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Environmentalists Call For Stricter Manure Regulations

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Environmental groups in Maryland are calling for stricter controls of manure from poultry farms.
AP Photo/David Duprey
Environmental groups in Maryland are calling for stricter controls of manure from poultry farms.

Some environmental activists want to see tighter regulations on what Maryland's poultry farmers do with all that chicken waste.

Megan Cronin with the advocacy group Environment Maryland says the state's chicken farms produce enough manure every year to fill a football stadium: "We found that there's enough to make a pile across the entire M and T bank stadium Ravens field that would stand twice as high as the stadium itself," she says.

And that's not just gross, she says it's bad for the Chesapeake Bay.

"The problem being is that when you put too much manure on the ground, phosphorous in particular is one nutrient that builds up in the soil year after year," explains Cronin. "So it can run into our waterways when there's too much of it."

Cronin says the excess phosphorous contributes to algae blooms and oxygen-deprived dead zones.

"So we want to see stricter rules on how much manure we can put down on our farm land," she says. 

Specifically, the group is calling on Governor Martin O'Malley to lower the threshold for how much phosphorous is allowed from manure on Maryland fields.

But, in a statement, the National Chicken Council says Maryland chicken farmers follow strict conservation practices. And the statement says the farmers have a vested interest in protecting the bay.

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