Target: Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland
Goal: Safeguard water quality by implementing a moratorium on poultry houses.
The quality of freshwater is in danger of algal blooms from an increase of permits and applications for new poultry houses. The animal waste from these houses provide a phosphorus-rich fertilizer that is then applied to agricultural soils, which end up already having too much phosphorus already. The phosphorus leaches into underground and surface water supplies and causes algal blooms and poor water quality. We must speak up now before the chicken industry expands operations.
Maryland’s chicken industry has seen a boom in the construction of chicken houses with 200 poultry house applications on Delmarva Peninsula and 70 new houses in Somerset County. This is an alarming increase and environmental groups are demanding a moratorium on new chicken housing operations until 2024 when state regulations on the over-application of chicken fertilizer on farms will take full effect.
The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries suffer from algae blooms due to the increase of phosphorus in the water supply. If a huge amount of poultry houses are approved for this area, chicken waste will rise, creating an excess of phosphorus. Ninety-three poultry operations have reported spreading 800,000 pounds of phosphorus on 18,000 acres of farmland. The fertilizer itself can be very beneficial but, in 2013, 80 percent of poultry manure that was spread on cropland was put on soil that already had too much phosphorus.
To safeguard water quality, a moratorium on the new chicken houses should be put in place but, to truly help the situation, we must also try to eat a more plant-based diet. By signing this petition, you are urging the Governor of Maryland to halt the approval of any new poultry houses in Maryland until 2024.
Dear Governor Hogan,
Maryland’s freshwater supply, especially the Chesapeake Bay, have suffered from dangerous algal blooms that are caused by an increase of phosphorus in the water. This phenomenon will only worsen if the poultry industry in Maryland expands.
Poultry houses cause a lot of chicken waste that is then used as fertilizers on cropland. Chicken fertilizer contains huge amounts of phosphorus that is applied to already phosphorus-rich soil. Phosphorus finds its way into the water supply due to surface runoff and leaching during rains.
There currently is a surge of applications and permits for new poultry houses in Maryland and I am afraid that this will increase the risk of more pollution in the state’s water supply.
I am urging you to please put a moratorium on new poultry houses until 2024. You must act now to protect Maryland’s water quality.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture