Legislation requiring an economic impact study before further progress on new agricultural phosphorous regulations is still pending in the General Assembly, but many stakleholders remain optimistic and engaged.
Coverage in the Daily Times online indicates the topic is still drawing interest and attention at high levels:
Among the top concerns is the agriculture department had not put together an economic analysis or started one during 2013.
The Lower Shore lawmakers have put in six bills that would — to varying degrees — require an economic study of the tool itself or all regulations proposed in the manner the tool was proposed.
The meeting this week with the governor addressed that as well as the economic impact study now underway at Salisbury University by Memo Diriker, founding director of the Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network.
MACo has supported HB 193, sponsored by Delegate Conway, and SB 27, sponsored by Senator Mathias. From MACo’s testimony:
Agriculture remains a key industry and an important source of revenue for many rural counties; there has been great concern in the agricultural community about MDA-proposed regulatory changes regarding phosphorus management. While MACo believes that the agricultural community should address its nutrient runoff as required per the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and local TMDLs, it is not unreasonable to assess the potential economic impacts of any proposed new requirements. While MDA has stated that it plans to pursue an economic impact analysis in this instance, there is no guarantee such an analysis would be performed for future changes to phosphorus management policy and SB 27 would codify such a requirement.