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Farm Runoff

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NEWS
By Bill Matuszeski | March 19, 1998
AFTER listening to the legislative rhetoric circulating in Annapolis about agriculture pollution control, one might conclude that radical steps are being proposed that would place Maryland farmers at an economic disadvantage.That is simply not the case, which is evident if you look at similar mandatory programs in neighboring states.Of the three major Chesapeake Bay watershed states -- Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia -- Maryland is dead last in enforceable authority over agriculture pollution.
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By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | May 23, 2014
The Chesapeake Bay's health remained steady overall last year, despite heavy rains that normally flush pollution into its waters, University of Maryland scientists reported Friday. Declines in Eastern Shore rivers, however, indicated problems with polluted farm runoff there, researchers said. The bay as a whole earned a 45 percent score, a 'C' grade for the second straight year in the annual ecological health checkup performed by the university's Center for Environmental Science.
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NEWS
By Heather Dewar and Heather Dewar,SUN STAFF | February 4, 1998
Uncle Sam could eventually pick up part of the tab for Maryland's proposed Pfiesteria-fighting efforts under an anti-pollution program being pushed by the Clinton administration.The program, to be unveiled by Vice President Al Gore this month, would expand the 26-year-old Clean Water Act with $568 million in new spending to clean up the nation's waterways. Instead of targeting factories as the original law does, the administration proposes letting states come up with plans for solving the trickier problem of polluted water flowing from farms and city streets.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | February 12, 2014
Even though the " Poultry Fair Share Act " stands no chance of becoming law, the sponsor of the controversial bill to tax Maryland's chickens refuses to give up, saying he wants to have a public discussion on who should pay to control polluted farm runoff fouling the Cheapeake Bay. Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. said Wednesday that despite a veto threat from Gov. Martin O'Malley and the withdrawal of a companion House bill, he doesn't plan...
NEWS
April 21, 1996
CHANGING THE DIETS of cows, pigs and chickens could help address the serious problem of runoff pollution from farms. Reducing animal manure, by altering livestock feeds, would mean less waste available to foul the Chesapeake watershed.With agriculture accounting for nearly half the harmful nitrogen and phosphorus reaching the bay, that's no small factor. But the trade-off would be higher prices for consumers, as well as for the farmer.The technology and policy that have provided Americans with low-cost food have also created a system that disrupts the natural agricultural cycle, overloading the environment with excess chemicals and manure that flow off the land into our waters.
NEWS
By Heather Dewar and Michael Dresser and Heather Dewar and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Thomas W. Waldron contributed to this article | January 21, 1998
In a move likely to delight environmentalists and dismay farmers, Gov. Parris N. Glendening begins today a push to impose controls on farm runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.Glendening plans to announce the proposed curbs today in his State of the State address. The measures are intended to prevent outbreaks of Pfiesteria piscicida and other toxic microorganisms. Environmentalists who were briefed about the proposal yesterday said it would include the first mandatory farm-by-farm controls on nutrients coming from fertilizer and animal manure.
NEWS
April 7, 1998
THE MOST contentious issue of the waning General Assembly session -- how to curb farm runoff that fouls waterways -- remains unresolved.House and Senate bills each contain good points. The six lawmakers assigned to a conference committee must find a compromise that addresses this environmental problem yet is fair to farmers.If opposing sides adopt intractable positions, both bills will die.At least another year will pass without anything being done to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that leaches out of manure and other fertilizers into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
BUSINESS
By Ted Shelsby and Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF | January 26, 2002
Gov. Parris N. Glendening is seeking a 500 percent increase in the amount of money going to farmers to pay for nutrient-management plans. The request comes shortly after a flurry of last-minute activity among farmers to meet a December 2001 deadline either to have a plan to control farm runoff or to have filed for an extension as they complete their plans. Despite the rush to meet the deadline, the Department of Agriculture reports that it has not heard from 36 percent of the Maryland farms that are covered by regulations stemming from the Water Quality Improvement Act of 1998.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | May 23, 2014
The Chesapeake Bay's health remained steady overall last year, despite heavy rains that normally flush pollution into its waters, University of Maryland scientists reported Friday. Declines in Eastern Shore rivers, however, indicated problems with polluted farm runoff there, researchers said. The bay as a whole earned a 45 percent score, a 'C' grade for the second straight year in the annual ecological health checkup performed by the university's Center for Environmental Science.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers D. Quentin Wilber and Timothy B. Wheeler contributed to this article | September 13, 1997
By suggesting this week that he might propose mandatory controls on agricultural runoff into the Chesapeake Bay, Gov. Parris N. Glendening could be be setting up an election-year clash among some of the state's most powerful interests.Farmers and their representatives expressed anger yesterday at Glendening's comment that the state may have to go beyond the current voluntary controls to deal with a toxic micro-organism that has been killing fish in two bay tributaries."The governor's already talking about nutrient management legislation -- based on what?"
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | October 30, 2013
The Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort got a $9.2 million injection of funds Wednesday, as the Environmental Protection Agency and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced grants to 40 projects to reduce storm-water and farm pollution, rebuild oyster reefs and restore trout streams and other habitats across the six-state watershed. More than $2 million is going to projects in Maryland, including nearly $250,000 to the local environmental group Blue Water Baltimore to "engage" churches and other religious groups in the city on how they can reduce their storm-water fees.  Churches and other nonprofits in the city and across Maryland have protested the fees - which for those with large parking lots and buildings could be substantial - prompting politicians to seek to reduce the fees or even repeal the state law requiring they be levied.
NEWS
September 6, 2012
Not so long ago, only "health food nuts" preferred organically grown fresh fruits, vegetables and meats over their industrial agriculture equivalents. Nowadays, lots of people look for the words "organically grown" when they want to eat healthy. But what if turns out those little labels don't actually mean what people think, and that the foods they feel so good about eating aren't that different from the store brand - except for the price tag at checkout? That's the question raised by researchers at Stanford University in a study published this week, which found that the health benefits of organically grown produce, meats, eggs and cheeses are negligible when compared to their non-organic counterparts.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | May 9, 2012
New farm regulations being aired this week by Maryland officials would ease first-ever limits on how, when and where the state's farmers can spread animal manure and sewage sludge on their fields. The " nutrient management" rules , which were posted online Wednesday, have been revised by state officials in response to widespread complaints when they were first floated last summer. A scientist who reviewed them calls them a major step forward in the long-running effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay. But farming and local government groups remain concerned about the potential costs, while environmentalists are split on whether they go far enough to curb farm pollution.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | September 15, 2010
A new study shows some Chesapeake Bay rivers have gotten cleaner over the past three decades, while others are getting worse. The analysis, released Wednesday by the U.S. Geological Survey, suggests costly upgrades of sewage plants have helped, scientists say, but it raises questions about the effectiveness of efforts to date to curb polluted runoff, particularly from farms on Maryland's Eastern Shore. "We're going in the wrong direction in some places, and the right direction in others," said William Dennison, vice president for science applications of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Baltimore Sun reporter | January 19, 2010
A month after environmental groups alleged that an Eastern Shore chicken farm was polluting a Chesapeake Bay tributary, state regulators have yet to test the fouled waterway or the pile of sewage sludge said to be contaminating it, officials have acknowledged. Robert M. Summers, deputy secretary of the environment, said the owner of the farm near Berlin has refused to allow inspectors to take samples of the pile or of the water in a drainage ditch running through his property. Summers said the department had mailed the farmer a letter Friday and warned that the state would seek a search warrant if he did not permit sampling.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Timothy B. Wheeler,tim.wheeler@baltsun.com | January 12, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency is moving to enact new rules to curb pollution from development and large-scale animal farms to help restore the Chesapeake Bay, the agency's chief announced Monday. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said the rules governing storm water and farm animal waste would serve as a "backstop" to pollution control measures that Maryland and other bay states are expected to take over the next two years. She made the announcement in Washington at a bay cleanup conference that ends today.
BUSINESS
By Ted Shelsby and Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF | November 7, 1997
SALISBURY -- Perdue Farms Inc., the giant poultry processor based here, is considering moving its production operations out of Maryland if new government regulations dealing with the Pfiesteria piscicida outbreak increase the company's operating costs, according to state and industry officials.James A. Perdue, the third-generation chief executive of the family-owned business, disclosed the company's intentions during a telecast dealing with Pfiesteria aired by WBOC-TV in Salisbury Wednesday night.
NEWS
By Tom Horton and Tom Horton,SUN STAFF | September 26, 1997
THIS WEEK -- five to 10 years late -- Maryland agricultural scientists officially explained why farming still pollutes the bay more than the public has been led to believe.For this I would not blame individual farmers, who have been hoodwinked, too; nor individual ag researchers.I do blame the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the leadership of the University of Maryland College of Agriculture.They represent a culture that is incapable of carrying out the heavy environmental responsibilities they have fought to keep, separate from most state and federal water quality regulation.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Baltimore Sun reporter | November 10, 2009
The Obama administration unveiled a new strategy Monday for restoring the Chesapeake Bay that calls for stiffer controls on farm and urban runoff, but Republicans in Washington criticized legislation that would give the federal government more regulatory authority to clamp down on pollution in the nation's largest estuary. Acting in response to a presidential executive order declaring the bay "a national treasure," federal environmental agencies proposed a sweeping plan to re-energize the lagging restoration effort with more water quality regulations, financial and technical aid for farmers and plans to promote more voluntary cleanup efforts with creation of a "conservation corps."
NEWS
By Ted Shelsby | February 17, 2008
On the subject of conservation - especially the protection of the Chesapeake Bay - the farmer's voice is rarely heard. A good example of this came in 1997. That's when farm runoff was blamed almost entirely for the toxic outbreaks of Pfiesteria piscicida that resulted in fish kills, closed parts of three rivers to recreational use and raised questions about the safety of Maryland seafood. Lost in all the rhetoric was the fact that it was never proved that farm runoff had anything to do with the wave of Pfiesteria hysteria that swept the state.
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