Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Pollution program is failing to protect the bay

Tim Wheeler's recent article sheds new light on the confusing, distasteful, yet critically important problem of fecal pollution from chickens in the Chesapeake and coastal bays ("Maryland farm oversight called weak," Feb 2).

The problem appears to arise from a failed though well-meant "model" program instituted by the state. Maryland regulators seem to be engaged in a paper chase, in which they make sure that farmers have submitted plans to control runoff, then file those plans away with little effort to verify whether they are actually being implemented.

In the rare cases in which it is determined that such plans are not being followed, the fines for violators are trivial. There is no oversight of the agencies responsible and no transparency that would allow grass-roots watchdog and environmental groups to check up on the process or blow the whistle on lax state agencies.

The state's waterways belong to the people of Maryland, and we are distressed that our beautiful rivers and bays are being fouled by chicken feces. The public deserves accountability and complete transparency from a critical pollution control program that is apparently failing to adequately protect our bays.

There should be stiff penalties for violators. Kudos to environmental groups like the Waterkeepers Alliance for their brave efforts to make this happen despite the obstacles and secrecy. Now our state must step up to the plate and fix the problem.

Jean E. Rinaldo, Ocean City

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts
  • Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
    Related Content
    • Cleaner waters mean safer children
      Cleaner waters mean safer children

      A key consideration has always been missing from the debate over funding for cleaning up stormwater damaged waterways and the "rain tax" ("Backtracking on the bay," Jan. 23). All Maryland homes are but a short walk from the nearest waterway. For many, the nearest waterway is a small headwater...

    • Big ships on the Chesapeake Bay follow strict environmental safety rules
      Big ships on the Chesapeake Bay follow strict environmental safety rules

      Please allow me to correct some of the points letter writer Bernard Helinski recently made regarding ships' ballast water polluting the Chesapeake Bay ("Ship ballast a major source of pollution," Jan. 7).

    • The Hogan environmental agenda
      The Hogan environmental agenda

      In appointing former Harford County Executive David Craig to head Maryland's planning department last week, Gov.-elect Larry Hogan acknowledged he's sensitive to criticism of anti-sprawl policies collectively known as "smart growth." He promised to "take a look at" the complaints of local...

    • Ship ballast a major source of pollution
      Ship ballast a major source of pollution

      The Chesapeake Bay Foundation was gracious in giving the polluted waters of the Chesapeake Bay a D-plus. It should have been an F-minus ("Bay grade remains D+ despite improvements," Jan. 5). A major culprit involved with the bay's increased pollution is the shipping industry.

    • Big Chicken must help pay for bay cleanup
      Big Chicken must help pay for bay cleanup

      Dan Rodricks was right on the mark that Maryland's next governor needs to address pollution from agriculture and "consider some common-sense ideas for dealing with the phosphorous runoff." ("Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor," Dec. 13).

    • Excess phosphorous is killing the bay
      Excess phosphorous is killing the bay

      In the days following Dan Rodricks' column "Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor" (Dec. 13), your paper has been flooded with letters opposing the phosphorus management tool (PMT) regulations and opposing Mr. Rodricks position. On the surface it would seem that both letters in...

    • Mr. Hogan picks the wrong 'first fight'
      Mr. Hogan picks the wrong 'first fight'

      When farmers' own records show they are spreading far more phosphorus on their fields than is needed to fertilize their crops and studies have demonstrated conclusively that nutrient runoff from those same fields is killing the Chesapeake Bay, attention must be paid. Yet Maryland's incoming...

    • The truth about poultry and pollution
      The truth about poultry and pollution

      A letter published in The Sun on Dec. 19, "Rodricks wrong on Bay pollution," asserted that a report by the Environmental Integrity Project that columnist Dan Rodricks quoted was wrong because it stated that poultry farmers on Maryland's Eastern Shore are polluting the Chesapeake Bay by...

    Comments
    Loading