the other of these. In the 2.5 we could address the haze policy in the last item in 2A.
Jim Trotter - I am not sure on the mechanics of how this is done. We came up with these subjects last summer. What we did this time is just assign a dollar value to them. I am not sure of the mechanics of changing this at this time. We assigned dollar values to what was approved by the task force last summer.
Manuel Cunha - We do mention 2.5 under the standards. It will address those issues that you brought up under the NAAQS. The new bill that the President just signed regional haze has been postponed until the year 2017. We will start looking at it in 2008 which gives us a period of time to start looking at where does regional haze, what does EPA going to do. It gives us an opportunity down the road to address this in our research as we move forward.
Keith Saxton - Sally has to correct what Manuel said about regional haze.
Sally Shaver - What the T21 legislation did was it delayed the implementation of the regional haze program and tied it directly to the implementation of the PM fine program so that states do not have to submit regional haze sips before PM fine sips. It’s part of the secondary standard for 2.5. It is tied to the research we are doing on 2.5. Regional haze will also be covered.
Keith Saxton - That covers the question I was raising. Thanks.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Those in favor of the motion, please signify by saying aye. Those opposed. The ayes have it.
When we get this thing in here, Manuel, you raised the issue. We will do what we think needs to be done in working with the subcommittee and other members of the task force to do the appropriate briefings and follow up with people here at USDA.
Manuel Cunha - Thank you.
National research activities
Dr. Floyd Horn, Agriculture Research Service
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Dr. Floyd Horn, Administrator for ARS. I asked him if he could come over and spend 15-20 minutes to address any questions or issues you might have. Dr. Horn is here.
John Sweeten - He was out here in Amarillo last week. We enjoyed meeting with him. Gained a lot of insight, how things are working in Washington and how we relate to them and can relate better.
Cairman Pearlie Reed - Dr. Horn, do you have any comments you would like to open up with.
Dr. Floyd Horn - Our job, in ARS, is to provide the research that supports the action of regulatory agencies and air quality is no exception. We have through redirection and changing appropriations accumulated quite a sum in support of the air quality issue. There are several parts to that. We had a PM 2.5, PM 10 program. We also do work on ozone and odors from swine operators. Aerosols generically and a little bit of work on indoor air and funds we put out for ARS scientists and cooperators to do this kind of work is $6.2 million. The issue is PM 2.5 and 10 and we have $1.4 million. The problem we heard about people could not go to Cris system and how much was being spent on air quality research particularly PM 10, 2.5. Different agencies that report research use the Cris system but use it differently. In ARS that has served us very well is we use it as the building blocks of our national programs. We fund by Cris. So if Congress puts money in our budget to do research on onions, there is an onion Cris and X number of dollars go to that and use it on onions. If we allocate during the year or if it doesn’t rain and you have a field project, they move money to something else. We account for that and it is in the system. We allocate to these projects and that is where it stays. The trouble is is that the codes that go along with the Cris system are not that precise. From time to time, someone will say how much money are spending on sustainable agriculture. You get into aggregate definitions. The issue that people need to deal with is that the Forest Service and the universities use this and do not use the Cris system as a budget building block. If you add the staff, years and the dollars, it means something entirely different. In our opinion something less reliable because of the overlapping Cris projects and shifting of personnel that will add up to a lot more then one system; when they only have one system. It’s an accounting system for us and we usually can tell if it becomes desirable to track a certain chunk of money as it has in this case, its not a matter of going to the PC and searching. It is a matter of coming to the national program and asking for the information. We go through and identify which parts of Cris projects are on PM 10 and 2.5 and we report that. That is how we got the $1.4 million for particle research. I hope this helps. I thought we had dealt with this earlier. That or anything else is on the table. If there are any questions about ARS and/or our relationship with our partners.
Manuel Cunha - Under the ARS for your future budget, we had proposed a guideline of researchable projects that the task force came up with. List the type of monies that we need to deal with research as a subcommittee put together. That Jim Trotter today presented. We know that under CREES, there has been an add on to the USDA budget. It has never been budgeted. In the last several years, we have not seen any large amount of PM 10 research money in the USDA research money. We have requested through that proposal something of $40 million to start in the year 2000 and continue for four years. We are so far behind in research in PM 10 we do have four states that are in serious non-attainment status with USDA. California has four of them. We have not seen that and have you put into your 2000 budget, have you looked at putting in something of what you recommended to the secretary? Have you done anything in that role at all?
Dr. Floyd Horn - In fiscal year 1998, we requested in the agency budget $2.3 million for PM 10, 2.5. It was zeroed out. In the 1999, we requested $10 million and received $2 million if it sticks. The year 2000 budget is a secret. We can see what the trend is. I can’t tell you what the 2000 budget said. The problem is recognized and I will be at regional and we are aware of the constraints of the law and try to help to see that agriculture is fairly represented.
Manuel Cunha - What you gave us was good information. Is that $2 million is not enough help to solve those problems for 2002-2006. Maybe we need to take yourself as well as some other key figures in the agency to have a meeting with the secretary and to let him know the necessity of having this research money. The task force and NRCS can help guide those things because NRCS is sort of the agency that is talked about in the voluntary compliance policy program. That needs to happen over the next several weeks to months. They are working on the 2000 budget. We have spent outside monies to get USDA to help through CREES $873,000 for four consecutive years. If it wasn’t for that, today California agriculture would have been a permit to farm operation which would have been a disaster.
Dr. Floyd Horn - We will be glad to do that. The secretary and/or the deputy secretary Mr. Rominger is very close to this. We have had many meetings in his office on this subject. He knows exactly where this issue stands. He is the reason we have been successful as we have been although we would agree that is not enough money. I would point out that you talked about CSREES and ARS. There is a major difference in the funding of those in that the CSREES appropriation through special grants which is often I think you had. You have to go back for it every year. The ARS appropriation is not. Once its in the base appropriation, the only reason it would come back out of that is if we solve the problem or a low priority. That is not likely in my lifetime.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - You didn’t have the advantage of the discussion we had on the first agenda item today. Basically that item centered around the subcommittee’s research needs and we tabled that and plan to pick it up later today. I think Manuel would agree that this is the document of whatever we agree on as a task force and we want to recommend to the secretary that ARS and other agencies use as a basis for working with the system on the fiscal 2000 budget.
Dr. Floyd Horn - Let me say this by helping the task force communicate with ARS and we do talk with CSREES and others. We take our lead from task forces like this and particularly the action and regulatory agencies. ARS’ first job in life is to serve the research needs of the regulatory agencies. Something coming through as a high priority from NRCS or whatever, is automatically high on our list. Secondly we have this new set of national research programs. But they have been streamlined and now we have 25. Several are dedicated to national resources and agricultural systems. Dick Amerman is the lead of those that relate to this issue. Al Diedrick is the associate deputy administrator that leads all of the natural resources. There are a number of ways. What the priorities are, where you fit in the ARS national program. It is on the ARS web page. It is also a way to communicate with us and gives phone numbers, key scientists in the field. I can’t tell where this exactly stands in the 2000 budget but I will take a look at this and see where its stands. A continuing dialogue is extremely important.
Jim Trotter - That was one of our concerns on the research committee. How can we have a direct input? Is there some way some of us can have a direct input? Getting right to the nitty gritty is the thing. How can we have influence?
Dr. Floyd Horn - I meet regularly myself with the Animal Agriculture Coalition. That is one of many. Spring time is the most important time to compare notes because we have the appropriation hearings. A regular line of communication can be opened up with the national program staff. If you have access to the net, you can find exactly the person you want or you call Don Merrill who is the head of the staff. I can give you the number. We would be glad to that. This is not uniformly dispersed across the country. There are some concerns in California and Washington state. If you have a group that represents those subsets of the issue, it would be helpful to us to communicate with you.
Jim Trotter - I think would be great, we will have the documents today that was sent to the secretary way back when in July, 1997. After we adopt that, I think it will be imperative that we sit with you and Rich, and the subcommittee and take a serious look at this because it is going to be more than the western part of the US that has to deal with this issue. We have issues of 2.5 that are going to be scary to the agricultural industry across the nation. PM 10 is a separate issue. That deadline is coming fast and research takes time. Agriculture research, we may lose the point of time in the year because of weather and wait another year. The subcommittee and Dr. Horn should meet with Rich and lay this out on a serious note to make sure Dr. Horn has the proper funding in his budget.
Dr. Floyd Horn - I think we would be glad to do that. Dick Amerman has handed me a note indicating that this is exactly recommendation that came out of the meeting we had at Amarillo. This was the last meeting of the task force.
Jim Trotter - What are the mechanics of working this out?
Dr. Floyd Horn - You cannot let the moss grow. The year 2000 budget is in full swing. Once we start saying it’s a secret, it means its been generated in some form. It is undergoing scrutiny. Whatever the task force advances, is going to have to be staffed out and submitted up through the system by the agency heads in order for the secretary to even take a look at these issues. I am not saying we shouldn’t directly report to the secretary but he is going to want advise and counsel. It is important that not only with ARS but CREES and others as appropriate, we are going to have to get engaged in all of the debate at ground zero just to make sure that everybody is brought along. That will give us more of an opportunity to make sure we get a favorable outcome.
Calvin Parnell - A couple of points I want to make here is that one of the difficulties we have had on the target screen of the secretary and people like you about how difficult this problem regarding air pollution and how it is affecting agriculture. It is not just non attainment areas in California. It is dispersion modeling, odor control, emission factors from cotton gins, etc. We have some real serious problems. It is going to be more serious next year. It is my perception that this has not been recognized. We went through some frustrating times when we attempted to try and find out how much we could spend on research with ARS. The Cris projects were not the ideal thing. A number of us working on air pollution impact for 20 some odd years and we know where a lot of that work is going on and not included in the ARS. Some of the things that are going on are called air pollution and is not really air pollution. That is totally different. Semantics is a problem.
We have got to address this problem and one of our concerns when we develop this funding proposal, $20 million from USDA and $20 million from EPA, is to address this problem from the best scientists. Are we going to be in a competitive situation? We want $20 million of the $40 million that the task force recommended. If the other $20 million funding universities at UC Davis and Washington State University and TX A&M, but they may have to use their money elsewhere.
Dr. Floyd Horn - There is some of that but it is not an issue like this. The competition between CSREES which passes the money to the universities is terribly overstated. Things are better than they have ever been. Part of that is because ARS has developed direct relationships with a lot of the universities as partners not customers. We are replacing special grants with cooperative agreements that involve ARS and university scientists working together. That has happened in the past 48 months. I think you will find that if you ask around any university anywhere, the relationship with ARS is good as it has ever been. We are doing budget planning now. If the task force and the Congressional contacts, we would not go after $20 million under any circumstances. We would try to figure out who can do the work best, who has the talent and if the universities have the talent, whether that talent should be cultivated through grants or cooperative agreements with ARS. That depends on where it is. If it is co-location between ARS and the universities, the coop agreement is better. That is the way we would address that. I am not saying it never happens. Do not let it dominate the discussion. It’s better than it has ever been.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - We have five more minutes for Dr. Horn. Any other questions?
Keith Saxton - A comment on your last statement about the interaction. Our project here in Washington state is an excellent example of the ARS university cooperation because the progress we have made could not have been done by either of us at this point. The California people would say very similar. We need to focus on building that kind of a relationship. I would like to second your comment to do that.
Dr. Floyd Horn - Thank you. Every year we get testimony on the Hill of redundancy and competition. I personally have helped write the strategic plans for the university system through the regional experimentation director session and vice versa. It ain’t quite true and yet it’s a constant vigil to make sure we don’t do it.
John Sweeten - I would say that our work on cattle feed lock dust experimentation in ARS is a very good example of working on ammonia, etc. along with 2.5 that we are getting started. There are good examples out there. I am delighted to hear you speak in terms, Dr. Horn in regard to the cooperative agreements. We can work very closely on that and likewise as we get state funding to involve ARS.
Dr. Floyd Horn - We are going to close up here in a second. We are working hard on this. We have $55 million now out of a $800 million budget more or less that is dedicated to cooperative agreements with the land grant system and Texas Tech. It is a growing concern for us and we much favor cooperative agreements. It serves us all very well. Thank you very much for the opportunity to take part in this. It is an interesting task force and we will do our very best to keep the recommendations on the front burner in our budget discussions.
Phil Wakelyn – What the Task Force outlined are the priorities that we see and the money we think need to be spent on these areas of air quality research. We had a very hard time getting the ARS research program for whatever reason. We are not sure we have yet accurately gotten what USDA and ARS are spending in any of these areas. Somebody should look at what we are recommending and compare it to what is really going on. As well as what you said is in place what can be done by ARS to set up cooperative agreements with various universities to accomplish some of these goals. I don’t think as a task force we feel we have actually gotten a very good printout of what is going on at USDA and ARS that addresses air quality research. Some of what is listed as air quality research really is not air quality research. That was part of the concern of the Task Force and that was what Dr. Parnell was talking about. We would like to be able to help with your program. I think that is also what the Task Force members were talking about.
Dr. Floyd Horn - We could revolutionize the Cris system, which is above my ability. I can’t do that. It actually casts more or less in concrete how research is classified. We can try to accommodate the classification research system that we already use. This is a new one. We can create some kind of crosscutting matrix that properly classifies the priorities and the work that is underway. That is the most promising. That is our national program stamp. That’s our job and for the task force to see that that gets done. It means going through the Cris system and pulling out the pieces that apply in each of these boxes. If we haven’t done that, we should and will.
Phil Wakelyn - We had a very difficult time getting the ARS program and I am not sure we have that yet. That was part of the concern Dr. Parnell and I and others had.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - That is one of the reasons why I asked Dr. Horn to come in to day so he could hear first hand. Thanks for coming, Floyd. With respect to the task force, it is very important for us to go ahead and do our work and job, produce the appropriate information and work here with the system at USDA to get to the right people.
Dr. Floyd Horn - Thank you.
Model MOU principals for voluntary compliance with bad actor clause
Dennis Tristao, Ag Industry
Manuel Cunha, Farmer
After an initial presentation of the draft document by Dennis Tristao the following decision process took place.
John Sweeten - I am going to ask this question to you. Are there other parts of the USDA. I notice in the fourth paragraph. It is specific in NRCS. What about other parts of USDA. I want us to settle that.
Dennis Tristao - On our working draft here, we would propose that in the second paragraph, fourth line down at the end of that line we strike the Resources Conservation Service, NRCS and just let that read partnership with the USDA and in the last paragraph prior to the 6 listed items, we would just let that stand as EPA and USDA and strike NRCS.
John Sweeten - Thank you. That exactly speaks to my comment. I don’t want to have to amend it later if some other agency wants in.
Keith Saxton - I am getting lost. I want to know exactly what we are dealing with so once we bring this to closure we can proceed with Manuel and Dennis putting this in the system.
Manuel Cunha - If we can have Phil or Sally read off what they show and lets go down paragraph by paragraph so that we can finally get it right just you want and everybody understands so. Dr. Wakelyn if you could go with the first or Sally.
Dennis Tristao - Lets read the complete first paragraph.
Sally Shaver-The agricultural community has long held an ethic of land stewardship. For generations, most producers have maintained agricultural productivity in harmony with healthy land, the essence of land stewardship. Today the agricultural producers will have the responsibility to be good stewards of the land under their care. The voluntary development and implementation in conservation management practices, CMPs, provide farmers with a way to embrace this stewardship ethic. As we learn more about what is necessary to maintain environmental quality, the agricultural community recognizes that it may need to adapt to management practices to address environmental concerns.
Dennis Tristao – That is good. Is everyone OK with that paragraph? ( Response yes) Second paragraph.
Emmett Barker - I have a question. I don’t know what wording we agreed on for Dr. Sweeten.
Sally Shaver - You read and I’ll write and I will tell you in a minute. I am thinking that here if you put in USDA, I think it would leave out state and local research and education agencies and universities. Local would not be universities. Let me work on that.
Sally Shaver - The agricultural community believes that an approach similar to CMP development and implementation process would serve us well in these efforts. Partnerships with the USDA, the US EPA, state and local air pollution regulatory agencies, the agricultural research and education community, agriculture produces an industry associations are essential to its success.
Emmett Barker - I like that. That addresses right to it. She got it perfect. John are you OK with that.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Why don’t you read that phrase again.
Sally Shaver - I added in to the list after state and local air pollution control. Agricultural research and education community.
John Sweeten - That’s good. Go ahead.
Manuel Cunha - Implementing voluntary programs requires the support of local leadership and full participation in planning and implementing conservation activities. Locally lead, conservation efforts, environmental education programs and financial and technical assistance all help to build the land stewardship ethic that is fundamental to the success of a voluntary approach. Any questions?
The last paragraph. The agricultural community recommends that the EPA and USDA develop a joint national policy addressing agriculture productivity and its impact on air quality. Such a policy should rely on cooperative relationships among stakeholders and should be based on the following six principles. Are there no changes to those 6 principles?
Phyllis Breeze - A question on number 4. USDA, EPA should provide adequate funding to support this effort. There could be some confusion on what this effort is. Is it a joint national policy, is it a voluntary program. We need to define what that is.
Phil Wakelyn - Could that be already stated in No. 1, that there should be a coordinated research effort? When you read one, it gives us all the information for down below.
Phyllis Breeze - I think there is so much information in these principals that it can be a little confusing to know which one it is referring back to.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Do you have a recommendation?
Phil Wakelyn - Why don’t we make that no. 2?
Manuel Cunha - That would be good. I agree with that.
Phyllis Breeze - I would just renumber.
Manuel Cunha - Number 4 becomes 2 and renumber.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Any other comments on this document?
Phil Wakelyn - I would like to move that we accept the changes by the Task Force members and allow you to forward this to Secretary Glickman.
William Hambleton - I’ll second that motion.
Keith Saxton – For Information, could Manuel go over the broader intent of his policy? Phase 1 and 2 of this whole procedure again so that we are clear on what we are and where we are heading.
Manuel Cunha - What we are doing Dr. Saxton is that it will be easy for us to do a policy guide document that you have before you to let those agencies know what we are planning and how we would like to proceed. This gives an approval of support of what agriculture is heading toward and what EPA is working toward with agriculture. We go into the more technical which is Phase 2. We will now start to address Dr. Saxton and most of you have like what California adopted with the amended MOU went into more detail. What this will do will give states an opportunity to follow a guideline on how to deal the various voluntary programs and what to look up, what area to go to, who to ask. A general guidance for all the states. That’s what Phase 2 is going to do which will take a lot more work on both sides and sit down and draft this whole thing out. We need to have EPA and USDA agree. This letter does that. It says we agree that a voluntary program is feasible and workable on both sides.
Keith Saxton - Thanks. It’s a lot more clearer.Any other discussion.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Ready for the question? Those in favor please signify by saying aye. Those opposed no. The ayes have it. The next issue is the agriculture burning subcommittee report. Dr. Quinn.
Agriculture burning subcommittee report Robert Quinn, Scientist
(Effort will carry over to next year. Both Western Governors and EPA has people working on policy suggestions that will take one to two years to negotiate.)
Robert Quinn - I am going to review a little bit of the history in terms of our last meeting in Amarillo. I received a call sometime from Manuel Cunha that was concerned about efforts by the Western Regional Air Partnership Group that was an outgrowth of the Grand Canyon Disability Transport Commission. Their primary purpose was to look at the Class 1 haze issue that they were also possibly looking at formulating a burn policy. I will address how we basically tried to cooperate and basically get some input from that committee. What that did was basically triggered me to progress on developing at least a first draft of an ag burning policy, which I have done. That has gone to my subcommittee members about 2 or 3 weeks ago. I have gotten comments back from Calvin Parnell and Manual and Phyllis Breeze. She was kind enough to go through and do some editing. Taking her suggestions as recently as this past Friday, I have revised that document most of them straight forward English, constructional, language changes and sent that back to all the subcommittee members.
The document is approximately 11 pages long and I don’t want to read it to the Task Force right now. I am going to go through and simply just hit key points and after doing that I would like to open up for discussion and what I hope might happen, my subcommittee members approve is to basically move it be put out for review by the full agriculture task force. Essentially I took the wild lands policy as the skeleton or the structure and took that document and basically incorporated the agricultural burning concerns that were brought up at our meeting in Amarillo. I involved some definitions which involved both what we call primary agricultural prescribed burning which is burning in direct practices. I also have a definition of secondary agricultural burning which essentially looks at things in support of crop management such as CRP burning, ditch burning, disease control. Does not be applied to crop land. In the flow of the document, the essential points are that the purpose of the document, the agriculture burn policy addresses several public policy goals.
To allow the use of fires as a legitimate management practice to maintain agricultural production in the nation’s croplands.
To protect public welfare by mitigating the impact of air pollution emissions on air quality and visibility.
To ensure that the assessment, the contribution of agricultural burning to air quality is based on sound scientific based analysis of the relative proportion of air pollution from differing agricultural burning practices.
I then went through essentially reviewing some of the processes, MOU that had been established between USDA and EPA. I reviewed the scope and applicability of this document relative to Clear Air Act and to the National Ambient Quality Standards. As the document proceeds, there is a background portion of it which was also a part of the wild lands documents and that is similar to what I presented at the Amarillo meeting in terms of the various sectors of agriculture and reviewing the importance of agricultural burning and currently approximately how many acres are burned. The heart of the document comes down to two components. One is that I am recommending that smoke management program is a way to go. That is the same kind of approach that the wild lands policy took. My feeling is that states should have a smoke management program. For all agricultural burning. Within that smoke management program, the key concern that was expressed both at the last meeting by Calvin Parnell and many others, is that when you look at the regulatory context of agricultural burning, you have an incredible range all the way from a permit by rule where certain basic guidelines are given for agricultural burning. Sometimes not even requiring a permit. The grower is pretty well free to burn. Those practices have taken place in states where generally burning has not been a serious air quality consideration. As we are all aware, California, Washington and others, agricultural burning is a serious concern and has been part of the problem of non-attainment. States have moved aggressively to regulate agricultural burning in a comprehensive way. The response to this range of application what I have suggested in the policy is a two tiered system. It is a tier one smoke management program. That would be designed for the states of those areas where agricultural burning rarely cause air quality problems. There are a series of qualifications. Within that, there is identification and regulation context of tier one. They would include safety parameters, they would assess meteorological conditions, wind direction, speed, distance to receptor, time of day and hours of emission. A voluntary system of permitting to follow. Documents the agricultural owner, the location and acres and summary. The minimal level we need to move towards. Will get us into solving another problem which is the whole context of PM 2.5 and 10. We don’t have an adequate documentation assessment in many states of how much burning is taking place, what is a relative contribution of each sector and each activity to PM 2.5 and 10. The tier one smoke management program will start us in that direction. It would require basic demographics or tracking, we would know who is burning where and when and what type of product they are burning. The tier 2 smoke management program would be the far more comprehensive one. This would apply to states or regions where there are serious air quality concerns. It would handle areas that have moved that direction. Tier 2 would have a more structured set of parameters to require cooperation between regulators and agricultural owners/managers. They would minimize air quality impacts. Components would include a process for authorization to manage fires for agricultural benefits which identifies central authorities. At the state level, or regional. The pertinent state air pollution regulatory agency would process permits. Key components of it would be ownership location, description of area to be burned, crop to be burned, reason, acres and date of anticipated burning, safety. The authority’s decision would be based on existing air quality conditions. Real time assessment. The document goes on to address some more detailed requirements in terms of minimizing air pollution. Potential monitoring. It’s difficult to try to synthesize an 11 page document. I have sent copies of this to Robin Duncan and Sally at EPA and at this point, I would like to open it up for comments from my subcommittee members and Sally.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - We need to acknowledge Dr. Quinn’s work. He has done a vast amount of work and put a lot of time and effort into this document. From where we started, I think this had made major changes and is a good document to start working with. The committee should recognize Dr. Quinn in his efforts.
Manuel Cunha - I would like to thank Robert and especially if you were at the meeting that was held in Reno a couple of weeks ago, Grand Canyon Group that met, Dr. Quinn presented this to the forest people an to that group of individuals and did a great job. There are some things we can discuss and today as a task force, give the green light to make this go forward because if we don’t do something, the person in Arizona that heads the Grand Canyon project is attempting to write the agricultural burn policy for the western part of the US. This is not the direction that I believe that the Secretary of Agriculture related in his statement before Congress, that he was going to develop a USDA nationwide agricultural policy. This is the document that we need to work on and allow all entities the opportunity to input into it from the Forest Service and everybody else. This is a document that needs to be looked at for agriculture. And nothing against the Forest Service. I appreciate their hard work, but they should not be writing agricultural burn policy. Robert, thank you for your hard work.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Sally, do you have observations that you would like to make?
Sally Shaver - I have several questions. I appreciate the work that has gone into this. I have spent a good bit of time looking at it and I feel there is a lot of progress here in terms of where we need to go. I would ask you to consider that at least from EPA’s perspective, we will need to figure out how we work this in conjunction with the policy that we put out on the forest burning and terms of some of the secondary agriculture prescribing burning. There are some cross links there. In terms of the primary agricultural burning issue, I think one thing that would help strengthen this is identification of where USDA actually recommends burning or that’s an accepted practice. That would be helpful information. The other comment is that we need some strategy on how we need to work on this in conjunction with other stakeholders such as the states. It is going to be critical to at least how EPA has to deal with this document. We have been under a tremendous amount of pressure just on the interim policy that we have. We got a lot of support to develop that policy and along the way to get it out. There were some bad fires and there are people now who want to change that, the same who were in favor of it. It is a more sensitive issue. We must work with the larger stakeholder community and proceed with them would be critical in this process.
William Hambleton - What do you see as a realistic timetable on this? How fast does this thing need to come together?
Robert Quinn - I would refer this to Sally in terms of knowing her timetable and EPA’s.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - I need to make some observations. Manuel, I don’t know that I understand what you meant when you said give this issue the green light to proceed. I am of the opinion that we got to get Bob’s report before USDA, and if we expect the secretary do anything with that document, it’s going to have to be coordinated with the USDA agencies. The sooner we get that in process, the better. If Manuel, when you say green light, you mean getting the secretary here at USDA to take this issue on and start to represent agriculture.
Manuel Cunha - I mean in both directions. If USDA is going to go forward, the secretary needs to say to the task force, to you, this is something we need to deal with now. We need to deal with the first part. With all of the agencies that have to be involved in this including the states, if the agency itself, USDA, has to have the various components, what it is to adopt this draft document as the working piece that we are going on and expand or delete or whatever. That is what I am referring to.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - I think the task force has to weigh in on what it feels needs to be done. That is the purpose of the task force. We have to take that here on the behalf of the secretary and at his direction and do what needs to be done to coordinate with the other agencies so that whatever the secretary decides to do, he has the staff support and policy support from his leadership team here. I don’t see the secretary doing anything with USDA unless we provide that to happen.
Manuel Cunha - I agree. My fear is that if we don’t move on this, we are going to have a Grand Canyon Group that is going to direct agricultural burning because they have an agenda that they want done in 2 years to submit to the Governor’s Conference. That is not what we, when nobody else is able to be involved in it, we have a closed group of people doing stuff and I think what you just said is the way we need to proceed.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Sally, will a similar kind of thing need to happen on your side of the shop?
Sally Shaver - We have that interim fire policy out. It is in interim. We are waiting for two pieces. One is the regional haze piece and that is 2 years down the road and the other is the agricultural burning. I think realistically it will take us a year to work through the agricultural burning process, to work through stakeholder process. The sooner we have a recommendation coming forward, we can start working on that recommendation. We would like to have something out in a year. If we can do it sooner, that’s great. If it takes longer, it will just take longer. This would have a significant impact on what it does (WRAP). That’s the Grand Canyon follow up group. We are working with that group and they are starting at ground zero.
Phyllis Breeze - If WRAP was to come up with the policy, they would have to go through a similar process that would take x number of years.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Dr. Quinn, what I would suggest to the task force is that we collectively agree to receive your report. So that USDA and EPA can start immediately doing that we are going to have to do with it. Then put on our agenda for the next meeting of this task force and we hope to have one after the first of October. Those things will have to be agreed on by the task force. We can do it at that point in time.
Robert Quinn - That is my feelings.
James Trotter - Tier one burning has not been an issue in my state. So I assume that relatively little burning taking place would fall in tier one.
Robert Quinn - That would be my intent. That would be a decision by both the criteria that is eventually agreed upon, what exactly constitutes a tier 1. Given general guidelines and qualifications, more details would have to be worked out by EPA. My suggestion that it is also a decision is to be made by the SAPRA because they have decided that region is tier one appropriate.
James Trotter - Permit farming is something that concerns farmers and would like to avoid. 40 or 50 years ago, after harvest, most fields were burned. It was typical in Illinois. Today that is so isolated it is rare. Its only due to a special circumstance and it might be burned because wheat control was lost. I burned one field in the last 20. We could be making a problem with this permit thing where one doesn’t exist.
Robert Quinn - I guess I would answer that question is that my feeling is that if you look at other states and what is going on here in Washington and the changes are taking place in terms of tracking and responsibility and finger pointing, that one thing that needs to happen is we need to have a far more accurate assessment of what agricultural burning is taking place. There may be some states where it is minimal. I tried to design a policy that is flexible enough so that minimal kind of activity that you are talking about has little impact. It can be accommodated without burdensome regulations. I think too straight forward identification in tracking, if you want to call that a permit, its necessary. We have to move at least that far. Some of the criticism that came from there that agriculture is stonewalling. They are doing the same thing industry does and we are not the problem. I had to diffuse to a degree the perception that agriculture doesn’t want to come along and take their own share of the problem and part of that is reasonable identification in tracking.
James Trotter - This has not been a problem. But there will be concern as to why we need to get permits or deal with a western state problem.
Manuel Cunha - In California, farmers that don’t burn, don’t even require to get a permit. They don’t worry about it. If that farmer is going to be burning, he will call in. It has allowed California the opportunity to show agriculture in a positive mode to deal burning. It has been more positive to have some type of tracking devise that is not expensive. For the grower, you have to show the good public relations end and an environmental side. Without any major cost to the grower. That has been put to rest and is a great program.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - The issues that we can resolve today we ought to. Those we can’t we need to hold over to our next session. There are 2 real important things right now. To decide whether or not we are going to take Dr. Quinn’s report and put it in the system and start working on it so that we can have some feedback for him at the next cycle. Sally has some questions. Other issues, if we can put them on hold until our next session. That would help us utilize our time.
Calvin Parnell - I don’t like this telephone business because I have been jumping up and down hollering and screaming to get on the line. Compliments to Bobby on a super job. This is a very important issue in the state of Texas. Misunderstood a lot by the agriculture and forestry folks. We have in this last year from a period from May 1 through August 9, 7900 wildfires at 343 to 344,000 acres burned. We have a need for agricultural burning in this state. It’s a issue that relates to a lot of small plots on forest and agriculture lands. Working TNRCC which is our SAPRA they do not want to be in a situation where they have to permit individuals. Too numerous permits, in forestry area, they were under the perception that the SAPRA were permitting in Georgia and Florida.
The representative from GA gave us a presentation on their permitting system. It is a notification program. The Forest Service has no authority to go in and enforce a permit. When we go forward with the policy, can we incorporate the system we have in Texas? The way it works is that you are permitted by rule. You have limitations you must comply with. You don’t have to get approval. If you violate those conditions, you are subject to the same penalties as anyone else who violates a permitted facility. $25,000 fines. The agency wants to maintain that process. We need to be careful to provide flexibility so they can adopt a program they can use.
Phyllis Breeze - That is not the way EPA works.
James Trotter - If you go forward with a recommendation to the EPA and they will go forward with their general policy, that is not going to be a policy that will be attractive to our state.
Robert Quinn - Then we have to keep concerns like that in mind in writing this policy and make sure that we have it included in this. If we want to modify that tier one to have flexibility built into that, we need to get that into this policy.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - I would like to suspend this discussion for 15 minutes with your permission.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - I suggest we go back to the burning issue and Sally was next on the agenda to ask a few questions.
Sally Shaver - The major question I have is there some reason why this was written and targeted towards the state air pollution agencies as opposed to some other agency in the state? What we found when we did the interim fire policy was that the states were very varied as to who had the authority within the state to permit burns or allow, authorize burns, whatever word you want to use. Not everyone had a permitting system. Most of them who had any kind of system had some sort of ability to authorize or say no you couldn’t burn. I was wondering was there some rationale behind that?
Robert Quinn - Why the emphasis on the state regulatory authorities. I essentially followed what I thought was the structure and primary emphasis in the wild lands policy. That was the direct consequence of that structure. My sense that we had a top down hierarchy and that was the next place to link as we move from the air quality standards to the states and had the most generic kind of organization. On the other hand, I didn’t mean to exclude other regulatory authority or organizations. If that is something that needs to be altered or fixed, we can.
I don’t quite understand why you asked that.
Sally Shaver - The concern that I heard form the states when we were developing the interim policy was that several states had programs in place that dealt with burning and it was not necessarily the air pollution agency within that state that had that authority. There were a number of states who did not want that process changed.
Robert Quinn - I heard a presentation from the GA and FL forest service. They have a permitting system for burning; but not on an agricultural land. What they called the permitting system was an individual would call up and say I want to burn so much acres and they would get a telephone approval to burn so many acres. My perception is that it is primarily related to air pollution within each state. If we are looking at a permitting process, we are talking about a permit for agriculture burning. With SAPRA, we would have a much more detailed permitting process than just somebody calling in and saying is the meteorological condition going to be OK tomorrow so I can burn my land. I asked the question about enforcement with regard to the state forest service and how they would enforce that. They do not have the same kind of enforcement that you would have in TX. If the TRCC would be permitting agriculture burns, they want to do it with a permit by rule. IF they were, they would have the control, the requirements and they do that for sugar can burning. It is very detailed, you have the wind condition in a certain direction, you can only burn during certain times of the day. A number of issues that are restrictive with burning sugar can. We are talking about an air pollution issue and prescribed burning and agriculture burning. The EPA is trying to come up with a general policy, I am not sure. I understand what you are saying in GA and FL. But that is not the same as permitting a cotton gin, a feed mill, etc.
Sally Shaver - We were willing in our interim policy to accept that minimum type of permitting like AL, GA, FL.
Robert Quinn - I see nothing wrong with that if that works for AL and GA but if that particularly were prescribed for everybody, that policy would not fit in TX.
Sally Shaver - What our interim policy does is it recognizes that one size doesn’t fit all. We were trying to accommodate something like the FL and GA programs vs. the state of WA which of course they regulate the burning there out of their Dept. of Environmental Quality. OR is different. We are trying to accommodate the various needs of the different states by doing it that way. My question was is that what this task force would recommend, are you actually wanting to recommend that a one size fits all or do you want to be more flexible in terms of that and recognize that there may be different ways to accomplish the same thing.
Manuel Cunha - Could you not state then leave that up to each of the state to figure out how they deal with their own burning policy, if it’s the state air board, the CDFA, local air districts. They would follow this document with the enforcement and the procedure to be left to each state. We have always agreed that one size cannot fit all. We can say that that can be left to each state to develop its own or whatever agency deals with it.
Robert Quinn - That was certainly my intention in the document. To permit that kind of range of regulatory climate. At some point, there is some minimum level that is still part of the debate here. I personally that that minimal level, we need to institute at least some sort of tracking system.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - Comments.
John Sweeten - Its pretty hard to get in depth on this. If we go forward with the burn policy, I assume that when you do that you go to public hearings or notices and ask for comments. IF we allow for what they have in FL and GA, we have the Forest Service that does permitting. My concern is are they going to be represented in terms of the air pollution issue dealing with the burning of agricultural land. If you have the Forest Service saying they will grant permission to burn, yet they are not responsible for the air pollution issues and regulations in that state, is that not going to be a concern.
Sally Shaver - We had a way to deal with that in the policy we put out. We said we would accept your program as long as you were managing the burning in your state and we have some criteria listed in that policy. If you violate the standards, this is what happens to you. If there is continued violation of the standard, it becomes the air pollution regulatory agency’s responsibility with EPA over sight. It is sort of like a hammer process if you will.
John Sweeten - You are allowing SAPRA to delegate the limited permitting process to another agency. As long as that particular process works, then you would allow that to proceed. Once you start having serious issues with air quality, then EPA would have a hammer there and that state would have to take responsibility.
Sally Shaver - That’s the way it works.
John Sweeten - I don’t see anything wrong with that either. Taking a hierarchical approach, I didn’t quite specific that SAPRA could delegate those responsibilities for the tier 1 to other agencies under certain conditions. That is what you are after.
Sally Shaver - I think so.
Calvin Parnell - I want to really reinforce here that on a tier one, I am of the opinion we must have a permit by rule potential. You follow what I am saying Sally.
Sally Shaver - No.
Calvin Parnell - We have numerous people who use prescribed burning from the perspective I have heard from them, it’s absolutely essential in their process to use prescribed burning. They can go out and burn whatever provided they follow the rules set and regulations that limits burns during certain times o the day, when the wind is blowing in a certain direction, etc. You do not get a permit. There is a rule that you can effect burns you follow the rules, permit by rules. If you violate the rules, you are subject to the same penalties as anyone else. There is a hammer there. Burning policies are then enforced due to violation. It allows 20,000 people per year that do not need to get a permit. They do not have to go through the administrative paperwork before they are allowed to burn . We have to have the flexibility. The agency does not want to get into permitting all these people. We do not want to be in the position to forcing them to have a permitting system. I want to maintain the flexibility that the permit by rule is an option.
Phil Wakelyn - Calvin, can you help Bob Quinn change or revise the language so it covers what you think it ought to?
Calvin Parnell - I will work with Bob on that.
Robert Quinn - I appreciate that. To deal with a serious issue is better tracking and to look at a minimum acreage kind of requirement and drop below this acreage, one can make the assumption that you don’t need that detailed permitting requirement which is tier 1. Almost a permit by rule but I incorporated this documentation in a demographic tracking aspect which is important. I would be happy to work with you on it.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - I would like to bring this topic to closure. I would like to suggest that we proceed as follows. I would like to ask you Dr. Quinn to take what you heard today and as appropriate, incorporate it into your subcommittee’s report. Get a copy to George Bluhm and he will make the appropriate distribution to all the task force members. I will take the responsibility on behalf of USDA to do what needs to be done here. I will refer to Sally on EPA. We can get back in touch with you and all of us can be prepared at our meeting in October to have another discussion on the issue.
Recognition of the committee for past efforts
Pearlie Reed, Chairman
Elevated the significance of air quality and its relationship to Agriculture.
Developed a MOU that establishes a cooperative framework between USDA and EPA to address air quality issues.
Establish a research agenda to assist USDA and EPA in addressing the highest air quality needs related to agriculture.
Reinforced the fact that agriculture is willing to accept responsibility for natural resources stewardship providing it is based on sound science.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - All I want to say is that all of you should be commended for the good work listed above of the task force and the secretary plans to do this in a more formal way at some point in the not too distant future. I have been around the system now, 28, 29 years and I have been engaged in working with a lot of people and the members on this committee and the committee as a whole is certainly equal to if not heads and shoulders above, the other efforts I have been associated with. I really feel good about that. I think we just have to say on course. Having said that, I would like to move into the new issues.
Reconstitution of the AAQTF Charter
Gary Margheim, NRCS
Reconstitution of the new AAQTF membership
Gary Margheim, NRCS
Gary Margheim - The first item is reconstitution of the task force. I think everyone will be happy to know that on August 7, the secretary signed the new charter. What that does is extend the task force for another 2 years. Shows a commitment on the part of the secretary towards air quality. You will all get a copy.
The second item, reconstitution of membership. Our policy requires under the Federal Advisory Committee Act that we go through the nomination process for members on the committee each time its renewed. The bottom line is we will publish in the Federal Register this Thursday, August 20 a request for nominations to the task force. Those of you who are on the task force when through that process when you were nominated originally. We will have to go through that process again. If there are members of the public on, I would encourage you to apply as potential member to that task force. We have on our worldwide Web, we also access the announcement on the Web. nhq.nrcs.usda.gov/faca/aaqtf dot html. We will also make sure everyone on the task force will get a copy. We have to go through that process. The date for nominations closes October 2. As chairman Reed says we are going to try and have a meeting in October. We will do everything in our power to assemble those nominations, process them and get to the secretary for his decision so he can have that meeting. We are still going to try and shoot for that day. We will have to go through the nomination process, the Federal Register notice will be published Thursday. Those nominations are due in here October 2 and we will do everything to get the committee appointed members as appropriate by late October. That is all I have on those two unless there are questions.
Manuel Cunha - Will you be sending an application form to the existing task force embers or is it a requirement that each member has to apply in a written form.
Gary Margheim - We can send each member the appropriate forms.
Manuel Cunha - Thank you.
Suggested future meeting date and location
George Bluhm, DFO
Chairman Pearlie Reed - George Bluhm is the next person on the agenda.
George Bluhm - We are looking at setting up the meeting late October. We just wanted to mention that the meeting that we had cancelled was in Spokane and to check with Keith Saxton. Are you willing to sponsor our meeting?
Keith Saxton - I have to consider it. There is a number of issues. I would like to extend the invitation. I am disappoint that we did not get our June date on Lake Coeurd’Alene. Whether October is the best issue or whether to swing to early next year meeting. Lets put that on hold.
George Bluhm - If the committee will allow me, I will work with Keith on that and get the information back to you as soon as we can find out.
Jim Trotter - After October would be better for me. It is a bad time.
George Bluhm - Got it Jim. I do need the group’s permission to schedule a meeting as soon as practical after we get the new charter in place. Irrespective of the meeting site.
Chairman Pearlie Reed - That you would have the authority to do that. That concludes this part of our meeting. We are prepared to move into the public input section. I am going to ask George Bluhm to get us through that.
10- MINUTE BREAK TO SIGN INTERESTED PUBLIC LIST
Five minute presentations- called in sequence
George Bluhm, DFO
George Bluhm - What we would like to do right now is to let the people hear at national headquarters take about a 10 minute break and for those who have endured the first portion of this teleconference, what I would like to do is to take the next 10 minutes and take your names. We will get them on the list and after we get back from the break, we will start a sequence so that every person that has a comment to make will have 5 minutes to do so.
Names – Stephanie Whalen from Hawaii,
Mike Wade from California.
From the discussion that was going on in the interim, Dr. Quinn was going to elaborate on some his meetings with the Western Regional Partnership Group. If we could give the floor back to him right now and follow up depending on what he says.
Robert Quinn - I need the OK if this is appropriate to give a short summary of that meeting.
George Bluhm - Go ahead.
Robert Quinn - I attended the first meeting down in Reno. I presented to them a background about the formation of our committee and introduced them to the people on our committee and the history. I ran through the first report which included history and scale of burnings. Every state has its own particular sector. I gave them the recommendations that had been given to the task force. They focus on specific areas of concern with respect to agriculture. Issues of sampling reliability, air pollution standards and concerns regarding proportionality, regulation. Some discussion reflected protection viewpoints overall. Concerns are legitimate. We had an interesting debate. Carol Whitman will be serving as a liaison. The issues were good assessment, current and historic data, and handle range of legitimate use of burning for agriculture as well as problems of individual air sheds and loading problems. Regulators and farmer attended. Bluhm and Whitman were not be privy to this draft policy. It will now be presented to the full membership.
Manuel Cunha - Will you return to that group and do any update?
Robert Quinn - Carol is our representative. That could change if the committee feels it is important that I participate.
Manuel Cunha - Once we get feedback from our committee and USDA that would be appropriate. If both committees are on the same wave length, that the convergence of support would be helpful.
John Sweeten - Maybe Phyllis Breeze might be another spokesperson with you. Carol comes from a different perspective, Phyllis being with the air quality agencies in the west from urban to agricultural community.
Robert Quinn - I agree. We have established the basic idea that we are going to be in direct communication. We are working in an information partnership. I am getting the impression that we might have to make sure that whatever we eventually recommend, does in fact have a strong message at the beginning that it is proactive and we need to make progress to solve the problems and meeting the standards. It was a wakeup call.
John Sweeten - I didn’t mean to imply we were stonewalling here in TX. If you are going to be doing something, make sure it will be beneficial to the public. We have a different situation in TX. I will send in the numbers to pass out to the task force. 340,000 acres burned from wildfires. Different situation with wildfire problems. It is not a passive policy. Any violations are addressed by the state regulatory agency.
Phyllis Breeze - Were environmental groups part of that. Where were they coming from in response to our policy.
Robert Quinn - There was some representation. It was not large. The people who spoke were reasonable in their approach. The heat I was getting was from the regulatory community. It could have been my presentation regarding particular concerns.
Phyllis Breeze - From ones that think they don’t need a policy or a stronger one.
Robert Quinn - The feeling of we heard this before, good science. The feeling was if you have a problem you control it. It does not matter what the proportionality was. I disagreed. If its easy to control, you go after it. It came from a particular viewpoint.
George Bluhm - Thank you Bob. May we have the first public input from Stephanie Whalen.
Stephanie Whalen - I have a few comments and basically one was very supportive of what Dr. Quinn says about assessing the problem. I would like to make an analogy with pesticide use and to put this into perspective and how big a problem it is. The farmers have resisted for keeping data on types of pesticides. There has always been a move not to keep records. It is our firm belief that if records have been available and were, we won’t be in this position with the Food Quality Protection Act and losing a large number of pesticides because of lack of data and the EPA using worse case scenarios. This has been a tradition, the way they operate. If we had the real data, we would nto have this same projection that they are getting from the worse case scenarios. EPA likes to regulate and consequently and state regulators like to do so. Information is vital to prevent scenarios. In terms of air quality they deal with these models. In the 70s models that we would not need the air quality standards. There was no data available at that time. Therefore they have to ban sugar can burning. We were given time to get that data due to the industry. The data was inappropriately located. High particulate level. I support some type of policy that would indicate that we would be collecting data. It’s not that costly. It is an annoyance. Research. I had concerns with Dr. Horn talking about money that is being put aside for this and we are going to end up in the year 2005 and we are not going to have the data we need. I would like to see a more positive and aggressive action taken for getting the necessary research. Otherwise, the policy will go nowhere if we do not have the firm data. It will fall back on inadequate models. We will then end up with burdensome regulations. There is a serious need for forecasting and prediction and that type of modeling have research funding into it. If you want real time, your determine of air pollutants that are being generated by ag burning or forest burning, we need better modeling. We need to get those groups funded and move it faster. USDA needs to represent agriculture. They don’t have a high priority or in house expertise in this area. There is expertise in the community. People were concerned that the $20 million would be taken into ARS for staff rather than for expertise on the outside. Support for those aggressively pursuing that. Applying some pressure to get better funded and make sure the funding goes to the groups that are engaged in that work. The sugar cane description in Dr. Quinn’s document was very brief and did not adequately address the reasons why the industry burns and we don’t know if it is modified or not. We would like to have some input into that.
Robert Quinn - There was a small modification by suggestions given at the Amarillo meeting. I had to use some discretion on how much elaboration could be done.
Calvin Parnell - I want to compliment the young lady. She saw through all the smoke and some researchers here at the university are not too well funded.
George Bluhm - While you were speaking, we had Dick Amerman taking notes. We will expect some good things from ARS now. Thank you.
Mike Wade, you wished to provide some comments.
Mike Wade - The Farm Bureau appreciates the opportunity to sit in on the meeting and listen. It is been very interesting. My comments will be limited to the voluntary program that is in the process of being revised. The amendments seem appropriate and necessary. We have worked closely with some of the other farm bureaus in our state as well as in Arizona. Try and develop voluntary programs. It has been difficult working with regulators and getting voluntary programs that also have some accountability. One the policy has been adopted, will make our task easier. To contribute to cleaner air. We are optimistic and are anxious to see it move on.
George Bluhm - Thank you. These were the only 3 inputs that were requested at this time. NRCS will be on this line for the next 2 hours. If anyone wishes to provide testimony, we will record it and provide it to the committee. We will not adjourn the meeting until 5 p.m. We will not record all of the comments that will be going on at that time unless pertinent. Where and when in the next meeting and heard that Tim would like to see somewhere around the middle of November rather than late October. I heard a recommendation from John Sweeten that RTP would be a better place to hold a meeting. We have not yet reviewed the research EPA had done. Keith, Cal and John had activities during that week.
Would all of you on agree that if it does not work in Spokane, we will make sure that we provide the correct input to those who were going to sponsor this and let them know we are working on having a meeting in October/November we are looking at RTP and see if we can’t put something together for that location. Trying to find a timetable that is more conducive to the framers, middle of November. As much as it takes to go through the paperwork, it does go as fast as we wish it to happen. Comments.
Manuel Cunha - If we do a thing in Triangle Park, the weather conditions in November are something we need to think about. The accessibility to get into Triangle Park.
Sally Shaver - You fly to Raleigh.
Phil Wakelyn - We passed two items to go forward to the secretary. Once this is forwarded to the secretary, is this going to delay the process we have to meet in October to deal with phase 2 and research funding? We need to meet, Deputy Rominger and others in the agency, including Dr. Horn to address the research funding for 2000. We cannot wait till November to meet.
Gary Margheim - On August 23, the present membership to the board expires. Being realistic given the fact we will have opportunities for nomination till October 2. I am going to say its going to be the later part of October when the task force will be constituted. I would hope the majority of folks on the task force will be on the new one. During that interim period, the task force does not exist. As private citizens you are allowed to come in and meet. It will be difficult otherwise.
Manuel Cunha - If I request a meeting with the secretary or deputy and other public people would be involved, it would be correct in not putting anyone in a bad situation.
George Bluhm - You can do this. You cannot do this as a member of the task force.
Clinton Reeder – Has the Secretary already put in recommendations for FY2000?
Gary Margheim - That is correct.
These are not chiseled in concrete but ARS has already put theirs into the USDA budget and what you are saying Manuel is extremely important. If they already have their recommendations in, we better do something pretty quick or its going to be cut too much in stone.
Around Thanksgiving time, OMB will provide back to USDA its numbers. We will go through a process until the administration officially releases its budget sometime in early February. There is a confidentiality thing here. As federal employees, we cannot release what is in that 2000 budget until the President officially announces it in February. As a private citizen, you can come in and make your wishes known what you think that budget should be. It would be difficult.
George Bluhm - Any further comments?
Manuel Cunha - I enjoyed working with the other members on this task force.
Phil Wakelyn - I say the same thing. I hope a lot of us make it to the next one.
Phyllis Breeze - Likewise. I enjoyed it.
Clint Reeder - I would like to thank you and Chairman Reed for pulling this together. I know he had to do a lot of work.
George Bluhm - I don’t know of you are aware but as a result of the committee’s efforts in developing the MOU and part of the agreement we had was to have a person detailed down to Sally’s shop in North Carolina and we have done that. A gentleman, Elvis Graves, has been detailed down for a year, to assist Sally down there and serve as an interface in the agriculture community. For your information. A great note of appreciation for all you have done, your professionalism. Some of you have been quite trying at times but you are a great group. I would anticipate that the secretary will see fit to designate those of you that apply that the majority of you will be back.
I unofficially close the meeting and I will be here until 5 p.m.