CBF: Moratorium on New Chicken Houses May Be Necessary If Maryland and EPA Don't Step up

(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Alison Prost, Maryland Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), issued this statement following the release today by the Environmental Integrity Project of its report, "More Phosphorus, Less Monitoring:"

"The rapid growth of the chicken industry on the Delmarva Peninsula is a problem the states and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must address. In Maryland, a moratorium on new houses may be imperative if the state doesn't account for and address pollution coming from these new houses.

The report by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) has highlighted a significant source of possible new pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. New chicken houses are growing, both in size and number, at an unprecedented rate. Most of the lower Eastern Shore can't absorb any more manure because the soil is already saturated with phosphorus. What happens to the tons of new manure? We need a clear answer that ensures water quality is protected. 

Agriculture is the largest source of pollution to the Bay. CBF calls on the Hogan Administration to disclose how it plans to keep the state on track to obtain clean water while the poultry industry is expanding. Specifically, Maryland must account for the pollution from the new houses in its enforcement of its Phosphorus Management Tool regulations. The state also must address increasing ammonia pollution from these chicken houses.

Additionally, EPA must demand accountability from Maryland, along with Delaware and Virginia who are experiencing similar growth. EPA has the responsibility to enforce states' commitments in the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the regional plan to restore clean water. EPA should insist on additional strategies to manage the regional expansion of the poultry industry."

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