Tuesday 19 February 2019

"If we are to follow the supervisor's line of thought it is important to note that we would be discounting VIMS reports as they often carry disclaimers that they do not speak for The College of William and Mary. We appreciate that the supervisors are working hard to tackle many complicated questions surrounding the poultry industry and that they are trying to be as even handed. However, we are becoming increasingly concerned that any voices that run contrary to the recommendations made by the poultry lobbyists are being discredited rather than responded to." Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper Jay Ford

Read more: Delmarvanow.com, January 21, 2016

Advocates say burden of excess manure disposal should not be on small farmers, taxpayers

(Annapolis, MD) Waterkeepers Chesapeake and several local Waterkeepers are amoung a broad coalition of environmental groups that are banding together during the 2016 Maryland General Assembly to support legislation requiring poultry companies to take responsibility for the manure their chickens produce. Excess manure can saturate farm fields and pollutes local creeks, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay if not handled properly. The legislation will seek to protect Maryland farmers and taxpayers from costs that should be borne by the large poultry companies.

Legislation set to be introduced in the coming days will require poultry companies to remove and properly dispose of all poultry litter for which a chicken grower does not have state-approved plans.

Agriculture is the single, largest source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland waterways. About 44 percent of the nitrogen and 57 percent of the phosphorus polluting the Bay comes from farms, and much of that comes from animal manure. But dollar for dollar, reducing pollution to the Chesapeake Bay from farms is far cheaper than reducing it from any other source: sewage plants, stormwater systems and septic systems.

The issue is urgent. The amount of excess chicken manure in Maryland could soon be even greater. Large industrial farms are expanding – including 200 new poultry houses now permitted for construction on the Delmarva Peninsula. This includes about 70 in Somerset County, with Wicomico and Worcester counties also experiencing considerable new growth. This construction would mean an additional 10 million chickens and about 20 million more pounds of manure per year.

Big chicken companies have the necessary resources and the responsibility to help Maryland’s manure overload problem. If poultry companies become responsible for their waste, that would ensure Maryland taxpayers, and farmers, no longer bear the sole burden of reducing pollution.

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TAKE ACTION to Support Poultry Litter Management Act

 

Groups supporting the legislation include: Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Food & Water Watch and the Maryland Clean Agriculture Coalition (Anacostia Riverkeeper, Assateague Coastal Trust, Audubon Naturalist Society, Blue Water Baltimore, Center for Progressive Reform, 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 Education Network, Midshore Riverkeeper ConservancyPotomac Riverkeeper, Sierra Club – Maryland Chapter, South River Federation, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, West/Rhode Riverkeeper).

Waterkeepers Chesapeake strongly supports today’s decision by the United States Forest Service to formally deny the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s (ACP) application for a Special Use Permit.  The U.S. Forest Service rejects the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests to protect the sensitive resources and endangered species found on Cheat Mountain, Back Allegheny Mountain, and Shenandoah Mountain. The rejection of the preferred route underscores how shallow Dominion’s analysis has been and will likely delay the project. Any further consideration of alternative routes in this region must be carefully and independently scrutinized.

Since 2014 when Dominion announced its intention to build a major gas transmission line through one of the most intact wild areas on the East Coast, Waterkeepers Chesapeake has joined with the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance to repeatedly raise concerns about the significant harm to the region’s natural resources that the project would cause. As planned, the ACP would run over 550 miles through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. It would be larger in diameter than the Keystone XL. Approximately 40-50 miles of the ACP would cut through the Washington and Monongahela National Forests. The pipeline would cause permanent clearcuts throughout the entire length of the pipeline, causing dramatic forest fragmentation through some of the most high-quality forest habitat in our region.

The George Washington National Forest protects the headwaters of the Potomac and James Rivers. It is a direct source of local drinking water to more than 329,000 people living in and around the Shenandoah Valley, and it lies in the watersheds of the James, Shenandoah, and Potomac Rivers—which ultimately provide water to over 4.5 million people downstream in cities such as Washington, D.C. and Richmond, VA. Waterkeepers Chesapeake argues that all public lands should be protected from hydraulic fracturing or fracking for natural gas and oil, and from pipelines and other related infrastructure to protect our water resources from irreversible contamination.

The George Washington National Forest is the largest federal landholding in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Local and regional governments and businesses have expressed widespread concern that opening public lands to fracking and pipelines would negatively affect local economies, particularly adjacent farms and the local recreation and tourism economy, which are the economic engines of the area. Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry, and the national forest region provides more than two-thirds of the value of the Commonwealth’s agricultural production.

For more info:

Waterkeepers Chesapeake motion to intervene in ACP application to FERC

Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s statement on Forest Service denial

Appalachian Mountain Advocate’s statement on Forest Service denial