Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Farmers Continue to Fight Bay Models

Farm lobby refutes pollution study; debate points to problems with data
The Maryland Farm Bureau attacked studies released last week that showed less progress on phosphorus pollution cuts in Eastern Shore rivers and took aim at the models and formulas used to measure bay pollution.

Like the Environmental Integrity Project studies it took to task, the farm lobby also called for more precise monitoring of practices used by farmers to cut nutrients, and changes to the models used to estimate progress, but for a different reason.
I have deep suspicions of anyone who gives a project the Orwellian title "Environmental Integrity Project." How can you even be allowed to question something that calls for "environmental integrity?"
It claims bay models short change pollution reductions while the Integrity Project found the models could be over-estimating the results — especially on phosphorus reduction.

The arguments on both sides shed light on the fact that the models used to estimate pollution reductions, while tested and honed by experts, remain a work in progress.
As they say, "All models are wrong; some models are useful." The trick is to know which ones are useful, and what they're limitations are.
The Environmental Protection Agency last month released an assessment of bay restoration progress which said Maryland had reached its targets on nutrient pollution. The positive report is based, in part, on Maryland implementing new phosphorus rules for farms. It also seeks better monitoring of agricultural pollution techniques.

The farm bureau said it was proof the state’s agricultural sector is doing its job and said last week’s studies short change farmers.
I won't pretend to know who's right here; my gut tells me both sides are shading the truth in their favor.

No comments:

Post a Comment