AAQTF July 2000 Meeting Minutes
George Bluhm Keith Saxton
Tom Coleman Annette Sharp
Manuel Cunha Sally Shaver
Larry Erickson John Sweeten
Bob Flocchini Dennis Tristao
Bill Hambleton Jim Trotter
Jerry Masters Phil Wakelyn
Calvin Parnell Stephanie Whalen
Robert Quinn Phyllis Woodford
Others present: Gary Marghiem (NRCS), Kate Barnes, Rebecca Howard, Jerry Talbert (NACD), Paul Knoll, Rick Solomon, Al Saybert, Dara Parnell Malloy, Megan Cornell, Dr. Richard Amerman (ARS), Robin Dunkins (EPA), Elvis Graves (NRCS), Jeff Schmidt (NRCS), Dr. Ray Knighton (CSREES), Bill Jordan (EPA), Ray Sinclare (NRCS), Adam Sharp, .
The public meeting of the Agriculture Air Quality Task Force was called to order at 9 a.m. on July 18, 2000, by the designated federal official. After those present introduced themselves, Chairman Pearlie Reed asked George Bluhm to go over the meetingï¿½s revised agenda.
Sally Shaver briefly welcomed everyone to EPA Washington, and Pearlie Reed to USDA, Washington. Then Chief Reed introduced USDAï¿½s Chief Economist, Keith Collins. Mr. Collins reported that the Office of the Chief Economist is working on a few issues that relate to air quality. He summarized their work on reformulated gas, EPAï¿½s low-sulfur diesel fuel rule for heavy-duty diesel engines, and the implementation of a bio-energy and bio-products program within the Department of Agriculture. He also discussed the Global Change Program Officeï¿½s work on greenhouse gas emissions, principally carbon dioxide. The office is currently preparing to submit a proposal to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change, which will be meeting at The Hague in the Netherlands in November. The primary purpose of the meeting will be to determine what land use changes and forestry activities could be used to help countries meet their greenhouse gas reduction limits under the RIO protocol. The Global Change Program Officeï¿½s proposal will suggest which agricultural activities should count for reducing greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide, through the storage of organic carbon in the soil (SINK activities). Mr. Collins agreed to share the proposal with the Task Force once the document is completed.
John Sweeten asked Mr. Collins if land already involved in some existing programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program, would be counted towards meeting the carbon reduction commitment. Mr. Collins said that was one of the issues they were trying to include in the negotiations in November.
Dr. Sweeten then mentioned that in the southwest, thereï¿½s a push towards brush control to enhance tall grass prairie. Going from brush to grass is beneficial for producers and for improving water quality and water conservation, but he asked how it affects carbon sequestration. Mr. Collins replied that he had never seen the data, but he guessed the result would be positive.ï¿½
Manuel Cunha expressed various concerns he had about the USDA and air quality work, in particular the lack of funding for PM-10 and ozone research. He also stressed the necessity for close coordination between the Task Force and all other agencies, including the Chief Economistï¿½s Office, that deal with air quality issues such as low sulfur, carbon sequestration, and bio-fuels. Mr. Collins responded by summarizing some of the work done on bio-energy and low-sulfur issues, but he admitted that he had not previously defined PM-10 as one of his focus areas. He then suggested that since his office ï¿½seems to deal with air quality maybe in different ways at different times,ï¿½ perhaps he could send a liaison to the Task Force meetings. Mr. Cunha approved of the idea, and Chairman Reed went a step further to consider establishing a Task Force subcommittee to ensure coordination between USDA offices and the Task Force. Mr. Collins will follow up on the suggestion.
Next, Sally Shaver reported on the Burn Policy. She said EPA has prepared a notice of availability to solicit public comment on the ag. burning policy recommendation from this FACA. The notice will be published in the Federal Register and posted on the EPA web site. Once EPA receives and incorporates the comments from the public, EPA will append the ag. burning policy to the Federal Law Land Policy.
Ms. Shaver also informed the Task Force that there is litigation in the Region 10 office in the State of Washington. The organization Save Our Summers (SOS) has sued the Department ofï¿½ Environment in Washington regarding the burning of agricultural residues. EPA is working as a mediator between the farmers, SOS, and the governmental agencies.
Since the last Task Force meeting, Ms. Shaver had met with all of the state air directors in Region 10, which includes Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. All of them were very concerned about the ag. burning issue. However, they all believed that they could work things out locally. They believed it would be impossible to have a national solution that would apply everywhere, unless it allowed for local groups to work out local solutions.ï¿½
Bob Quinn asked if Ms. Shaver could share a timeline for the ag. burn policy. She replied that the public comment period is 60 days, so it would be fall of 2000 before they would have all of the comments. The subsequent analyzing, drafting, and amending would probably add at least another year before a policy would be finalized. Dr. Quinn then inquired if there might be any substantive internal roadblocks for the policy. Ms. Shaver answered that internally, the draft policy had been circulated to all of the regions, and while there was not unanimity within the agency, she did not foresee much resistance at this point to the policy per se. She did mention, however, that one of the things that will be critical to finalizing the policy will be determining exactly how many acres are being burned each year, and whether it is the same acreage every year. She stated, ï¿½No one in EPA is going to be able to defend the policy if we donï¿½t have some numbers and some facts.ï¿½ Dr. Quinn supported Ms. Shaverï¿½s comments with brief examples from the experience in Washington State. Stephanie Whalen emphasized getting real numbers from the states involved with agricultural burning, or else there would be a worse situation.
When Phyllis Woodford asked if there would be any public hearings, Ms. Shaver answered that four meetings would be planned in different parts of the country. Robin Dunkins said they did not yet have all the meeting dates and locations finalized, but they did know there would be meetings in Washington, Kansas, and Louisiana.
Next, Chairman Reed had George Bluhm present the minutes from the last meeting. John Sweeten moved to approve the minutes with any minor editorial changes noted to Mr. Bluhm by the end of the meeting. The motion was seconded. Chairman Reed then recommended turning in all comments by the close of business that day (July 18), and then waiting until the following day to formally approve the minutes with the appropriate changes. The second to Dr. Sweetenï¿½s motion was withdrawn, so the motion died for lack of a second. Chairman Reed then directed the Task Force to proceed with providing feedback on the minutes as he had recommended.
The next matter of business was the reports from the subcommittees. Dr. John Sweeten began with his report on the Confined Animals Subcommittee and their work on an air quality research and technology transfer white paper for concentrated animal feeding operations. Dr. Sweeten recognized all those who had contributed to the current draft, including subcommittee members and others, and thenï¿½ gave an overview of the information included in the paper. He devoted the rest of his allotted time to working through the reportï¿½s executive summary with the Task Force.
The Task Force decided they would take a recess at 11:00 a.m. and reconvene at 1:00 p.m.
After a lunch break, Sally Shaver introduced Lynn Beasley from EPAï¿½s Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. Ms. Beasley manages and coordinates the Reportable Quantities Program under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). She presented information on CERCLA hazardous substances and their release reporting requirements.
When asked if CERCLA requirements distinguished between hazardous chemical releases to the air or the water, Ms. Beasley replied no. Bob Quinn and others also questioned CERCLAï¿½s definitions of facilities and point sources in terms of when excessive chemical releases must be reported.
Calvin Parnell remarked, ï¿½It looks as though EPA is looking for ways to regulate ammonia from agriculture when they cannot do it under the Clean Air Act. In CERCLA there is language that says something to the effect that while the vast majority of action taken under CERCLA relates to the CERCLA hazardous substances. CERCLA also provides authority for EPA to respond to released substances or a substantial threat of any pollutant or contaminant which may present an imminent substantial danger to public health. Ms. Beasley clarified that EPA cannot collect response costs if the chemical is not a CERCLA hazardous substance. They have the authority to use fund money to clean up pollutants and contaminants, but there is no CERCLA liability.ï¿½
Ms. Beasley then continued describing various CERCLA reporting exemptions.ï¿½
Bob Quinn asked Ms. Beasley to clarify to whom the reporting regulations now apply that previously were not affected. She replied that all farmers have always needed to report releases, but they may not have realized they were supposed to do so. Dr. Quinn retorted, ï¿½There are many regulations that sit on the books where judicious regulators decide, yes, thatï¿½s the rule but weï¿½re not going after them.ï¿½ Iï¿½m looking for some reasonable response that says, yes, hereï¿½s a problem that we do ascertain is now occurring and so we need to have a better reporting system, but hereï¿½s an area that has never traditionally reported, whether itï¿½s on the law or not, and frankly we donï¿½t think there is a problem and if we ask them to report, weï¿½ve got another problem.ï¿½
Ms. Beasley agreed: ï¿½We need to look into it further and we may need to do something proactively to tell those farmers they do not need to report, but the way CERCLA is written now, they do. When they wrote the law, they captured many things that we donï¿½t necessarily want to hear from, but those regulations are there, so we need to actively do something to take them out, or perhaps publish directives to the regional people who are handling the situation.ï¿½
Jim Trotter inquired about applying anhydrous ammonia to his field. When tanks are charged, some ammonia is releasedï¿½enough that a violation may occur. Ms. Beasley replied that farmers like Mr. Trotter are not required to report releases associated with normal application of pesticides or fertilizers. Mr. Trotter added, ï¿½I think every farmer in the United States who applies fertilizer would be in violation. I mean, every farmer. So that may need to be looked at in some way.ï¿½ Ms. Beasley agreed.
Larry Erickson asked if the EPA would conclude that common farming practices, such as fertilizer application, are inappropriate to try to enforce and would therefore exempt them categorically. Ms. Beasley answered yes, they should do that, but they have not yet done so because such action requires a rule-making. The agency would do an administrative reporting exemption specifically defining those from whom they do not want to hear and under what circumstances. Two such exemptions, the radio nuclide rule and the 100-micron rule, are already on the books.
Bill Hambleton inquired if the Task Force could go on record requesting that there be a moratorium on reporting agricultural hazardous releases to the air until EPA, USDA, and CERCLA can work out something pertaining to air releases of those chemicals that are not considered hazardous air pollutants and would not be covered under federal claim. Sally Shaver replied that she thought such an effort was underway, but a corresponding request from the Task Force could reinforce that.
Lynn Beasley added, ï¿½Based on what I hear from the agricultural community, we need to come to a common understanding of what applies and that everybody knows about. If it doesnï¿½t apply we should go through the appropriate rule-making to assure the exemptions are applied.ï¿½ The Task Force firmly agreed.
Dr. Wakelyn requested that the Task Force send a letter to Administrator Browner and Secretary Glickman asking them to extend the timeline for any agricultural implementation. He said, ï¿½This is no small issue for agriculture, so I think we need the proper time for the Task Force to sit down together and know whatï¿½s going on.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Dr. Wakelyn was requested to draft a letter for the Task Force to the Secretary and the Administrator.
The meeting was then turned over to Dr. John Sweeten to continue work on the executive summary for the white paper on concentrated animal feeding operations. Dr. Sweeten briefly touched on the reportï¿½s discussions of various odor control and dust control technologies, research needs for the human health effects, research funding levels, and research and technology transfer needs. He then called for the Task Forceï¿½s comments on the executive summary, in particular any omissions.
Calvin Parnell recognized the work of Shelley Pearce, the executive assistant who was instrumental in pulling the report together.
Larry Erickson remarked that the report should do a more complete job of addressing the issues of the poultry industry with respect to worker health.
Dennis Tristao suggested that the reportï¿½s discussion of volatile organic compounds be expanded. Bill Hambleton advised the committee to continue with at least some guidelines on how the educational program should be designed.ï¿½
Stephanie Whalen noted that the report repeatedly mentions the fact that agriculture needs multiple solutions to air quality issues, not the traditional ï¿½one-size-fits-allï¿½ fix. Ms. Whalen reminded the group, however, that some people only read the executive summary, so the summary must emphasize very strongly the point about multiple solutions.
Manuel Cunha inquired if the intent of the report was to focus on all the species for emissions thatï¿½ may contribute. He asked, ï¿½Are we taking this to the levels that EPA wants us to look at, or are there some specific areas we should focus on now and worry about the other animals later?ï¿½ Sally Shaver answered that the Office of Water has a schedule developed as a result of litigation and other agreements on the animal strategy that they worked on with USDA. They are basically looking first at swine and poultry, and then the cattle. The air program is hoping to coordinate with that schedule. When theyï¿½ solve some of the CERCLA issues, they will want to fit policies to documents pertinent to all animal production.
Mr. Cunha questioned whether it would really be possible to have a programmatic system that would help address the air as well as the water. Dr. Sweeten replied that yes, the air/water interface could happen, but it would require a great deal of coordination. Mr. Cunha then suggested focusing first on swine, since it is the hot issue now, as they try to open up the door of communications with EPA and USDA.
Phyllis Woodford proposed moving some sections of the executive summary around a bit to make the most important points right at the beginning. She said the summary should capture the process of establishing accurate emission factors and the need to focus on the whole comprehensive management of animal-feeding operations, not just on one area. Bob Quinn agreed with Ms. Woodford and recommended crafting an executive summary of three pages or less that lists the most important items from the full report. He also commented that the document is meant to address confined animal feeding operations, and ï¿½while there are implications to other more open types of animal operations and some of the same kinds of concerns may apply to these, they are not the specific focus of this document.ï¿½
Bill Hambleton suggested that instead of identifying a species and focusing on those operations, they should look at how the problems are similar across species. For example, ï¿½Dairy cattle and swine, with all wastes going into a lagoon, the problems are very similar. Different type, but similar problems. I would rather, if we could, think of a way to include these together.ï¿½ï¿½
Dr. Sweeten then ended the discussion by adding that Dick Amerman, who would present later in the day, had an ARS document on the national program on air quality and then the national program on manure and by-product utilization/air quality research components. Dr. Sweeten said he thought that document could supplement the animal feeding operations white paper as an appendix. He also invited anyone who could stay for a while after the meeting adjourned to join him in further work on the report.
Gary Margheim (Acting Chairperson while Pearlie Reed was absent) commended Dr. Sweeten and his subcommittee on drafting a report that ï¿½reflects the professionalism and the phenomenal technical expertise we have available through this Task Force.ï¿½ He also reiterated the importance of creating a one- or two-page executive summary that would capture all the key points of the full document.
Calvin Parnell reminded Dr. Margheim that there was a motion on the floor to approve the Task Force report on confined animal feeding operations. Before Dr. Margheim could call for the question, Phil Wakelyn asked for clarification on how the Task Force would use this document, and how and to whom it would be submitted. Dr. Margheim said he envisioned it being forwarded to Secretary Glickman, transmitted to Administrator Browner and to the appropriate House and Senate committees for their use and information in some policy debate.
Bob Flocchini commented that the document was very good, but that the two sections on budget and implementation need more work. Dennis Tristao agreed with Dr. Flocchiniï¿½s comments and advocated proceeding with the document, but coming back to the Task Force for later approval on the budget section and the implementation section.
Keith Saxton supported Mr. Tristaoï¿½s comments and added, ï¿½This document appears to have two important sides to it: the policy side, and the research-need side. This executive summary should sort these issues a little bit.ï¿½
Phyllis Woodford advised creating a white paper of concise recommendations from the full report.
Dr. Margheim called for the question on the motion to approve the report as presented, with the modifications and changes presented; the motion carried unanimously.
Manuel Cunha asked about the timeframe for returning feedback on the report to Dr. Sweeten. He also proposed authorizing the subcommittee to approve the final documents so that the final report can be sent to EPA, USDA, and others as quickly as possible. Ms. Woodford replied that if the subcommittee could finalize the report within the next several weeks, it could be elevated to the Secretary level.
Phil Wakelyn stressed the importance of drafting the executive summary that Bill Hambleton mentioned, and extracting the list of the key recommendations in the report, as Phyllis Woodford proposed. Dr. Wakelyn suggested preparing the summary and the list before the end of the meeting and having them approved before adjourning.
Larry Erickson commented on his experience with the Superfund. He said that because of the laws and regulations, the industry went directly to Congress and received the research funding to find control science. He stated, ï¿½Certainly the science is lacking to achieve major improvements in agricultural air quality. We don't know causal relationships to correct the pollution.ï¿½
Stephanie Whalen proposed finishing the executive summary and then sending the preliminary draft of the entire report to the agencies for their review while the subcommittee continues to work on the budgetary section (number three) and the implementation section (number four). Gary Margheim confirmed that the budget for all the research priorities, including odor, was already done, so it could be added to the report.
With respect to implementation, Phyllis Woodford commented that the group needs to carefully consider how they will communicate information to regulatory agencies to avoid the problem they heard about with CERCLA and people not knowing about reporting requirements.ï¿½
Sally Shaver mentioned that the following week there would be a workshop (a K-4 conference) that USDA and EPA had been asked to participate in along with a number of other organizations, and they would be talking about many of the issues presented in the Task Force report. She also asked the Task Force and the subcommittee to consider what they want EPA to do with the document, and to communicate that intent to Administrator Browner when they send her the report.ï¿½
Dr. Margheim turned the meeting over to James Trotter for his report on the research priorities and oversight subcommittee. Mr. Trotter introduced Ray Knighton of CSREES who briefly described his agencyï¿½s work on air quality. He said that the 2001 budget includes language specifically indicating that National Research Initiative (NRI) wants to support air quality research. They have also tried to put some emphasis on air quality as part of the Section 406 integrated activities program, and while they were not successful for 2001, they are focusing on Section 406 for some new money in 2002. Mr. Knighton also remarked, ï¿½Because of the lack of funding, especially within our agency, we have been unable to build a scientific community to do work on air quality. Scientists follow the money because theyï¿½re not robustly funded at their home institutions, especially with agricultural research.ï¿½ Weï¿½re beginning to find a few areas of expertise scattered around the country, but no cohesive air quality program, and I think itï¿½s going to take some money to try to get these different groupsï¿½ to change their focus to air quality research.
Mr. Knighton mentioned that he serves on the subcommittee for air quality of the White Houseï¿½s Committee for Environment and Natural Resources, and he thought that group would be very interested in the Task Forceï¿½s latest report on CAFOs.ï¿½
Larry Erickson asked about the number of scientists Dr. Knighton said were available to do air quality research. Dr. Knighton replied, ï¿½Iï¿½ve seen budget proposals come from this group for $20 million. If they were to drop $20 million in CSREESï¿½s lap today, Iï¿½m not sure that we could allocate the funds in a competitive processes. I didnï¿½t receive the number of proposals for air quality research that we need to spend that kind of money.ï¿½ However, that the National Resource Commission has been able to raise the awareness among the research community that air quality is an important issue.ï¿½
Bob Quinn agreed that research does follow the money, and there may be very few researchers who do work on these kinds of air quality areas. However, he stated, ï¿½If we can get some money, I think youï¿½ll find the research proposals.ï¿½ï¿½
Dennis Tristao responded to Dr. Knightonï¿½s comment by saying, ï¿½Thereï¿½s a comprehensive research program being developed by this committee, and there are other regional air studies, and these types of research programs need to be implemented now to meet the statutory deadlines as required by the federal Clean Air Act. Since the regulatory deadlines mentioned in the federal act donï¿½t necessarily follow ARSï¿½s program, we want to change that program and put the emphasis on it. If we have $20 million for research, itï¿½s going to be used because itï¿½s needed right now.ï¿½ Mr. Tristao also pointed out to Mr. Knighton that the Task Force and other groups within the nation, particularly in the far west, have been working on agricultural air quality issues for over eight years. ï¿½This is a catch-up call,ï¿½ his said. ï¿½This research is needed for this particular issue because we are faced with statutory deadlines within the federal Clean Air Act.ï¿½
Annette Sharp reminded Dr. Knighton that all states are required to start their emissions inventory, and they will have to put together SIPs between 2002 and 2003. She said to Dr. Knighton, ï¿½Youï¿½re already too late. From a state perspective that we needed this information yesterday. Whatever youï¿½re going to put on the table now is only catch-up.ï¿½
Dr. Knighton said he believed that USDA is at the same point with air quality now that it was with water quality about 12 years ago. He agreed that the air quality program needs funding to build the base of researchers and develop these programs because it takes years to develop best management practices. Ms. Sharp responded, ï¿½If youï¿½re waiting for the farmers to express concern, get ready. Because the states are having to move forward and come up with control strategies with or without this information, and weï¿½re on the march.ï¿½
Stephanie Whalen observed that the Presidentï¿½s initiative on water quality came out in 1989, but itï¿½s taken almost 12 years for EPA, USGS, and USDA ï¿½to get their act together and actually start doing research.ï¿½ When USDA had ten years to solve the problem but it wasnï¿½t solved, EPA started regulating. Ms. Whalen said this is why the agricultural community is frustrated with USDA: they are responding too late. USDA does not seem to be getting the message across to EPA that they cannot regulate first and then derive the technology. Agriculture is not like the manufacturing point source pollution where the agency regulates and the industry responds by finding new technologies that should take care of the problems. Because manufacturers are private, they can invest their money in finding the technologies to bring their industry into compliance. However, it is the public agencies that do the research for the agricultural community, because food production is very important to the public. It has taken 12 years to get the research community through the public agencies to deal with the water quality issue, and air quality still is not on the agenda.ï¿½
Manuel Cunha then firmly rebuked USDA administrators for their inertia with respect to funding agricultural air quality research and making air quality a top priority. He charged that neither the CSREES budget nor the ARS budget currently has any money for agricultural air quality research. This Task Force is not going to sit back and allow people to say, we have no money. CSRESS and ARS together have nearly two billion dollars, and I think we can refocus that money until weï¿½re able to get the new funding we need.ï¿½
Calvin Parnell then took issue with Mr. Knightonï¿½s comment that funds should go into basic science. As an example, Dr. Parnell shared that he and his team used applied science to prove that the PM-10 emission factor that EPA used to regulate grain elevators in Oklahoma was far too high; it then took them two years and another $100,000 to get EPA to change the regulation. Dr. Parnell stated, ï¿½We donï¿½t need basic science. We need engineering or applied science.ï¿½ And the industry doesnï¿½t have the purse to correct erroneous emission factors.ï¿½
Dr. Parnell also mentioned that while Mr. Knighton said NRI wants to support air quality research, it is still very difficult to write a proposal to NRI to address air quality issues because the proposed research will not fit into any of their categories. He charged, ï¿½Weï¿½ve been working for four years, but still NRI has not recognized that air quality is an important issue for agriculture.ï¿½
John Sweeten observed that there are more and more conferences on agricultural air quality and even more specially focused on the livestock industry and air quality. He also said that several states are investing in air quality concerns, and seeking additional funding from producers and a few private sources to expand their state capacities. He stated, ï¿½The federal government has got to come to the table in order to not only supplement but expand and make a permanent investment in air quality concerns.ï¿½ï¿½
Stephanie Whalen asked Sally Shaver if EPA funded their new air quality center and childrenï¿½s health center with new money that came into the agency, or if the Administrator just decided to use some money available for those areas that seemed to be elevated in concern. Ms. Shaver replied that the funding for the centers came through the Research and Development Office, but she did not know whether it was a separate, additional appropriation.
The acting chairman then called on Ray Knighton to share his closing comments. Dr. Knighton simply responded to Dr. Parnellï¿½s comment about NRI being a basic research program. He mentioned that NRI is set up in USDA to integrate the research with extension and education, and Congress has recognized that and directed them to spend more of their money in that fashion. Dr. Knighton also said he would be happy to take any of the Task Forceï¿½s comments back to his superiors.
Manuel Cunha stated USDA has many committees putting funding together, but oftentimes they are not aware of the Task Force's work, nor do they understand that there is an air quality problem. He suggested that perhaps the Task Force should send a letter to the Undersecretary requesting that members of the Task Force or NRCS staff be involved in committee discussions dealing with air quality on budgets.ï¿½
Gary Margheim asked Dr. Knighton if his agencyï¿½s budget process would allow for an individual to be designated to participate in on some of the sessions concerning research funding. Dr. Knighton replied that the national program staff is asked to develop annual budget initiatives which are forwarded to the deputy administrator for transmission to the agencyï¿½s administrator. Mr. Cunha then suggested that Mr. Knightonï¿½s administrator be invited to the next Task Force meeting to hear the groupï¿½s recommendations.
Stephanie Whalen asked Mr. Knighton to clarify that the Task Force members or NRCS staff should be interacting with the national program staff and educating them. He said that was why he was at their meeting; he was the one who drafted the air quality research initiative that went forward. Dr. Whalen responded that part of the Task Forceï¿½s frustration stems from this lack of air quality expertise within ARS and CSREES: ï¿½They donï¿½t have the staff that really understands.ï¿½
Next, Acting Chairman Gary Margheim asked Jeff Schmidt to lead the public comment period. The first speaker was Jay Gould from Western United Dairy. He said he read a report on air pollution control that suggested farmers invest $110 a cow to reduce its pollution, and yet dairy farmers only make eight cents from a 12-ounce glass of milk. He asked the Task Force to ï¿½carry the message that somethingï¿½s got to be done,ï¿½ and to use their new report as ï¿½ammunitionï¿½ to get extra money.ï¿½
The next speaker was Tom Wiley of NRCS. He mentioned that the term ï¿½confined animal feeding operationsï¿½ in the title of the white paper may be a slight problem. He related that USDA and EPA have defined a CAFO as being an operation, over 1,000 animal units; these are the ones that will be regulated by EPA. However, the vast majority of operations are defined as AFOs. Mr. Wiley commented, ï¿½I know itï¿½s a small technical word in there, but unfortunately itï¿½s ingrained in NTBS, NBL, and the AFO/CAFO strategy and thousands of pages of testimony up on the Hill which have evolved because of the KMBL issues.ï¿½ Therefore, he suggested using AFO instead of CAFO in the report.
Dr. Margheim then turned the meeting back over to Jim Trotter for further discussion of research priorities. Mr. Trotter introduced Dick Amerman from ARS to talk about his agencyï¿½s current research and how much of that goes along with the Task Forceï¿½s recommendations. He briefly discussed their problems with budgets being cut, and then he focused on the air quality national program development process that proceeds from an ARS research needs meeting held in Sacramento in January 2000. He said a draft of their document would be out at the end of that week, and he would mail copies to the Task Force members.
Dr. Amerman pointed out that the air quality issue is split between at least two of ARSï¿½s 22 national programs, and those programs will be implemented over a five-year period. The animal production program, which includes things like animal manure, odors, and emissions, is going into effect now, and the air quality national program will be implemented after a review in December of 2001. He invited the Task Force to participate in developing a good design for this program. Dr. Amerman then described the review process for the national programs and the make-up of the review panel.
Stephanie Whalen commented that many of the air quality projects that are considered to be ongoing in ARS are actually pesticide drift and other types of things related to air quality, but research needs as identified by the Task Force. ARS wants to orient these researchers to the things that are the highest priority needs.
Dr. Amerman recalled that the Task Force had mentioned something being needed in 18 months, so he asked the group to identify the deliverables they wantï¿½a decision aid of some sort, tabulated data, an explanation for a new practice, et cetera. Dr. Whalen answered, ï¿½Weï¿½ve identified we want emission factors for agricultural operations, and we have identified that over and over. Thatï¿½s a deliverable.ï¿½ Dr. Amerman responded that with the emission factors for things like ammonia, one of the major issues is that they do not yet know how to measure ammonia correctly; this requires some research and development to put together a better tool, and that R&D effort requires time. Dr. Whalen then charged ARS to do things in a more timely manner, ï¿½otherwise regulations will be here, and believe me, Iï¿½ve been in this for 30 years, EPA does not go back and change them.ï¿½
Dr. Amerman stressed again that research requires some minimum investment in time as well as in money; it sometimes takes years to see the full effect of a study. Dr. Whalen answered that all of the Task Force members appreciated that, but she asserted that it is USDAï¿½s responsibility to communicate that understanding to EPA so that they do not come out with regulations that require compliance now when the results of research development will not be available for 20 years.
Returning to his presentation on the process for national program development, Dr. Amerman discussed how they set research goals and develop action plans.ï¿½
Calvin Parnell explained some of the problems with the emission factors set in AP-42 (EPA), particularly for cattle feed yards. He said that he and Dr. John Sweeten had been working for eight years trying to get the AP-42 numbers changed, but they still had not been successful.
Dr. Parnell: "Mr. Gould (phonetic) made some comments earlier about the dairy industry in California. What they did in California was use the emission factors from cattle feed yardsfor dairy operations.ï¿½ But the emission factors set in AP42 (EPA) for cattle feed yards were based upon work done by Peters and Blackwood (chemical engineers) that assumed that the polluting surface was ten feet above the ground.ï¿½ Their result was 280 of total suspended particulate (TSP) per 1000 head per day.ï¿½ This is a gross over-estimate of the PM emissions from a dairy.ï¿½ Based upon Texas A & M work, the maximum possible PM10 emission rate from cattle feed yards is about 70 pounds per 1000 head per day with a more realistic value of 15.ï¿½ This is with the cattle on the outdoor manure surface 24 hours a day.ï¿½ Dairy cattle, depending upon whichever design youï¿½re talking about, are not on the manure surface 24 hours a day.
We recommend for dairies that instead of 70,ï¿½ use 4 # of PM10 per 1000 animals per day.ï¿½ And that leads to the issue of the difference of economic impact.ï¿½ With 70# the farmer is required to put a half-million-dollar or million-dollar sprinkler system on his yard.ï¿½ With the realistic emission being closer to 4, they are not required to make this investment.ï¿½ Weï¿½ve had people working in cattle feed yards and dairies and places for years.ï¿½ Why havenï¿½t they done anything about this before now? Because they did not realize it was a public issue or that they would be regulated against it."
Dr. Parnell asked if the purpose of the review panel would be to discuss such issues and recommend changes in the criteria for the process. Dr Amerman said no, the review panel focuses on merit review.
Manuel Cunha proposed that the Task Force meet soon with Dr. Floyd Horn, ARS Administrator, to talk about how policy might be changed. He then asked Mr. Amerman if Dr. Horn had the authority, as Administrator, to change things, such as research money allocations, to address some of the air issues right away. Mr. Amerman replied yes, within limits, and he encouraged the Task Force to talk to Dr. Horn soon and tell him this is an emergency issue.ï¿½
Bob Flocchini agreed with Dr. Parnellï¿½s statement that ARS is so big now that it does not respond to problems as they come up. He added that the Task Force cannot fully address pressing issues because current bureaucracy prevents action. He told Dr. Amerman that the process he outlined will not allow the Task Force to address the concerns that have to be solved in 18 months. Dr. Amerman responded that ARS is trying to implement a coordinated approach that targets the highest research priorities, but sometimes the agencyï¿½s priorities do not align with the scientistsï¿½ own research interests, and that causes ï¿½a major part of the inertia problem.ï¿½
Manuel Cunha made a motion to set up a meeting between Dr. Floyd Horn and a selected group from the Task Force. He suggested holding the meeting in the next ten to 15 days. Dr. Keith Saxton thought it may be appropriate to advise the Secretary of Agriculture that they want to meet with one of his staff since the Task Force is responsible to the Secretary. Mr. Cunha said they could make the request through Chairman Pearlie Reed.
Dr. Margheim called for the question on Mr. Cunhaï¿½s motion to schedule a meeting with Dr. Horn; the motion carried. The Acting Chairperson then directed George Bluhm to work with Dick Amerman to set up the meeting within the next couple of weeks, and he suggested inviting Undersecretary Gonzales as well. The Chairperson also recommended having Jim Trotter and four or five other members at the session.
John Sweeten proposed arranging a similar meeting with Charles Laughlin, the administrator of CSREES, and others agreed.
Dennis Tristao submitted to Dr. Amerman that an example for ARS of a specific research need would be the dairy industry in the San Joaquin Valley in California. Environmental groups are pressuring dairy farmers to apply certain control technologies that have not yet been proven effective, but they will be imposed by the courts because the groups are going to file a lawsuit. Mr. Tristao stated, ï¿½A lot of funding needs to be available on a very quick basis to answer these questions. The environmental groups are having an absolute field day out there because of the lack of data to address their concerns. Itï¿½s not that we donï¿½t want to invest in these problems; itï¿½s the lack of adequate data.ï¿½
Annette Sharp mentioned that EPA is funding regional planning organizations to specifically study the PM-2.5 and regional case issues. These groups decide within their sister states what are the most important factors specifically related to agriculture. She then asked if funding under specific cooperative agreements was available only to universities, or could non-profit organizations such as the regional planning organizations access that money. Dr. Amerman replied that a non-profit organization could possibly apply for the funding if it had a specific cooperative agreement with ARS.
Pearlie Reed asked Dick Amerman to return the following morning for continued discussion of research activities, and then he adjourned the meeting for the day.
Hall of States
444 North Capitol NW, Room 333
On July 19, 2000, the second day of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force meeting was called to order by Chairman Pearlie Reed.
The first speaker, Dr. Phil Wakelyn, led a discussion on a draft letter expressing the Task Forceï¿½s concerns about potential enforcement of CERCLA 103 and EPCRA 304 for agricultural air emissions. The Task Force contends that such emissions are not the purpose of or anticipated by the Superfund Act or the 1986 amended act. Under the Memorandum of Understanding, the Task Force is recommending that a moratorium be placed on any type of enforcement until EPA and USDA work out the situation. The Task Force hopes that the resolution of this issue will be that air emissions will not be counted the same as water, and that an administrative reporting exemption will be granted with regard to air emissions.
Dr. Wakelyn then moved that the Task Force endorse the letter and send it to Administrator Browner and Secretary Glickman with the signatures of all members, as appropriate. The motion was seconded. Since there was no discussion, Chairman Reed called for the question; the motion carried.
Next, Chairperson Reed introduced, Dick Amerman of Agricultural Research Service, National Planning Staff. Dr. Amerman began by explaining further a statement he made the previous day in response to the charge that ARS is slow to respond. He had said that much of the problem had to do with inertia among scientists; ï¿½That is true, but thereï¿½s a reason for it, and I didnï¿½t go into that reason, and I apologize to the scientists.ï¿½ He then explained that every scientist is busy working on something that someone has said is important. It takes time to move from one topic to another. Also, probably the most important aspect of a scientistï¿½s career is stature since it affects their salaries and promotions. However, he said, ï¿½Scientists cannot build stature if we in the leadership of the agency push them from topic to topic to topic too quickly.ï¿½
Phil Wakelyn agreed that it takes a long time to redirect scientists and get them onto other programs because they want to finish up what they are doing, and they are rewarded based on their number of publications.
Keith Saxton shared an example of a fatal car accident in Oregon caused by blowing dust and how the U.S. Weather Bureau called on his team to work with them on a prediction tool. He commented, ï¿½We as scientists in the ARS are largely focused on accessing and developing knowledge, but we also have an obligation to ourselves and to our agency to spend a little bit of our time transferring our knowledge to the needs of the public.ï¿½ Itï¿½s not high science; itï¿½s applied science.ï¿½
Given the urgency with which some of this information is needed and the rate at which regulations are moving, Stephanie Whalen suggested that ARS utilize some existing funds and the existing research agreements or contract process while the agency is completing its program for air quality. Dr. Amerman noted Ms. Whalenï¿½s comment, and then expanded on Dr. Saxtonï¿½s remarks about transforming new knowledge into something useful. He said ARS, in conjunction with the NRCS, has a very active program that pulls research information together into usable packages; he advised accelerating those efforts.
In response to Dr. Whalenï¿½s suggestion, Dr. Amerman said 18 months was not enough time to do really thorough research, but they could do a thorough search of the current literature on which to base at least interim measures for use in the field. Dr. Amerman admitted that ARS is often accused of not coming forth with results as soon as they have them. However, he stated, they run the risk of giving out inaccurate information if they are too quick to release results that have not been reviewed and tested by the research community.
Manuel Cunha stressed that the scientists need to really emphasize to the regulatory community that farming is not a controlled practice that is easy to monitor. Weather causes the greatest problems because it can hamper the field research at any given time of the year, and thus force the researchers to wait another year to try again.
John Sweeten mentioned that a number of universities have some very positive models for the research, the extension of educational processes, the demonstration and education process, and the technology transfer process to farmers. He advised ARS to study those models for ways to build newï¿½ programs in the future.
Bob Quinn proposed creating a ï¿½fast response teamï¿½ within ARS or NRCS. When farmers are suddenly faced with ï¿½some sort of a potential regulation that is effectively ludicrous,ï¿½ this team could quickly interact with EPA to point the agency to the appropriate experts to get more valid information. Dr. Amerman responded that the partnership management team that exists between NRCS, ARS, and CSREES could be a source for starting such a quick-response liaison.
Dr. Amerman then returned to a discussion that he had begun the previous day about the kinds of research deliverables the Task Force needs from ARSï¿½s national air quality program. He said, ï¿½We work on what weï¿½re told to work on, so we need to be told what you need to know and in what form you need to know it.ï¿½
Annette Sharp recalled that the previous day, Dr. Amerman had mentioned that ARSï¿½s air quality research program divided particulate matter into four problem areas. Dr. Amerman answered that the four areas are particulate emissions from wind erosion, from agricultural operations, and from agricultural industry, and alternatives to agricultural burning. Agricultural industry includes processing plants, silage pits, and other activities that are more or less farm-level operations. Phil Wakelyn expanded on USDAï¿½s active research program in ginning, which falls under the agricultural industry problem area.
Dr. Wakelyn went on to say that the Task Force has outlined specific things for which research answers are needed because of the regulations that are most pressing right now, but USDA and EPA should also research areas that can help them develop a better fundamental understanding of the entire air quality situation.
Manuel Cunha asserted that the Task Force has supported ARS and CSREES on research issues that EPA has determined need attention, but the current system will not provide the resources needed within the next two to five years because of the way ARS is designed. ARS has not changed with the regulatory scene. He reiterated the need to sit down with Dr. Floyd Horn and emphasize what the Task Force is requesting of his department.
Dr. Amerman also mentioned that USDA held a review of the whole program, and for each one of the major CRIS work areas, they had him facilitate an hour discussion to update the research needs and determine if the program was directed properly. He said the Task Force could do the same sort of thing to help USDA keep its program focused; ï¿½It would help to have the program in place first, but we certainly can meet with them at least once a year, if not more often, to review the program and ensure that the stakeholders are there and the research is focused properly.ï¿½
Mr. Cunha stated that the Task Force owes it to the farmers to take action for the 2001 and 2002 budgets. The Task Force needs to provide the tools and the correct information so that the regulatory agency that is enforcing the rule provides fair regulation.
Chairman Reed asked Dr. Amerman how the Task Force could help him work with the administrative ARS to do the kinds of things that Mr. Cunha mentioned. Mr. Amerman said that what Mr. Cunha referred to would involve the USDA Economic Research Service, the Cooperative State Research Education Extension Service, and the Agricultural Research Service.
Chairman Reed proposed that the Task Force pull together a small subcommittee to follow up with Undersecretary Gonzales concerning the priorities of the Task Force. He also recommended that the Task Force get involved in the 2002 budget process as soon as possible; the final decisions from the administration scheduling will be made at the end of 2000 or the beginning of 2001.
Given that budget timeline, Mr. Cunha asked if it would be possible to meet with Dr. Gonzales that day or the next, or possibly with Dr. Horn. Dick Amerman mentioned that Dr. Knipling, Dr. Hornï¿½s second-in-command, would be available the following day. Chairman Reed agreed to work with Dr. Amerman to get a meeting scheduled with Dr. Knipling as soon as practical.
Phil Wakelyn inquired if meeting with Dr. Knipling would be satisfactory, or should the Task Force wait to meet with both Dr. Horn and Dr. Knipling. Chairman Reed answered that meeting with Dr. Knipling would be appropriate, especially since Dr. Horn would not available for awhile. The chairman agreed to try to work out a meeting with Dr. Knipling, and he stressed that they should still try to meet with the Undersecretary as well.
Robert Flocchini commented that the bureaucracy within ARS makes it very difficult to change research direction; universities and cooperative research groups supported by entitlements cannot quickly change direction either. Therefore, he suggested that perhaps the Task Force could make a more immediate impact by trying to influence the research agendas of NRI or some of the other CSREES programs.
To wrap up his presentation, Dr. Amerman quickly reported on a recent ARS-led meeting on research needs with respect to ammonia emissions and emission factors. He agreed to provide copies of that meetingï¿½s preliminary report to Task Force members.
Next, Chairman Reed called on Bob Quinn for his report on the Agricultural Burning subcommittee. Dr. Quinn reminded the group that the agricultural burning policy is currently out for review, and he thanked Sally Shaver and her staff for their cooperation.
Dr. Quinn then briefly explained the phase-out of grass burning in the State of Washington and the ongoing research into alternative technologies for using grass and wheat residue. He told of an impressive effort, supported by the Department of Ecology, to take straw residue and compress it into very small bricks. Keith Saxton added that there also has been a special study started to measure emissions from burning cereal residue. The cereal producers themselves have allocated at least $100,000 to $300,000 for the study.
Stephanie Whalen observed that there are ongoing lawsuits to save the rural communities and the small farmers, but all the regulatory actions taken because of environmental concerns are making it impossible for small growers to stay in business.
Next, Chairman Reed moved Gary Margheim up on the agenda and had him discuss the status of the new charter for the Task Force. The original charter would expire on August 7, 2000. Dr. Margheim said the new charter would soon have the required 12 signatures, and then it would be sent to the Secretary. All existing members would need to reapply for appointment to the Task Force if they wished to serve another term.
Chairman Reed also took an opportunity to present all the current Task Force members now finishing their terms with a small gift: a laser pointer with ï¿½Agricultural Air Quality Task Forceï¿½ written on the side.
The chairman then yielded the floor to Dennis Tristao for a report on the voluntary incentive-based compliance program. Mr. Tristao remarked that the agricultural industry needs to have this policy approved by Federal EPA so that it can be utilized and included within the state implementation plan. He thanked Calvin Parnell for his leadership over the past year in the development of the voluntary incentive-based compliance program.
Mr. Tristao then called on Phil Wakelyn to briefly describe the current status of the program. Dr. Wakelyn explained that, as he understood it, a copy of the voluntary incentive-based compliance program was conveyed from Secretary Glickman to Administrator Browner and to the Chairman of the House and Senate Ag. Committees when the agricultural burn policy was sent. Therefore, both of these documents have been at EPA since the beginning of March, but little has been done with the voluntary program. Dr. Wakelyn had suggested to Sally Shaver and Robin Dunkins that they put a copy of the voluntary incentive-based compliance program in the Federal Register for a 45- to 60-day comment period, just as they are doing with the burn policy.
Ms. Shaver then related how and to whom within EPA she had been presenting the voluntary compliance program. She said the principles had been circulated to the regional offices, and she had discussed them with the Regional Air Division Directors. There was also a meeting of senior managers at EPA, and they devoted a day to agricultural issues across the nation. At that meeting Ms. Shaver presented information about the MOU, burning policy, and voluntary policy that the Task Force had developed. Ms. Shaver commented, ï¿½Senior managers within EPA have not been able to accomplish anything like this in the last few years because of everything else thatï¿½s going on in EPA, so I feel that the presentation of these issues was very timely and important.ï¿½
Ms. Shaver said that EPA management has a strong desire to work in partnership with the agriculture community on issues related to the agriculture industry. She believes the next step with the voluntary compliance program is to work with the management, John Sites and Bob Perciasepe, to explore alternatives to implement the program. Ms. Shaver thought this Task Force should try to get at least the principles of the voluntary compliance program into an EPA document. The details could be worked out in the local areas. She added that there was good support for giving SIP credit for the types of things mentioned in the voluntary program draft.
Ms. Robin Dunkins next discussed EPAï¿½s stationary source voluntary measure policy, which is currently out for comment on EPAï¿½s website. The purpose of this policy is to encourage innovation by inviting state and local areas to come up with new means of controlling technology, and allowing them some flexibility. Ms. Dunkins also mentioned that ï¿½voluntaryï¿½ means something different in EPA than it does in the ag. community; ï¿½When regulators say ï¿½voluntary,ï¿½ is without incentive. The key to the stationary source policy is that it is not enforceable by the local agency; it is only enforceable with theï¿½ state. So this is something quite different from the Task Forceï¿½s voluntary incentive-based program.ï¿½
Annette Sharp proposed that the Task Force send a letter to Administrator Carol Browner acknowledging and thanking Sally Shaver and Robin Dunkins for their contributions to the progress the Task Force has made over the last few years. Chairman Reed directed George Bluhm and Gary Margheim to draft such a letter before the close of business that day so the Task Force could finalize it.
Next, Phil Wakelyn reported on the work of the Monitoring and Health Effects subcommittee. He said they are looking for major research efforts under monitoring development to provide better science to understand what different monitoring instruments actually measure. They also want more information on the composition of agricultural dust as well as on its effects on human health. But the most important work, Dr. Wakelyn said, will be on emission factors. Once the new Task Force charter and members are in place, Dr. Wakelyn anticipates that this subcommittee will draft a document detailing the types of monitoring and health effects research, with both short- and long-term goals, that the Task Force would like ARS and CSREES to undertake.
Larry Erickson asked if the subcommittee would be considering effects on animal health as well, and if so, he suggested possibly adding someone with a veterinary background to the subcommittee. Phil Wakelyn answered that he anticipated that animals would be part of the focus.
Stephanie Whalen asked if the Task Force could get copies of a report on particulate research being prepared by some advisory committee in EPA that was spending $50 million. Bill Jordan clarified that Ms. Whalen was referring to an internal advisory committee that deals with over $50 million worth of research. He added that the more work they do in looking at these health related speciation of the dust, the less they know about what it is in the dust that may be causing these associations and the further they are from coming up with a biologically plausible explanation of what is happening. Mr. Jordan suggested that, in addition to copies of the advisory committeeï¿½s report, the Task Force also request an outline of all the research projects that EPA has under the $50 million worth of research on particulates. Sally Shaver said she would get copies of the documents for everyone.
Ms. Shaver also told the committee that the criteria document and the drafts of the review of the PMâ€‘2.5 standard would be coming out in the fall, and in December of 2000 there would be a science advisory committee reading to review those documents.
Next on the agenda was the public comment period, and the first speaker was Jim Sutherland from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Mr. Sutherland used to work with U.S. Public Health Service and was one of EPAï¿½s contacts. He commented that AP-42 is primarily a literature review of standards; it is not a standard itself. It is the science that is in the literature. The whole process of AP-42 is to try to provide pertinent information.
Jay Gould of Western United Dairy Association was next to share a brief comment. He stated that at breakfast he had purchased a 12-ounce glass of milk for $1.50, and the dairy that produced it got only eight cents. Farmers just do not have the resources to absorb societyï¿½s environmental costs. He appealed for common sense approaches like voluntary programs rather than command-and-control regulation for farmers.
The last speaker was Jeff Schmidt from the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Arizona. Mr. Schmidt updated the Task Force on what is happening in Arizona in terms of litigation and rules related to air quality. He reported that the BMPs were endorsed by the Governorï¿½s Rule Review Commission in April, so the rule is final law and accepted by the Governor, which means that beginning December 31, 2001, farmers have to implement best-management practices that reduce PM-10. He then shared some of the comments that came from farmers in focus groups on the proposed BMPs.
Mr. Schmidt relayed that the Governorï¿½s committee would still like to extend an invitation for the Task Force to meet in Arizona at some date in the future. The committee in Arizona also recommended that the Task Force help organize some type of workshop or conference that brings together state regulators who use AP-42, regional members from EPA, NRCS members, environmental groups, members from private research groups, and ag. leaders throughout communities in the ag. industries, such as Farm Bureau, Conservation Districts and grower groups. Mr. Schmidt said, ï¿½If something like this could be put together, we could probably help other states avoid what Arizona went through and bring everyone to a common understanding. This would give us a tremendous leg up at beating the need for immediate research so people know about whatï¿½s needed.ï¿½
After the break, Chairman Reed introduced Glenda Humiston, USDAï¿½s Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and the Environment. Ms. Humiston opened by emphasizing, on behalf of the Secretary, ï¿½how pleased the Department is to have this Task Force and the good work they are doing, the recommendations that are coming in.ï¿½ She then briefly summarized some of the big challenges she sees for USDA in the near future, and then she asked the Task Force to tell her how she might be able to assist the group during her remaining several months in office.
Dennis Tristao remarked that the establishment of the partnerships with NRCS were added with funding to offset the initial cost of implementing the new technologies and practices, and he emphasized the importance of that funding for getting these programs into place. Ms. Humiston responded that they are exploring some new concepts, such as the green payments, a stewardship payment type of concept that was proposed by the President in this yearï¿½s budget. She said it was discussed on Capitol Hill in a very bi-partisan fashion, so it may be a concept that is included in future farm bills.
Ms. Humiston urged the Task Force to explore ï¿½how to enable our private landowners to produce the food and fiber that they are attempting to produce and that the nation and the world desperately needs, but also somehow fairly compensate them for the environmental services that the public is clearly not just wanting, but demanding. Thatï¿½s a tricky question, frankly. I tend to believe that if we could harness the power of the free market by somehow having the economics and the ability to create a true value for those services and, literally, put those out to bid I think we, as a nation, would be just very, very pleased with the response of our private landowners, and I think it would actually assist them in maintaining a fair income and quality of life as managers of private land.ï¿½
Bob Flocchini expressed concern that many of the regulatory measures were being imposed upon either confined animal feeding operations or on the farmers in areas currently listed as serious or severe or extreme. He said, ï¿½It should not be their financial burden when someone changes the regulatory parameters that they previously worked at. The farmers and agricultural operators to whom I spoke are willing to adopt new practices if they can be assisted and if it can be demonstrated, for all practical purposes, that they wonï¿½t put them out of business.ï¿½ Ms. Humiston completely agreed, and she said they are pursuing this issue now as they work on the proposal for the next yearï¿½s budget.
Chairman Reed thanked Ms. Humiston and promised that the Task Force would work very hard to support the budget for air quality efforts. Ms. Humiston stressed that it is also important to keep a close tie into a basic infrastructure. She said, ï¿½The importance of the infrastructure itselfï¿½that field office, those local partnerships, those local working groupsï¿½is to allow people who have a problem, such as air quality, to be able to focus on that even though it might not be the current national priority of the moment.ï¿½
Before she left, Ms. Humiston invited the Task Force to participate in upcoming hearings on farm land and forest land fragmentation in Seattle (July 31), Atlanta (August 7), and New Jersey (August 9).
Next on the agenda was Sally Shaver to talk about EPA policy and program initiatives. Ms. Shaver called on Bill Jordan to present information on the Food Quality Protection Act and some of the new initiatives EPA is taking in response to that law. The Food Quality Protection Act strengthened the standards for judging whether or not a pesticide residue on food will cause harm to people who eat that food.
When the Food Quality Protection Act was passed in 1996, EPA was obligated to begin implementing it immediately. Mr. Jordan said their emphasis and approach were guided by four principles that appeared in a memorandum that the Vice-President sent to the Secretary of Agriculture and to the administrator at EPA. These principles directed EPA to 1) base their decisions on sound science; 2) conduct their activities in such a way that the decisions made and the methods for getting there are as transparent as possible; 3) provide the public with many opportunities for participation; and 4) provide a reasonable transition for agriculture to make changes in the way pesticides are used. With these four principles in mind, EPA has been working for the last four years to review all the tolerances that are on the books, and they have completed over a third of them.
The Food Quality Protection Act is related to air quality because it includes regulations on atmospheric and airborne exposure to environmental contaminants. Mr. Jordan said their mandate includes every aspect of pesticide use and the way it may affect public health or the environment, including exposure through respiratory pathways. Therefore, EPA requires that companies that are trying to put a product on the market provide data on atmospheric transport and spray drift. He also indicated that over the last five years, EPA has been developing new models for atmospheric transport of sprays under different circumstances, different atmospheric conditions, different types of spray equipment, different types of pesticide formulations, and different types of environmental settings. They are also collecting information about pesticidesï¿½ environmental fade characteristics through laboratory studies of airborne catalysis.
Manuel Cunha asked if Mr. Jordanï¿½s group formed a committee with the chemical companies to study the technology. Mr. Jordan explained that EPA required the chemical companies to conduct studies that would help the agency evaluate exposure that happens as a consequence of spraying pesticides. The testing took about five years, and all along EPA worked very closely with a group of pesticide companies in the design of the tests and the submission of their data. EPA then spent the last two or three years reviewing the data and trying to develop models to help evaluate a chemical based on the relevant variables, and from that, to find opportunities for minimizing off-target movement. The group that is advising EPA includes representatives from pesticide companies, aerial applicators, equipment companies, USDA, and CSREES. This spray-drift task force wants to develop common-sense solutions that will work on the ground, be financially feasible, and achieve their environmental goals.
Stephanie Whalen asked about ï¿½risk-cup,ï¿½ so Mr. Jordan described EPAï¿½s process for determining safe levels of exposure, or ï¿½risk-cup.ï¿½ He also talked briefly about how they use data from USDAï¿½s Pesticide Data Program (PDP) to refine risk estimates or target and plan risk mitigation.
Robin Dunkins remarked that the mechanism for considering a margin of safety is a tenfold factor for transferring animal data to human data, plus another tenfold factor for sensitive populations; there is also a proposal of another additional tenfold factor for infants and children to be considered if something additional shows up. She said it seemed that the additional tenfold factor could be thrown in almost any time because there is not much information that would give the agency adequate theories about how to use data with children. Mr. Jordan replied that every time they made a decision to register a new pesticide or to reassess an old one, they reconsidered the extra tenfold safety factor.
Dr. Quinn inquired if there were any changes in the approach to assessing the local meteorology in the field and how that is done, because it plays a huge role in spray drift. Mr. Jordan said he did not know the answer to that question.
Pearlie Reed turned the meeting back over to Sally Shaver, and she reminded everyone of the workshop to be held the following week in Kansas City. An organization of state air directors put the workshop together, and the southeastern and the western states asked to be included as well. She promised to report on the workshop at the next Task Force meeting.
Ms. Shaver then informed the group that the consolidated emission reporting rule is now in OMB. It lays out some requirements for reporting on emissions that pertain to PM, and it will also have a periodï¿½ for comments on the toxics reporting. There will be annual reporting requirements for the purpose of developing the inventory. She also reminded everyone that the strict enforcement for PMâ€‘2.5 would not begin for three years after the 2002 review of the standard.
Phil Wakelyn mentioned that the ozone particulate case is now in the Supreme Court, and the decision is expected sometime in the spring. He asked Ms. Shaver to describe the process with regard to ozone and the designation of non-attainment areas for one-hour and eight-hour standards. She replied that EPA had just reinstated the one-hour standard in the last few weeks. With that reinstatement it will again be possible for areas to be in non-attainment of the one-hour standard. Those that come into non-attainment have a limited time in which to get their non-attainment SIP implemented. Dr. Wakelyn asked for clarification on the implementation dates for the various standards, and Ms. Shaver said they have a timeline that they would share with the Task Force at the next meeting.
Annette Sharp commented about the regional planning organizations and workshops that EPA is funding. She said they are seeking agribusiness in nine states (Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska) to participate in these workgroups.
After a break, Jim Trotter shared that he had been talking with Dick Amerman about the issues needing research within the next 18 months. Mr. Trotter said, ï¿½Itï¿½s going to take longer than 18 months to do most of the research, but there is research out there that perhaps we can gather up to help farmers with best management practices.ï¿½ He then requested that the members of the Research Priorities subcommittee get together after the full Task Force meeting to discuss this action.
Next, George Bluhm presented the editorial changes he had received to the minutes of the Baton Rouge meeting. Larry Erickson moved to approve the minutes as presented, and Calvin Parnell seconded the motion. Hearing no discussion, Chairman Reed called for the question; the motion passed.
John Sweeten presented and explained the revised draft of the executive summary for the white paper on confined animal feeding operations. He then described the Agricultural Research Service research program documents that would be included as Appendix E of the large report. He told the group that he and his team also crafted a letter of transmittal from Chairman Reed to Secretary Glickman conveying the executive summary and making reference to the entire report, assuming the Secretary probably would not wish to read the whole report at this time, but he would then know where he could get a copy, should he desire one.
Dr. Sweeten moved that the Task Force adopt the report, as completed with amendments, entitled ï¿½Air Quality Research and Technology Transfer White Paper and Recommendations for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations,ï¿½ and that it be transmitted to Secretary Dan Glickman by Chairman Reedï¿½s office in a timely fashion. Bill Hambleton seconded the motion. Chairman Reed called for the question; the motion passed.
Dr. Sweeten indicated that Gary Margheim would handle printing and distributing the report, and after it is approved and submitted to the Secretary, they would make an electronic copy available to the Task Force.
Chairman Reed asked Phil Wakelyn if any further discussion was needed on the letter expressing concerns about CERCLA/EPCRA enforcement. Dr. Wakelyn answered that only a few editorial changes had been made, so it was basically the same letter that the Task Force had approved that morning. He assured the committee that he and George Bluhm would make the suggested editorial changes and send it out the following Monday.
Chairman Reed requested that the Task Force officially recommend to the Secretary that he extend the charter for this Task Force for another two years; it was so moved and seconded. He then asked for the groupï¿½s permission to instruct Gary Margheim to draft an official recommendation of behalf of the full committee. The Task Force voted in favor of such action.
As the final item of business, Chairman Reed called attention to a document on their tables in front of them that Clinton Reeder faxed to them. The chairman asked the Task Force to accept the document and include it as a part of the proceedings of the meeting. It was so moved and seconded. Hearing no discussion, Chairman Reed called for the question; the motion carried.
Jeff Schmidt announced that there was no public comment, so Chairman Reed called on Gary Margheim for some closing comments. Dr. Margheim circulated the letter to Administrator Browner commending Sally Shaver and Robin Dunkins for their valuable work with the Task Force, and he asked all the members to sign it. He then congratulated the Task Force on all of its notable accomplishments over the two days of meetings. Finally, Dr. Margheim recognized Adam Sharp with the American Farm Bureau for assisting with the meeting logistics.
Manuel Cunha inquired if after August 7, the final date of the Task Forceï¿½s current charter, the members would then be working as individuals, not as Task Force members. Chairman Reed answered that that was correct, but he promised to do everything that he could to get the new charter extension expedited.
The meeting was adjourned.