The Maryland Department of the Environment is appealing a court ruling that would compel the state to regulate gaseous ammonia emissions coming from the poultry farms that dot the Eastern Shore.
A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge had ruled that the state needed to rework water pollution permits to include controls on the gas, which is released from animal waste and pumped out of industrial chicken houses and similar facilities via exhaust fans.
When it ends up in bodies of water like the Chesapeake Bay, ammonia breaks down into nitrogen, a nutrient that can overstimulate the growth of algae and have dire consequences for aquatic life. In the air, it can cause health problems such as asthma attacks, coughing, and nose and throat irritation.
In response to the court ruling, environmental advocates were hopeful MDE would start requiring so-called concentrated animal feeding operations (or CAFOs) to do things like: use poultry litter that mitigates emissions or plant vegetation areas that would block the gas from flowing into waterways. Full Baltimore Sun Article Here
Reader Commentary: Joseph Jankowski, Director of the Protectors of the St Martin River
I read the article, “Maryland appeals ruling forcing regulation of gaseous ammonia emissions from poultry farms” (April 13), with dismay. With Earth Day still fresh in our memories, it is baffling to see the Maryland Department of the Environment continue to fight against rules that would benefit the health of Maryland’s residents and the health of the environment.