In Maryland, there are hundreds of large industrial poultry operations, sometimes called factory farms. Regulators call them concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs. Every five years, the state permit for these operations comes up for renewal. We need your help to submit comments on this permit by December 27, 2019.
The Maryland General Permit for Discharges by Animal Feeding Operations controls how much pollution from animal waste can be discharged to local waterways. Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is proposing renewing this permit without any significant changes from the current permit, which was written over five years ago. This means that over the next five years, many new industrial scale animal operations will be permitted under a deficient General Permit and will be in operation for the next 15-20 years.
Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore is particularly vulnerable to the development of large industrial chicken operations. This area of the state has seen an explosion of CAFOs, often developed adjacent to residential areas. This has led to a whole host of environmental and human health problems including water pollution, over production of manure, ammonia disposition, and noxious smells.
Compounding this is the fact that the Eastern Shore of Maryland is facing a future of sea level rise and saltwater inundation, more frequent flooding, and stronger hurricanes. Both NOAA and FEMA say the Lower Eastern Shore is a prime target for major flooding. Currently, there are several chicken CAFOs and millions of chickens located in flood zones. The proposed permit does not consider how new facilities may be impacted by flood waters or sea level rise due to climate change.
TAKE ACTION TODAY! Please submit comments by Friday, December 27, 2019!
The proposed permit has several deficiencies. We are asking you to tell the Maryland Department of Environment that it must recognize the need for added protections in this permit, which will be in effect for 5 years and will allow new construction of facilities that will be in operation for as long as 20 years.