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Environmentalists, poultry square off on bay pollution

by 5m Editor
2 November 2007, at 11:02am

US - In an event more symbolic than productive, about 200 environmentalists and poultry industry members attended the first Eastern Shore Poultry Summit on Thursday to hear both sides explain why the Chesapeake Bay is polluted and who is the culprit.

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"Six inspectors in the entire Maryland Department of Agriculture are reviewing nutrient management plans for over 6,000 farms,"

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler

It was a day lined up with a majority of pro-environmental speakers and scientists ready to pounce on poultry.

In the morning, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler called for tougher enforcement and opening up what are now confidential nutrient management plans that farmers are required to file with the state. He complained about the $350 fine for not filing reports as "woefully low," and that it's time for the state to review more plans because only two farmers have been fined. He also encouraged the construction of a power plant which generates electricity through burning chicken-litter.

"Six inspectors in the entire Maryland Department of Agriculture are reviewing nutrient management plans for over 6,000 farms," Gansler said. "Clearly that's inadequate."

During lunch, Waterkeeper Alliance President Robert F. Kennedy Jr. offered the keynote address, calling Perdue Farms and Tyson Foods Inc. morally reprehensible for allowing chicken farms to pollute the Chesapeake Bay. He declared that corrupt politicians have kept large agricultural businesses from being subjected to the same environmental rules that family farms must follow. He also condemned Big Poultry for accepting subsidies to grow its reach and then not putting its profits into environmental safety.

"Perdue has gotten away with something ... It's stolen water from the public," Kennedy said in a rage. "It's a tyranny and we have to recognize it as such. They've made themselves rich by making everyone else poor."

The environmentalists offered a standing ovation. Many poultry supporters walked out of the room.

Source: DelmarvaNow.com

5m Editor