Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

July 16, 2014

Maryland on target to meet 2025 bay restoration goals

— The most recent analysis by the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program office shows that Maryland is on target to meet the 2025 Bay restoration goals. In fact, we are ahead of schedule. A look at the agricultural sector shows that Maryland farmers are reducing nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment.

“According to our Maryland progress data, we achieved our 2013 milestone reduction targets for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert M. Summers via news release. “In fact, Maryland finished this 2012-2013 period more than 3.5 million pounds reduced ahead of schedule for nitrogen, nearly 147,000 pounds reduced ahead of schedule for phosphorus and nearly 90 million pounds reduced ahead of schedule for sediment which places us on the right trajectory to reach our 2017 and 2025 goals.”

Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance said, “Maryland agriculture has exceeded its nutrient and sediment reduction goals for 2013. Our farmers have a long and proud tradition of environmental stewardship.” Even more progress will be recorded for agriculture once the bay model is updated to reflect current land use, livestock production and Best Management Practice (BMP) use, he said via news release.

In Hance’s June 28th column in Lancaster Farming newspaper, he outlines the success of Maryland farmers in the nutrient reduction effort and spotlights many of the flaws in the Bay Model. Hance calls on EPA to update the model in three ways – (1) Recognize and credit the BMPs that farmers are already implementing but are not currently counted; (2) Provide credit for new and innovative BMPs and technology currently in use but not counted (11 out of 36 BMPs); and (3) Use up-to-date data about crops and livestock – not data from 1995 that is misleading and allows EPA to conclude we will miss the mark in 2025. 

But even with all this progress, the Environmental Integrity Project – based in Texas and Washington, D.C. – continues to put out propaganda declaring no progress has been made. EIP says its Maryland report is based on actual water quality monitoring in the eight Eastern Shore tributaries. EIP claims monitoring data proves we are no better off than 10 years ago. But there are flaws with their contention:

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