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Chesapeake Bay Foundation Reaches New Agreement with EPA

Meatingplace.comreports that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have reached a new agreement to reduce pollution from animal operations in the Delmarva region of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

The agreement,  spurred by the 2010 settlement of a CBF lawsuit, will provide additional certainty that the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint (the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, or “TMDL,” and State Watershed Implementation Plans, or "WIP") will achieve its goal of reducing pollution throughout the six-state, 64,000 square-mile bay region with full implementation by 2025.

In the 2010 settlement, the EPA agreed to a new national Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) rule to address pollution discharges from livestock and poultry farms.

The American poultry industry – including the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association – recently praised the move.

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The poultry industry coalition supports “EPA’s collection of more data to verify the efficacy of the current regulatory program rather than developing further regulations that are not needed. This will help to assure that no false assumptions are made about the potential contribution of livestock production to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay,” the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association notes in a recent press release. “By EPA’s own admission, the agricultural industry has made tremendous progress in reducing potential runoff and improving the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and other watersheds throughout the country.”

The poultry industry coalition cited a study by the University of Delaware which found that the amount of nutrient runoff in the Chesapeake Bay supposedly caused by chicken litter was less than EPA’s estimates. In May, scientists at the University of Delaware reported that the EPA vastly overstated the poultry industry’s contribution to pollution in Delmarva. One scientist was quoted as saying the multi-state study involving thousands of manure tests discovered that actual nitrogen levels in poultry-house manure are 55% lower than EPA’s decades-old, lab-based standards.

According to the new agreement, EPA will assess — by no later than June 30, 2018 — whether revisions to its CAFO regulations under the Clean Water Act are necessary to achieve the objectives of the animal agriculture commitments in the watershed implementation plans as part of the overall Chesapeake Bay TMDL.

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