Stop Agricultural Secrecy
In the last few years we've made a lot of progress in
restoring the Chesapeake Bay, but Maryland is about to take a big step
The so-called "Ag Certainty" bill would exempt agricultural
operations which meet certain minimal criteria from future regulation for 10
years. Incentivizing farmers from
reducing pollution is good in concept, but this is bad in practice.
Worse, the public does not have access to the information explaining what an agriculture operation is actually doing to meet their goal. Without transparency, our research institutions can't
even study and verify that the practices being implemented are actually
reducing nutrient loads to the Bay.
Without transparency, we can't verify that the
program is working. The only
thing we're certain of is that this program is unfair and ill-advised. Farming is an important part of Maryland's
history and future, but that doesn't mean they should get a free pass while the
rest of us pay!
In 2017, Maryland has to re-evaluate its progress on
cleaning up the Bay, and if it is not on track, it will find new ways to reduce
pollution. But if these operations are exempt, more of the burden will fall on
everyone else. We are all doing our part, no one deserves a 10-year free pass.
Oversight and Enforcement
Here's the bottom line.
Maryland Department of Agriculture is understaffed and overcommitted. So in this bill the Department of Agriculture
privatizes the inspection and compliance process. This
policy is a house of cards, and our local rivers and streams and the Chesapeake
Bay will pay when it comes tumbling down. Tell your legislator to vote NO on SB 1029, Ag Certainty.
No on SB 1029 - Ag Secrecy Bill
Dear [Decision Maker],
Please oppose SB 1029. In the last few years, Maryland has made significant steps towards restoring the Chesapeake Bay, but I am concerned we are about to take a big step backward.Every person and every sector is stepping up to do its part. Taxpayers contribute through the flush fee. Counties are reducing stormwater runoff. Developers are required to offset new loads. Why should the agricultural sector get a free pass while the rest of us pay?
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]