Thursday 17 August 2017

The removal of the "impaired" designation for the 53 river segments in 17 Maryland counties, including on the Eastern Shore, and Baltimore City effectively gives the rivers the same Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollution diet as the main stem of the Chesapeake Bay.

"Pollution doesn't just originate in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay," Waterkeepers Chesapeake Executive Director Elizabeth Nicholas said. "We have to look at all of the smaller creeks and streams that are suffering impaired water quality throughout the watershed."

READ MORE: StarDem.com, March 9, 2016

Kathy Phillips, a prominent poultry critic, called the proposal "distressing." If built, the houses will expose area schools and established residential neighborhoods to "unfiltered polluted air emissions" and lead to "increased truck traffic on narrow roadways," she said.

Phillips, the Assateague Coastkeeper, charges that the new chicken houses will surely only add to the Wicomico River tributary's woes.

Phillips has little faith in the current regulations offering much protection.

"That this proposed industrial CAFO is somehow consistent with the surrounding community, which has changed dramatically in recent years from rural to suburban, is indicative of how outdated and broken our zoning codes are on the Lower Shore," she said.

READ MORE: DelmarvaNow.com, March 9, 2016

 

 

 

The two-hour meeting in a school lunchroom was tense at times, its 250 attendees divided over whether the county could protect its poultry-based economy as well as the rebounding aquaculture, tourism and wildlife of the Chesapeake Bay.

In the end, the county passed the new setbacks -- but didn't seem prepared to do much else. That was frustrating for Accomack native Jay Ford of the nonprofit Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper. But he recognizes it's not all the county's fault.

"It's not a problem that the localities can, or should be expected to tackle," he says. "It's unfair that the state is leaving rural localities that are understaffed for such a technical problem to try and tackle it with the limited tools they have because of right-to-farm laws."

He thinks the EPA is dragging its feet on evaluating the health and environmental impacts of big poultry operations. Without region-wide data, Ford says, there can't be much coordination.

READ MORE: Delmarva Public Media, March 4, 2016