Senate cancels hearing on Georgia sludge findings

12 09 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Democrats abruptly canceled a hearing on using sewage sludge as farm fertilizer after learning that two witnesses from Georgia had cited their upcoming testimony at the hearing in trying to win a settlement in a lawsuit.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee had been scheduled on Thursday to hear testimony from an Augusta-area farmer and a former federal scientist who have fought the Environmental Protection Agency and the University of Georgia over the safety of using sludge on farm fields.

The farmer, Andy McElmurray, and the scientist, David Lewis, are suing the University of Georgia Research Foundation and others, alleging that UGA research was part of a scheme by the EPA to justify a federal policy allowing the continued use of sludge as fertilizer.

A spokeswoman for the committee said the hearing was canceled out of concern that the private litigation would distract from the main issue of sludge safety. She said Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., plans to reschedule the session.

Read on here.

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