Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has agreed to a firmer deadline for fully implementing regulations that limit the amount of chicken manure farmers can use as fertilizer — ending tense negotiations among his administration, state lawmakers, Eastern Shore farmers and environmentalists worried about pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.You might recall that out-going Gov. O'Malley had regulations ready at the end of his term of office, and then failed to impose them before Hogan's inauguration. Hogan revoked the regulations for re-consideration.
The regulations are now working their way through a final approval process, according to Hogan’s office, and will soon be in place. Over the next seven years, an increasing number of farmers will have to carefully calculate how much manure they spread on their fields — and, in most cases, dramatically reduce its use.
By 2022, all farmers will have to abide by the new rules, although some farms could be granted an extension until 2024 if major problems arise. An advisory committee will oversee the phase-in process and must approve any extensions.
“We have agreement on a solution that represents one of the most important steps forward in environmental policy in the last decade,” said Doug Mayer, a spokesman for Hogan. “We thank all parties for their hard work on this critical issue.”
The Maryland Clean Agriculture Coalition and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation praised the compromise in a joint statement Wednesday evening, calling it “a major accomplishment.” But they warned that their vigilance will continue.Incidentally, the "Maryland Clean Agriculture Coalition" seems to have very little to do with agriculture, and a lot to do with being a run of the mill environmental group. My guess is that with they and the Bay Foundation being nominally content, that farmers will be less so,