Tuesday 21 May 2019

Agriculture (34)

Agriculture sector only halfway toward 2017 goal for phosphorus pollution (Annapolis, MD) – Claims by the farm lobby that Maryland’s agriculture industry is ahead of its Chesapeake Bay clean-up goals to reduce pollution are factually inaccurate. The Chesapeake Bay Program confirmed this week that as of June 2013 (its most recent data), Maryland’s agriculture sector is only 51 percent of the way toward meeting its 2017 goal to reduce phosphorus. “The agriculture industry clearly has a long way to go to reduce phosphorous pollution,” said Betsy Nicholas, executive director, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, a member of the Maryland Clean Agriculture Coalition. “It is shameful how hard the poultry industry, its lobbyists, and others continue to fight commonsense and scientifically sound solutions.” The Farm Bureau continues to object to the Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT), inaccurately and repeatedly stating agriculture is ahead of its goals. Federal experts tracking progress have established that the Farm Bureau is incorrect. “What is undisputable and what should spur the General Assembly and Governor-elect Hogan into action is that not only is agriculture industry is the largest source of pollution to the Bay but that it is behind the curve,” said Joanna Diamond, co-chair of the Maryland Clean Agriculture Coalition. “Every year, Maryland produces enough poultry waste to fill both M & T Bank stadium and FedEx Field. We’ve simply got too much manure that farmers are spreading on already polluting fields.  And as a result our water quality is getting worse, not better.” The PMT would reduce pollution…
Latest Version of Rules to Reduce Pollution by Better Controlling Manure Provide Several Exemptions for Farmers and a Six-Year Phase In (Annapolis, MD) – With today’s publication in the Maryland Register of new rules to better control manure, a coalition of nonprofit organizations called on the Maryland General Assembly to support the proposed Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) regulation. A new phosphorus rule has been proposed three times in the last two years but has been repeatedly delayed due to pressure from industry lobbyists and legislative leaders.   Today a 30-day public comment period on the regulation begins, and the Maryland Administrative, Executive & Legislative Review committee has the opportunity to review and comment on them.    The Maryland Clean Agriculture Coalition says the latest version of the regulation includes a reasonable implementation plan for the state-of-the-art tool, as well as several exemptions for certain farms and a six-year phase-in timetable.   “Studies show phosphorus pollution is getting worse, not better – yet this regulation has been repeatedly delayed,” said Karla Raettig of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “It’s time for the Maryland legislature, with leadership from President Miller and Speaker Busch, to swiftly endorse them.”    The PMT would reduce pollution by limiting manure applied to farm fields already contaminated with excess phosphorus levels, and scientists say it would improve water quality, protect public health and reduce harmful algae blooms.   “Governor O’Malley kept his commitment to Marylanders and to the Chesapeake Bay by finalizing this much-needed rule to…
 Advocates Say New Rule to Limit Manure Represents Biggest Opportunity for Clean Water in 30 Years (Annapolis, MD) – A Salisbury University economic study shows a new rule to better manage manure would be comparable to, or cost less than, other Chesapeake Bay pollution-reduction efforts, said a coalition of nonprofit organizations working to reduce pollution and increase transparency from agriculture. The study provided an overall cost estimate for the agricultural industry to implement the Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) using a phased-in approach, which advocates say shows the new rule is workable. The science-based PMT would reduce pollution by limiting manure applied to farm fields already contaminated with excess phosphorus levels. The rule would improve water quality, protect public health reduce harmful algae blooms. “Phosphorus pollution from manure is getting worse, not better in the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland waterways. If this continues, Maryland will jeopardize the decades of progress we’ve made to clean up our waters,” said Joanna Diamond of Environment Maryland. Experts say the new manure rule is one of the biggest opportunities to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and local waters in more than 30 years. “It is past time to stop studying this issue and time to start acting,” said Bob Gallagher, of West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Inc. “Rarely can a single initiative achieve such huge pollution reductions in one fell swoop. The new phosphorus rule, like the phosphorus detergent ban of the 1980s, is one of those opportunities to really make a difference.” When compared to other pollution…

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