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Senator RANDOLPIT. Yes; I think that by and large when we spend a research dollar carefully and effectively, that it will return not only the dollar which is expended but a dividend also.
Mr. STEEL. Yes.
Senator RANDOLPH. A dividend to the grower, to the economic strengthening of the area, and to the Nation itself as the return flows throughout the country as a whole. So I am in agreement. I do think that we have to point this up rather strongly. We must have some action now rather than later. I think this can be accomplished, and, as much as I would like to continue to question you, I think Chairman Muskie had enough colloquy which was constructive. I thank you, Mr. Steel. And now we are going to move to Mr. Huff. Mr. Huff, I know you have been talking a little back and forth with your colleague, Mr. Bowen.
And I don't know how much of your statement you want to present; what is your feeling, Mr. Huff?
Mr. HÄUFF. Well, it would take just a very short time.
COMMITTEE, POLK COUNTY FARM BUREAU Mr. HIUFF. All right, sir. I am presenting this statement pursuant to a request from Senator Muskie; I am presenting it as director and chairman of the Polk County Farm Bureau.
Mr. Chairman and Special Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution members, we of the Polk County Farm Bureau, representing 2,201 family and agricultural memberships, do thank you for taking time to look into the air pollution problem created by the phosphate industry here in central Florida. We are greatly concerned for the health and welfare of all people in our area.
In Polk County, the first damage was noted in the spring of 1919 near two newly constructed and operating superphosphate plants at Bartow and Agricola. We now have 12 phosphate processing plants and another new one on the way.
From this beginning, the blight of fluorine and sulfur damage to citrus, livestock, farm crops, health and welfare began to creep over western Polk and Hillsborough Counties. The past 14 months have marked the worst period of damage that we have yet experienced. We have appealed many times to local and State agencies. The city and county agencies show much sympathy and are concerned, but have no authority. The State board of health has been given authority, money, and regulations to act upon, but all we have had from them is a confusion of "powder puff” statements and skirmishes.
In 1954, Polk County was No. 1 in the State in cattle. Air pollution reduced the cattle population from about 120,000 to 90,000 in 1939. We are No. 2 in cattle population in the State now and still declining.
About 30,000 acres of citrus in a 1,024,000-acre area in central Florida is receiving 5 to 90 percent damage to trees and production. There may be more damage to production and trees than we now suspect as it is considered by all who are well acquainted with citrus culture, that chlorotic citrus trees are having nutritional or physiological disorder. Citrus growers have constantly observed, and citrus research workers have reported some fluorine chlorosis has been noted in groves as much as 20 to 25 miles from the nearest phosphate plant.
I estimate that pollution reduces citrus production by over 1,500,000 boxes per year. At today's on-the-tree price, that is a loss to citrus growers of $5,250,000. At next year's estimated prices that would be a loss of $2,750,000, that is due to the fact that we don't expect quite so much money per box for fruit next year. I estimate that young groves in this area receive over $1 million in damage to trees because of stunted growth each year. Citrus properties have suffered a $20 million reduction in value because of air pollution.
What is the attitude of the phosphate industry? One leader in May 1961 was reported in the Lakeland Ledger to have said that agriculture and the phosphate industries were incompatible and that the people of Polk County should decide which they want. Many industry leaders in speeches to the public have reminded workers and patrons that if the phosphate industry costs are forced up that they will have to close down or move to the Carolinas.
Senator RANDOLPH. You mean you think that is an unwarranted threat?
Mr. HUFF. Well, sir, one of Mr. Bowen's employees came to the Kiwanis Club in Bartow and made such a speech.
Senator RANDOLPH. We are going to hear from you in a little while, Mr. Bowen. I am going to call on you a little later.
Mr. Bowen. I will be glad to.
Mr. Huff. They have the attitude that because they provide jobs and spend money in a community that they should be left alone. The State board of health has sided with the industry on these views. When we tell the State board of health personnel that the phosphate industry must clean up, they ask, “Do you want us to close them down, put them out of business?"
The State board of health and the phosphate industry have placated people with the statements to the effect that the fluoride pollution is practically cleaned up. Yet we believe the last 14 months to be the worst yet. Fluorine tests that I have made of citrus leaves over a wide area in the last 3 months indicate fluorine levels to be higher, too much higher, than the fluoride levels found by Dr. C. D. Leonard on his citrus fluorine survey of 1961 and 1962.
Senator RANDOLPH. Well, now, at that point, I ask you, let's not be general; are the levels 3 or 10 or 100 times higher?
Mr. Huff. Well, in individual samples that I have taken, they will run from, maybe 10 percent higher to 150 percent higher.
Senator RANDOLPH. Quite a spread?
Mr. HUFF. Gentlemen, the true seriousness of the phosphate air pollution problem has never been made public by those here who are responsible. The Polk County grand jury, in the report which you heard, and I was the foreman of that jury, during the spring session of 1961, cited the State board of health with negligence in the handling of the air pollution problem, and I certify that this status has not changed. The Polk County Farm Bureau requests that this phosphate solution problem be given emergency rating by your committee. Please, gentlemen, please investigate, make public the facts and expedite relief measures.
That grand jury report was read here today, and I would like to make a comment, if I may, sir.
Senator RANDOLPH. How many are on the grand jury?
Mr. HUFF. There were 18 impaneled on this jury, and, of course, here in this State, I don't know how it is everywhere else, it takes 15 to do business; it takes 12 positive votes to make a decision either yea or nay. I understood one of the gentlemen up here to say that he questioned the competency of the grand jury. I believe that was Dr. Sowder, if I'm not mistaken. We had on that grand jury-it was duly impaneled and lawfully impaneled—two men who were Ph. D. chemists, one of whom was Dr. Rouse, who had formerly been with Research Resources, Inc., an employee of Dr. McCabe, whom the phosphate industry employed to look into and do research work in the phosphate industry in regard to this fluorine industry. The other gentleman on the grand jury was a Ph. D. chemist, and his name was Dr. Rouse. Now, both Dr. Rouse and Dr. McCabe, at the time they were serving on the grand jury, were employees of the citrus experiment station at Lake Alfred."
We also had on that grand jury two men, one of them was an employee of International, the other was an employee of Sian, which are both in the triple super and other phosphate businesses, and they rrere both in the supervisory status, one of them is in charge of the dry rock storage and the other one, I understand, was a supervisor of maintenance, exact capacity I am not quite sure. But we had an unusually good grand jury and they looked into the situation. Of course, I can't reveal anything that went on there, only what is in the report. But I think they were very competent, and weighed the problem and studied it very seriously.
Senator RANDOLPH. How long? How long a time?
Mr. HUFF. How long? I think we-2 days. And we had some 40-odd people before the grand jury. I would like to say there was another remark made here by Dr. Hendrickson, for whom I have much respect, but perhaps sometimes some things are not-some people do not know about all things. I am a member of the citrus advisory committee of the Florida Air Pollution Commission, and he was saying how this advisory committee makes recommendations to the citrus commission. This committee hasn't met in over 2 years. I am a member of it.
Senator RANDOLPH. Why hasn't it met, sir?
Mr. HUFF. A member of the air pollution commission who is the chairman of it.
Senator RANDOLPH. Have you suggested it be called together?
Mr. Huff. Yes, sir; I suggested before the air pollution commission that this was going on for-more than a year ago, I—
Senator RANDOLPH. Would you charge apathy, Mr. Huff?
Mr. HUFF. I charge something. It certainly doesn't look as if they are interested in our citrus problem.
Senator RANDOLPH. And they should be?
Mr. HUFF. We have on that committee Dr. Wander. Dr. Wright, who is a director of the citrus experiment station, is on the committee.
And Dr. Westbrook, who is a Ph. D. chemist, is on the committee. Let's see, and I am on the committtee, and then the chairman of the committee. No, sir, it hasn't been called in over 2 years.
Senator RANDOLPH. When the requests are made by qualified members of the committee to the chairman to call the committee into session, what is the response!
Mr. HUFF. No response. I made the request in public twice. No response at all. Also, you heard from the State board of health that they didn't have enough money to carry on ambient air sampling and so forth to gather evidence. We succeeded in the legislature, which was last summer, and I think it was over July, in securing $169,000 appropriations for the special use of taking air samples in and around these phosphate companies. It was very difficult to get that appropriation made available for use by the State board of health, and then after it was made available for use, the State board of health claimed that they have presented personnel and plans for procurement of equipment, and yet that money has still day been put to use.
Senator RANDOLPH. You mean the approximately $170,000 appropriated at what period ?
Mr. Huff. Well, it was appropriated last July, a year ago—no, last July; last July 1963.
Senator RANDOLPH. None of it has been
Mr. HUFF. Not that I can find out, it hasn't been used; no, sir. But they claim they don't have enough equipment, don't have enough money.
Senator RANDOLPH. Is there anyone here from the board of health? This is a very serious situation you have spoken of.
Could you come forward at this point? We will just quietly discuss it. This is a considerable amount of money that has been appropriated, and I want to see if it has been assigned, and if not, why not. Would you give me your name, sir?
Mr. HUFSTUTLER. Senator, I am K. Hufstutler, director of the PolkHillsborough County Area Control District. It is true this money was appropriated in July. On September the 30th, I believe, or latter part of September, the State cabinet or the budget commission released the funds. We could not, through the merit system, through the civil service-our equivalent of civil service--we could not begin to recruit personnel nor create the positions for which this money was appropriated until the cabinet released it. It was released late in September; we had to go through the merit system and set up the job specifications and start recruiting personnel. On January the 1st we put to work five of eight personnel for which this money was appropriated.
Senator RANDOLPH. You think this explanation helps you, Mr. Huff?
Mr. HUFF. That is ners.
Mr. HUFF. Yes, sir; but in the meantime we had to suffer even though the money had been made available by our legislature.
Senator RANDOLPI. Well, then, we do clarify something today, and that is important.
Mr. HUFF. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUFF. We have another point here that hasn't been stressed very much, it has been brought out, but I am not sure it has been fully understood by the committee. In the spring of 1958, I think it was, the March session of the air pollution commission, there was a hearing held at which a regulation was formed to the effect that 40 parts per million of fluorine in grasses would be indication of air pollution. You have had some presentations here of levels that ran in the 100, 200, 300, or 400 parts per million level. Those presentations were made by Don McLean, I believe, and also by Mr. Lightfoot. This was information that was made public to the State board of health, and for that they gave in.
Ever since 1958, practically all of these prosphate plants have been in constant violation of this regulation of 40 parts per million in grass of fluorine. Of course as has been stated here, 40 parts per million in grass indicates air pollution and indicates also that the grass level would not be healthy for cattle to consume—levels of 40 parts or higher. These plants have been in constant violation of this, and there is only one plant that has had any action taken against it. Now, from the time that regulation was accepted, I would say, it has nerer been put into effect by the air pollution commission; the State board of health has been carrying on what they call conference, conciliation. and persuasion, but it has been very very difficult for us to see how anyone could get anywhere with conference, conciliation, and persuasion if there seemed to be no intent to do any more than persuade. This action that they have brought against one plant down in Fort Meade is the first direct action that they have made other than conference, conciliation, and persuasion: yet they could have taken this action against any plant any year in the past 5 years.
Senator RANDOLPH. You have completed your statement, Mr. Huff? Mr. HUFF. Yes, sir.
Senator RANDOLPI. I would like to ask if you could provide for the record the so-called cattle and fruit growing agricultural lands that you think have been purchased by the phosphate industry when the people, for one reason or another, felt that they must stop production of citrus or the raising of cattle?
Mr. Huff. You would like to know the names of the cattlemen and know the names of citrus growers who feel that they were forced to give up their farming operation ?
Senator RANDOLPH. Yes, you have intimated that.
Senator RANDOLPI. No, you can place it in the record later. I don't want to press you on it.
Vr. HUFF. All right, sir. Senator RANDOLPH. I think we'd like to have that. Mr. HIT FF. Yes, sir:I'd like to do that; yes, sir, I would. Will I just adress that to the committee?
Senator RAVDOIPU. Yes, you can address it to Senator Muskie or to a member of the staff.