I'm seeing a lot of misinformation today about the DLLC's white paper that they presented yesterday at UMES. Yesterday, ACT and EIP met with WBOC TV-16 to discuss this project, and discuss our opposition to it- sadly, only a small piece of our interview was shown and left out discussions from myself and Courtney Bernhardt.
The DLLC white paper identified ammonia levels far away from CAFOs and did not identify levels on ammonia near people who live next/near CAFOs in high concentrations. Questions remain at the end of this white paper, the same questions we all had roughly 8 years ago when the Community Healthy Air Act was introduced in Maryland legislature (CHAA). The CHAAA was a result of the industry's claims for more 'Eastern Shore data' and from public outcry about the health impacts of people who live in close proximity to CAFOs. The Community Healthy Air Act was introduced 3 years in a row, and never passed due to heavy opposition to a bill that sought to identify air pollution for Maryland residents.
The sampler that MDE sited to measure ammonia levels in an area with a high density of poultry houses was located 539 meters (1,770 feet) from the nearest poultry house, with a density of 30 poultry houses (and 793,000 chickens) within a one-mile radius. This community air monitoring project, by contrast, aimed to monitor ammonia levels much closer to large, active poultry operations, and in an area where many more chickens are raised.
EIP and ACT have finally released our Eastern Shore Ammonia Air Monitoring Project which monitored gaseous ammonia levels at residential properties near large poultry operations in Somerset and Worcester Counties using passive samplers. Samples measured two-week average concentrations from June 2020 through June 2022 within 72-122 meters (236-400 feet) of active, large poultry operations, with a density of 36 chicken houses (and 1.26 million chickens) within a one-mile radius. This white paper summarizes methods, findings, and recommendations based on the outcome of the community monitoring project.
Many questions remain and the need for the Community Healthy Air Act has never been more dire- we need real, un-biased data collection that focuses on human health, cumulative impacts and better regulations. I'm very proud of the work we've done so far, and look forward to future opportunities to working on health impacts from industrial agriculture.
Yours in clean water,
Gabby Ross, Assateague Coastkeeper
See below for the full report:
Homes in Princess Anne that were subjected to the overwhelming building and concentration of CAFOs.
One of the monitoring stations