Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (May 23, 2008) – The Maryland Department of Environment released a revised draft general permit that would for the first time require discharge permits for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) for poultry operations.

“MDE is grateful for the expertise provided by farmers that has allowed us to move forward with a better proposal,” said MDE Secretary Shari T. Wilson. “We listened and made changes to reflect those comments, making the permit as manageable and inexpensive as possible for poultry and livestock farmers while further safeguarding water quality.”

The revised draft permit for Animal Feeding Operations is based on feedback from public meetings held throughout the Spring. This new draft general permit will upgrade existing permit requirements for non-poultry facilities such as dairy farms and require plans for management of nutrients at farms with poultry houses 75,000 square feet or larger. While the permit requirements for the absolutely largest Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (approximately 15 sites) remain relatively unchanged from the previous draft the provisions applicable to Maryland Animal Feeding Operations (MAFOs) have been revised, including substituting a Nutrient Management Plan and Soil Conservation and Water Quality Plan for the new Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan Requirement (CNMP), revised buffer and storage requirements, and eliminating the permit fee. Combined, these plans will document that farms are managed in a way that protects water quality.

Implementing regulations, which detail the requirements for the permits will be posted by June 13 and forwarded to the Maryland Register for publication by August 1. Once they are published in the Maryland Register, a period for the public to comment will begin. During the public comment period, MDE will hold fomal hearings on the proposed regulation and permit. A schedule for public hearings will be posted on MDE’s website.

"We thank Maryland farmers for taking the time to participate in the development of this permit and for offering their expertise," said Agriculture Secretary Roger Richardson. "The newly published draft permit reflects many of the changes requested by producers during the initial public input process earlier this year. We encourage farmers to carefully review the new wording and offer any further comments they may have."

As Maryland continues to accelerate our Bay restoration efforts, everyone is being asked to do more in regard to the Bay and no one is being singled out - storm water management, erosion control, critical areas, growth management, waste water treatment plants, septic systems, air emissions, and agriculture are all being asked to take steps to help Maryland meet our commitments under the Chesapeake Bay Agreement.

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