Enlist in the Pfiesteria War

If you see your delegate or state senator, tell them this: "The governor's anti-Pfiesteria plan is smart and I'll be watching to see what you do." Better yet, write 'em a letter today.

Gov. Parris Glendening has opened a new theater in the war on Pfiesteria, that nasty little microorganism that did great damage last year to the Chesapeake's fishing industry and the worldwide reputation of our Bay.

If the calculations by scientists are correct, our shorelines and sediments are soaked with nutrient-wastes that will trigger a Pfiesteria comeback when conditions are right this year.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), that return will not take place until after the Maryland General Assembly adjourns in April.

By then, we need a new law on the books if we're not to lose ground in this battle.

Glendening's plan would require farmers by the year 2000 to have a nutrient management plan that would not be enforceable until 2002. Along the way, there are tax credits and assistance to help farmers comply.

We were disappointed that it does not move toward requiring the poultry industry to take responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of tons of manure produced by chickens under their contracts.

In the General Assembly, farm lobbyists and the poultry boys will fight like demons to kill the anti-Pfiesteria plan. Their interest is short-term profits; ours is protecting the Chesapeake Bay.

Unfortunately, there are many diversions: the Sen. Young scandal and the lamentable problems of the president, to name two.

So we want to remind the General Assembly that it would be a mistake to succumb either to self-serving lobbying pressures or high-decibel background noise.

We're in a new political season, too, when we can hold our candidates' feet to the fire on the topic of Chesapeake health. Do not let them off the hook when the gotten-to among them talk about "junk science" and the need for more study.

When they talk about study, tell them you'll be studying the ballot in the primary and general elections - when the timid in this war won't get your vote.

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VolumeVI Number 4
January 29 - February 4, 1998
New Bay Times

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