Counties Wary of Nutrient Management Mandate

This week, MACo raised concerns with legislation codifying nutrient management plans, affecting both agriculture and municipal sewage sludge. On Wednesday, MACo’s Policy Analyst Natasha Mehu and MACo’s Legislative Director Andrea Mansfield testified opposing HB 381, Agriculture- Nutrient Management-Phosphorus Management Tool to the Environmental and Transportation Committee. On Tuesday, Les Knapp, MACo’s Legal and Policy Counsel, testified opposing this bill in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Committee. HB 381 would codify previously proposed regulations that limit the amount of animal and poultry manure, sewage sludge and phosphorus- containing fertilizer that would be applied to agricultural lands.

Essentially, this bill would impose significant costs on agriculture highly impacting the Eastern Shore. Additionally, this bill would increase the costs and challenges for local governments to properly dispose of sewage sludge.

The written testimony explains

MACo supports addressing agricultural phosphorus runoff in a timely and informed manner. Agriculture should not be exempted from reducing the pollution it generates. However, MACo is concerned about the grave consequences the proposed PMT would have on Maryland’s agricultural industry and the ability of local governments to properly dispose of sewage sludge.

Instead of the proposed PMT, MACo supports working with both the environmental and agricultural communities to devise a refined PMT that lessens the negative economic burdens while still reducing phosphorus contaminated agricultural runoff.

For more on MACo’s 2015 legislation, visit the Legislative Database.