FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2015

Contact: Dawn Stoltzfus, The Hatcher Group, (410) 562-5655 cell

 

(Annapolis, MD)– The Maryland Clean Agriculture Coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Hogan’s announcement to introduce new Phosphorus Management Tool regulations:

We’re pleased to see the Hogan Administration acknowledging that phosphorus pollution from manure is a serious problem that must be addressed, that cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and local waters is a “shared responsibility” and that action needs to be taken.

The environmental community just learned of Governor Hogan’s proposal this afternoon, and we have yet to see the actual regulations. Until we see those regulations, and evaluate them, we cannot say whether or not they are what we need to get the job done.

We would of course be concerned about any additional delays, loopholes or contingencies. We want see these long overdue rules to better manage manure implemented as quickly and efficiently as possible.

We continue to whole-heartedly support the legislation sponsored by Senator Pinsky and Delegate Lafferty (SB 257 / HB 381) to implement the phosphorus management tool with a six-year phase-in. Given the difficulties we’ve had with the regulatory process, we certainly see the value of having a strong statue in place.

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The Phosphorus Management Tool would reduce pollution by halting the excessive uses of manure on farm fields already contaminated with too much phosphorus. Phosphorus pollution causes algae blooms that threaten public health; kill underwater grasses; harm aquatic life like blue crabs, oysters and fish; and create an enormous “dead zone” in the Bay.

Maryland’s 2010 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) committed the state to updating the Phosphorus Management Tool in 2011. According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, Maryland’s agriculture sector is just 51 percent of the way toward meeting its 2017 goal to reduce phosphorus.

Agriculture is the single largest source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland waterways, and more than half of Maryland’s phosphorus pollution comes from farms with failed manure management systems.

View the infographic “How Manure is Contaminating Maryland Waters & the Chesapeake Bay” as well as a fact sheet for more information about the Phosphorus Management Tool.

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The Maryland Clean Agriculture Coalition is working to improve Maryland waterways and protect public health by reducing pollution, and increasing transparency and accountability, from agriculture and other associated sources of water degradation.

 

Anacostia Riverkeeper – Audubon Naturalist Society – Assateague Coastal Trust – Blue Water Baltimore – Chesapeake Climate Action Network – Clean Water Action – Environment Maryland – Environmental Integrity Project – Gunpowder Riverkeeper – League of Women Voters of Maryland – Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper – Maryland League of Conservation Voters – Maryland Pesticide Network Education Fund – National Wildlife Federation, Mid-Atlantic Regional Center – Potomac Riverkeeper – Sierra Club, Maryland Chapter – South River Federation – Waterkeepers Chesapeake – West/Rhode Riverkeeper

 

Download this press release (PDF)