Nutrient rules not about 'demonizing manure'

Contrary to the views of one reader ("Maryland fertilizer regs leave a bad odor," June 7), proposed regulations recently submitted to the Maryland Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review are not about "demonizing manure." These regulations, worked on by stakeholders for more than a year, attempt to reduce the use of any organic source of nutrients — including wastewater sludge and processing waters, as well as manures — in ways and at times where it is more likely to impact surface and ground waters.

Also contrary to the writer's assertions, the regulations include several exemptions that take into account site specificity. For example, the writer decries mandatory nutrient incorporation but fails to acknowledge that there are built-in exceptions to this new requirement. Land in permanent pasture or hay, highly erodible soils, land under conservation tillage, or other lands under plans to conserve soil do not have to incorporate nutrients.

Similarly, not only is fencing not outright required, provisions in the regulations allow a farmer to work with his local Soil Conservation District to implement appropriate alternatives that will also keep livestock from defecating in creeks and streams.

If we don't keep making progress toward saving the Chesapeake Bay, we will continue to have polluted water, human health risks and lost jobs — at a huge cost to society. Restoring clean water will create jobs and provide a lasting benefit to our children and future generations.

Nobody is vilifying anyone, but everyone is being required to do more to prevent pollution of our rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay.

Alison Prost, Annapolis

The writer is Maryland executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

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