The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s testing program for drought-related air quality, which has become an ongoing controversy, has resulted in a wide range of questions, including how the agency measures and tests for the drought-induced ozone levels.
A review of the agency’s testing protocols has revealed a variety of issues with how the test is carried out, according to several officials who spoke to Fox News.
The EPA has conducted tests on about 40,000 farm-related farms and is using a pilot program to test farm air quality in areas that are prone to droughts, including areas of the Great Plains and the Mississippi River Valley, as well as California and the Southwest.
But many farmers are not testing their farms, despite the EPA saying the program is vital to help the farmers survive droughty conditions.
A recent review by The Washington Post, which included interviews with several farmers and EPA officials, found the agency had not tested farmers for ozone and other ozone-related pollutants since 2009.
EPA scientists say they are not using ozone-derived data to determine if farms are actually experiencing ozone-depleting chemicals in their air.
But EPA officials have acknowledged that the agency does not use ozone data to test farmers for their ozone levels because the agency cannot quantify the ozone levels in farmers’ air.”EPA’s testing is not designed to measure and assess whether farmers are experiencing a drought-associated increase in ozone,” EPA spokesman Scott Taylor said in a statement last month.
“It is the EPA scientists who have made that determination, and they have confirmed that this is the case.”
“EPA scientists have confirmed this is not the case,” he added.
“EPA’s tests have not been designed to detect, measure, or measure for ozone.”
The tests conducted on the pilot program, which began in June, have shown that the EPA has not taken ozone measurements from the farms in question, the EPA officials said.
They added that the test data used by the agency for the pilot is based on a single sample taken from a single farm.
In a statement to FoxNews.com, a spokesman for the EPA acknowledged that ozone levels have not increased in farm air since 2009 and that the air quality tests were conducted for a pilot pilot program.
“However, EPA has been unable to obtain any measurements from farms where ozone levels are increasing,” the spokesman said.
“Because EPA cannot quantify ozone levels from a farm, we do not use data to support our ozone-detection program.”
The EPA is using the same pilot program that has been used to assess farm air, the spokesman added.
“If the pilot test data is accurate, it shows that there has been no change in farm ozone levels,” he said.
The EPA and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) have not provided additional information about the pilot testing program.
The test protocol for ozone measurements on farms is different than those used by other air monitoring programs.
An EPA official said that the pilot study is the first in a nationwide pilot program designed to test for ozone.
The agency’s ozone data is also a more precise measurement than those of other agencies, the official said.
EPA has used data from the pilot pilot project for years, but not to this degree, the agency official said, because the pilot data is only for the areas that were previously tested.
The new ozone data from farms is not being tested for any ozone-level increase, the federal official said and the data is being sent to the EPA for its review.
The official also said the EPA is not using any ozone data that is being tested by other monitoring programs, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) ozone data.
The agency has been looking at ozone data since 2009, the same year the ozone-data monitoring program began.
But the EPA did not use that data to make its ozone data comparisons, the officials said, and did not compare farm air to ozone in a separate analysis conducted in April, 2015.
“We’re using the information we have now to make the comparison to the current ozone data and that is not going to change,” the official added.
A 2015 study by the Environmental Protection Research and Education Center (EARC), an agency-funded research center, found that farmers are breathing air contaminated with ozone-containing chemicals.
The EPA has acknowledged that its ozone tests are flawed, but has said that it has improved ozone testing procedures.
The EPA was criticized last year for its failure to provide farmers with ozone data before the pilot was implemented.
In 2016, the National Academy of Sciences, which advises the EPA, found in a report that the ozone data was “not comprehensive enough to provide meaningful information about crop air quality.”
While the EPA said it was not using farm ozone data, the government agency’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has been using the farm data for years to make ozone-based measurements for farmers.ARS has a contract with the EPA to do ozone testing in areas