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: Manure

No more half-measures for the bay: O’Malley administration’s proposed regulations on agricultural waste aren’t strong enough

After 28 years of formal efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the single most successful efforts have been in curbing bay-choking nutrient pollutants from sewerage treatment plants, so-called “point sources” from pipes. Maryland has been a leader in these efforts with passage of the Flush Tax in 2004 and its extension in 2012. This will assure that 69 of the largest Maryland plants will be removing both phosphorus and nitrogen to very low levels, approaching the limits of technology. These efforts are paid for by most Marylanders by fees on water and sewer bills.Continue Reading

Weak Regulation of Manure Proposed

(Posted by Gerald Winegrad)

The Maryland Department of Agriculture announced the development of weakened proposed regulations that are well short of the positions advocated by the Senior Scientists and Policymakers for the Bay to address the pollution from millions of tons of chicken and other farm animal manure that is poisoning ground and surface waters. Some key elements of the proposals don’t even go into effect until 2016, allowing four more years to do just some of what has been required for land application of treated human sludge since 1985!

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Perdue’s PR Campaign of Deceit

(Posted by Bob Gallagher)

A group of legislators, following a script conceived by the public relations machine of Perdue and the Maryland Farm Bureau, have joined in Perdue’s unprecedented effort to derail an environmental lawsuit that has singular importance for the Chesapeake bay watershed. The effort is unprecedented in the extent to which Perdue and its enablers are attempting to use the media and the political process to win a case that they have as yet been unable to win in court.

Here is the story.

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Maryland Clean Water Legislation Awaits Committee Votes

(Posted by Gerald Winegrad)

Maryland’s 2012 General Assembly Session is now more than halfway over, and while elected officials are currently focused on the state’s budget, several pieces of important Chesapeake Bay legislation that would help clean up our waters await committee votes.

Today the Executive Council of the Senior Scientists and Policymakers for the Bay delivered this letter to key legislators in support of the following legislation that is in line with our 25-step “action plan,”  specifically with respect to science-based recommendations to control agricultural pollution, foster clean development, upgrade septic systems, and improve wastewater treatment plants:Continue Reading

When Farmers Talk

(Posted by Roy Hoagland.)

When farmers talk, legislators listen. And when a farmer talks in support of new farming regulations, legislators really listen.

Two Maryland farmers recently told a committee of their state legislators that they wanted to see stricter and better controls on farms. In particular, they supported new proposals that included halting the spreading of manure on farm fields during the winter.Continue Reading

The Biggest Problem for the Bay: Animal Waste

(Posted by Sen. Gerald Winegrad. This op-ed first appeared in The Baltimore Sun on February 20, 2012.)

Millions of tons of one of the Chesapeake Bay‘s largest sources of pollution continue to be dumped onto farm lands without proper regulation. Farm animals produce 44 million tons of manure annually in the bay watershed, and most of it is collected and disposed of on farmland — or left where it falls.

This ranks the bay region in the top 10 percent in the nation for manure-related nitrogen runoff, and the problem of proper management of this waste is exacerbated by the fact that three highly concentrated animal feeding operation areas contribute more than 90 percent of the manure. The Delmarva Peninsula, one of these three areas, has some of the greatest concentrations of chicken farms in the country.Continue Reading