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Air Quality Task Force to Meet June 22-24 in Spokane

PULLMAN, Wash. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Task Force on Agricultural Air Quality will meet in Spokane June 22-24 to review agricultural air quality issues in Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle plus those of national interest.

The tentative agenda includes presentations on the EPA’s new regional haze rule and implications of the federal appeals court decision on the 1997 National Ambient Air Quality Standards implementation. Also scheduled are presentations by regional farmers and air quality agencies and an all-day farm tour.

The sessions, which are open to the public, are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 22 and June 24 at the Doubletree Hotel, Spokane City Center, 322 N. Spokane Falls Court.

On June 23, the committee will embark on an all-day bus tour of the Palouse and Columbia Plateau farmland. The tour will highlight air quality issues of wheat production, grass seed production, improved farming systems and on-going research.

Opportunities for short public comment will be provided on June 22 and 24. Written material and requests to make oral presentations should be sent to George Bluhm, University of California, Land, Air, and Water Resources, 151 Hoagland Hall, Davis, CA 95616-6827 by June 18.

For more information on the meeting, call Bluhm at (530) 752-1018 or Keith Saxton, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, at Washington State University, (509) 335-2724.

The task force was formed in 1997 to advise the USDA Secretary regarding oversight and coordination for the purpose of strengthening research related to agricultural impacts and regulations on air quality. Its 22 members are farmers, ranchers, representatives of public and private agriculture organizations and agencies, public health officials, educators and engineers. It is chaired by the Chief of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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