Moments ago, Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno filed a piece of legislation called the Community Healthy Air Act. The bill would require the state to monitor and identify pollutants that are emitted by factory farms - or industrial poultry operations - and to complete public health assessments on the impacts.
Basically… Marylanders just want to know what’s in the air we breathe and the water we drink.
In 2017, the bill didn’t pass. But this time we have a real shot!
The Senate bill was sponsored by a groundbreaking 10 Senators: Senators Conway, Kagan, Kelley, Lee, Manno, Nathan-Pulliam, Pinsky, Smith and Young.
And Delegates Robbyn Lewis and Shane Robinson pre-filed a sister bill in the Assembly (HB 26) earlier this year.
We’re excited about passing this bill and you should be too!
“In Maryland, there are countless harrowing stories from families exposed to dangerous factory farm pollution. For the sake of Maryland’s families, community health and the environment, exposure to dangerous pollution from industrial poultry operations in our state must take precedence over big agriculture,” said Michele Merkel, co-director of Food & Water Justice, Food & Water Watch. “That’s why we’re so excited that Senator Madaleno and Delegate Lewis are leading the way towards passing this commonsense piece of legislation.”
This fight began when communities on the Eastern Shore of the state became concerned about the public health impacts from the increased concentration of factory farms, particularly because they have some of the poorest health outcomes in the state.
A grassroots coalition of groups from around the state formed in order to advocate for this law that would require the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to monitor and identify air pollutants from large industrial poultry operations to better understand the impact of their emissions on the surrounding resources.
“Today’s official introduction of our right to know Community Healthy Air Act bill is huge for generations of farmers and Maryland residents. For decades, agriculture in our state has been overrun by corporations like Perdue who directly threaten the health of our children and families,” said Sen. Richard Madaleno. “The CHAA 2018 bill seeks to simply let Marylanders know what is in the air we breathe and water we drink. I’m proud to be a part of ensuring no industrial poultry operations are allowed to poison our resources without any transparency.”
Ammonia emissions from industrial poultry houses on the eastern shore have historically been found to contribute to substantial rises in nitrogen in nearby waterways.
In 2016, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future polling concluded that Maryland citizens want more protective regulations for factory farms. The new bill would be a great first step towards protecting Maryland communities from public health threats caused by air emissions from factory farms.
“I proudly stand with Senator Madaleno and with our environment. Maryland’s Eastern Shore is home to so many wonderful family farms that contribute so much to their communities. Unfortunately, it is also saturated with enormous industrial poultry operations that are poisoning our environment and our people with toxic emissions and grossly mismanaged waste,” said Del. Robbyn Lewis. “This legislation will help us determine the extent of the problem and help us develop a path to a solution.”