Maryland’s Eastern Shore continues to have a chicken poop problem! This is clear to residents who have to live near the huge chicken factory farms that have taken over the region, and to anyone who reads “Group backs expanding MD limits on manure fertilizer use” published in the Bay Journal on December 15. Factory farms are producing far more waste than can safely be applied as fertilizer, and this runoff is poisoning the bay. A phosphorus management tool (PMT) launched by state officials as a way to address the overwhelming amount of chicken waste in the area is better than nothing. But as this article makes clear, just trucking chicken waste from one place to another isn’t a long term solution. Neither is Big Ag’s big dream of using anaerobic digestion; a process that produces methane from manure, which the industry has green-washed as ‘biogas’ or ‘renewable natural gas’. It’s expensive, impractical, creates incentives for more factory farms, and is ultimately just another source of dirty energy. What we really need is a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms in Maryland. If we can’t even deal with the waste we already have, we shouldn’t let the industry continue to pollute. 

Lily Hawkins

Food & Water Watch

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