Key Maryland senators have added language in the state budget bill that would stall the state’s efforts to limit phosphorus in the Chesapeake Bay, one of the area’s main pollutants.
The Baltimore Sun reported that “The amendment by the Budget & Taxation Committee would prohibit the state from issuing new regulations on phosphorus, pending the results of an economic impact study. And when that is done, the committee would have 45 days for review and to recommend further action.”
Sen. James Mathias Jr. sought the budget restriction to shield the state’s farmers and the poultry industry from costly and potentially disruptive regulations. He stressed that the new rules did not need to be implemented overnight and cited that the complete review was not until 2017, giving plenty of time to review any decisions made.
Environmentalists are frustrated over another delay. The rules were first pledged in 2011 and another delay would be considered a setback in reducing dead zones and alage blooms in the region.
The full Maryland Senate is expected to vote on the budget this week.
The state has already commissioned a $34,000 economic impact study from the Franklin Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University, Earl Hance, Maryland’s agriculture secretary said. The study is expected to be completed by July and peer-reviewed by early September.