Poultry industry is costing us dearly

May 17, 2012

According to Wicomico County Executive Richard M. Pollitt Jr. ("So what if O'Malley emails with Perdue lawyer," May 13), "[n]ot only is our entire region and state helped by the economics of the chicken industry, but so is our environment." How could he possibly arrive at that conclusion? The data tells quite a different story.

Maryland crop and livestock production combined has constituted about 0.35 percent of the state's Gross Domestic Product for the past decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis at the Commerce Department.

Mr. Pollitt also fails to mention that 41 percent of the total phosphorous load choking the Chesapeake Bay is derived from livestock and poultry, and Wicomico is one of the four main chicken producing counties in the state. Data from the University of Maryland Soil Testing Lab show that Wicomico County is saturated with phosphorous.

Mr. Pollit's comments show that political capture of Maryland's leadership is happening at every level. Marylanders need to demand that these decision makers stop shilling for a polluting industry and start protecting all of their constituents, including watermen and rural residents who bear the brunt of the industry's pollution. Herbert D. Frerichs Jr. and his supporters should spend less time on the phone and computer with Gov.Martin O'Malleyand more time spending Perdue's enormous profits on properly managing its waste and cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

Wenonah Hauter,Washington, D.C.

The writer is executive director of Food & Water Watch.

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