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PUBLIC LISTENING SESSION
DRAFT USDA/EPA UNIFIED NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR
NOVEMBER 16, 1998
SHERATON TULSA HOTEL
REPORTED BY: LINDA FISHER, CSR-RPR
MS. HUMISTON: My name is Glenda Humiston. I'm currently serving as deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculturein the mission area of natural resources and environment. Within our mission area we have the pleasure of two large agencies that I work very closely with: Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service. I'm really thrilled to be here. I've been in that position for about four months now. And actually one of the very first tasks that I got to participate in was the final discussions and negotiations of putting this draft strategy together.
I came to this job from a position in California where I had worked on a very similar thing with our state Water Quality Control Board and our California Cattlemen's Association developing their rangeland water quality management plan. And I'm pleased to say that effort, which met Coastal Zone Act reauthorization requirements about seven years ago is a roaring success, the cattlemen are happy, the EPA is happy, all the various interest groups are happy. And the implementation of that water quality plan is years ahead of any requirements that the Federal government had asked for.
It was that spirit that we used in trying to put together this strategy. It's been recognized throughout the nation that there's a growing demand for some method of dealing with animal wastes. There are interest groups who would ask for more regulation, there are other interest groups who would say we have plenty of regulation. And there is also a growing recognition amongst those of us who have worked in trying to find solutions to these problems that regulation alone is not the only answer.
It was with this spirit that this administration pulled back the initial draft strategy that the EPA put out in March. They were answering their requirements under the Clean Water Action Plan, to get out a strategy to deal with animal feeding operations. But we agreed jointly to pull that back and instead attempt to develop a draft strategy that had a balanced approach of both clearly defining what were the regulatory requirements and how those might be dealt with.
Part of the goal in defining those regulatory requirements was to create a level playing field among the states. We've had situations where some states have very strict guidelines, whereas other states do not have so strict and many states have the ability to set those guidelines. What we did have, though, was concern among state legislators and governors that they were being played against each other sometimes where certain water pollution was cited. So that was one goal of the regulatory act is to level the playing field.
The other half of the strategy, the technical assistance, the voluntary cooperative approach which I'm pleased to say NRCS has been very active in for many, many years along with other agency partners at the local and state level, is to attempt to show and clearly define what technical assistance needs are needed out there and how to provide them. And that includes the need for research into new technologies and methods of getting that information to landowners in ways they can use and perhaps cost share and other types of support programs.
So what we've attempted to do in this unified strategy is pull all this together with existing programs which are is what this stategy is. There's also some sections in it, that many of you noticed, that defines what the anticipated future needs are, both on the regulatory side as well as the voluntary cooperative side. You'll also notice some very strong language in that strategy about fire wall. That was because we recognized that a balanced strategy that had both a regulatory component and a voluntary component had to have a clear definition of where the division of that was, that people who were out there doing the voluntary cooperative approach, the technical assistance with the landowner, could not be in a regulatory capacity. And this is something that both Carol Browner and Dan Glickman, our two leaders very strongly have put out in support of.
So with that introduction, let me say that I'm really pleased to have such a large turnout. We're looking forward to hearing your comments. We're here to listen tonight. I just want to make a couple of housekeeping things. Unfortunately, due to the large number of people who are to speak, we will not have time to answer each and every comment.
They are being transcribed. The transcription will be put up on the Internet. For those of you who want formal comments to be part of the federal registry, you will need to send those in writing. And partially that's because we were only able, both money and timewise, and I think for all of us, our sanity, those of us travelling around the nation, to do 11 cities. And it was felt it wasn't fair for people who couldn't to one of these 11 cities to give an advantage to those who could.
So we're here to learn from you. We hope to take these comments back as well as all of those we receive in writing and put off, perhaps, a better draft strategy. The second and last item I would suggest to you is when you come forward tonight, don't just tell us we did a bad job. God knows we did our best and we may have missed a few things here and there. Tell us what you would like to see. Give us a solution. Give us a better idea. We're in the market for them, I guarantee you. At least I'll guarantee you that all of us up here at this table are because we worked very hard on this thing and we're in the market for it.
So with that I'm going to introduce my colleagues from the EPA, Region 6. Fred Lindsey, EPA. He's the Deputy Director of the Office of Wastewater Management here from Washington, D.C.
MR. LINDSEY: Thank you, Glenda. I want to add our appreciation to each of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to come out tonight. I am pleased with the turnout that we have here and I just want to thank each and every one of you for coming tonight and spending some time with us to help us try to improve what we've got here to come up with a strategy for dealing with animal feeding operations that will represent, insofar as it's possible to represent, all the various interests and concerns among the various stakeholders.
This is the first of 11 of these meetings that are being held throughout the country over the next four weeks. The draft strategy was identified as one of the key activities in the President's Clean Water Action Plan that he put forth in February of this year. It's actually a list of better than 100 activities that the various federal agencies are supposed to be performing in order to complete the efforts that we've been making for lo, these many years and protecting our waterways and improving our waterways. We kind of look at it as a 100 item "do list" for the agency.
A major focus of the Clean Water Action Plan is in the area of wet weather events. A lot of the remaining problems that we have in this that concern quality has to do with weather weather, what happens when it rains and after it rains. And AFO problems tend to be in that category as well. Much of the problems we have with them come as a result of wet weather events. There are others, though, a number of others. There are other agricultural type runoff, non-point source problems in our cities. We have trouble with sanitary sewer loads. Some of our older cities have combined sanitary sewers and along with storm sewers which overflow and things of that nature as well. And we're working hard on those as well.
But there have been, I think, dramatic changes in the animal feeding industry over the last 20 or 30 years or so that has generated some public concern and demonstrated the need for a nationally consistent approach to protecting human health and the environment. Production check technology has changed, operations have become somewhat more centralized in areas and regions, a lot of animal feeding operations have become larger. These have all gone in the direction of creating somewhat more new challenges, if you will, for environmental protection.
The draft strategy proposes basically the establishment of a natural performance expectation for AFOs, the development, if you will, of a protective level playing field on a national basis. We recognize that all the parties in this room and outside of this room that are involved with this industry and this issue are going to need to work together to preserve not only our health and the environment but also to maintain sustainable and economically viable animal feeding industry.
And the purpose of this meeting is two-fold. First of all, we want to let you know a little bit more about what's in this document and to that end in a little while we will go through a presentation on that. And secondly, and most importantly, as Glenda indicated, we're very much interested in finding out from you what you think the issues are here, what things you would like to see us change and how. And that's the main purpose of this meeting from our perspective.
Your comments are going to be used by a working group that will put together, between the two agencies, to help us finalize this document. We'll be taking detailed notes up here at the table on what you say. I might suggest, however, that you might want to be sure we don't get it wrong. And if you -- it would probably be a good idea for you to send us written comments as well if you would. We've been pleased to partner with the Department of Agriculture in this activity thus far. They bring just years, 60 plus years, at least, experience in doing collaborative work with the agricultural community, just a wealth of experience in that light. They have a number of tools and mechanisms for working with traditional communities on problems like this that we don't have. So we're really pleased to be working with U.S.D.A. in that regard. It complements our experience base and our tools which tend to be regulatory in nature.
While we've established a great working relationship, here among the two agencies, in order to make real progress, it's going to be necessary for similar agencies at state and local levels and all of the rest of us, for that matter, to work together as well. We think that the link pin to all of this that we'll discuss a little bit later on is the development of the comprehensive nutrient management plans. And our plan is that by the year 2008 that we would like to see and plan to have -- every AFO have one of these nutrient management plans. And we think that will largely take care of the problem.
How will we go about accomplishing that? You will hear this over and over from us. For the vast majority of the 300 to 450,000 -- for anyone who is counting -- AFOs, this will be a voluntary effort. There will be a lot of help, a lot of assistance from the New York Department of Agriculture, the NRCS through what I understand to be vehicles that they have used for many years in terms of working with producers. The largest and most problematic or highest risk operations may be five percent of the total number, maybe 15, 20,000 of the total number.
These comprehensive nutrient management plans will be mandatory. They will be implemented through the NPDS, the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits that these facilities are required to have and have now. And therefore, they will be in force. And all this is going to take a lot of resources, there's no question about that, from the private sector as well as from the government. And we're working hard to try to secure those kinds of resources and hope to enlist your assistance in doing that. We think the results will be of tremendous value to the environment.
In some, this is a draft strategy, it's not a rule, it's not a regulation, it's not final, and we sincerely want your input. There will be, for those who are not ready to make statements tonight or would like to do something at a later time, there will be another opportunity in this general part of the country. There will be another meeting on December 10 at Fort Worth Holiday Inn South, I think is where it's going to be. Is that right? The Holiday Inn South on December 10. So you might put that on your calendar if you want to go to another one of these things.
With that I'm going to turn the rest of the meeting over to -- the most of the meeting over to Dr. Ross Love who will be our moderator tonight. Dr. Love is the Assistant Director of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service for Natural Resources and Environment. Dr. Love.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Fred. Welcome, everyone. I guess since we're soon to have an OSU Tulsa I can welcome you to Tulsa as part of the Tulsa family. And for those of you that aren't from Oklahoma, again, let me welcome you to this great state, a state that I really enjoy working in and being a part of. And thank you for all of you coming out here tonight. Now, I've got a few things I have to say. Is everyone able to hear me all right? All right. I've got a few things to make sure that we keep all of this going at the right pace and at the right time. We've covered all some of these already in the overview.
We will lead off with a short overview, as was mentioned, a short overview of the draft strategy and then we'll move into the listening session. And the bulk of the time here tonight will be the listening session. I want to give you a few ground rules of the listening session now and then introduce a couple of gentlemen to you. And as soon as they're done, we'll go into the listening session. And again, I'll remind you of a couple of ground rules at that time.
Because there are so many people signed up, we all need to be ladies and gentlemen about this so we can get everyone done and in a very positive fashion. And again, at the end I'm going to remind you you have the opportunity -- we have envelopes out there -- you have the opportunity to send your written comments directly to those that can take those and put them into action.
Now, we're going to take the comments tonight in order of how you signed up so you should have signed up stating that you have a desire to make a comment tonight, so we're going to take them in order. If, for some reason, you're not here when your time is up, you will move to the end. All right? Please try to keep your remarks brief and on point. We want to make sure that everyone who desires to speak has got their opportunity to be heard.
We going to ask when you come to the microphone -- and this will be the microphone that we will work with at that time -- when you come to the microphone, we want you to very clearly state your name and who you represent. If you just represent yourself, that's all right. We would like for you to state your name and who you represent. And that's for the reporting that we'll be doing today.
Now, I taught class for 15 years and we had a little class roster every time they came and it was printed and even then I used to kill names, as you might expect. That was the first time I ever met some of those students so I really didn't do too well with names. Well, tonight I can already tell you that even if it wasn't printed, even if it was printed, I would probably kill a few names, but I notice that we've got a few on here in handwriting that is no better than mine. And if you have seen mine, you can ask JoAnn, my secretary, who will tell you that's right. So I'm going to do my best tonight and I'm going to apologize in advance for any pronunciation problems that I might have with your name.
You will have, so you can prepare ahead, you will have three minutes -- up to three minutes. You don't have to take the whole time, but you will have up to three minutes tonight to speak. I will have a little hand clock to let you know and we'll go over that right before everybody gets up and we will have the official Stillwater pacesetter stop watch. This is no bias here, this is a neutral stop watch. All comments made tonight will be transcribed, as was said, and will be available on the Internet under the Freedom of Information Act.
Now, let's get to the two speakers that are going to say something about the rules, the proposed strategy, the draft strategy. First we have -- and I'm going to introduce both gentlemen because they told me they do a tag team match up here. I don't know who they are going to work with against but they didn't look very big. So I don't know, we'll have to see. Neither of them had their head shaved or anything either.
First I'd like to introduce Kevin Brown. Kevin is the Deputy State Conservationist from the U.S.D.A. Natural Resource Conservation Service from Louisiana. We're glad to have you with us today. Kevin is a native of Tennessee and started his career with NRCS 21 years ago. He has served as soil conservationist and district conservationist in five different locations in Tennessee. Kevein served as U.S.D.A. liaison in Alabama and a conservationist in Florida prior to assuming his current position as Deputy State Conservationist in Louisiana.
Our other speaker is Will Hall. Will is with the U.S. EPA in Washington, D.C. Will started his career with the EPA in 1992. Since that time he has worked on several aspects of the NPDS permitting program including the National Pretreatment Program, the Watershed Base permitting, urban weather discharges and AFOs. Prior to joining EPA, Will served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Congo. Mr. Brown.
MR. BROWN: I'd like to start out by reading a couple of comments from Secretary Glickman before the summit that was held last May to discuss animal feeding operations. At this summit Secretary Glickman made a few comments. One was animal feeding operations are the biggest conservation issue that faces agriculture today, bar none. Then he went on to tell us what U.S.D.A.'s role would be in working with animal feeding operations.
The way I see it, U.S.D.A. has three critical roles: One, as a provider of technical and financial assistance to producers in their clean water efforts. Two, researchers, they give producers economically environmentally sensible solutions; and the third thing is equal partners working side by side with the Environmental Protection Agency to establish reasonable and fair regulatory standards. When we worked with EPA on this strategy, we did work side by side. We've heard it often said that if you have two people who agree all the time, there's not a need for one of those persons. And that's the way it was with the strategy.
There was quite a bit of give and take, a lot of input, a lot of arguments, a lot of taking it up to the next level and making decisions and taking it back down to some of the worker bees that tried to put this together. But over all, I think we have a good strategy. It's fairly middle of the road. It's not extreme enough for some of you, but a little more than extreme for others. So with that, I would welcome your comments.
MR. HALL: I would just like to interject a few thoughts here. It's been a very interesting past several months working on the strategy. I've learned an awful lot of things and I look forward to continuing the work as we finalize the strategy sometime in early 1999. Without further ado, I guess we should continue our presentation.
MR. BROWN: Can we get the lights, please. The strategy itself, there are about eight or nine of these but we picked out the five most important that we felt like to present to you tonight.
First of all, minimize water quality and public health impacts. Second, focus on greatest risks; that's both to the environment and the public health. Third, long-term sustainability of livestock production. Fourth, as was mentioned earlier, we'll establish a national goal and performance expectations. And lastly, the coordination of federal, state, tribal and local activities.
I'd like to define the animal feeding operations. It's animals kept on, kept or raised in a confined situation, they're confined for at least 45 days out of the year and the feed is brought in to the animals. The 1992 census actually says there are 450,000 of these operations out there today nationwide. The trends are consolidation. We have seen the number of operations decrease. We've seen the number of animals per operation increase.
MR. HALL: There are a number of issues that we could talk about. But this strategy focuses on a particular set of issues, that being water quality impacts that may be caused by animal feeding operations. Those water quality impacts can include overenrichment of nutrients, pathogen problems, contamination of drinking water supplies. Again, while issues such as greenhouse gases, other things may come up and be mentioned, this strategy focuses particularly on water quality impacts and may have other benefits for other operations.
MR. BROWN: We have national goals to take action and minimize water pollution. The national performance expectation to develop and implement CNMPs, or comprehensive nutrient management plans. This is to develop technically sound and economically feasible CNMPs. The CNMPs, or comprehensive nutrient management plans I mentioned, will address such things as feed management. You don't have to do a lot of research in this area.
Manure handling and storage, land application of manure, land management, traditional NRCS, SCS plans that we have done that address erosion, soil erosion, soils information, water conservation. There will have to be more in-depth recordkeeping, soil tests, manure tests, wherein this is applied and the other utilization options. And we'll have to look at -- we know there's some counties, especially here in Oklahoma that may have more manure produced than what can be land applied in that county. That will have to be addressed in the CMNP.
MR. HALL: U.S.D.A. believes that any strategy should set a clear road map to our friends. As well, it should provide clear and coordinated complementary roles to various people and organizations involved. We concluded that the vast majority of animal feeding operations of the 450,000 that we believe exist, about 95 percent will be addressed in some kind of voluntary efforts by the owner-operator of that facility. And only about five percent will be addressed because of the high risk they pose for water quality by some kind of regulatory program.
In fact, we feel that the regulatory program should focus on what we affectionately refer to as "the big, the bad and the many", which we'll talk about in a few minutes.
MR. BROWN: In order to address these 450,000 operations, it's going to take a strong voluntary program. How will we do this? One of the ways is locally led conservation. Locally-led conservation is a term from the '96 Farm Bill where through soil water conservation district and local producers we feel like the local people have the best solutions for the concerns. And this is addressed in the strategy. There will have to be more extensive environmental education and the availability of technical and financial assistance programs.
This is one of the points that's asked to us or questions that's asked to us most often. Is this mandatory? It's not at this time. But to address the water quality problems that we have nationwide, we're looking for the CNMPs to be put on the farm by 2008 and implemented to address these concerns but it is not mandatory at this time.
MR. HALL: A few notes about the program. Section 502 of the Clean Water Act defines concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs as nonpoint sources along with other point sources that are more traditional waste by other water treatment plants, et cetera, et cetera. This is implemented through NPDS regulations which promulgated that back in 1976 as well as effluent guidelines which establishes minimum based requirement for CAFOs. Those were introduced back in 1974. Probably not as much interest, but this is our program. The coastal zone areas also have an area that deals with animal feeding operations.
I should mention that 43 states are authorized to implement the NPDS program in lieu of the EPA and that's something we should keep in mind when we're talking about the strategy.
MR. BROWN: Land application of manure is addressed in the strategy. We all feel like it's the best means of utilizing and disposing of the manure when done properly. When done properly, it will be in accordance with the comprehensive nutrient management plan. It does have the agricultural benefits, not only just nutrients but organic minor, and so on to build the soil. Improper application, or improper land application can cause serious water quality problems and impact the public health. And this not properly done would be not in compliance with the CNMP.
MR. HALL: As I mentioned earlier, the strategy proposes three priorities of high risk operations and which we feel need permits. These were priorities that we are establishing under our current regulatory authority and do not require deregulation to be done in order to implement them. And in fact has been mentioned tonight, the strategy is not a new regulation but rather an approach that we want to take, priority setting approach. The three priorities are those facilities that produce significant amounts of manure, typically facilities with a thousand or greater, those facilities with some unacceptable that have a discharge to a water body. And finally, significant contributors to water quality impairment as determined through water quality monitoring.
We expect that all CAFOs, those who are regulated under the program will have CNMPs as part of their permits. These will be developed in accordance with guidance provided by the regulatory authority, EPA. We expect to incorporate the NRCS practice standards as the appropriate standards for CAFOs and CNMPs. We feel that these CNMPs that are done for CAFOs should be done by a person who is qualified to do them. But ultimately, the responsible of the CAFO owner or operator to see to that.
MR. BROWN: Maintain that fire wall issue between regulatory and volunteer. If NRCS or extension service or U.S.D.A. as a whole prepares a CNMP, we will give that to the producer and they will be responsible to deliver that to the regulatory authority. A couple of new things that are in the strategy. Smaller CAFOs can exit the regulatory program. We're saying that if an operation is currently regulated, and if they address initial conditions that cause them to be regulated and implement a CNMP and they have less than a thousand head in numbers, they could exit the regulatory program.
The other thing is the good faith incentive. This is part of the voluntary program. If a producer is out there and through good stewardship, they decided to gather the CNMPs, implement the CNMPs and they still have a discharge for some reason, they have a chance to go back and fix that discharge without being taken into the regulatory program.
MR. HALL: We thought it was important to lay out strategic issues in these areas that need to be addressed to implement strategies. There are seven in total. Each one of them has a description of what the issue is, some desired outcomes and a list of action items. At this time we would like to just walk through each of the strategic issues. Strategic issue 1 is building a capacity for CNMPs. I think we mentioned several times tonight, they're kind of a cornerstone of this strategy and will require resources and qualified technicians, et cetera, in order to make sure that these CNMPs are developed and implemented. In particular we want to increase the number of certified specialists both in the private and public sectors but particularly in the private sector. We want to ensure the implementation under the guidance of qualified technicians. Insuring that the CNMPs have the benefit of folks who can guide the producer through the process of implementation, we want to insure consistent quality and ultimately insure that all CAFO owners and operators have a CNMP developed by a specialist.
MR. BROWN: Strategic issue 2, accelerating the voluntary programs. As Will mentioned, we would like to have all AFOs going by 2008, maximize environmental benefits per dollar for Oklahoma; ensure equal opportunity to all producers to participate. That's our outreach efforts. All people are entitled to our programs. National standards and guidance for CNMPs. We will develop and make these available. Options for financial assistance. We have a goal to implement the CNMPs. Financial assistance will have to be available and that is addressed in the strategy.
MR. HALL: Strategic issue 3 deals with the improving the regulatory program for CAFOs. First of all, we envision a phased permitted approach, basically two phases. The first one to begin early in 1999 would involve issuing permits to the three priorities that we listed in the strategy under our existing regulations. There will be no need for new regulations to do that. We would focus in particular on general permits as well as watershed previous permits that are a bit more targeted. To support that effort we would issue CAFO permitting guidance sometime in early 1999 and work with the states to develop permitting strategies to help them prioritize their efforts. But over all working towards permitting those goals that I mentioned.
While we are in the first phase of permitting, we will go through the process of reviewing and revising our existing regulations. And there's a number of considerations that we might look at in terms of that process that are described in the strategy. The third component of the improving the regulatory program is improved compliance and enforcement effort.
MR. BROWN: Strategic issue 4, coordination between federal, state and local efforts. There are four things to address here that will need to be done: Further research, technical innovation, compliance assistance and technology transfer. That will be done by the following actions: There will be a coordinated research plan, coordinated technology transfer plan and a virtual center that will be more or less a repository for CAFO information.
MR. HALL: Under strategic issue 5, the recognition that the effort is going to be voluntary. We are asking in the industry to also get involved. We encourage them to do so. We feel that industry has a role in developing CNMPs. Various industry led initiatives such as that by the National Pork Producers Council and others, we definitely encourage these efforts to take place. And then there are a number of other actions that we list and occur in industry.
MR. BROWN: Issue number 6 was a major -- had major emphasis early on on data coordination. It's to preserve a trust relationship between U.S.D.A. and our producers. For 65 years the U.S.D.A. has relied on confidential information from producers to develop conservation plans. We want to make sure that the producers know this information will remain confidential. This is the fire wall issue that Glenda mentioned at the very first of the meeting. Then joint policy statements between Secretary Glickman and Administrator Browner about U.S.D.A./EPA affirmative need to protect this confidentiality and the joint policy statements. NRCS on May 22, 1998 released a policy statement to assure the confidentiality.
The third bullet there is cost benefit methodology. It's actually just to insure the taxpayer is receiving their money's worth for the strategy.
MR. HALL: The final strategic issue deals with performance measures and accountability. We believe that any strategy needs to have a way of measuring success. In particular in light of the government results and performance act of the GPRA. In gauging success we need to look at two particular areas. First of all, problematic activities but ultimately trying to effect here and therefore we want to make sure we measure the environmental outcome.
MR. BROWN: There is a section on the roles and that is nine different groups that goes from producers up to the federal partners and it provides the opportunities for involvement of each of these entities and how they can fulfill key roles and implementation of the strategy.
MR. HALL: For those of you who didn't pick up a copy of the strategy out front, I'm pretty sure we still do have copies but if you want to pass along information, you can. Here's some phone numbers and web sites that you can contact.
MR. BROWN: All right, the next step. We're right in the middle of a 120-day comment period that ends January 19. It tells you the information where to submit your written comments and we do have to have written comments from you. And we need this by January 19. And we very much need your input.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, gentlemen. We'll have the house lights up again, please. That ends our formal presentation time and now we will begin the listening period. Let me remind you that each person will have three minutes. You need to move rather quickly and safely to the microphone. I'm going to turn it on, we will strictly abide by that.
We have this fancy item up here and when it's a yellow light on, you will have one minute remaining in your comment time. When the red light is on, the comment time is done and I will say "thank you" and you will graciously sit down, I hope. I'm not a very large person so we're going to have to -- I'm an educator, I'm not a tag team kind of guy.
Again, this group will be listening. Occasionally, they might ask for a clarification but it will be at the end of a person's comments so they don't take their time. And occasionally they might need to make a statement but mostly they will be listening today.
Now, while I'm up turning the other microphone on, I'm going to remind you you're going to come to the microphone, you're going to state your name slowly and clearly. Don't speak as fast as I do. State your name slowly and clearly and you're going to say who you're representing, either yourself or some organization. With that I would start with Warren down here. And Warren, would you just tell them who you are and who you represent and we'll go down the line to remind everybody while I turn the microphone on.
(Introductions of the panel members.)
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you. We'll now begin. Our first commenter is Carl Hillis, I believe. Carl, would you please step forward.
SPEAKER 1 - CARL HILLIS: My name is Carl Hillis from Houston, Arkansas. I'm with the group called the Arkansas Coalition for Responsible Swine Production. As I go through the U.S.D.A. proposal, I can identify with at least a dozen different items in that publication. I say to myself I know they didn't use my ideas, but at least it's great to realize we're on the same page.
Some of the problems we experience on the Arkansas side, the yearly inspections that we all would love to see are at least two years past in Arkansas. The yearly inspections run once every three years. I asked Bruce Kirkpatrick why do you keep writing the same violations up inspection after inspection. He says that if they're not corrected in a one-year time frame for correcting violations, they're no longer a repeat violation, you start over again. So that way you never correct any violations.
When Mr. Daniels, a Tyson pig factory farmer made a presentation to the commission, he said that approximately 50 percent of the hog farms could comply with regulation 5 for maximum phosphorus, which Arkansas has gone to the same as Oklahoma, 300 pounds per acre. Oklahoma has gone to one-half mile and three-quarters of a mile setbacks. The hog farms in Utah required a three-mile setback from the nearest occupied dwelling. North Carolina has gone to 1500 feet and 2500 feet. We feel like Arkansas should get in step with the other states and not have any hog farms closer than 1500 feet to the nearest occupied dwelling.
The recent home farm study in Arkansas showed that the majority of holding ponds were full of solids and were no longer working. We requested that the management plan require that all holding ponds be pumped each year during the hot, dry summer months by a certified pumping service that will not destroy the holding pond liner.
All hog farms should be required to include enzymes in the hog feed. All hog farms should be required to use chemicals in their holding ponds. These two requirements would help minimize the horrible odors coming from the hog farms. Each hog farm should be required to have a dead hog freezer. We do not need to be burying or burning the large number of dead hogs we are dealing with from the industrial pig farm factories. All buffer strips should require vegetation buffers designed to eliminate runoff; trees, shrubs, grasses designed for this purpose should be required. We have a large and growing number of ___________ operations in Arkansas that are utilizing turkey houses and chicken houses.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Mr. Hillis. Three minutes is very quick. Thank you for your comments.
MR. TRICE: Excuse me, he can submit written comments, right?
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Oh, yes, everyone can.
SPEAKER 2 - BEATRICE BURNETT: My name is Beatrice Burnett. I live in Yale County, Arkansas, the city of Dardanelle. I'm with the Arkansas Coalition for Responsible Swine Production. For the past several years I've been involved and concerned about the negative impact animal operations have on our communities, aquifers and water supply in which they're built.
Over the years I have seen Arkansas Department of Pollution Control and Ecology continue to issue permits with confined hog operations when they do not have enough inspectors for the already operating facilities. Violations occur time after time before the inspector arrives from ADPC&E. The following numbers were taken from the records of Arkansas's Department of Pollution Control: 68 percent of the violations registered at ADPC&E were serious offenses like spills and improper disposal of dead carcasses and improper waste lagoon operation.
The review of hog farms found 345 violations over a six-year period; 233 of the violations were considered major for things like leaks, spills, inadequate _____ discharges, excessive solids and improper disposal of dead carcasses. Only 112 violations were considered minor for things like bookkeeping areas. The Pork Producers Association vehemently denied these statistics. But the data was subtracted from the ADPC&E files. Not all hog producers are the same. Contract producers have the worst compliance records in the state with an 80 percent violation rate. Tyson contracted producers were better, but still the state average with a 65.5 violation rate. Independent producers who do not contract with any one corporation have the best compliance record in the state with just a 19 percent violation rate. But very few independents are left in Arkansas as the major companies have pushed them out of the market. Previous university studies have shown that independent family farms are better for local economies than corporate contract farms. Now we have heard data showing that independent family farmers are better for the environment as well.
I stand by the above figures. Our streams, recreational lakes, health, quality of life, communities with healthy values are being destroyed because of the poor manure facilities, operations of factory farming and hog and chicken farming. The Pork Producers Association contests management practices. Unfortunately, those three words do not exist in most farms therefore their negative impact on the environment because the poorly management factory hog operations. It is necessary that the laws be passed to protect the environment of our community and the adjoining landowners as well as the farmer. Co-liability is a good start. Our confined animal farmers are nothing but glorified sharecroppers under the present guidelines. At the present time only the farmer bears the consequences for the pollution caused from inadequate disposal of dead animals and manure. Our streams are lateral lines for confined animal farms. No wonder we have water pollution in bays and gulf } areas. The time to act and address these water quality problems is now. Clean water is life.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Ms. Burnett. Next is Charles Sloan. Is Charles Sloan here? We will move to Gary Fisher, speaker 4. Following Gary Fisher will be Marla Peek.
SPEAKER 4 - GARY FISHER: Hello and welcome to Oklahoma. I'm Gary Fisher. I'm a farmer. I live in northeast Oklahoma, by Tahlequah in Cherokee county. We produce turkeys and cattle on our farm. It's a family-run operation. The wife and I are both former educators. We have not gone a great distance from our homes. In fact, our home is a half mile from where she was raised. It's a mile and a half from where I was raised. So that shows that we're pretty home grown individuals.
It's not that we want to stay there, if you'd think. In fact we thought education was our way out of farming. So as students, we went on to college, we got our degrees in order to get away from the farm. Well, after serving as educators for a number of years, our desire was to get back to the farm someway.
Poultry was the only way that we could make it because we could not make a living raising cattle alone. So turkeys were the way for us to get back into farming. This is where we had been. We helped raise three children, two who are college graduates, another who is a sophomore at OSU who is majoring in turf management so he won't have to go back to the farm and one day will be there to inherit what we can leave behind supposedly.
But the whole thing about regulations, rules, and so forth I surely believe needs to be on a voluntary basis. It needs to be at the local level. We have rules and regulations in place presently which are pretty much controlling the situation but we need a lot more research to find out just exactly who is polluting what and to what percent. We have lots of technology coming on board right now that I think will redeem the poultry growers from being the villains that we've been portrayed as being. Some of these days there's going to be a way of telling the -- when you get some phosphorus in the water content, did this come from a septic system, did it come from a poultry operation or did it come from a dairy, and so on. At this time I believe we will be vindicated from being the villains that we've been portrayed to be by certain press, certain political situations.
I do hope that you don't read into the Clean Water Act some of the things that were not intended. Do not place yourself as the big brother regulatory agency which Congress did not intend for you to be. Leave this at the local level. We can solve our problems and will do it voluntarily and very happily. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Next is Marla Peek, please. And then Bob Drake will follow.
SPEAKER 5 - MARLA PEEK: Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you. I'm Marla Peek with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. We're the state's largest farm organization representing more than 118,000 member families. We would like to say first off, I think the AFO strategy is based on a false premise that our United States is suffering from nonpoint source pollution.
Using the natural water quality inventory as a basis of that you might think that was true. But I can tell you what we have learned from our own state's records, the reports that our state identifies as the 303D list, that a lot of that information is highly questionable. And at this time our state is looking at our 303D list and in the process of revising it. Our list of impaired waters again is a federal funding priority list. And we think that a lot of people who were in the various conservation districts wanted to get their water on so they could get money to do conservation practices.
That is the way of the farmers and ranchers of this land. After the American Indian, we think they're the original conservationists. As we mentioned before, it's been said that nonpoint source is a big problem and that all the point sources are taken care of. I have brought here a list of bypasses from the state of Oklahoma. This is for the period of April of '95 through July of '98. These are your municipal lagoons, storm water runoff. This is for all over the state.
Here is our list of CAFO bypasses, a page and a third roughly. Do you think bypasses from CAFOs are a common everyday event? I think if you would look at their numbers, you would see that they're not. I've submitted these items before. Many of you, maybe you have heard that the city of El Reno dumps off the top of their lagoons straight into the North Canadian River, but we don't hear anybody yelling about that. They take their fine because it's cheaper to take the fine than it is to fix the problem. And we're not blaming cities. We're just saying look at these other sources.
We are fortunate in Oklahoma to have the land that we have that's a lot of good watershed land, timberland and pastureland. And we feel like our state is doing a fine job of regulating us. Thank you.
SPEAKER 6 - BOB DRAKE: I'm Bob Drake. I'm the Chairman of the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative. We have chapters and we have organizations from 49 states. We look forward to the comments. We will provide written comments that will be in in plenty of time. They have sent me a lot of good information that I could use. However, I will just shoot from the hip; it's always better that way. I've cooperated with NRCS and OSCS and before that an organization before that for 65 years my family has. We trust them. We allow them on our ranch. They have keys. They still have that opportunity to come on there.
One of the concerns that we have is that we don't want to lose that trust. We like the voluntary. We like to be able to call. We would like more technicians on the ground. We asking to let that --. If we have 15, we're going to ask for more, for those voluntary technicians. We do have great concerns when the EPA is involved. No offense at all involved here. But this is our concern. I do know that two states did ask for the records from NRCS and they went to the top to get it stopped.
Now, I appreciate what we saw on the screen but this is a concern of the cowboy from the fork of the creek out there. We're very frightened when you talk about definitions of AFOs. An AFO from 300 to a thousand we can relate to. However, there's another clause in there that says an AFO can be any, any size if it is an impacted area, a watershed, a tributary, whatever, any size. That can be 1, 10, 50. What's the definition? Do we get into a fight with between the national EPA and our on DEQ in the state of Oklahoma? We're concerned about definitions.
God knows what we went through with the wetlands with four agencies. So you have those old cowboys and those farmers and those ranchers that have grass all over this nation that are truly concerned about this process. And I appreciate the opportunity that that you're giving us to give this input. And I can assure Glenda that she's going to hear some more about this probably later on but I do want you to know that we feel like that for 65 years on a voluntary basis, we have done an excellent job out there. We think that we can continue to do it.
We are stewards of the land. These are people who make their living by the land who intend to have their families on the land and we can do it. And we can do it voluntarily as we've always done. Again, thank you for coming down here. And welcome to Oklahoma.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Mr. Drake. Next is Gordon Allison. Following Gordon will be Calvin Wilkins.
SPEAKER 7 - GORDON ALLISON: What happened to the five minutes? I signed up twice so I would get ten and now I only get three. I'm Gordon W. Allison. I'm from Oklahoma City. I represent a company called Consortium Service Management Group better known as CSMG. I'm going to be very happy to talk with you about transfer of technology. My company is a small company, Texas corporation and I'm a major shareholder, officer and co-founder.
Our company has been in the country of Ukraine some 400 miles from Germany east and it's a huge agricultural state and an industrial state, built an awful lot of the defense, cold war materials. And our company in six years got into business there, put an engineering company in the business and we are doing technology transfers. Now, we have in our contract form for world rights an anaerobic waste management plant for animals, hogs, cattle, chickens. This plant can be built on 4500 square feet. It's variable. It cures all of the problems that we can see. And we need these agencies here to help do the due diligence simply because that this is the first public announcement that's been made on this project. We've had it since the last of September. We recirculate the water; it's treated chemically and some kind of electronic to limit the use of water. It has no lagoons, it has no odor.
The microorganism is killed in the fertilizer. It's a dry fertilizer. And we have electric generator plants that goes with it. That solves the electricity, burns the methane, the methane is struck where that it will burn in the engine without ruining the engines. If there's an excess, then it can be sold. The Btus is good enough.
This plant has been in operation for over 10 years in the middle of a town. I say in the middle, on the edge of a town. It's built around it, 400,000 people and there is no odor and there is no lagoons. We need help on doing the due diligence. We are talking to several states. We have introduced it to one university and we would like to have your assistance in getting this where that we could bring it to America and solve this huge problem that we have in this country. I can answer questions or whatever after the meeting. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Mr. Allison. Next is Mr. Wilkins followed by Ms. Bachmann.
SPEAKER 8 - CALVIN WILKINS: My name is Calvin Wilkins. I live in northeastern Oklahoma up by Vinita. I'm part of an enterprise, a family-owned and operated enterprise that raises poultry, broilers. We also raise cattle. We also do some smaller crop farming. I'd say if there's anybody who knows and loves the land more than we do, I don't know who it would be. And as far as being stewards of the land, I think the farmer is probably one of the best stewards that there will ever be including any of you people there. I mean, that's no offense but that's how we make our living, that's how we raise our children, that's how we provide for our children's education and all.
And I'll get to that point later. All I would ask is that if you genuinely want to help us then listen to us and help us. Don't discipline us. Don't try to hit us up for mistakes that we might make. Instead help keep us from making those mistakes. Now, as far as my background, I worked with the EPA and the DEC in Alaska for everything north of the Alaska range as an officer in the Air Force for all the problems we had up at the Air Force base. And I know all of you all are probably familiar with that. We had over a $220 million budget and I was the environmental management coordinator for that. I worked with the EPA, I've worked with the DEC and I'm going to tell you that was six years ago and I'm a little rusty.
I personally would challenge unless there's been a new amendment or law brought into effect besides the Clean Water Act that you could classify a poultry operation as a CAFO. And I think you guys might be overstepping your bounds in doing so.
Secondly, as far as AFOs go, it's hard to classify a poultry operation under the intent of an AFO because we are a covered operation. We're not like an open cattle lot or open hogpen where that precipitation gets on our litter. We kind of determine when that we put our litter out on the field. So it's not like it's under constant precipitation.
I know I'm going to run out of time and so all I would ask is that if you really want to help us and you want to develop a strategy, use a strategy that sends some technicians out to the field, some people who live where we live, people who know our soils, who know our crops, who know our problems.
You people in the offices and up in Washington, you know, you don't know them. All right? You think you know them but you really don't know when it comes down to getting your hands dirty and getting some crops raised. That's what we would like to see. If you're going to help us, help us, don't discipline us to death.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Mr. Wilkins. Now, Janet Bachmann, please, followed by Keith Morgan.
SPEAKER 9 - JANET BACHMANN: I'm Janet Bachmann from near Fayetteville, Arkansas. I live on a farm, small farm south of Fayetteville. I'm a market gardener, a few free-range chickens but not really on the animal things. I grew up on a small diversified dairy farm with a few hogs in Iowa. I currently work part-time for ATRA which is the Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. I am speaking tonight on my own behalf but also for the southern sustainable agriculture working group which is sort of a loose network of about 40 organizations in the southern states. We have also a national campaign for sustainable agriculture, which from its name is national.
And the things I am reading from are primarily for the national campaign. But they do reflect my own thoughts. The first thing is that we recommend sustainable alternatives to factory farms. We pretty much believe that, I mean, what you call AFOs or CAFOs, we're also calling factory farms, are inherently unstable because for many, many reasons. One of them is that there's so much petroleum energy into bringing the feed to that location and then moving the manure which I won't call it waste product but it is -- you know, I would like to have some on my vegetables -- but moving it back out, just all this shipping back and forth.
And there are -- but there are others. In addition to the water, there are a lot of other things that we see as inherent problems in factory farm livestock production. We believe that they're and have examples of economically and environmentally sound sustainable alternatives to large scale factory farms and we can present some of these if you would like them. I won't tonight but primarily this is animals, systems that have animals on pasture, management and intensive grazing for beef, hogs, poultry, yes, poultry pasture. And people who were doing these systems are doing quite well.
I need to hurry up. We would like to require individual Clean Water Act permits instead of rubber stamping general permits or watershed permits. The draft strategy should be revised to require that existing large scale manure handling systems be phased out and these systems be prohibited in any permits or new or expanding operations.
A sound strategy should impose a moritorium on new or expanding factory farms until environmental impacts are assessed, et cetera. I think I will quit there. And we will put this in writing. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Ms. Bachmann. Keith Morgan followed by Joel McGouph, please.
SPEAKER 10 - KEITH MORGAN: My name is Keith Morgan. I'm a second generation poultry farmer from Colcord, Oklahoma. I'm also a commissioner of the Oklahoma State Commission. And I appreciate the opportunity to meet with the EPA and to discuss animal waste issues as they effect my livelihood. I feel farmers are already working together to fix the water quality problems associated with the poultry industry. Although our contribution to the problem is still unknown, we don't know if we're five percent or 90 percent of the problem.
A lot of progress has been made in cleaning up the water in this area. Although that story has not been told through the media. This progress is gained through local involvement and voluntary efforts not through more government regulation. I feel many of the proposed regulations are knee-jerk reactions. Voluntary efforts should be given time to work and show progress. These efforts could be monitored for advances in the area of alternative to animal waste.
Today in Oklahoma the Department of Agriculture has the authority to prohibit later application in an nutrient impaired watershed. I fear that states in an effort to quality for more federal funding will use inaccurate studies to prove the streams are impaired. This action could prohibit the land application of the poultry litter based on bias and inaccurate reports.
I believe that the animal waste problem can be eliminated through the voluntary efforts that have been made locally. One of those efforts includes implementing best management plans implemented by the NRCS office. Some of those problems are trying to a national standard on ___. Include bearing differences and soil types and tests.
Government regulations will not help this problem if the regulations are based on less than accurate studies and varying results. The variation in terrain, soil types, water availability and water uses, developing one set of national regulations will be nearly impossible. More studies should be conducted and technology developed that directly links dry poultry waste to water pollution. The laws currently being proposed are not based on enough information and scientific facts. It is based on assumptions not proven facts. Family farmers are still facing regulations that could force companies to look elsewhere around the country for food producers. This is continuous, compounding of the problem of the extinction of the family farm. Even though there are only one and a half percent of the population farming, agriculture continues to be responsible for 20 percent of our gross national product and responsible for employing 25 percent of our work force.
The laws currently being proposed are aimed at the corporate farm but with animal units used to classify corporate farms almost every family farm will fall into the corporate farm category. Those who really want to see progress and fix the water pollution problem should do it through continued education and voluntary implementation of the plans. Farmers love the land and water probably more than anyone else because it provides their livelihood. Farmers are more than willing to cooperate in the program to protect these resources. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Mr. Morgan. Joel McGouph, please. And then followed by Judith Read.
SPEAKER 11 - JOEL MCGOUPH: My name is Joel McGouph. I'm with an organization called CCGCC, Concerned Citizens for Green Country Conservation. I live in northeast Oklahoma, Grove, Oklahoma. And I really don't feel that I'm interested in a level playing field. I feel we do need clean water or land and air. And that's our problem in northeast Oklahoma where I live in that, but basically where we live we're influenced by water coming out of Kansas, water coming out of Missouri, water coming out of Arkansas. A lot of finger pointing as to whose responsibility this is.
Also, and no offense, I'm not really in favor of U.S.D.A. and the EPA getting together in this because you've got two huge mega organizations and a lot of times they don't even know each other and it's like a -- bringing in U.S.D.A is kind of like hiring a bear to watch the honey, as far as I'm concerned.
Anyway, the year 2008, we that live on Grand Lake, around Grand Lake, Spavinaw Lake and Eucha Lake, we're going to have a dead lake if we wait that long to do anything about our water quality. All of our wells in my area and all my neighbors, most of our wells have gone bad. And we feel like Oklahoma itself is very influenced by the industry. Examples of this would be we have an odor nuisance law here where you cannot take somebody to court for nuisance. In Oklahoma we have different setbacks from eastern Oklahoma to western Oklahoma. It's totally political.
We have had no enforcement of water quality in Oklahoma, EPA standards or Clean Water Act. And we tried to get a tax by the industry to monitor their own, regulate their own industry like most destroys do and we were defeated there.
We at CCGCC are asking for assistance on the ground water study. Our real problem is point source coming across the border from a chicken processing plant. And I feel like that is our major problem. Thank you so much.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Judith Read, please, followed by Randy McGinnis.
SPEAKER 12 - JUDITH READ: My name is Judith read. That's R-E-A-D. I'm from Grove, Oklahoma. And I'm representing two groups. One of them is Lakeshore Property Owners Association and one of them is Concerned Citizens of Green Country Conservation. I live on Honey Creek Bay. My house is on the water, Grand Lake. And this lake is being negatively impacted by point source, a processing plant from Missouri. Their wastewater discharge into Kay Springs, which flows into Honey Creek overpowers the water quality to such a degree that it is slowly but surely killing the stream and the lake itself. Now, I'm not a scientist, I can't spit out all the facts and figures of phosphorus and all that kind of stuff. But I can see the difference in the water and I can see what is happening to the fish and wildlife in and around the lake.
And by the way, this lake is a drinking water source for scores of people around northeast Oklahoma. We have to drink this stuff. I'm looking at you folks for a solution to this problem because my elected officials, local, county and state have no apparent interest in this problem. And it is a problem. And it must be addressed now and it must be addressed properly. If there is no positive regulated solution,, this watershed will be ruined forever. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Ms. Read. Next is Randy McGinnis followed by Kevin Stubbs, please.
SPEAKER 13 - RANDY MCGINNIS: Thank you. I'm Randy McGinnis. I'm the area manager for dairy farmers of of America. I represent a three-state area of south Missouri, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. First of all, I would like to applaud the joint efforts of U.S.D.A. and the EPA. I feel like that merges the goal with the solution by putting EPA and U.S.D.A. together to jointly work on the issues.
I think the focus should be on the goal, the goal being water quality. I think there were several points brought out in your presentation that we should use good science, determine where the problems are area-wise, determine the source of those problems. Let's use good science to determine where those problems are, identifying them and directing the emphasis on the areas where we can define those problems.
I agree that technical assistance and funding are necessary with plans tailored to specific operations. I don't think that prescribed technical practices used in a cookie cutter fashion throughout the whole United States is a workable way to do it. I think it can be handled more on an operation-by-operation basis with the technical assistance and funding provided not only for the educational part of the implementation of a plan but also the funding of capital improvements that may also be necessary.
I think we need consistent and one-stop sources of information and funding so that within an area, an agricultural operation, a livestock agricultural operation can go one place, find out what the solutions may be for their operation, find out what funding and resources are available to put them in that activity, take some of the guesswork and confusion out of it.
I think the practice must be reasonable and economical. It was mentioned in your presentation that the costs and benefits must be justifiable to the taxpayer. I think they must also be justifiable to the operator. There are some benefits to go with some of the costs at the operational level but many of the benefits maybe outstrip the benefits to just the local operator. And I think the other thing we need is a level playing field. It's hard for an agricultural operator to get excited about making changes when they can daily pick up the paper and read of instances of problems in municipalities where it appears that nothing is being addressed.
I also think there needs to be some type of closure as to time frame and rules so that once they have implemented a plan that's approved by the assistance that's available, that that plan will have a lasting effect and won't be changing down the road and I think there also has to be something done to prevent overriding of good practices by local initiatives and changes that may have other agendas rather than the agendas that would be laid out by good science goals and practices. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Next is Kevin Stubbs followed by Michael Bialas.
SPEAKER 14 - KEVIN STUBBS: My name is Kevin Stubbs. I'm representing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Also I was on the working group that helped prepare this strategy. And from the Fish and Wildlife Services' point of view, we're disappointed that our input, our comments that we provided earlier were largely unincorporated in this draft.
We are preparing additional comments and we want to do everything we can to work with you so that you truly understand why we're providing these comments and why we want to be a partner in this process. So hopefully, we can work with you and incorporate our future comments to a larger degree.
Just in general, because we are providing written comments later, we feel that there's a lack of emphasis on fish and wildlife resource protection and basically the impacts to fish and wildlife resources are not addressed in this strategy and there's no research proposed to resolve that as far as determining what the impacts are to the environment to a larger degree than just water quality or health. We're also concerned that you may not be totally in compliance with some other federal laws. We have regulatory authority for migratory birds, also endangered species. And we would like to be part of the solution in that we're afraid that if you don't let the property owners and managers know about the potential impacts, they, in turn, could be in trouble with the law and especially if they're following advice that was given to them through U.S.D.A. or EPA. That does not reflect well on the Federal government.
So that's all of my comments for now. And we will submit further comments in writing later.
SPEAKER 15 - MICHAEL BIALAS: My name is Mike Bialas. I'm from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I'm speaking on my own behalf. The draft strategy is planned for the long haul, which it should have been years ago, then we must look at the animal feeding operation in the context of the total role of community and appreciate their impact on all aspects of family life, health, economic, social, environmental consequences must be addressed with sustainability for the distant future as the goal. The draft strategy acknowledges the good of factory farming and is a very important statement. The concentration of large amounts of manure and wastewater in farms and the watersheds. If the draft strategy assumes erroneously a large scale factory farm is both inevitable and potentially sustainable and it recommends the expenditure which is of large amounts of public funds for technical assistance and cost sharing money to encourage and subsidize factory farming, and they fail to -- and for a regulatory system that will attempt to stand over the -- of a deeply flawed production system.
The U.S.D.A. issued a report on small farms in January and it seems like a contradiction here in what we're doing as of this year of 1998. And one of the policy goals was to emphasize sustainable agriculture for profitable ecological and socially sound systems. And it is, and further it mentions that diversification of crops and livestock to enhance the biological and economic stability of farms.
So economic environmentally sound sustainable alternatives exist to large scale factory farms. The draft strategy should recommend that this existing, clearly sustainable production would be encouraged as alternatives to factory farms. Regarding the Clean Water Act permits, it's hard to believe that we have allowed so far almost 10,000 factory farm operations to go on polluting in flagrant violation of the law. We would not law such practices in other factory operations. Because of the uniqueness of these operations on the individual should be allowed, in neighboring communities before our permits are granted. The draft should also impose a moratorium on new or expanding factory farms until environmental impacts are assessed and adequate regulatory measures are adopted for dealing with these impacts. And yet we're talking about 2008. That's a long way from now. The strategy should clarify the standards for comprehensive nutrient management will include __ implementations based on --
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Mr. Bialas.
SPEAKER 15 - MICHAEL BIALAS: I'll leave my comments.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: I think you're going to need to mail them in. Riley Needham.
SPEAKER 16 - RILEY NEEDHAM: I'm Riley Needham. I'm speaking on behalf of myself and Concerned Citizens. I'm from Grove, Oklahoma.
My comments will be focused on strategy issue number 6, the data coordination. In the special case of watersheds that are impaired, all available data on possible causes of the impairment must be available to the public so that the dialogue on solutions can be open and allow the public to be fully informed. All information having possible impact on the water quality from all conservation planning cooperative programs including CAFO specific information must be made public.
The proposed fire wall which is accessible for watersheds where all of the beneficial uses are being maintained for surface waters and where the ground waters remain within drinking water standards. However, once either the groundwater or surface water is impaired, it is an irresponsible use of taxpayer funds to prohibit the use of the information gained at public expense to rapidly set the course for the correction of the deterioration of the water quality.
The delays caused by not opening up the information to all interested parties will result in added costs to the public to eventually correct the pollution and a possible further degradation of the waters. Without the information even erroneous corrective actions may be put into place prolonging the pollution of these waters. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Mr. Needham. Next is David Boyer followed by Nadine Barton.
SPEAKER 17 - DAVID BOYER: My name is David Boyer. I've been in the dairy business at Webbers Falls, Muskogee County, Oklahoma for 20 years. Many changes have occurred in this short time, almost all businesses, including dairy, have increased output for business units to survive economically.
If it were possible to return to the days of a milk cow and pig and a dozen chickens in every back yard, we wouldn't need concentrated animal feeding operations, but that's not going to happen. So what can animal feeding operations, operators and the public by way of its agencies and the U.S.D.A. and the EPA do to insure that a safe and plentiful supply of food and water is available to our children and grandchildren. I respectfully submit the following comments.
I have implemented a nutrient management plan for my farm with the use of U.S.D.A. and the following comments express some of the concerns that I and other dairymen have. One, who will ultimately have the regulatory authority over planned compliance? I would recommend that the existing milk sanitation inspection agency be authorized and delegated to function as the environmental impact inspectors when and where these inspections are necessary eliminating duplicate inspections and inspectors with potentially conflicting criteria for compliance.
U.S.D.A. should provide the resources for monitoring and regulating manpower and training to the states and these resources should be designated for this purpose.
Secondly, I would suggest that you implement a program that will be incentive based. The goals should clearly be water quality and not simply developing physical and technical practices, allow input from operators. And I notice in the draft that that is part of the plan, but allow input from operators in local watersheds when developing plans and regulations. Different watersheds have different dynamics. This is true as it relates to the physical environment as well as the human or cultural environment. Local people might better determine.
Third, adequately fund the support agencies to provide the technical and cost share assistance. Fourth, assure that there's a coordination of services, regulations, and information eliminating the deception of the run around or pass the buck scenario, and then allow enough time and provide adequate cost share funding for the operation as necessary. I'm committed to work to achieve the goal of protecting our resources, the air, soil, water, fish, wildlife, domestic animals and most important of all is our children.
I also want to insure that my grandchildren will not be at the mercy of a bureaucracy or foreign dictator for food. Working together, I'm confident we'll achieve a balanced outcome. Thank you.
MR. FRED LINDSEY: In implementing your nutrient management plan which you said you implemented, do you have any real problems putting that together or implementing it that it costs a lot of money, do you save a fair amount of money? What is your experience in implementing?
SPEAKER 17 - DAVID BOYER: I just got them started. And as I understand my contract, I have about five years. But I don't know how this is going to impact that or change that. But with my cost shares with farm service, I have five years to complete it. So that's what I had reference to whenever I said allow enough time and provide adequate cost share funding for the operator to budget the practice as necessary.
MR. FRED LINDSEY: You're going to send those comments?
SPEAKER 17 - DAVID BOYER: Yes.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you. Nadine Barton followed by B.J. Medley.
SPEAKER 18 - B.J. MEDLEY: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to our beautiful city of Tulsa that is being impacted by all of the chicken waste in our watershed so enjoy your water. My name is Nadine Barton and I am with Citizens Action for a Save Environment. And we were the successful intervenors to stop the building of the Black Fox Nuclear plant in Inola, Oklahoma. We are still active in environmental issues. I'm also a member of INCOG, and the Tulsa City-County Health Department's Environmental Advisory Council but I do not represent them today.
First of all, I have some questioning issues that being a citizen activist concerns me. In your presentation you mentioned that you wanted to continue, continue the confidentiality between the producers and the U.S.D.A. and the EPA. I have a problem with that. Wherever there is secrecy, there are back room deals made based on profit margin. All other industries, when they're looking at regulations, those are made public. These should be the same. You are subsidizing this industry. Other industries are being discriminated against. They have rules and regulations. 450,000 CAFOs, 450,000 CAFOs and only five percent are going to be regulated? I have a problem with that.
So I guess our deals have already been made. Excuse my cynicism. I have a problem also questioning that the majority of our big profit people -- and I am for the family farmer and those small producers -- but these international conglomerates should have more strict, strict rules and regulations where you have a million head.
And how in the world are you going to enforce your rules when their main corporate -- their corporate headquarters are in Hong Kong or Canada or Spain or Japan? Have those deals already been made? This is an immense problem.
I also want to question old lakes, lakes that are already impacted because they are old and they're majors sources of water such as we have here in eastern Oklahoma with Hudson and Fort Gibson Lake and they're being impacted. Wastewater treatment plants that are already out of compliance, does the taxpayer have to pay again? Financially, you want to have financial assistance? No. We are already subsidizing them locally through tax breaks and through tax breaks for financial assistance at the state level. No more. They make the profits. They can finance their own.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Ms. Barton. Next is B.J. Medley followed by Mason Mungle. B.J. Medley, please.
SPEAKER 19 - B.J. MEDLEY: My name is B.J. Medley. And I'm representing every citizen who has a concern about their water. In listening to this, for a living I'm a stock broker. And I do socially responsible investments so I become aware of many, many companies that are good guys or bad guys. That's what I do.
And in the last few years we've been dealing with the hog issue. And of course, the chickens have been around quite a long time. For about six or seven years before we were able to get the legislative body to do anything. In that process we've received many companies coming in to our state that are, as Ms. Barton said, they're international but also very, very large conglomerates including our own Tyson in Arkansas. This is not a small company. This is a big company. The Time magazine this month is discussing corporate welfare. You need to read it. And next month, the next issue, I understand, is going to be on corporate farming and the tax breaks that they're getting.
So what I think we need to be aware of is number one, I am in total support of the small farmer. I'm in total support of certainly range which would be wonderful. But even in a small confined family operation. I am totally opposed to these major corporations coming in to any state and taking over that state. Let me tell you something: During the legislature this time when we finally got this bill passed -- and we worked very hard to do this for several years.
I happen to live in a building -- or office in a building that the guy who owns it was the lobbyist for the pork people. And I will tell you that the pushing and the shoving and the literally intimidation to our legislators on this issue, including especially Senator Paul Maggey, who is the senator who finally got our bill through. In fact he won an award in Washington that he'll be going to next week as national legislator of the year because he stood up to these people. He had an election this year and he won by 87 votes. He barely made it. And the reason why is because they were going after him for trying to protect the people on the water.
We have got to stop the major companies from doing this. Number one, no tax breaks. Check their balance sheets, guys. They do not need tax breaks. If you want to give the small family farmer a tax break to help them not pollute, that's one thing, but you do not give it to the major corporations. And many of these corporations are from out of this country. Why should we support them? Also 70 percent of their carcasses end up overseas. Thank you. Remember that.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Next is Mason Mungle followed by Merritt Ford.
SPEAKER 20 - MASON MUNGLE: I'm Mason Mungle. I'm the farm and ranch program manager for Oklahoma Farmers Union. I would like to make a few comments and I appreciate the opportunity to do that. In the report there is a reference to over 3,000 watersheds across this nation that are CAFO impacted. I would submit to you that in Oklahoma that 70 of those that we have no information on, that they -- there is no CAFOs on some of those. There is only possibly five of those watersheds that are impacted, and four of them have information with one not having information. So I would submit to you that the information that you have on the 3,000 watersheds as you've heard several speakers say, go back and look at your 303D list.
In some of those watersheds that have supposedly been impacted by CAFOs, looking at the municipalities and their dumpage that Marla Peek presented to you earlier, in June, in one of those watersheds that was CAFO impacted, there was one release of dewatering of 28 million gallons. In another watershed, different watershed that supposedly is CAFO impacted, there was a release on two days of two million gallons in July.
So I would say that the information that we have that you're basing this AFO strategy on is certainly flawed at best.
The voluntary approach -- I was the director of the Conservation Commission in Oklahoma for 12 years, technical lead agency for the 319 sections of the Clean Water Act. And during that time our main function was to work with producers on a voluntary nature working with the Natural Resource Conservation Service and establishing those areas.
319 section of the Clean Water Act says voluntary approach. We talked about financial assistance. $25 million less with EQUIP funding this year, 26 million, I believe, Glenda, that is there. So we have the impact. U.S. Fish and Wildlife, certainly we need to look out for our species of plants and animals but what happens in the watershed that's CAFO impacted where you have millions of geese over wintering. Also as some of you are aware of, in the watershed in the Chesapeake Bay, raccoons were a major source of one of the bacteria that was found within that watershed.
The last I would say is that make sure that we look at this regulatory approach very closely because of the recent EPA Region 6's CAFO permit. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Merritt Ford.
SPEAKER 21 - MERRITT FORD: My name is Merritt Ford. I'm speaking just for myself as a concerned citizen. I'm from Tulsa and my family has been living around the Tulsa area, I don't know, for, since about 1890 when my grandfather walked here from Missouri. He walked in here and kind of settled and kind of lived here ever since. My other grandpa raised hogs and chickens on a small farm near Milkbay and he didn't stay with it forever but he did it for a long time.
I'm really concerned about why we're here. This is utterly ridiculous, I think, because the Clean Water Act was enacted in 1973. This is 1998. I hear -- I can't tell you how shocked I am to hear that now the EPA is going to say well, give us till 2008 and maybe we'll do this again. I don't like that. That's ridiculous. That's not good enough. For the last -- in all the years that my family has lived here, this is the first year on two separate occasions the water has been so bad in Tulsa you couldn't drink it, two times. You couldn't drink the water out of your tap. There's no excuse for that. People have to drink that.
I know there's some talk about what to do with all the waste and everything like that from these CAFOs and ranches. It's a problem. We've got to deal with it and to address it but I seriously think that all justification of animal waste be based on verifiable national standards for phosphorus and nitrogen. They have to be. People are drinking this stuff, families are drinking this stuff. What we're doing is just not good enough.
I'd also like to say that in my experience, based on what happened in Oklahoma in 1991 when Oklahoma tried to initiate some voluntary controls on some water problems they were having at that time with runoff from these farms in northeastern Oklahoma and Arkansas, they tried voluntary controls, if the EPA would get back and look at their records, they would find there were laws passed back then for voluntary controls. They didn't work then; they won't work in the future. Since we drink the water and we're paying for efforts like this and paying to subsidize agricultural farms like that that we should ask the integrators to be legally and financially responsible for the factory farm pollution and the taxpayers shouldn't have to subsidize for the pollution of our drinking water. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Mr. Ford. Believe it or not, we just went about halfway done. I'm going to ask everybody not to leave but stand up for a minute and stretch.
(Whereupon, a recess was taken.)
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you. Robert Johnson?
SPEAKER 22 - ROBERT JOHNSON: Thank you very much and welcome to Tulsa. I'm pleased to have an opportunity to present our thoughts and our ideas to this group. I represent myself. I'm formerly with the Department of Agriculture here in the state representing my industry. Right now I'm a consultant to growers and producers in northeast Oklahoma. I have a home over at Grand Lake near Ketchum. Also I have a home at Tulsa.
I think the key point of my message is that the state has done a good job. The state of Oklahoma, and most of the states have done a good job, excellent job. What's needed is more cooperation and more funding for the research and developing best management practices. Best management practices program that's been spelled out and supported by U.S.D.A. I think is a fine program and a program capable of helping growers resolve their problems in a fair and equitable and financially sound way.
I think those programs need to be developed further and presented in more detail to -- as a solution. I think there's an ongoing effort to monitor the waters in the state of Oklahoma particularly in the Illinois River and watershed area that has a first -- has the first high long standards and quality and the history there is showing that nonpoint source is a problem but the agriculture side of it isn't as big a problem as the press leads us to believe. I think that statements given by many of the producers and growers indicate their concern about the quality of life and the long-term sustainability to agriculture in their area of the state.
I believe they are good shepherds for the land. And I believe what's needed is more encouragement and less regulation, more encouragement by way of funding and technical support and assistance and leave that regulation and advice and guidance to the state to implement.
I think the state has proven its ability to represent both political interests and the economic interest as well as the social and environmental issues and a balanced approach. And I believe the state of Oklahoma can do that and continue to do that with the assistance and financial aid from the EPA and U.S.D.A. Those are our comments. Thank you, very much.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Mr. Johnson. Next is Ken Stamper.
SPEAKER 23 - KEN STAMPER: My name is Ken Stamper. I'll pass on my time to speak. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Next we'll have -- Mr. Stamper, would you like to speak at the end or would you just --
SPEAKER 23 - KEN STAMPER: No.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Mr. Bockman. I think it's Jerry, if I'm reading it correctly. Is there a Mr. Bockman here? All right, then we will go on. Kathy Martin followed by Karl Rysted.
SPEAKER 25 - KATHY MARTIN: Hi. My name is Kathy Martin. I'm a professional engineer. I have been evaluating wastewater treatment plants at a -- or a liquid refiner systems, hog facilities here in Oklahoma, Kansas and Utah for about the last year. I'm a civil engineer by education. First thing, I'm working with the group in Utah on the Circle 4 facility on what is best available technology for refining facilities. And there is a group, a general private discussion on that that maybe I could offer some information later. One of the main concerns we have is that the facilities that are not willing to give a proper waste analysis so that we know exactly what is in their waste, and they're not willing to give a proper total volume of waste generated, and I submit to you if you do not know what's in your waste and you do not know the volume, it's going to be pretty difficult to determine best available technology.
On the suggestions, the fees should be based on volume of waste generated. You should have a maximum animal units for any permit issued by U.S.D.A. Everything else should be a site specific individual permit. Measure of success for your program here should include a public interest group ranking and a public opinion poll. There was only input by industry.
The confidential information is not acceptable. Feces and urine should not be classified as proprietary information. We must know what is in this waste in order to protect our environment. I think in the leadership meetings, we definitely need to include national environmental groups, recognized groups that have membership. Facilities that are located over a ground water source as the only source of drinking water must be given equivalent standing as those that are in an impaired watershed because there is no other source of water.
When you look at land allocation as an acceptable means of disposal of manure, you're always in the fantasy of small family farms but there are a lot of 10,000 and 30,000 head facilities out there that generate 20 and 30 million gallons of wastewater every year and that's a lot of manure to put on the land especially land, very small amounts of land dedicated to one facility and not looking at a 20-year life cycle of the facility.
There are signs already of older facilities having poisoning and salt accumulation. There are effluent agreements associating land allocation that are completely unacceptable for our family people here in Oklahoma. It's a deal designed to force a landowner to take waste regardless of what is in the waste and it's assigned to the land, it's an easement to the land. It has to go with the land.
We have a lot of owners who have inadvertently signed these effluent land agreements and I don't think that is appropriate. The last thing I want to talk to you about is carcasses disposal used as animal feed. This is becoming a tradition especially amongst corporate hog farms and if you have a large death rate like a whole barn dies, these animals are pu o a rendering plants. That rendering is put back into the feed and fed to those animals without any public right to know on what the disease was, why the animals died and how they are even taken care of. Thank you.
MR. LINDSEY: You went through quickly. I'm not sure how you covered all that. What was the point about equity easement, what was that?
SPEAKER 25 - KATHY MARTIN: Effluent easement is an agreement between a company and an adjacent landowner to take the effluent, the waste manure and put it on crops. It's an easement onto an adjacent property owner's land. So if you're a company, you have a permanent easement to somebody else's land without owning it in order to dispose of your waste on their land for the life of that land.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you. Karl Rysted followed by Charles Wyrick.
SPEAKER 26 - KARL RYSTED: Hi. I'm Karl Rysted. I'm from the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. And some of the folks here are from this part of the state are primarily poultry operations. What I have seen over in that area is the impacts of the huge hog farms and the impact on the drinking water supply.
I am a member of the Sierra Club but I'm speaking on my own behalf tonight. I want to try to follow up on points that people have made tonight that I think are inaccurate. The first one is basically, if we all had family farms like we used to then we wouldn't need CAFOs. Well, we don't need CAFOs.
Somebody else said also that most of the large hogs farms are an export-driven industry and that most of the pork goes to Japan and China. So I wouldn't be concerned about over-regulating this industry because you're not really hurting or at least on the pork side you're not hurting the family farm here. You might impact the exports to some other countries of pork.
But I was looking here and this caught my attention about encouraging industry leadership. This comprehensive environmental framework and all this some other people have pointed out, there is no dialogue with common citizens like me or members of environmental groups. I mean, this is it. I'm glad you guys are here. But we need to have more of this, I think.
The general public is concerned about their drinking water. And they should expect no cooperation from the industry. I think we would be naive by including this in these documents and acting like we should expect cooperation. Everything I have seen -- and I have been following this very closely -- the industry, especially the huge hog farms fight every inch that they can. They will not cooperate with what is best for the common citizens. They will only look at the bottom line.
Again, too many voluntary efforts. If you could switch those numbers to 95 percent and the five percent, that would be great because there may be a few facilities out there that could voluntarily comply but 95 percent of them should be required to follow mandatory guidelines.
I would encourage you to keep listening. Don't just see this as a one-shot deal that you can draw up this great document and sit back and, you know, wait for 20 years or whatever. I think that some other people pointed this out, we need local input whether they're people like me that live in a place where their drinking water might be affected. They need to know whether this facility is being proposed, what kind of specific permit is being proposed. Because if you're using these permits, it's not going to happen and you know, again, I appreciate you trying to tackle the problem, but if that's the only way it is going to be done, it's not going to happen. We're still looking at what we can do to work on the Clean Water Act from back 25 years ago. The lack of citizen's participation about how to protect our communities is a basic feature. Again, it relies too heavily on that. On the land application and I know some other people have dealt with this, -- I'll try for submitted written comments.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you. Next we'll have Charles Wyrick followed by Paula Vella.
SPEAKER 27 - CHARLES WYRICK: Hello. I'm Charles Wyrick. I'm a dairy farmer from Fairland, Oklahoma to be specific. I've been in business approximately 18 years. I'm also an independent contractor constructing conservation practices including dairy waste lagoons.
I support the certification of AFO operators to develop and implement their own nutrient management plans. No one is more familiar with their operations than they are. I also support the coordination of the U.S.D.A. and the EPA to provide a one-stop information source to move away from confusing AFO requirements.
Some points of concern, the average dairy operation in 1997 had 80 cows so the majority of the nation's dairy producers operate smaller farms. Where would the resources come from to help them voluntarily implement these CMNPS? Another point of concern, producers who may be in compliance with round one permits may find themselves having to reinvest in order to comply with round 2 permits. Is this system the way to go? And what incentive is there for a producer to build a lagoon if they're in fear that seven years from now they have to tear it down and start from scratch.
Another point of concern is the cost of removing the 25-year, 24-hour storm water event. It would be prohibitive and not in proportion to the benefit received. We believe that most dairy farmers will respond best to voluntary and incentive based requirements rather than federally mandated national criteria. However, if federal mandates are imminent, we want to be certain they're as workable and realistic as possible and will actually do some good.
Proposing new regulations just for the sake of having more regulations is not sound strategy. Dairy farmers remain committed to their role as environmental stewards and we want to be certain that these regulatory processes facilitate their role and doesn't hinder it to insure the success of these plans is important that producers are involved in their development.
I also agree with the points made at this meeting by the members of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, Dairy Farmers of America and the Oklahoma Farmers Union. And I believe strongly in locally led conservation. Thank you, very much.
SPEAKER 28 - PAULA VELLA: My name is Paula Vella. I've been a resident of Oklahoma for the past 15 years. I've been involved with environmental issues for the past 24 years and I'm very concerned about the direction of the clean water strategy regarding animal feeding operations as well as the difficulty and complexity in developing these strategies.
I support locally owned farms. I purchase all my poultry and all my beef solely from locally owned ranches not corporate owned factories. I am most concerned about how these strategies will be used by corporations and vertical integrators to avoid cleaning up their wastes to make a profit. The proposed use of general permits is too broad. A general permit does not allow for local public participation. With general permits local landowners and neighbors will not be able to review and comment on the requests for permits.
Monitoring reports and other records of ongoing operations are not available for public review. Permits need to be individual to protect watersheds from overuse. My second concern centers around the disposal of manure, both liquid and solid. No human community would be allowed to dispose of waste in this manner. I find it difficult to believe that animal waste is far safer than human waste.
Land application of waste needs to be based on scientific standards. Any nutrient management plan proposed by AFOs needs to be reviewed to follow a balance of nitrogen and phosphorus. I would like to see a moratorium on new and expanding AFOs until the environmental impacts can be assessed and adequate waste solutions found.
Strategies are worthless unless there exists mandatory compliance and inspections occur and the U.S.D.A. and EPA have the ability to enforce these strategies. Human nature is to take the easy way out. Corporations will follow this tendency for the sole purpose of making profits at the expense of clean water. Vertical integrators call the shots for local farmers who contract with them.
Therefore, the integrators need to be legally liable and financially responsible for the waste removed and cleanup, not the contract farmers and not the local taxpayers. Thank you, very much.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Next we have Shane Boothe followed by Michelle Wynn.
SPEAKER 29 - SHANE BOOTHE: Good evening. My name is Shane Boothe. I presently serve as president of the Oklahoma Pork Council. One of my functions as president is to represent the over 18,500 individuals and families in Oklahoma, which I might add is easier than baby-sitting my three-year-old who I brought with me this evening.
Because of the scientific and technical nature this evening, I would like to submit and will submit several documents which will outline our policies and positions. This will include the National Pork Producers environmental resource guide which outlines environmental requirements of all types and sizes as well as describes our on farm odor and environmental assessment program, odor solutions initiatives and other educational programs that are ongoing.
Furthermore, I've enclosed a copy of the national environmental dialogue on pork production. This document which mirrors many of the ideas contained in the draft unified national strategy for animal feeding operations was constructed to aid in processes such as these.
Ladies and gentlemen, pork producers are not opposed to new regulations. We recognize the need to protect the environment. And while we support the goals of the unified strategy, we oppose any and all instances where the draft strategy allows social policy to supplant sound science. Simply put, emotion and science don't mix. Pork producers have actively sought to develop progressive laws and regulations to more closely govern the production and land application of manure. If the Oklahoma Pork Council and NPCC together believe the producers must manage their operations in an environmentally responsible manner. Our ongoing environmental programs reflect this commitment. We support environmental efforts that are sensible, achievable, reflecting the very production systems in place today and allow producers to make maximum use of hog manure as a part of a sustainable land base agricultural system. Thank you.
MR. KALVEN TRICE: Excuse me. We've heard a lot about mom and pop operations versus big corporations. Can you give us some idea of the split for, what percentage of mom and pop operations are still out there versus these large corporate farms that many of the participants talked about?
SPEAKER 29 - SHANE BOOTHE: We basically have three structures in Oklahoma. One is independent where one owns everything. That's currently where I'm at. My family-based operation in Cordell which is way out west is what we're engaged in. Then we have what we call contract production. Contract production is where the people actually own the buildings and land and so forth but may have contractual arrangement with one of the companies for the ownership of the animals and a contractual agreement where the animals will go to.
The third is what you call just a corporate structure where the corporation owns everything and just has, you know, employees come in like Wal-Mart or anybody else. I would say that there are minority operations that are strictly independent as far as operations that try to make a living solely on -- and you still have quite a few farms that maybe have 20 sows or so on. We have 1200 sows at my operation so, you know, that's what we try to make our living on.
I would say that on the other end of the spectrum, the corporate farms, there's very few of those as well. Most of those are kind of in the breeding stock phase where they will produce the animals that will go out to the contract producers and the largest majority are in contract production. But without contract production, I will say that the industry will die in Oklahoma simply because if you do not have the contractual arrangement, there is no financing available.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Any other questions?
MR. KALVEN TRICE: Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Next we have Michelle Wynn followed by Kathi Knipfer.
SPEAKER 30 - MICHELLE WYNN: Thank you. I will be using this. I have to apologize. I had my tonsils out last week. I am a big kid for that. So it hasn't been pleasant. My name is Michelle Wynn. I'm with the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association. And I want to thank you for coming to Oklahoma and listening to our concerns.
We want to work with you first off. We will be submitting comments and they will be in some detail. The beef cattle in Oklahoma are the largest agricultural commodity in our state. The cattle producers in our state are concerned by the far reaching impacts of this AFO strategy. We feel they're going to reach all small and large producers from the cow-calf producer to the stock producer to the feed lots. In these instances, that's a lot of people, that's everyone.
As we all know right now, times have not been the best for cattle producers across the nation. And simply we must all work together to work on. So we want to work, we are willing to work to protect our environment. And as it has been said many times tonight, farmers and ranchers are stewards of the lands. We need the land and the water to survive and to prosper and to produce the quality product that we want to produce. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Ms. Wynn. Kathi Knipfer, please. Followed by Leslie Holloway.
SPEAKER 31 - KATHI KNIPFER: I am Kathy Knipfer, and I am the southern vice president for Sierra Club and I'm also the chair for the Oklahoma chapter. I thank you for coming to Tulsa because you saved some of us a trip to Fort Worth on December 10th.
The environment and our health are impacted adversely by the waste from animal feeding operations. The national Sierra Club has called for a national moratorium -- you may have heard this -- on new and expanding animal feeding operations. We ask that such a moratorium be incorporated in the draft strategy and this moratorium should remain in place until the impacts on the environment and our health are assessed and adequate regulatory measures are in place.
We do support the family farmer, not the multi-national corporations. Sierra Club opposes the issuance of all general permits and watershed permits. Individual clean water permits should be required. Available sustainable alternatives to large scale animal factories should be encouraged instead of using public funds for such a flawed production system. Land application of animal waste should be based on sound standards for protecting our water quality. The comprehensive nutrient management plans must include both nitrogen and phosphorus, limitations for land applications.
A voluntary approach is not the answer. If the voluntary approach worked, we wouldn't be here right now. The draft strategy should require that integrators owning the animals and/or dictating operating conditions of the factory farms to be financially responsible and legally liable for the factory farm pollution. We will be submitting more detailed comments before the deadline. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you very much. Leslie Holloway followed by Judi Barrett.
SPEAKER 32 - LESLIE HOLLOWAY: My name is Leslie Holloway. I'm representing Missouri Farm Bureau which has over 90,000 farmer members in Missouri. We will submit detailed written comments but I would like to just present brief comments here outlining four basic concerns: First, the strategy is built around too many unresolved issues and undefined terms such as definition of CAFO which we understand is under review currently. The NRCS nutrient management standards which are under revision and will play a key role in the ultimate impact of the strategy. Secondly, the document sites quite a few numbers based on poor data. We've heard several references to that throughout the evening. Third, given the lacking supporting data and the number of other federal and state regulatory efforts and truly voluntary effective efforts that are under way, this proposal goes too far too fast.
Fourth, the document includes many favorable references to voluntary efforts and the voluntary nature of several provisions of the strategy, but the overall message is mixed. In the satellite teleconference one agency official cited the phrase, "If it's not documented, it's not done." I would submit that the strategy actually applies that if it's not under federal oversight, it's not done.
In inclusion, strategy overstates water quality problems and understates actions under way to address water quality problems. And if it would be appropriate, I had hoped to be able to ask some questions of the panel but I think we are running out of time. I would like to maybe ask one question and that is: Would pasture operations be impacted by the strategy?
MR. BROWN: The answer is no.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: The answer is no from the panel. Thank you, Ms. Holloway. Judi Barrett followed by Patsy Bragg.
SPEAKER 34 - PATSY BRAGG: My name is Judi Barrett. My husband and I have a poultry farm in Idabel, Oklahoma in McCurtain county. We've been in business for 20 years. His family was in business for 30 years. They raised five children on that farm and sent them all on to college. Four of them have advanced degrees. It allowed his mother to remain home and take care of those children and take care of that poultry farm while his dad worked off of the farm. I taught junior high school until he talked me into coming home. Our children were grown and I wanted to be home on the farm so we went home.
The farm that we're on, his grandparents brought in 1944. They had to leave the farm to make a living. We got to go home to the farm to make a living. I would like to first think that most producers out there are doing an excellent job in taking care of their land and natural resources. We know many of them.
The AFO strategy intent seems to be to classify rainwater runoff from fields where farms produce organic fertilizer has been applied as a discharge. By labeling this rainwater as pollution, the EPA wants to regulate. The EPA needs to realize the application of manure to fields as an organic fertilizer has prevented far more degradation of water than the application of that fertilizer. It prevents soil erosion and sediment runoff. The soil erosion and sediment runoff will carry not only nutrients with it but it will fill our lakes and age those lakes.
If rainwater runoff can cause a farmer to require an NPDS permit then everyone is in trouble because the rain falls everywhere. It washes what's on our streets and on our highways and our rooftops into the streams. We need to think about where we're headed when we want to call rainwater runoff a pollution discharge. Provisions of the Clean Water Act clearly place jurisdiction over nonpoint source pollution with states and tribes and not with the EPA.
The EPA is clearly seeking to go beyond what the Clean Water Act intended when it attempts to regulate the farmer's fertilization of his fields with manure that's produced on his farm. To attempt to classify precipitation runoff as point source is ridiculous. This strategy in combination with EPA Region 6's draft CAFO for watersheds has the potential to cause most poultry farms in Oklahoma to come under NPDS permitting. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Next we have Patsy Bragg followed by Randy Wyatt.
SPEAKER 34 - PATSY BRAGG: My name is Patsy Bragg. I serve as vice chair of the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority. Under Tulsa's charter we have jurisdictional responsibility for the water and the sewers of Tulsa. We serve 12 different municipalities and 11 water districts. All total that population represents about 20 percent of the urban population of Oklahoma.
We received an unfavorable Phase 1 clean lakes report in February of '97 pointing specifically to nutrient pollution in the Eucha and Spavinaw watershed. This has cascaded to a series of events about which I would like to inform you this evening and offer any information that you feel would be beneficial in looking at the national strategy.
After we received for the report which was referred to my committee, we immediately set up a watershed management team with three working groups. The fundamental working groups were the monitoring assessment and evaluation group which was a technically oriented group, state officials, both water and soil in Arkansas and Oklahoma. It included federal officials as well and municipalities. I'll get back and talk to you about the progress in that group.
We secondly started a nutrient management work group that talked about on farm management practices. Our third work group is titled the nutrient export work group. And I would briefly like to just explain to you where we were and where we are. I'm here to tell you that there has been significant progress in the last 20 months but there is a significant challenge going forward.
While 2008 is an admirable goal, we were seriously concerned about the applications last spring and next spring. The Eucha-Spavinaw watershed is that yellow watershed. If you will flip up quickly to the maps. What we started is exactly what you planned, a comprehensive data management reference system for the watershed.
I cannot tell you how difficult it was to create this data system. We spent about $50,000 and six months pulling together all of the EPA, all of the U.S.D.S., the U.S.D.A., and all of the U.S.G.S, all of the information that had been performed but that was not commonly available. We laid it up in a CIS reference map. These were the chicken operations that were identified in '93. There were 800, approximately, chicken operations in the Eucha-Spavinaw watershed. This is a population of only 200,000 human inhabitants. I'm out of time.
MR. HALL: You mentioned the nutrient expert. I wonder if that group has mentioned by --
SPEAKER 34 - PATSY BRAGG: Absolutely. Last spring, due primarily to the voluntary efforts of the integrators who came there was a 300 pound limit on either side of the border. Everything that tested, soil test above 300 pounds was required to be exported out so that we had significant export efforts last spring and then we continued. There have been over 150 management plans since last spring to have even more significant issues regarding export this spring.
MS. HUMISTON: You're going to send us written comments?
SPEAKER 34 - PATSY BRAGG: Yes. We do have extensive information.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Next we will have Randy Wyatt followed by Travis Justice.
SPEAKER 35 - RANDY WYATT: I'm going to pass.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Mr. Wyatt is going to pass. So our next speaker then will be Travis Justice.
SPEAKER 36 - TRAVIS JUSTICE: Thank you. I'm Travis Justice with the Arkansas Farm Bureau in Little Rock. I do want to take just a few minutes to touch on some points that you made in your opening remarks, also some of the things that the agricultural producers have said earlier. But just a reaction, the words "balanced approach" was used and we had hoped that you could pursue that on all seven points in your plan.
There is -- your plan calls for going forth with certified nutrient management plans, other avenues as well as research, technical assistance and we had hoped that those would track together. And certainly some of the technical issues that have been identified here this evening need to be resolved before you can effectively integrate some of the proper nutrient management strategies.
Coordination in the plan is certainly essential particularly with the agencies that you represent and those that are dealing with farmers out in the field. Certainly from a voluntary approach but certainly coordinated. And that implies that they have resources, financial and technical resources to back them up so that we don't get the plan too far ahead of the capabilities of delivery.
From the regulatory standpoint, there is a regulatory feature in this for those as you've identified that are big, bad or many. We do echo the concerns with some of the data that you have used as to determining what impairments, extreme impairments and so forth. Some of the definitions used we are also concerned with. You also used the phrase "national standards" for certified nutrient management plans. That does rise, give rise to some concern that if you have a national standard, it may not be flexible to adjust to whatever local conditions may be or may dictate. So the term "national" standards gives rise to a concern as well.
And the other or disturbing comment that was made was that yes, certified nutrient management plans are voluntary, they are not mandatory. And if I can -- as far as your script, where you read that, you also said there are not mandatory at this time. The term "at this time" gives rise to some concern which means that concern is past 2008 do they automatically revert to a regulatory format. So there is some concerns here that we will further elaborate on some written comments. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Mr. Justice. Next is Paul Moore followed by Bill Carr.
SPEAKER 37 - PAUL MOORE: Thank you. My name is Paul Moore. I'm here speaking on my own behalf. There's a couple of things in your strategies that concern me. One of them is your emphasis on voluntary control, voluntary regulation. I know that's a popular concept because it implies that both sides are willing to cooperate, but here in Oklahoma I think it's been pretty clear that it's the citizen who is being asked to compromise. And it's the industrial side who seems unwilling to do so.
You represent an opportunity to break that cycle and do something significant. And so I would simply encourage you to actually play the role that you can which is to step in when you see a problem and use the authority that you have to do something about it in a realistic way so we'll have some effect on the ground.
The other thing that concerns me particularly in what I've heard so far, and it's been mentioned by the gentleman from U.S. Fish and Wildlife is the lack of emphasis on the impact of factory farming in the back country on fish and wildlife. In this part of the world the farms are on the top of the hills and the fish are down in the valley and the mussels and the clams and the other species are all downstream from factory farms.
Their health is not necessarily going to be affected by meeting basic clean water standards. There are ecological levels of success that need to be considered when you put together a plan for controlling this height of development in the back country. So I would just like to say that I appreciate your being here. I think it's a great idea and I hope we'll be seeing more of you in the future. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Mr. Moore. Next, Bill Carr followed by Leon Ragsdale.
SPEAKER 38 - BILL CARR: Good evening. I'm Bill Carr from Grove, Oklahoma. One note, I noticed in your summary of training, when you go to developing your training for farmers and stuff, keep it simply, don't come out there with somebody from the university who is going to talk to us about what ingredients to put in the feed, we have no control over that. Talk to us about the stuff that we have control over.
On your cost share program, guys, everything I own is tied up in that farm. Last year after expenses and everything, my taxes, I qualified for earned income credit. So if you come up here and want me to spend $20,000 for a barn to hold manure, that's going to be hard to do.
Our problems didn't happen overnight and they won't clean up overnight. There's been a lot of fingers pointing and everything but most of the growers I know are willing to work as long as they see that everybody's willing to work together, because there are other sources out there.
On the septic systems around the houses and everything else everybody needs to work together to solve this thing. Our company, my company is enforcing the Oklahoma laws. I've seen a farm shut down this summer for doing some violation until the boy got it cleaned up. So our company is taking it serious. On our NRCS, I trust those people. The only problem is, there's only two of them doing the work for six right now and that needs to be addressed. They're really outgunned and understaffed.
And you might look at a check off dollar of some sort like in the pork industry or something like that. It's to be used for helping pay for the -- pay to fix it basically. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you, Mr. Carr. Next, Leon Ragsdale.
SPEAKER 39 - LEON RAGSDALE: Yes, I'm Leon Ragsdale. And I am representing the Hyperion Corporation. It's a closely-held stock company which postures itself to be able to resolve some of the issues of nutrient control. We have been working for a number of years in this direction.
As an example, Mr. Jamie Ladd who is the CEO and president of this company has a background in the ethanol production. And Mr. David Nuttle has been in 42 countries, resettling hundreds of thousands of people in the United States government in microeconomic systems providing ways for them to produce sustainable agricultural programs.
I was an architect for several years and as an consultant to the U.S.D.A. in the southern plains region designing facilities for the cattle in El Reno, laboratories in Stillwater, green houses in Edmond and so on, so forth. The desire of Mr. Ladd has been to put together a consortium of people with technical backgrounds and experience to be able to find methods for which we can balance the problem that we have.
The motto of the company is to turn ecological liabilities into economic assets. And I've heard tonight and have been aware for many years of the problems of the contamination of the water sources because we're not intercepting the waste products and providing an avenue for conversion.
And the objective of this company is to take the waste products and try to balance them with production systems which will allow us to be able to provide additional foods by taking the conversion of the waste products from swine, from poultry, from cattle and converting those through various biological conversion processes, all natural, no chemicals, where we're going to be using the poultry. For instance, in this cell, the poultry units will be feeding the effluent discharge system here which will be using algae, specialized algae to convert these processed chemicals that will then feed these fish growing systems here. There are three algae tanks of specialized type. One able to use the products for fertilizer, one to be used for nutrients like spirolina and so on, so forth.
Those discharge then into another area where there are green houses. In other words, we're taking this water, discharging the nutrients into a system and you have to balance the system. And our balancing is done by this compact fire wall facility which is a converter of all kinds of waste products through a powerlyzer process totally clean. It could take automobile tires, animal waste, human waste, all kinds of tires and we convert those. That allows us to create electrical energy and steam or hot water. So the whole idea is to take the private sector, not as a liability to the taxpayers, take the private sector or the public corporation and make it a plug that goes at the end of this discharge where we don't have the waste products contaminating the water and we're able to convert into a continuous food change like nature. Thank you, very much.
MR. JACK FERGUSON: Can you tell me if system is being used anyplace at the present time?
SPEAKER 39 - LEON RAGSDALE: Yes. The system has been -- they have had systems of various types throughout the world and we have now a contract with the Cherokee Nation to develop microeconomic assistance for them. We have a contract pending for the nation of Palestine, Kastistan, Costa Rica. We are now moving -- the operation will be moving to Oklahoma as of the first of December for the region. But the system -- all these systems have worked. I designed agricultural systems for the U.S.D.A. down at Tishomingo. A Washington facility, all of these systems have been used. What we're doing now is organizing into a continuous flow of nutrient energies throughout the whole system. That's the objective.
MR. JACK FERGUSON: Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Other questions? Thank you. Next Alex Harrison followed by Jeannine Hale. Mr. Harrison passes. Jeannine Hale followed by Marsha Slaughter.
SPEAKER 41 - JEANNINE HALE: My name is Jeannine Hale. I'm speaking on behalf of myself as a citizen and resident of the state. I was born here, although I have been an attorney practicing environment law for the last several years here in the state including worked for several of the state agencies, attorney general's office with an emphasis on water quality. I also have a degree in biology.
And today I think my remarks will reflect probably my own ideals which are to protect the natural resources of the state. With regard to the OFO strategy, it appears that it is a compromise reached with EPA trying to accommodate to a great deal agricultural interests without strictly observing some of the duties and policies of EPA.
In my opinion, the AFO strategy should be reviewed and consistent with these duties and policies the primary responsibility for environmental production should reside with the EPA. For example, the Clean Water Act goal is no point source discharges. One of the policies of EPA is pollution prevention. An impairment of water quality is not allowed. One of the goals stated, for example, in the AFO strategy is to minimize water quality impairment or pollution and that's simply not acceptable.
The strategy does not fully address how the permits that are being issued or the entities that are not required to get permits, how that process is going to enable us to fully implement the requirements of the TMBL process and the 303D list. And watersheds that are impaired, if there really are discharges associated with those AFOs that are not required to get discharges, how can we ever really achieve the MBLs that are established there. In the situation where there are already TMBLs established, no new discharges of those pollutants should be allowed in those water bodies.
Individual NPDS permits should be required for all points with appropriate effluent limits. And general permits or watershed based permits should only be developed when there's adequate information to determine that all those discharges are similar in kind. I think Ms. Kathy Martin already made some comments about the need for wastewater characterization.
A like need exists for sludge and other types of wastewater besides animal waste. The strategy should include other types of actions needed to address environmental protection goals such as establishing ground water quality standards in areas which are affected by AFOs and in stream nutrient standards. Thank you.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Next, our next commenter is Marsha Slaughter.
SPEAKER 42 - MARSHA SLAUGHTER: Good evening. I'm Marsha Slaughter representing the city of Tulsa. On April 2, 1998 Mayor Susan Savage had the opportunity to speak before the U.S. Agriculture Industry Committee. At that time prior to publication of this strategy, Mayor Savage made a couple of points. First she said voluntary programs have -- volunteers have helped us a great deal. The poultry integrators, the state and federal agencies have all been a great deal of help as we've worked on Tulsa's specific source water problem; however, she recommended that a federal role was necessary. And that the Senate pursue a federal role for two reasons. First, watersheds across state lines. Ours is a small watershed, 200,000 acres. One of our two source waters in only 200,000 acres. We have the population equivalent from three and six million people in poultry principally. That's definitely an urban level. We have two states. They're working very, very well together. Our next watershed has four states. That's a harder problem to solve and other watersheds more complex.
Second point that the mayor made with regard to the need for legislation or for regulation, is that the controls placed needs to be equal throughout the country. We need to not have a process of swapping states based on political concerns of a state government. Thank you. --
MR. HALL: You mentioned that the two states are working very closely together. To what do you attribute that success, what's your sense of that? What are some things that work?
SPEAKER 42 - MARSHA SLAUGHTER: The states are working very well together and also we're in the same EPA region. But you might really ask some of the state representatives. It's impressive.
MR. KALVEN TRICE: The answer is I'm representing Arkansas in this regard and the true sense is that they are good stewards. They see them and address those concerns and we have a concerted effort from the state government here in Oklahoma and in Arkansas who sees the needs for addressing the nonpoint concern.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: First of all, did Mr. Sloan come and would he like to speak? No. Folks, we have gone through our list of speakers tonight. Everyone that was signed up or didn't passed their opportunity. Let me say a few things before I turn it over and see if anyone from the panel would like to have any closing argument. First of all, I want to remind you that these are available. You can send your comments in until January 19, 1999. That's in the material. I just want to remind you about that.
Another thing is Mr. Ferguson and I on our panel are willing to stay if any of you would like to discuss the Region 6 EPA proposed CAFO permits. Some of you may have come thinking that's what you were going to talk about or maybe you have some desire to discuss those. He's willing to stay and visit about those after the session ends.
The other thing I would like to say is I would like to thank all of those commenting. This made me proud, folks. This was a wonderful wonderful group of people who have done a lot of work, who are concerned, who care and I'm just glad for these folks can come and see what Oklahoma and their neighbors are like. And it just makes me proud to know that you came and we live in a country who we could all come. Even though we have a little bit different view -- I think I noticed that tonight -- even though we have a little bit different view, I've been in some countries where that isn't possible. And I'm just excited that you all did it and you did it graciously.
I also want to thank our listening panel and just thank them for coming and sharing and taking this time. At this point I would like to ask is there anyone on the panel that has a comment or anything before we close?
MR. HALL: I would just like to add that those of us who are here would be willing to hang around if others have questions.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: This is D.C. vernacular, the "hang around".
MS. HUMISTON: I don't know, I'm from California and Colorado and we say "hang around", too. I've only been in D.C. four months so I don't consider myself that yet. Just a quick thing, you know. I have to echo the moderator's comments. This has been a pleasure tonight. I have learned a lot. You have done your homework. I've been in plenty of these kinds of meetings where folks don't. And I'm impressed. One thing that I think we need to figure out perhaps in our presentation how to be a little more clear about, because it was real clear there was some confusion about the portion of regulatory and the portion of voluntary.
And frankly, I don't think I like that term "voluntary". What is accurate in the strategy is that this is not a new law. It is not a rewrite of the Clean Water Act and I'm not sure that's real clear to some folks. The Clean Water Act is the law of the land currently. I do believe our Congress, or at least some of them, are planning to bring it up and that will be a fascinating process as I'm sure many of you will be aware of. But what we're trying to do with this strategy is take existing law and make it work better. In some cases that means more enforcement, more targeted enforcement, naming priorities for it, et cetera. Clearly telling you where that enforcement is and will be and in some cases saying where they may be looking for or it may be expanded.
There's a section in there. From our angle when we talk about the voluntary program, I don't want folks to think we're saying that you can volunteer not to comply with the law. That is not certainly what is meant. What is meant is that truly by our best estimates right now 95 percent of the large operations out there will not be legally under the definition of CAFO, they will be large animal feeding operations, they won't be large enough to fit the current guidelines, they will not fall under the regulatory program.
What we're trying to do that we call voluntary is to work with those folks with technical assistance and financial assistance and research and partnerships and, et cetera, to then go ahead and do the right thing which they want to do anyway. But they don't have to -- they're not falling under the law. And I think somehow people got the suggestion it was going to be a volunteer, not follow the law. And that is not being suggested here.
I think, and maybe you'll follow up. What we're trying to do is make the existing laws work better and the existing programs get out in the field where they need to be. And God knows we don't have enough staff or dollars or any of us to go around but certainly by prioritizing the work and working with you and frankly, you know, you guys, I think I heard some suggestions here for new technologies. I myself am very excited about the exploration of some methane digestion. One of the the other responsibilities they handed me was green house climate change issues and less methane in the atmosphere is good for that so if we can do that, we, and frankly if we can get some economic return for farmers, either selling electricity or not having to buy heat, that's great, too.
So I think there's some win-win out there and I'm real excited so you guys working on it as hard as you are.
MR. FRED LINDSEY: Just one last point. Do follow up and send us some written. And we've got a stenographer taking down things and all that, but it will be good to get the comments. You've all worked hard on these comments and everybody had a couple of pages of notes and so forth. It will be good to get those as well so I just encourage you to go ahead and send those in. That's it.
MODERATOR DR. LOVE: Thank you very much. Have a great evening. Be careful going home.
(Whereupon, the meeting was concluded.)
STATE OF OKLAHOMA )
I, Linda Fisher, a Certified Shorthand Reporter and Notary Public in and for the State of Oklahoma, do hereby certify that on the 16th day of November, 1998, at the Sheraton Tulsa Hotel, 10918 East 41st Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma, the within and foregoing proceedings was reduced to writing by me in stenograph, and thereafter transcribed by me, and is fully and accurately set forth in the preceding pages.
I do further certify that I am not related to nor attorney for any of the said parties, nor otherwise interested in the event of said action.
WITNESS my hand and official stamp this 19th day of November, 1998.
(signed) Linda Fisher, CSR-RPR