Md. Dept. of Environment appeals Montgomery County court decision on poultry production

MARYLAND – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is not giving up the fight when it comes poultry production. The agency is now appealing a decision made last month by a Montgomery County judge. “Maryland continues to be a national leader on environmental compliance and regulation. We are committed to advancing the science, stewardship and conservation practices that seek to reduce pollution from poultry houses. We are also committed to regulatory certainty in the wake of the unprecedented ruling in the lower court,” said Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles.

The ruling required the MDE to regulate ammonia that is released into the air from poultry production. That regulation would have to be included in the department’s CAFO permits, which primarily focus on water pollution.  said Executive Director of the Delmarva Chicken Association Holly Porter. “To have something this major after a permit has gone through many iterations, has been looked at, has had other court issues around it at well – we still strongly feel that the permit as written should not include air emissions,” said Porter.

Assateague Coastal trust, who are plaintiffs in the case, say they’re disappointed about the appeal. “We think it’s a shame that MDE has decided to appeal the court’s ruling. We had hoped that they would spend this energy protecting Maryland’s waterways and community health,” said Executive Director Kathy Phillips.

Legal counsel for Assateague Coastal Trust says they don’t anticipate any major challenges in the appeal. “It’s a well-reasoned and sound decision. So, we are confident it’ll be upheld on appeal,” said Attorney David Reed.

Porter tells 47ABC the Delmarva Chicken Association plans to provide any support necessary for the appeal. She says that includes exploring all legal options, providing documentation and scientific evidence, and what growers are already doing to ensure environmental stewardship. “With the hope that the appeals process will move forward, it gives farmers the hope that MDE stands behind their CAFO permit and stands behind continuing the process,” said Porter.

Categories: Local News, Maryland