SUMMARY OF MAY 27, 2003 JOINT MEETING
OF WARREN-NORTHAMPTON REGIONAL AIR QUALITY ADVISORY PANEL
AND ROCHE VITAMINS COMMUNITY ADVISORY PANEL

The joint meeting convened at 6:25 P.M. on May 27, 2003 at the Warren County Community College in Washington, NJ. RVI CAP members and alternates present at the meeting were Gary Meddaugh, Doug Smyth, Betty Merring, Jane Bullis, Bud Allen, Kathy Belby, Dave Pritchard, Joe Venesky, Stan Wilkins and Dr. Beecher Zollinger.

AIRQAP members and alternates present at the meeting were Bud Allen, Bill Baker of EPA Region 2, Jim Brandl of Roche Vitamins, Denis Lohman of EPA Region 3, Don Patterson of NJDEP, Bob Campbell of the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club, Tom Eppehimer of PPL, John Mauser of Lower Mount Bethel Township, Robin Messina of Upper Mount Bethel Township, Nan Mason and Bill Spronz of the Belvidere Environmental Commission, and Scott Elliott and Guido Broche of BASF.

Dr. Stan Weiss of the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, Joe Gentile of Roche Vitamins and Mike King of the Warren County Health Department attended as guests.

Steve Ross and Kelly Henry of the Ross Public Affairs Group attended as facilitators.

INTRODUCTION OF PARTICIPANT

Steve Ross welcomed both panels and asked members to introduce themselves.

APPROVAL OF THE APRIL MEETING SUMMARIES

The RVI Panel approved their April Meeting Summary without revision.

Bill Baker suggested three revisions to the AIRQAP April Meeting Summary, which was so amended and then approved by the full panel.

IMPROVED COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN THE AIRQAP AND RVICAP

Steve Ross recounted that at the April meetings of both panels, the groups agreed to meet together to discuss how best to interact, communicate and collaborate. Steve then asked panel chairmen Gary Meddaugh and Bud Allen to briefly summarize the interests of their respective panels.

Gary began by stating his personal opinion that the current and future focus of the RVI CAP should be on Roche and its geographic environs, concentrated on the community(ies) directly affected by Roche’s operations. He believes that the AIRCAP should share information with the Roche CAP, but its focus does and should go beyond that of the Roche CAP. Gary does not view either panel’s mission as restricted, but believes they do have different scopes. He asked other RVI CAP members to add to the discussion if their opinions differed from his.

Bud also began with the caveat that the views he would express are his own and also encouraged other AIRQAP members to voice their own points of view. Bud agreed with Gary that the two panels have different scopes. He believes that the two panels can and should operate independently, but need to communicate because there is a link between them created by the SEPs. Bud considers the AIRQAP scope to be broader than that of the RVI CAP because more than Roche and its host communities are involved. Geographically, the scope of the AIRQAP includes Pennsylvania and all of Warren County and more companies than just Roche are panel members. Bud is not certain that any more than one joint meeting a year between the two panels is necessary. He hopes that the Warren County Air Monitoring Program (WCAMP) can stand alone and no further inter-CAP communications will be needed on that particular subject. That said, Bud would like to see more citizen participation in the AIRQAP from other environmental commissions in the region, independent of the Roche CAP.

Doug Smyth noted that the Roche CAP is more community-based than the AirQAP but shares the same interest as the AirQAP in regional air quality. The two panels have different types of expertise, with the Roche CAP having a better feel for community-based concerns.

Steve opened the discussion up to the group by asking Jane Bullis if she agreed with either Bud’s or Gary’s perspectives – or if she wanted to add a new perspective. Jane said it was her opinion that the AIRQAP was created as an arm of the Roche CAP. She acknowledged that feels that the AIRQAP has evolved differently than the Roche CAP expected when it conceived of the AirQAP. The original vision was for the AIRQAP to be a forum for industry representatives from different facilities in the region to share information and best practices.

Jane offered the recent discussion about mercury (Hg) as one example of why the AIRQAP should not be completely independent of the RVICAP. The RVICAP included mercury in SEP 1 so that wet deposition sites could be compared with other NJ sites being monitored. The issue was discussed and decided. It seems to Jane that the AIRQAP is now trying to block the collection and analysis of the mercury data. Tom Eppehimer pointed out that it was the Benchmarks Committee, not the AirQAP as a whole, that questioned the role of mercury monitoring.

Bill Baker views the mercury issue as a perfect example of why improved inter-panel communications are needed. Bill first clarified that, while the benefits of continuing to sample and analyze mercury were revisited, the AIRQAP is not trying to block its inclusion in the project. The Benchmark Committee was charged with development of the WCAMP summary templates and it was as a result of that effort that the difficulty of analyzing the mercury data was discussed and questions raised regarding the relevance of mercury to the community’s respiratory-related health concerns. The subcommittee then raised their questions to the full AIRQAP. Once those questions were answered, it was clear why the collection of mercury data was included in the program and that analysis of that data by the AIRQAP would not be possible at this time. Bill agreed with the recommendation that all meeting summaries, including those of the subcommittees, be shared between the panels as one way to avert this type of miscommunication in the future.

Don Patterson suggested that there might be a natural merging of the two groups in the future, due to both the overlap of interests and the finite funding of SEP 1. The air monitoring is consuming the majority of the SEPs’ budget and the epidemiological study still needs to be completed.

Jim Brandl indicated that while Roche will continue the Roche CAP, there are limited funds for the AirQAP’s facilitation and administrative needs. Charlie responded by suggesting the AIRQAP research the DEP’s SEP Rule, currently under development. Once finalized, the rule could create a vehicle for the AIRQAP to get continued funding from the state.

Bob Campbell suggested it is the word "ownership" that is creating the friction and concern. He joined the AIRQAP to look at all sources of emissions and hopes the panel will use the data to guide it to specific sources. He does not feel that the AIRQAP has been restricted to date and has enjoyed that freedom. It is specifically that freedom that has made his involvement in the panel a positive experience.

Jane feels that in retrospect it was Steve Ross's suggestion that the RVI CAP move past SEP 1 and take on other discussion topics that triggered the RVI CAP’s concerns. Steve apologized if this suggestion was the root of these concerns and said that while he wanted to focus the group on the upcoming press event and open house he did not mean to suggest the RVI CAP should no longer be interested and/or involved in SEP 1.

Bill Baker asked Don Patterson how SEPs work in general. Don responded that while NJDEP does not directly manage the funds, the department does approve how the money is used and provides input on the budgets for each phase. They require a detailed scope of work and periodic progress reports from the company that include a detailed accounting of the budget vis-a-vis the project’s objectives.

Tom Eppehimer asked which panel(s) would assume the lead for the three SEPs moving forward. Jim Brandl responded that the SEP 2 asthma study and the SEP 3 community alert system are RVI CAP-led efforts.

Kathy Belby suggested that if Roche-paid fines are funding SEP 1, it only seems logical that Roche, and its CAP by extension, lead the SEP 1 effort.

Jim clarified that the AIRQAP’s sole purpose is to interpret the SEP 1 findings. It is for this very reason that the members were invited, because they had both the experience and resources to bring to the table toward achieving that end. What action(s) should be taken as a result of the AIRQAP’s interpretations is a question that either or both panels can be involved in answering.

Nan Mason recommended that the Roche CAP have a member involved in the AIRQAP Benchmark Committee and other AIRQAP subcommittees. Kelly Henry noted that Bud Allen is a member of both panels and is also on the Benchmark Committee. She suggested that now that Bud is the AIR QAP chair, a second RVI CAP member attend the committee and subcommittee meetings.

Don commented that, having participated in the conceptualization of all 3 SEPs, it was his opinion that once the original concerns of the RVICAP are resolved the leadership of SEP 1 should move beyond the RVICAP. In the end, however, it is NJDEP’s responsibility to assure that the SEPs’ objectives are being met.

Jim pointed out that the RVI CAP was formed as part of Roche’s commitment to the Responsible Care program of the American Chemistry Council (ACC). There will always be a Roche CAP, regardless of the status of the SEPs, although it may or may not always be facilitated.

Steve added that clearly the Roche CAP had concerns regarding air quality before the SEP projects. It even wrote a letter to Reliant regarding its concerns. Regardless of what the AIRQAP does, the RVI CAP will continue to be interested and actively involved in air quality issues.

Bill Spronz commented that the RVI CAP is charged with responding to community-related problems. When it saw an issue beyond its scope, it planted the seed to create the vehicle to handle the broader issue. It was in this way the SEPs were established and the AIRQAP created – and it has been successful. The RVI QAP cannot lose its focus or it will lose its effectiveness. Considering the issue only from the standpoint of funding seems myopic to him.

Bill Baker agreed that it is Roche’s fine that is the source of the funding, but the NJDEP controls the money. On the other hand, the Roche CAP is funded by Roche directly.

Kelly commented that the two panels share a concern – regardless of who funds what. The RVI CAP is responsible for responding to the community’s concerns. Currently the community is taking their concerns to the RVI CAP and the CAP members feel an obligation to be informed and able to respond. That sense of responsibility should be applauded.

Once the WCAMP is made public, there will be a public reaction. The RVI CAP should see and be able to react to the information first. The vetting of the information in this way will only help to better prepare the AIRQAP for the types of questions they’re likely to get from the general public. She suggested there are vital roles for both groups to play in the process.

In response to Don’s comment that the two panels be merged, it doesn’t seem appropriate. The Roche CAP has other interests and responsibilities beyond air quality – the company’s acquisition by DSM, water quality issues, land use, etc. Additionally, budgetary concerns apply equally to the RVI CAP as to the AIRQAP.

Bud Allen acknowledged that everyone at the meeting is concerned about the environment. Personally, he chose to be involved in the AIRQAP because it was a unique opportunity to bridge regulatory agencies, states and companies. He wants the effort to go beyond the 3-year funding, be it through additional corporate funding and/or government funding. He feels strongly that the separation of the two panels goes directly to the AIRQAP’s credibility. He understands and supports improved communication, but believes communication is possible without loss of independence.

The group reached consensus that all meeting summaries be shared from now on, including those from subcommittee meetings. Kathy Belby asked to have another joint meeting when the WCAMP templates are completed and the AIRQAP has some analysis of the data to share. There was general agreement to this suggestion.

JOINT PRESS EVENT AND OPEN HOUSE

Kelly presented reasons for holding the Press Event and Open House in the fall. Chief among the reasons for delaying the public events is the fact that the WCAMP summaries will not be completed by Enviroplan and ready for distribution until late August-early September. Additional reasons included the value of waiting until school was back in session and having nearly a year’s worth of data to report and compare. Also, the SEP 2 study would be completed by then although Dr. Weiss noted no results would be available. She suggested the Press Event be held at the end of September and the Open House be held shortly afterward in October. Both panels would attend and participate in both events.

Robin said he wants to be able to point out the sources of the data at the event and begin to draw conclusions. Kelly suggested that it might be too early to be able to draw those types of conclusions. The identification of sources should more likely be the focus of the panel’s second year. Bob Campbell agreed that while he is eager to identify sources, he believes that September would be too soon to make any definite conclusions.

Doug Smyth agrees with Robin that some conclusions could be drawn by September, by simply correlating the data with the direction of the wind on any given date.

Dr. Zollinger commented that people are interested in the connection between the data and the findings of SEP 2. Dr. Weis suggested that the data is public. The discussion should focus more on who is going to marshal it and interpret it. He reiterated that he would not be able to correlate the data with the results of the asthma study by September.

Doug asked whether the term of the data collection could be shortened to one year from three so that SEP 1 funds could be focused more on data analysis than data collection. He wanted to know from the NJDEP why three years of data is necessary.

Don responded that three years of data is important for credibility purposes. The credibility of the data will be crucial to securing additional funding from the department. Dr. Weiss agreed with Don.

Kelly suggested and the group agreed that Ross PAG should develop two plans, one for each event for the publicity committees to review and finalize through a cooperative effort.

Jim encouraged the AIRQAP to review the asthma study’s webpage, which Steve agreed to provide to everyone. Jim commended Dr. Weiss and Kathy Belby for their efforts and said he felt the study was extremely comprehensive and well done.

WCAMP STATUS AND ENVIROPLAN’S PROPOSAL

Jim presented overheads outlining Enviroplan’s proposal. He reported that RVI and PPL had conferred and agreed to split the $12,000 cost of the software development equally above and beyond their current funding of the SEP 1 budget. Jim noted that this would be the last time Roche would contribute additional funds for SEP 1.

Jim recommended that the remaining Enviroplan cost of $20,000 for preparing the monthly summaries be funded by transferring money from the SEP 3 budget to SEP 1, which would leave $48,100 in the SEP 3 budget. Although the SEP 3 budget is greatly reduced from its original amount, Jim believes the project’s objectives can still be met.

Copies of the proposal had been distributed that day to members of the Benchmark Committee for review and comment. Nearly all of the Benchmark Committee members commented that they had not been given enough time to review the document. Jim will coordinate a meeting between the Benchmark Committee, Enviroplan, and Buff Andresen to hammer out any remaining glitches.

Jim asked if SEP 3 could be the topic of discussion for the next RVI CAP meeting. As an order of business, Gary recommended and the RVI CAP agreed to petition the NJDEP to transfer funding from SEP 3 to SEP 1.

Jim will speak to Enviroplan about trying to tighten the schedule. Don noted that an audit step, specifically testing of the software, seems to be absent from their proposal. Jim said he would also bring that up to Enviroplan.

Kelly reviewed the WCAMP website. Jane asked if the Mercury Data could be listed on the home page separately from the Raw Data link, which the AIR QAP agreed to do.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 p.m.