Call to Order and Roll Call
Themeeting of the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee was held on Wednesday, November 7, 2012, at 10:00 AM, in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Paul Hornback, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Paul Hornback, Co-Chair; Representative Wilson Stone, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, David Givens, Vernie McGaha, Dennis Parrett, and Joey Pendleton; Representatives Royce W. Adams, Tom McKee, Terry Mills, Ryan Quarles, and Tommy Turner.
Guests: Dr. Donald Miller, Brown Cancer Center; Dr. Mark Evers, Markey Cancer Center; Mr. Roger Thomas, Mr. Joel Neaveill, Mr. Bill McCloskey, Ms. Angela Blank, Mr. Brian Murphy, and Mr. Biff Baker, Governorís Office of Agricultural Policy.
The October 3, 2012, minutes were approved, without objection, by voice vote, upon motion by Senator Givens and second by Representative Mills.
Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program Report
The Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program (KLCRP) receives tobacco settlement funds appropriations. Reporting to the committee were Dr. B. Mark Evers, Director of the University of Kentuckyís Markey Cancer Center, and Dr. Donald Miller, Director of Brown Cancer Center, located at the University of Louisville.
Dr. Evers testified about four main topics: early detection programs under auspices of the Markey Cancer Center; the Markey Clinical Trials Network; constituent education efforts; and basic and translational research.
Dr. Evers discussed the Driesler Project, which looks at incidences of lung cancer and possible causes. He noted the incidence of lung cancer in Appalachia is higher than expected due to smoking and perhaps because of exposure to environmental carcinogens. Discussing the Clinical Trials Network, Dr. Evers indicated a number of people, facets of research, and study sites are involved. Doctors from other countries are also involved.
Dr. Evers discussed ongoing research that investigates the impact of radon exposure coupled with exposure to tobacco smoke.
Dr. Evers discussed funding, pointing out that investment of state funding is matched with funding from other sources, such as federal sources. He also updated the committee on efforts to gain National Cancer Institute designation.
Responding to Senator Hornback, Dr. Evers amplified on the possible reasons for high incidences of lung cancer in eastern Kentucky. Heavy metals are evident in the coal beds of Kentucky, with the heavy metals possible leaching into ground water. He told Senator Gibson that similar findings were evident in West Virginia. Responding to Senator Parrett, he indicated there also are high incidences of lung cancer in some western Kentucky counties.
Responding to Co-chair Hornback about age trends among cancer patients, Dr. Evers indicated there are genetic factors in some colorectal cancers.
Dr. Miller testified about the history of the Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program (KLCRP), the impact of KLCRP funding on drug development, research, and lung cancer prevention and detection.
Dr. Miller also testified about research into the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil, which is being developed with the use of tobacco plants. Research is being undertaken in cooperation with the Owensboro Cancer Research Program and involves the Kentucky Bioprocessing Facility in Owensboro.
Dr. Miller said that, in the mid-1970s, Kentucky paralleled the nation in cancer mortality. Through the years, mortality numbers spiked, and Kentuckyís rate is higher than the national average. In 2000, KLCRP had no lung cancer research projects and had funding totaling $500,000; at this time, there are 26 projects, and the program has received $25 million.
Dr. Miller discussed the Brown Cancer Center/Data seam data collection project that involves 15,000 computers and the assistance of 200,000 students.
Dr. Miller also talked about different types of research, such as one lung cancer prevention project involving colored berries and the development of a breath test for lung cancer.
Co-Chair Stone mentioned that some Allen County students are involved in the Brown/Data seam project. He asked if there is a correlation between declining smoking rates and a drop in lung cancer mortality rates, to which Dr. Miller responded that studies have shown that correlation.
Responding to Representative McKee, Dr. Miller discussed the work being done to develop the cervical cancer vaccine. He is confident a vaccine can be developed that will be effective and affordable in third world countries. He discussed the issues involved in developing a new drug, such as intellectual property issues, the purity of the drug, and testing.
Governorís Office of Agricultural Policy
Mr. Roger Thomas, Executive Director, Mr. Joel Neaveill, Chief of Staff, and Mr. Bill McCloskey, Director of Financial Services, Governorís Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP), testified about project funding decisions made by the Agricultural Development Board (ADB) during its October meeting.
GOAP officials summarized funding allocations under the County Agricultural Improvement, Deceased Farm Animal Disposal Assistance, and Shared-Use Equipment programs from the previous month, as well as funding awards for the On-Farm Energy Program.
State and regional projects presented to the committee included: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Kentucky Water Science, Jefferson County, $197,000 in state funds to collect and analyze water samples from the Ohio River and the Green River; Hopkinsville Surface and Stormwater Utility, a total of $220,000 in state and county funds to identify water quality and the actual sources of pathogens, sediment, and nitrogen in the Little River Basin; Henderson County Fiscal Court, $25,000 in state funds and $35,000 in Henderson County funds to build a farmersí market structure; Madison County Fiscal Court, $50,000 in Madison County funds to buy a new truck for the countyís deceased animal removal program.
Regarding the USGS Kentucky Water Science project, Mr. Neaveill told Senator Hornback that water quality models have put the agricultural industry in the position of disproving assumptions. Mr. Thomas said the project is an attempt by agriculture to be proactive and take an initial step in determining the role of farming in water quality. He described water quality as ďa huge issue.Ē
Responding to Senator Hornback about how data collected on the two rivers would be used, GOAP indicated the project will not have a level of specificity as will the Little River project. According to Mr. Neaveill, the approach will be to identify water quality issues. He said the USGS will be reporting periodically to the Agricultural Development Board.
Responding to Senator Givens, Mr. Neaveill indicated that, instead of following mandates, the agricultural industry will have data to support its position. Responding further to Senator Givens, Mr. Neaveill indicated that USGS has been asked what can be done to enhance the work planned, but it will come to money and personnel, and establishing testing stations. Mr. Rogers explained that the USGS will be attending an upcoming board meeting and will be asked about ways to expand the scope of the project. He indicated federal match money is available.
Mr. Neaveill told Senator Givens that most of the cost of the USGS Kentucky Water Science project will consist of laboratory costs. He explained the relationship of the Kentucky River basins in the larger Mississippi River Basin.
Responding to Co-chair Stone, Mr. Neaveill said the state Division of Conservation could play a role in helping fund pollution abatement efforts that may be needed in the future. Representative Stone recommended that the board remain cautious in the granting of funds for abatement efforts.
As discussion about the project, Senator Parrett talked about certain communities have been proactive in studying the role of agriculture in water quality.
Regarding the Madison County project, Mr. McCloskey indicated to Senator Hornback that the applicant would be handling maintenance costs on the deceased livestock removal vehicle.
Documents distributed during the committee meeting are available with meeting materials in the LRC Library. The meeting adjourned at approximately 11:45 a.m.