Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 15, 2000) -- Governor Parris N. Glendening announced today that Maryland will be the first state in the nation to address pollution problems associated with poultry manure. The state is giving public notice that it will issue permits to primary poultry producers establishing shared responsibility between processors and their contract growers to provide adequate facilities and reuse options to manage surplus poultry litter.

Allen Family Foods, Perdue Inc., and Tyson Foods Inc. -- all of which have production and processing facilities on Maryland's Eastern Shore -- will receive the new five-year permits from the Maryland Department of the Environment. The permits require poultry processors to provide sufficient technology and assistance to their contract growers to ensure that poultry litter -- comprised of wood shavings and manure -- is properly handled and disposed.

"These new permits strengthen our commitment to protect Maryland's natural resources and will help us meet the ambitious goals of the Chesapeake Bay 2000 agreement," Governor Glendening said. "This new tool will also aid Maryland's poultry farming families by requiring poultry processors to share the responsibility for protecting Maryland's waterways and the Bay. Maryland's vibrant economy and our aggressive environmental protection policies clearly demonstrate that a higher standard of living and a better quality of life are attainable."

These new permits recognize the unique aspects of the integrated poultry industry that place contract growers under the substantial control of poultry companies. Many contract farmers have insufficient cropland to use poultry manure as a fertilizer without resultant runoff and excess pollution, and they depend on facilities made available by poultry companies to meet the requirements of the Maryland Clean Water Act of 1998.

"In issuing these permits the State of Maryland continues to demonstrate a leadership role in efforts to cleanup the Chesapeake Bay," said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator J. Charles Fox. "These permits will be the national model for how many states will address this issue in the future."

"The poultry permit will provide for regulatory equity among all polluters so that industrial dischargers, municipal wastewater facilities, storm water, agricultural, and other non-point sources are all required to aggressively protect the environment,"said .MDE Secretary Jane Nishida.

Maryland's other ongoing nutrient reduction programs such as biological nutrient reduction, the state Water Quality Improvement Act of 1998, and the tributary strategies teams will be furthered by adding the poultry permit as a critical link to these other nationally recognized programs, Nishida noted.

"The Chesapeake Bay is a national resource whose unique estuaries require special protections," said Theresa Pierno, executive director of the Maryland office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "The 40 percent nutrient reduction goal of the EPA/State Chesapeake Bay Program has not yet been achieved and already Bay experts have identified the need for additional nutrient removal to achieve the ‘end points’ necessary for the revitalization of the Bay."