After decades of effort, the voluntary, collaborative approach to restoring the health and vitality of the Chesapeake Bay— the largest estuary in the United States—has not worked and, in fact, is failing. A diverse group of 57 senior scientists and policymakers have joined forces to save the Bay. This is our plan.

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Category Archives: CAFO

Chickens and the Bay

Chickens and the Bay

Gerald Winegrad’s recent column “Farms and King Chicken Stand in the way of a cleaner Chesapeake Bay” is an alarm bell we should heed (The Capital, June 21). Big agri-business pollutants are unequivocally and on record the biggest source of nutrients and sediment choking the Chesapeake Bay.

Chicken operations produce more than 600 million chickens on the Eastern Shore. Thousands of tons of nutrient-rich raw excrement are dumped on farmland.

Industry shills unabashedly tout limited successes and shift the blame to development and its stormwater flows while corporate giants like Perdue, Mountaire, and Tyson ramp up chicken operations where one farm operation can produce 1.5 million chickens a year. Making matters worse, the giant agri-businesses take the chickens, leaving the manure with the farmers where the cheapest option is usually followed — putting it on the land, where there may already may be enough phosphorus and nitrogen.

The simple solution is avoided: Make the giant chicken corporations take care of the manure in a sound environmental fashion!

The usual corporate rebuttals offered up by industry shills, split hairs over whether their waste streams are a really big problem, or a little itty bitty ones.

They seek to distract us by chastising Winegrad for painting farmers as villains but the same lobby does not hesitate to villainize developers by finger-pointing nitrogen flows from urban stormwater.

Fact: in 2018, farms, (including chicken farms), produced 119 million pounds of nitrogen poisoning our waters while all urban runoff produced 39.7 million pounds. Meaning, factory farms produced three times more nitrogen than urban runoff. Check the facts, Follow the science and not the rhetoric!

Chicken farms and other farms produced 56% more phosphorous than stormwater runoff. Agriculture is far from meeting its EPA mandated nitrogen reductions by 2025 and must reduce them by 30% by 2025 while they expand chicken operations.

Gains touted by the industry are overstated as they use questionable calculations. To save the Bay we simply cannot let the chicken industry dominate Maryland politics.


Patuxent Riverkeeper

Upper Marlboro

The Hudson/Perdue Chicken Waste Case — What We’ve Already Learned

A decision is expected soon in the highly publicized federal lawsuit Waterkeepers Alliance, Inc., vs. Alan and Kristen Hudson Farm and Perdue Farms, Inc. The outcome is anyone’s guess, but already testimony from the trial has made clear that Maryland’s effort to oversee and enforce nutrient management plans needs more muscle.Continue Reading

Senior Scientists And Policmakers For The Bay Join With Other Conservation Groups In Urging Better Regulation Of Tons Of Raw Animal Manure.

After eight months of negotiations and efforts to strengthen the regulations as we have advocated in our Bay Action Plan, new regulations were proposed and published in the Maryland Register on June 29. These regs are still much too weak and fall well short of the Senior Scientists and Policymakers for the Bay science-based positions. Representatives of our group had discussed our positions in detail with the Bay Cabinet at a meeting last September. We have continued to advocate these common sense positions and members of our group sent detailed letter to the Governor and published an Op-ed in the Baltimore Sun detailing the need for better management of animal manure and other nutrients.
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Glendening, Scientists: Untreated Manure Poisons Chesapeake Bay

(Posted by Dawn Stoltzfus.) On Tuesday, February 21, 2012, members of the Senior Scientists & Policymakers for the Chesapeake Bay made their case for reducing pollution from agriculture at a hearing before the Maryland Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. Former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening provided a strong statement (PDF) in support of SB…Continue Reading

Maryland’s Outsized Manure Problem

(Posted by Dawn Stoltzfus.)

Today, standing in front of the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, to represent the enormous amount of chicken litter produced each year in Maryland (a pile twice as high as the stadium!), Environment Maryland released a new report detailing the problems with Maryland’s current manure regulations and, in particular, with too much phosphorus in our soil and our waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay.Continue Reading

Keeping CAFOs Undercover: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell & Keep Polluting

(Posted by Scott Edwards.)
Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. In the four decades since this seminal water protection legislation was passed, there has been tremendous headway in controlling many of the worst sources of industrial toxics in our nation’s waterways, particularly from those end-of-the-pipe “point sources.” Unfortunately, though, there’s one industrial point source that continues to evade any meaningful CWA regulation — Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs. Now, after many years of failing to implement effective CWA provisions to clean up this highly polluting industry, the Environmental Protection Agency is engaging in an information gathering process to consider how best to regulate the country’s tens of thousands of industrial animal farms. Sadly, all indications are that EPA is still not taking its mission seriously when it comes to CAFOs.
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