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: O’Malley

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!

The reports from the University of Maryland scientists appointed by the Administration were kept from us and the public until just before the announcement of the proposals for regulations. These scientists recommended much more than was incorporated into the regulations and noted that the EPA’s Bay Program found that farm animal manure is responsible for 24 percent of the phosphorus (this is more than all the municipal WWTPs and industrial dischargers) and 15 percent of the nitrogen flowing to and choking the Bay. This does not include the atmospheric contribution of nitrogen from the volatilization of manure and fertilizer, and subsequent atmospheric deposition of the nitrates estimated at 7% of total bay nitrogen. Septic tanks Baywide are somewhere around 3 percent of the nitrogen, near zero of the phosphorus and for Maryland it’s 6 percent of the nitrogen and near zero of the phosphorous.

Please see our letter to the Governor’s Bay Cabinet urging action on new regulations. The new regulations ignore our science-based recommendations to conform chicken manure and other animal waste and nutrients placed on farm fields with the 1985 requirements for treated human sludge including:  prohibition on winter application after November 1, better buffer requirements including a 100′ buffer in the Critical Area, and a prohibition on the application of manure and other nutrients with phosphorus when the soils are already super-saturated with phosphorus. Also rejected was a requirement that there be adequate monitoring and enforcement of the Nutrient Management Regulations, which is currently lacking.

Please see The Sun article on the cozy relationship between Governor O’Malley and Perdue’s General Counsel and the Food and Water watch release on this issue.

It’s hard to win when you are playing against a stacked deck.

Also see the letter from two full-time working farmers on the need for better nutrient management regulations and in support of our positions.

‘Don’t Let the Tea Party Set the Agenda’

(This is sixth in an ongoing series of posts on What’s It Going to Take?: A look at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)

In this exclusive interview, Maryland state Sen. Paul Pinsky tells the Bay Action Plan that, “We shouldn’t be taking our cue from the Tea Party,” when it comes to cleaning the Chesapeake Bay. “The correct response to them is to ask, ‘What is the right thing to do?’ We shouldn’t allow them to shape the dialogue.”

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Senior Scientists & Policymakers Continue Press for Revised Nutrient Management Regulations

(Posted by Dawn Stoltzfus.)

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is generally viewed as a friend of the environment. He has championed initiatives on growth, wastewater treatment, renewable energy, climate change, funding for environmental programs and other issues. He earned a grade of B+ from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. But, many believe that the Administration has done too little to address Chesapeake Bay pollution from the agriculture sector, which accounts for nearly half of the pollution entering the bay.

A revision of rules regulating the spreading of manure on farmland is long overdue. Here is a recent letter from the Executive Committee of the Senior Scientists and Policymakers for the Bay urging the Governor to issue rules that treat manure in much the same way as sewage sludge.Continue Reading

Foundation Among Critics of O’Malley’s Law Clinic Interference

(Posted by Jeanne McCann.)

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s attempt to get the University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic to drop its water pollution case against Hudson Farm has drawn criticism from a long list of environmental, legal and news organizations. Joining the list is a somewhat unexpected institution – the Town Creek Foundation.

Foundations don’t regularly take public stands on policy, but in this case Town Creek has sent a letter to Dean Phoebe Haddon of the University of Maryland Law School expressing thanks for the Dean’s strong response to the governor and the foundation’s continued support for the law clinic’s work.Continue Reading