Officials Balk at Poultry Permits

US - Eastern Shore lawmakers blasted the state's plan for a permit system for large poultry farmers as invasive legislation led by "chicken police" in a meeting of delegates Friday.
calendar icon 14 January 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

The harsh criticisms followed a recent proposal by Gov. Martin O' Malley's administration to further regulate the state's most profitable industry. The legislation aims to reduce pollution draining into the Chesapeake Bay and would affect about 200 farms.

Despite producing 272 million chickens each year for $535 million, the industry has been spared from the pollution permits required of Maryland's less prevalent large hog and cow farms.

Under the draft, poultry farms with 93,000 birds or poultry houses of more than 75,000 square feet would require permits at $120 annually. The Maryland Department of the Environment would then enforce stricter regulations on poultry litter management, government inspections, record keeping and nutrient management plans. Violators would face a fine of $10,000 per day.

"We don't need some type of chicken police coming from the MDE to enforce more birds under burdensome regulations," said Sen. Richard Colburn, R-37-Dorchester.


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