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O'Malley needs to fight for agricultural runoff tool [Letter]

Environmental Pollution

Tim Wheeler's article, "Senators seek to stall pollution regulations" (March 10) misses one critical point: The proposed delays are being driven by re-election priorities, not environmental responsibilities.

For decades, scientists and policy makers have been aware that manure runoff is a major cause of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. Or to be more explicit, this is about how to deal with excessive amounts of chicken poop. The O'Malley administration created the phosphorus management tool as a way to reduce manure application in places where the soil is already saturated. The program is long overdue.

The administration has tried to accommodate concerns from the farmers, offering to phase in the regulations over time, conduct an additional study and potentially increase financial assistance to farmers. None of these offers seem to satisfy Del. Norman Conway and Sen. James N. Mathias Jr., who continue to say that delay is the only option.

This isn't about science or about research. This is about politics. And this type of approach is what has gotten us into a cycle of delayed implementation, unfunded policies and diminishing public confidence.

This is Governor O'Malley's policy. He has publicly stated his support. This is the time for him to show it.

Joshua Tulkin, College Park

The writer is director of the Maryland Sierra Club.

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