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Maryland Phases In New Fertilizer Regulations

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New fertilizer regulations in Maryland may be phased in over the next year, instead of being implemented all at once in the fall.

The state's Department of Agriculture had previously asked the regulations aimed at cutting pollution in the Chesapeake Bay receive emergency status so that they would be implemented for the fall planting season. But after farmers raised concerns, the department announced the revised regulations, called the phosphorus management tool, would be phased in through October of next year.

The regulations are designed to use new research to reduce the amount of phosphorus that gets into waterways. Phosphorus pollution is significant because it causes algae blooms that kill underwater grasses and harm aquatic life such as blue crabs, oysters and fish.

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