Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chesapeake Bay Update: Environmental Group Calls for Moratorium on New Eastern Shore Poultry Operations

Written by Tyler R. Etter

On September 8, 2015, the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) released a new report detailing the
expansion of poultry operations on the Eastern Shore, despite cutbacks to water quality monitoring
made by Maryland. As a result, EIP and its allies are calling for a moratorium on new poultry operations
until at least 2024, concerned with rising phosphorous levels in the Chesapeake Bay.

Of concern to the environmental groups is that of the 16 monitoring stations near the Eastern Shore
rivers only 7 are now operating following the state officials shutting down 9 of the stations two years
ago. The groups call attention to the damage caused to the ecosystem by the “high concentration of
poultry waste” on the Shore. They are also concerned about citizen exposure to antibiotic resistant
bacteria present in the waste. The groups chose 2024 for the moratorium period, as that is the year that
Maryland’s Phosphorous Management Tool will be fully implemented, broadening the protections to
the area.

Julie Oberg, spokeswoman for Maryland’s Department of Agriculture, stated that regulations have
effectively barred the use of manure of soils with high nutrient content, and any regulations apply to
new and old operations alike when concerned with water quality. The executive director of the
Maryland Farm Bureau, Valerie T. Connelly, called the moratorium “ridiculous” without targeting other
sources of pollution.

The executive director of Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. stated that the expansion in operations is a
response to recent economic hardship and regulatory barriers. He claims the industry is just now
“catching up” from the setbacks, and the new operations will have the latest technology to protect the

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