A consensus on what's good for the bay

While frequently lumped together as one homogenous group, environmentalists every now and then come at the same problem from different perspectives and suggest varying solutions. That is the case with the legislation creating the Maryland Agricultural Certainty Program ("Bill would give farmers 10-year reprieve on new regs," March 27).

Too much is being made of the fact that the environmental community has different opinions about this bill. We all take seriously legislation to improve water quality. And for each group this means carefully analyzing and debating the proposal openly and with transparency and respect. Sometimes we will agree on a position and sometimes we will not.

In the case of the agricultural certainty bill, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation believes it will move us forward in reducing pollution from farms sooner. The bill gives farmers who are good stewards of their land a measure of certainty in their businesses going forward.

Under the proposed law, farms will be treated like any other pollution sources. Farmers would also have a window of time during which they would not be required to meet additional regulations.

We have confidence that while the debate on this bill will remain robust, the environmental community will continue its shared commitment to restoring clean water in Maryland's rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay.

Alison Prost, Annapolis

The writer is Maryland executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

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