O'Malley: Farmers are strong partners in cleaning the Chesapeake Bay

In their June 18 op-ed "No more half-measures for the bay," Parris N. Glendening, Bernie Fowler, Tom Horton, Gerald W. Winegrad, Walter Boynton and Thomas R. Fisher, great friends of the environment, acknowledge Maryland's efforts to curb "bay-choking nutrient pollutants" but blame Maryland farmers and population growth for the lack of progress in restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay. I disagree.

Over the last several years, Maryland's farmers have been some of the strongest partners in our efforts. Last fall, Maryland farmers planted a record 429,818 acres of cover crops, preventing an estimated 2.58 million pounds of nitrogen from entering the bay. Cover crops are widely considered to be one of the most cost-effective and environmentally sustainable ways to control soil erosion and reduce nutrient runoff in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries during the winter.

Additionally, the op-ed largely focused on the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA)'s proposed nutrient management regulations. The development of these proposed regulations has been a two-year collaborative process involving the BayStat Science Panel, as well as environmental, agricultural and municipal stakeholders. When taken as a whole, these regulations will significantly advance agricultural water quality management and Chesapeake Bay restoration.

Over the last seven years, we have invested in efforts to improve the health of the bay, setting goals for its recovery and implementing plans that will ensure that the bay is healthy for generations to come. To date, we have met or exceeded many of those goals. From wastewater treatment plant upgrades, to cover crops, to septics, to storm water, to oyster sanctuaries and aquaculture, to crab harvest curbs, to protection of the menhaden — these have been years of increased investment and increased action.

Our work hasn't been easy, but together, we have been able to make progress in the great work of restoring the Chesapeake Bay. We can only continue to move forward by making the tough decisions, showing a real commitment to genuinely changing the way we manage our land, our resources and the way we grow and develop. We have never before taken actions of the scale and breadth that we have now undertaken to save Maryland's groundwater and river systems of the bay watershed. We won't reach our next level of achievement by focusing on one group's reductions or one area's reductions more than another. We all need to work together toward a healthier, prosperous and more sustainable future.

Martin O'Malley, Annapolis

The writer, a Democrat, is Maryland's governor.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • What about Pa. manure?

    What about Pa. manure?

    On an almost recurring basis lately, The Sun has devoted itself to bringing to everyone's attention the Eastern Shore poultry industry's polluted runoff flowing into the Chesapeake Bay ("Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor," Dec. 13). Attention should be directed to the Amish farmers...

  • Hogan can protect farms and open space

    Hogan can protect farms and open space

    Congratulations to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on his inauguration. Mr. Hogan ran a terrific campaign, and we all look forward to his leadership on one of the most important roles, safeguarding the lands and waters of this beautiful state.

  • Cleaning up the Bay

    Cleaning up the Bay

    I was pleased to read that the EPA finds Maryland is making progress toward our clean water goals for the Chesapeake Bay and that we're on course to reduce phosphorus pollution ("EPA finds Maryland mostly on track in Bay cleanup, but Pennsylvania lagging badly," June 12).

  • New rules needed to protect Eastern Shore waterways

    After talking about it for years, Maryland finally has proposed long-overdue regulations on phosphorous pollution from animal manure in the Chesapeake Bay ("Hogan vows to fight farm pollution rules," Dec. 8).

  • Big Ag must be held to account for bay pollution

    Dan Rodricks' arguments for protecting the Chesapeake Bay from pollution from chicken farms could have been even stronger ("Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor," Dec. 13).

  • Kamenetz is pandering on stormwater fees

    Kamenetz is pandering on stormwater fees

    Thank your for your recent article, "Reduced stormwater fees sought," (Jan. 17) and the editorial covering the same topics ("Backtracking on the bay," Jan. 22). Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz seems to be pandering to special interests and positioning himself for higher office. His ideas...

  • Md. leaders protect funds for bay cleanup

    Md. leaders protect funds for bay cleanup

    Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, along with Rep. Steny Hoyer, deserve our thanks for securing funding in the recent omnibus appropriations bill to keep Maryland on track to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams ("For better or worse, spending bill passes," Dec. 15).

  • Excess phosphorous is killing the bay

    In the days following Dan Rodricks' column "Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor" (Dec. 13), your paper has been flooded with letters opposing the phosphorus management tool (PMT) regulations and opposing Mr. Rodricks position. On the surface it would seem that both letters in support...

Comments
Loading